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Weep Not For Paulie

Paul Konerko, about whom you may have read in this space before, is currently getting trounced in the fan vote for the last spot on the American League roster at next week's All-Star Game.

Plenty of folks will get up in arms about this, railing against the perceived injustices of the whole contest and the countless flaws of a system that allows Chase Utley, who is on the disabled list, to be voted in as the National League's starting second baseman.

Paulie, they will say, is having as great a season as anyone else (note: even as Justin Morneau and Miguel Cabrera make him not even the best first baseman in the division) and deserves recognition for what he means to a proud franchise (note: the Sox are so great that they had to win every day for three weeks to get back to .500). But let me go on record as saying: ignore those people, for they know not of what they speak.

It's not that Konerko's season is lacking much of anything, nor is this a soapbox upon which I will dismantle the concept of a mid-year exhibition game. My problem goes deeper than that; to say Paul Konerko "needs" your vote is to say Konerko's career somehow still needs validation.

As though the multiple hundreds of home runs, thousand-plus runs batted in, millions of dollars, nation of fans, franchise milestones, World Series title and, you know, three previous All-Star appearances still left #14's work unfinished. As though someday our beloved captain will stare off into the sunset and rue that he would trade everything he had if it meant he could've been part of the 2010 All-Star Game.

So don't sweat it. Let Konerko vote with his bat while we vote with our eyes, our wallets, our confidence knowing that no matter what happens with this little popularity contest, Paul Konerko has still led a full life.

We're set to watch the Sox finally have a chance to be better than the Angels and, more importantly, to elevate their standing in the division by standing atop the smoldering corpses of the Kansas City Royals.

And hey, maybe Delmon Young can pull off the upset just in time to break his leg in Anaheim next Wednesday.

Week in Review: Singular. The Sox dropped a series in Kansas City, then took a series in Texas and the opener against the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim del Pueblo de Nuestra Senora La Reina de Porciuncula to go 4-3 and land within a game of first place. Watch your back, Detroit and/or Minnesota.

Week in Preview: Divisive. The Sox head into the All-Star break with three more against the Angels, who would be in first place if they were in the Central, followed by three versus the Royals, who would be terrible no matter who they had to play better than.

Hawkeroo's Can-O-Corn Watch: "That's one thing I just will never understand, how guys like our Alex Rios don't make it to the All-Star game. Some make sense, because you know Joe Girardi, he's managing that game to win, that's what all great managers do and that's what Ozzie Guillen's going to be doing next summer if our Sox keep this up, but how a guy like Matt Thornton, easily one of the best setup men maybe of all time, can go without guys just as deserving, guys like Alex, Paul Konerko, Alexei Ramirez, you look at what Omar Vizquel has done for this team, Juan Pierre turning it around, the Jakemeister, Gavin having a heck of run there a few weeks back, Bobby and J.J. one of the best back ends of a bullpen I've ever seen, A.J. calling games as good as anyone in baseball, and that guys playing as well as that can't get their due, that's why so many people are saying to the commissioner, 'You've gotta change what this game is all about,' because if it's supposed to be about putting the best players out there, I'll take our Sox up against any team made of any players. Any team, I don't care how many votes they have, how many home runs, what kind of earned run average guys are putting up, their teams are winning, guys playing consistent ball, maybe guys who strike out more batters than Mark or Freddy do, guys who need that flashier kind of pitching to hide maybe some of the less strong parts of the rest of their game, guys with more home runs than Gordon or Carlos, and everyone on that fields knows that any team that plays as well as our Sox is gonna come home a winner, and that's how you run into problems with how the All-Star Game teams are made. Or any team, for that matter."

Gordon Beckham Hall of Fame Update: Gordon Beckham second year on-base percentage: .271. Greg Maddux second year on-base percentage: .119. Advantage: Beckham.

Alumni News You Can Use: Reality and common sense were both rendered useless for a moment on Sunday as former lousy White Sox outfielder/ineffective leadoff man Dewayne "Hey Man Nice Catch" Wise threw out former lousy White Sox outfielder/ineffective leadoff man Nick "Nicky The Swish" Swisher as the former, with an uncharacteristically precise throw from center to home, threw out the latter following an uncharacteristically aggressive turn around third. The White Sox Report congratulates both players on their newfound talents.

The "H" in "DH" Stands For: Helped off the field, as the Scott Feldman pitch to Omar Vizquel's knee has temporarily moved Dayan Viciedo away from the bat-of-death spot, where he probably has potential, to third base, where he probably does not.

The Q Factor: They say they've come from the so-called City of Angels, he thinks, but all I've ever seen of it were devils in pretty clothes and monsters in shiny new cars. I want to mourn for them, and their sad, sad lives, these carbon-dulled zombies all having traded life - real life - for a trip to the beach at the end of the world, but to feel anything at all for these people would be to waste that energy, energy best used on the field. I will let them have their sunshine, but I will not hesitate to remind them - often, swiftly, mercilessly - that I am still the sun.

The Guillen Meter: His team within stabbing distance of first place and the competition set to tear itself apart this coming weekend, the Guillen Meter reads 9 for "Hey Bobby, do me a favor and sharpen this toothbrush."

Endorsement No-Brainer: Andruw Jones for Memphis Rides: Be it dollars or batting average points, "under 200" is not very much at all.

Cubs Snub: Surrendering seven runs on two hits Friday, you say? Coughing up seven home runs two days later? I don't believe you.

The White Sox Report: Read 'em all.

The Cub Factor: It's funny because it's true.


Andrew Reilly lives in Chicago and is pretty sure he found the heaviest burrito in the city over the weekend. He welcomes your comments.

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