By Bruce Levine-
GLENDALE, Ariz. (CBS) — White Sox designated hitter Paul Konerko looks at his final season as an active player as more of a matriculation than a sad end game.
“A good analogy would be like a graduation,” Konerko said. “If you would have asked me a year or two ago, the reaction would be one of sadness. Now the feeling is completing something and graduating. That is an easier way to end everything, and this is the right progression. It feels right and better this way.”
The long-time White Sox captain also admitted if the 63-99 2013 season was a better one for the team, he would have called it a career.
“Yeah, I would have been more serious about hanging them up,” he said. “I did not want to go out with that awful feeling after playing on so many good teams here. I did not feel it was the right time.”
Staying in baseball as a coach or in the front office isn’t in the plans for the soon-to-be 38-year-old veteran.
“At this point and this moment, I really don’t see myself in the game again after this season,” Konerko said. “I know others have said that and later returned, but there are so many things I want to do. A lot of it centers around my family and being there for them. I hopefully reserve the right to be wrong (and change my mind) on that. Nothing in my body tells me I will be doing anything in the game. Hey, this is my 20th professional year. That is a good, long run. Nothing in my mind wants to be on a ridged schedule after this season.”
A broadcasting career would be a natural fit for the articulate Konerko, but again he says no to that idea.
“Getting back on the team side, I would never say never about that,” Konerko said. ” I feel I can come closer to say never about that (broadcasting). I just don’t feel that is what i would want to do. I feel I could not get away from the playing and then critiquing side of the equation. I would not be comfortable with that.”
Being involved with any other team would not be in the books for Konerko if he ever changes his mind about returning.
“I am a White Sox person,” he said. “This is who my team is, and that will not change. If the team is not doing well, let’s say three years from now, that will bother me. This is who I am baseball wise … I will always be there for Jerry (Reinsdorf) and the people over there. Baseball will take a huge backseat once I am done in November. Baseball will always be a part of who I am, it just depends how much.”
Bruce Levine is a baseball reporter/analyst for 670 The Score and CBSChicago.com. Follow him on Twitter @MLBBruceLevine.