KONERKO DOES OK AFTER LEAVING L.A.Byline: Kevin Modesti Staff Writer
PEORIA, Ariz. - Paul Konerko's longest walk has ended in a happy place.
It began in the first inning of a July 4, 1998 Dodgers-Giants game at 3Com Park, when a Dodgers equipment man relayed the message that general manager Tom Lasorda wanted to see Konerko and manager Glenn Hoffman Glenn Edward Hoffman (born July 7 1958 in Orange, California) is a former shortstop in Major League Baseball and the current third base coach for the San Diego Padres. Previously, in 1998 he took over the managerial position for the Los Angeles Dodgers final half of the season when in the clubhouse.
As the pair made the walk from the third-base dugout to the visitors' clubhouse in right field in full view of the San Francisco San Francisco (săn frănsĭs`kō), city (1990 pop. 723,959), coextensive with San Francisco co., W Calif., on the tip of a peninsula between the Pacific Ocean and San Francisco Bay, which are connected by the strait known as the Golden fans and the television cameras, Konerko assumed the trade rumors had come true and wondered where he was going.
``There were 3,000 miles of possibilities,'' as he put it recently.
So Lasorda ended the suspense?
``Not immediately,'' Konerko said. ``Literally it took Tommy five minutes to get it out of his mouth. He kept telling me what the situation was, why he had to do it, apologizing. I had to say, `Tommy, where am I going?' ''
Lasorda had promised Konerko a week earlier that he would not be going to Cincinnati in exchange for reliever Jeff Shaw
There might have been easier ways for a former first-round draft choice and minor-league player of the year to say goodbye to Los Angeles Los Angeles (lôs ăn`jələs, lŏs, ăn`jəlēz'), city (1990 pop. 3,485,398), seat of Los Angeles co., S Calif.; inc. 1850. .
But a year and a half later, after being traded to the Reds with Dennis Reyes for Shaw, and traded again the following winter to the Chicago White Sox The Chicago White Sox are a professional baseball team based in Chicago, Illinois. The White Sox are a member of the Central Division of Major League Baseball's American League. From to the present, the White Sox have played in U.S. for Mike Cameron Michael Terrance Cameron (born January 8 1973 in LaGrange, Georgia) is an outfielder in Major League Baseball with the San Diego Padres. Overview
Mike Cameron was a standout player at LaGrange High School. , Konerko is glad he did.
``I wanted to play there, but I'm thankful they got rid of me,'' he said after a Cactus League game in which he drove a Sterling Hitchcock
``I look at Todd Hollandsworth, and other guys who I know are good enough to play every day, who are having to fight for jobs (with the Dodgers). That could have been me.''
First baseman Eric Karros' contract extension and third baseman Adrian Beltre's ascent underscore the fact Konerko had nowhere to play with the Dodgers.
After setting career highs with a .294 average, 24 homers and 81 RBI RBI
runs batted in
Noun 1. rbi - a run that is the result of the batter's performance; "he had more than 100 rbi last season"
run batted in in his first full season in the major leagues, Konerko has a place with the White Sox. He'll play first base, and occasionally third when designated hitter Frank Thomas goes to first in interleague games.
``I'm on a good club with a good bunch of guys A Bunch of Guys (BOGs), or Group of Guys (GOGs) are terms used by counter-terrorism officials to refer to small, self-organizing terrorist cells. BOGs typically have little to no contact with global terrorist groups like al Qaeda, so they independently plan and . I get to go out and play every day and establish myself in he big leagues,'' Konerko said. ``I wasn't one of those guys who needed a change of scenery or anything like that. But I'm thankful (to the Dodgers) for moving me. When they did, they gave me a chance to play.''
Photo: PAUL KONERKO
With the White Sox, he set career highs with a .294 average, 24 homers and 81 RBI in his first full season in the majors.