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By David Schuster-
(CBS) Paul Konerko confirmed Tuesday that internal strife doomed the White Sox last season.
The players tried to be above the soap opera battles behind the scenes but Konerko says that became impossible.
“There were definitely some times late in the year where we gave away games because of people worrying about things that were not related to the game of baseball,” the White Sox captain said. “The last couple of years and especially towards the end last year we were just giving away games and big league players should be mentally tough and not allow stuff to affect us. I think for the longest time, we as a group, allowed it to happen and it all came to a head. But that’s how things end. If it didn’t go like that no one would see the need to make a change. Stuff like that has to happen to make change. But going into this year I don’t see any side issues.”
Konerko knows there are similarities and differences between previous manager Ozzie Guillen and current manager Robin Ventura.
“It’s different personalities but it’s funny because they played together for so long and you can draw a parallel in almost all areas of their baseball careers and life, but they’re two totally different guys,” Konerko said.
The first baseman enjoyed playing for Guillen but certainly wasn’t shocked when his departure became official. He also knows that the situation turned out best for all concerned.
“It’s all on the up-and-up,” Konerko said. “(Guillen is) in a great place now and I think it all worked out. It did get a bit ugly at the end but again at the end there’s no way that it can’t get ugly. But I think it’s all said and done and I think everybody’s kind of happy where they’re at and just content and that’s that.”
Konerko will be playing his 16th season in the big leagues this year and it will be his 14th with the Sox. He knows his career is winding down.
“Now at this point of my career it’s more of a sprint,” he said. “I can see the end. I’m just trying to get out there and battle and leave it all out there.”