As the new old saying goes, it's not January on the South Side of Chicago until Gordon Beckham tries to explain what went wrong the previous season.
This year's version shows up with three-plus days left in the month, via Doug Padilla:
"I would say that I’m in a much better place than I was in August of last year," Beckham said. "Getting away was good for me in general. I needed some time not only to kind of reboot, but also to work on my game and that’s something I feel like I did out in Anaheim.
"Although I was playing a good amount, I wasn’t playing every game so I used the time that I wasn’t starting to really work and take (batting practice) and understand my swing a little better, while fielding balls at shortstop and third base. I felt like it was really beneficial for me and not just the physical aspect."
There it is. You can slap a leather-bound jacket on it and slide it on the bookshelf next to the previous volumes.
"You can't ever assume that it's just going to be good from here on out," Beckham told MLB.com during an end-of-season interview. "I definitely feel like I understand my swing better, I understand what it takes to be a big league baseball everyday player. I'll just keep progressing on that.
"What I've learned is pretty simple: It's just go play the game and let everything else take care of itself. You have to stay even keel. You can't live on the highs and the lows so much."
"In general, I felt like I turned a corner at the end of last year," Beckham said. "I don't know how to describe it, but I'm encouraged. I guess it's the first time in a while that I actually truly believed in myself.
"You can have fake confidence, where you don't believe it in your gut. And there have been times over the last couple of years, doubts, where I said to myself, 'Maybe they are right.' At end of this year, I don't know how to describe it, but there's now a maturity and better understanding of the game -- the focus it takes, the routine.
"I'm sure people are tired of hearing that I turned a corner," Beckham said. "I'm tired of hearing it to be honest. I believe I belong and I want to show what I believe. I have a great family behind me, a great support staff, a great team, a great organization. There's a lot that don't believe, but the organization does, and that says enough."
"I wish it wasn't that way, but when you get kicked and knocked down, you see the person you are," Beckham said Wednesday during his fundraising event for the Parkinson Foundation while he was in town for this weekend's SoxFest. "You either can roll over and fold, or you can stand back up and do the work. You have to learn from some failure. I learned from a good amount last year, and it wasn't fun for me. It wasn't fun for any White Sox fan watching that last year.
"But I'm still very positive about what we can do and what I can do. I'm not going to let anyone else tell me otherwise. That's one of the things I had to tell myself. It's about me doing what I do and worrying about what I do, as opposed to worrying about what other people think about this and that. It's not important."
"[Last year] there was a lot put on my plate, and when I didn’t immediately meet expectations I went into panic mode," the Chicago second sacker said of his atrocious start in 2010, which was scarred by his second position change in as many seasons field and first-half splits of .216/.277/.304 and a .581 OPS. "That can’t happen, and that won’t happen again. I got frustrated, and mentally tired."
"I was in the worst mental state of my [baseball] life," Beckham reflected. "It was good to come out on top."