Paul Konerko initially was planning on spending the all-star break relaxing at a beach house in California.
He's more than happy to change those plans.
Late Thursday afternoon, the White Sox' first baseman was announced as the winner of the 2011 American League Final Vote.
That means Konerko is headed back home to Phoenix to play in his fifth career All-Star Game on Tuesday night at Chase Field.
Konerko didn't learn he beat out Detroit's Victor Martinez, Kansas City's Alex Gordon, Baltimore's Adam Jones and Tampa Bay's Ben Zobrist until the Sox were taking batting practice before Thursday night's game against the Minnesota Twins.
"I'm happy," said Konerko, who lives in Scottsdale, Ariz., during the off-season. "I think you always want to go to the game if you can. You never don't want to go if you can go.
"It's a good time and something you always remember. It's a special thing, especially growing up watching the games on TV. Had I not won the vote or whatever, I still enjoy the break and the rest for those four days.
"But if you have a chance to go … you only have one time through this thing as far as your career, so I need a chance to go play in something like that. For me, I don't think you ever play long enough or do enough where going to the All-Star Game isn't a big deal. It's always a big deal."
Konerko received more than 8.4 million votes to gain the all-star berth.
Heading into Thursday, the Sox' 35-year-old captain ranked fourth among AL leaders in home runs (22), RBI (64), OPS (.961) and slugging percentage (.572). He was sixth with a .319 batting average.
As for the high vote total, Konerko said he was flattered.
"There were probably definitely some multiple voters; my mom was probably a million of them," Konerko said. "But we're Chicago and I know it's kind of a split town with the Cubs and all that. I don't know how that side uses it: 'Hey, let's get a Chicago person in there' or 'Vote for the other person because we don't want a White Sox in there.'
"But we're a big market. We should show up for these kind of things. We shouldn't settle for second best. This is a good city, there are a lot of people. It doesn't surprise me. I'm actually flattered by it. I don't know.
"It's cool. I'm glad I'm going home. I was going to go out to California, a beach house out there had I not made it, but it'll be nice to go back to my own house and sleep in my own bed."