By Daniel I. Dorfman–
(WSCR) Today we celebrate Independence Day. On this day 235 years ago, a bunch of sweaty men got together in Philadelphia and formally ratified the document that gave birth to the United States. We should all be grateful. Imagine another 235 years of eating British food. Yuck.
Locally, we can look for so many ways we can be grateful for Independence Day here in Chicago and not just because it allows us to enjoy the big, elaborate fireworks show on July 3rd at Grant Park. Oh wait. OK, maybe we will get back to that one year.
I’m sure our baseball team executives would love to celebrate Independence Day by getting rid of the questionable contracts given to Adam Dunn, Alex Rios, Jake Peavy, Alfonso Soriano and Carlos Zambrano. But they are all locked into long-term deals. No escaping those for a while.
Continuing today’s holiday theme, one gets the feeling Paul Konerko would love to declare himself independent from the cheesy get-out-and-vote campaign the White Sox are now involved in to get Konerko on the All-Star team, with the players donning “Paul Star” t-shirts. The classy Konerko looked almost annoyed that the Sox and the Dodgers are teaming up to get him and Los Angeles star Andre Either into the All-Star game on July 12.
Every Sox fan, naturally, wants to see Konerko get a fifth All-Star game appearance, and he is certainly putting up terrific numbers once again this season. But so are Adrian Gonzalez of Boston and Miguel Cabrera of Detroit, and there are only so many slots for first basemen. So Konerko didn’t get selected. Instead, the sole White Sox pick was Carlos Quentin, who is among the league leaders in several offensive categories. As Quentin talked about it before the game on Sunday at Wrigley Field, there was a great look of “I can’t believe I am talking about this” on his face as he said Konerko was the driving force behind the Sox offense. He couldn’t have been more right.
So the Sox organization has spearheaded a campaign to get Konerko on the All-Star team through a fan vote for the final position. Similar efforts were successful in getting Scott Podsednik and A.J. Pierzynski onto the teams in years past, but they are contrived to the point of tacky and don.t seem to be worthy of Konerko, who said he is not going to promote himself. Three cheers for good taste. The Sox are right to want to honor Konerko for his accomplishments this season, but there is such a contrived feel to these campaigns, it is hard to embrace them.
On Monday night the Sox take on the Kansas City Royals. The beginning of a 19-game stretch against AL Central opponents that is likely to have far more importance on the rest of this season than whether Konerko, or possibly Phil Humber, makes the All-Star team. But the team will be cranking out its PR efforts to get fans to vote for Konerko. Maybe it will work, maybe it won’t. We will know the results on Thursday. So be ready for three days of begging to get Konerko to the All-Star team. The good news is we will be independent of it soon.
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Daniel I. Dorfman is a local freelance writer who has written and reported for the New York Times, Philadelphia Inquirer and the Boston Globe among many other nationally prominent broadcast, online and print media organizations. He is also a researcher for 670 The Score. You can follow him on Twitter @DanDorfman To read more of Daniel’s blogs click here.