By Bruce Levine-
CHICAGO (CBS) — Paul Konerko stood up and showed what his role really is on the 2014 White Sox in Wednesday’s 8-3 win over the Cubs at U.S. Cellular Field.
The captain had a crucial three-run double in the fifth inning to put an exclamation point on the White Sox’s third straight win over their crosstown rival.
“This series, Cubs and Sox, is always great,” Konerko said. “Is it what it was 10 years ago? It doesn’t feel like it. That goes along with all the interleague games, because the more you do it the more it doesn’t have the same feel. It is still better than losing three (in a row).”
The White Sox, thanks to the Cubs series, are over .500 in the standings again. After losing four straight to the North Side rivals last season, the Sox can once again hold their heads high.
“When I first got to this team, winning the season series was just about if not more important than winning the playoffs,” Konerko said. “It was ingrained in me early on that this is a big deal for our fans. Our fans care a lot about how we do against the Cubs. I would venture to say more than their fans care about how they do against us.”
At the beginning of the season, Konerko looked like a fish out of water, getting sporadic at-bats — and frankly looking old. That has changed as of late with the 38-year-old icon getting big hits and helping influence his teammates on the bench when he is not in the lineup.
“You just can’t hold on to anything in the past,” Konerko said. “This is a whole different thing. Nothing is connected. There are moments and the same name is on my back, but nothing this year is connected to the past. This is a new thing, and I am trying to be good at it. It has taken some practice. It is fun to help when you get in there. I also know that when I don’t get in, there are a lot of moments that are key. There are moments where you can spin a guy, talk to a guy in mid-game, and then he winds up doing something. I feel that is good, too. That doesn’t always show up (in the box score), but I want to continue that because I will have more of those than I will have the others (big hits).”
Konerko is now hitting .300 lifetime against the Cubs (78-for-260) after going 2-for-3 with two doubles and three RBIs on Wednesday. He’s hitting .257 for the season.
Bruce Levine covers the Cubs and White Sox for 670 The Score and CBSChicago.com. Follow him on Twitter @MLBBruceLevine.