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posted: 5/27/2012 8:00 PM

Rongey: Baseball's 'unknown' a key attraction to the game

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  • White Sox slugger Paul Konerko (14) is congratulated by manager Robin Ventura (23), bench coach Mark Parent (8) and Dayan Viciedo (24) after scoring on a double by Alex Rios (51) during the third inning of a baseball game against the Minnesota Twins in Chicago, Thursday, May 24, 2012.

      White Sox slugger Paul Konerko (14) is congratulated by manager Robin Ventura (23), bench coach Mark Parent (8) and Dayan Viciedo (24) after scoring on a double by Alex Rios (51) during the third inning of a baseball game against the Minnesota Twins in Chicago, Thursday, May 24, 2012.
    Associated Press

 
 

In any year in which the White Sox are declared in March to be a flop, or in the midst of a season that already has begun the flopping process, a question I'm often asked is, "What reason do I have to watch this team?"

My first response is always, "Well, it's baseball. Do you like baseball? Because you get it for six months -- seven if you're lucky. So enjoy it while you have it."

There's more to it than that, though. Mostly, in baseball, well, you just never know.

I mean, did you know the Tigers would be under .500 nearly two months into the season?

Did you know that Cleveland would be well above that same mark?

Did you know that the Orioles (yeah, from Baltimore) would have one of the best records in the game?

Did you know that the subject of the next question in today's column (Paul Konerko) would continue to drill line drives at the head of natural degradation?

Of course, you didn't. Neither did I.

But I think the unknown is the element that should demand your interest when you aren't sure why you should be paying attention.

Right now this is fun, yet I'm fully aware the thrill may not endure through September or beyond.

I'm not abandoning that any time soon, but if the season dictates that I have to at some nebulous season checkpoint, I'll then enjoy the game for what it is: a thing we get to have for half the year.

(But, seriously, this has been a blast, right?)

Q. Can Paul Konerko win the batting title?

A. What I can tell you with almost 100 percent certainty is that he isn't going to hit .400 for the year.

It's nothing to do with his lack of ability more than it is to do with the fact that it's nearly impossible to accomplish, especially in the modern game of baseball. It's this knowledge that makes you truly appreciate what that Ted Williams guy did.

Yes, it's possible for Konerko to win that title as long as he does two things:

1. Stays healthy.

2. Maintains his current approach.

He has been absurd this season (.399/.476/.681). Ultimately, I believe Josh Hamilton, Miguel Cabrera, and Prince Fielder will be his main competition.

Q. Do you think John Danks landing on the DL with a shoulder injury is a major cause for concern?

A. Any time a starter lands on the DL, it's concerning.

While he hasn't had a good season to date, we know that he's capable of it. There's certainly more comfort to have a veteran starter (or a guy with good experience) throughout the year than it is to rely on a relative -- or complete -- unknown to fill the cavity.

As for Danks himself, there's moderate concern because a shoulder issue usually is alarming. The good news is that they believe there's nothing damaged structurally, which means his stay on The List shouldn't be an extended one.

I like what Jose Quintana has done so far, but I'd feel more at ease with the veteran.

•Chris Rongey is the host of the White Sox pregame and postgame shows on WSCR 670-AM The Score. Follow him on Twitter @ChrisRongey and at chrisrongey.comquestions;mailto:cubsquestions%40dailyherald.com?subject=Reader%20question[URL] each week via our online link.[/URL]

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