Paul Konerko and Adam Dunn do most of the talking on the first day of camp for position players.
All White Sox players checked in on time for the first full-squad workout of the season on Sunday. Robin Ventura delivered his state-of-the-team address ("quick and to the point"), and after that, Paul Konerko and Adam Dunn did most of the heavy lifting.
Konerko's extremely grounded sensibilities showed up in midseason form. Scott Reifert has a transcript of his answers for the media horde, but Mark Gonzales' account has a quote that brings to mind Brent Morel's "Mufasa" metaphor:
"It’s kind of the circle of the life of the big leaguer. Any time I get, obviously all you guys know, you get older and you get down about some things every now and then. But I try to spin it and say to have that situation exist it means I had to have gotten here through all the years. That’s a cool thing. As a player or anything, you want to experience as much as you can in one area. Part of the experience of being a baseball player is to be in a clubhouse and be called old."
"You have to find some weird way to enjoy that. When you are young and first coming up, there are a lot of things that aren’t fun about that either. You try to enjoy what you can about each moment. The guys in there, they are not afraid to let me know."
He also doesn't foresee a broadcasting career after his playing days, which seems right. He probably would have an incredible analytic mind, but I'd have doubts about his ability to break into pithy chunks between pitches.
While Konerko had to answer questions about his uncertain future, Dunn spent more time talking about the previous season. As painful as it was, I imagine talking about last year this year isn't nearly as hard on Dunn as talking about his last year last year.
Dunn wants to use the September collapse as motivation:
"I don't think we have. I hope we haven't," Dunn said. "You work so hard during the offseason, during the season, putting yourself in a great position and obviously we had some injuries, but we just didn't play well when it mattered. That's tough for me and I would assume it's tough for everybody in the locker room.
"I'm sure everybody's going to say, 'Start over with a clean slate,' but I don't want to forget about last year. I want to remember how it felt basically getting knocked out of first place, because I know I didn't like it very much and I don't want it to happen again."
Different ends often require different means, and Dunn revisited the idea of being more aggressive earlier in the count:
“I think that’s going to be an emphasis this spring is trying to be more aggressive, not get myself too deep into counts,” Dunn said. “It’s kind of to give me something to work on this spring instead of being so selective early, especially first pitch.”
That doesn't guarantee that Dunn will start swinging at first and second pitches when the regular season starts, and as we discussed last month, history says Dunn has a difficult time swinging when he traditionally doesn't.