While Derek Jeter has sucked up all of the farewell air, there is another legendary player — at least locally legendary — retiring after the final game is played on Sunday. Paul Konerko is saying goodbye after a magnificent 18-year career, sixteen of which were played for the White Sox.
Konerko played over 2,300 career games and posted a career line of .279/.354/.487 with 439 homers and 1412 RBI. He was a six-time All-Star, the 2005 ALCS MVP and led the White Sox to the World Series title that year, ending a drought that lasted longer than the much more famous Red Sox title drought. Of course, because Konerko never played in New York or Boston he never got the kind of supporting cast those teams could perpetually afford during his playing career and never got the same amount of hype.
But to a Chicago White Sox fan, Paul Konerko was just as important as Derek Jeter was to a Yankees fan. And even if he’s not getting the same kind of sendoff, he will be just as missed by the people who cheered for him.
Here he says goodbye to his fans. On Sunday, at home against the Royals, he will say it in person.
The Cincinnati Reds have fired manager Bryan Price. He’ll be replaced on an interim basis by bench coach Jim Riggleman. The team also fired pitching coach Mack Jenkins. The club also added Louisville manager Pat Kelly to the staff as the new bench coach and Double-A pitching coach Danny Darwin as the new big league pitching coach.
It was only a matter of time for Price, whose Reds have begun the season 3-15. This was Price’s fifth season at the helm and the Reds never won more than 76 games in any of his previous seasons, doing so in his first year, in 2014. They won 68 games in both 2016 and 2017 and 64 games in 2015. While that’s far more attributable to the Reds talent level than anything Price ever did or did not do, at some point the manager will take the fall for a team that makes no progress.
Price’s tenure will likely be considered largely forgettable in the view of history, but he did have a pretty memorable moment as Reds manager in April of 2015, when he went on a profanity-laced tirade at the media because they reported the availability or lack thereof of certain players for an upcoming game. Which is part of the media’s job, even if Price didn’t fully grok that at the time. The tirade itself was pretty epic, though, with then Cincinnati Enquirer reporter C. Trent Rosecrans reporting that “there were 77 uses of the “F” word or a variant and 11 uses of a vulgar term for feces (two bovine, one equine).”
Taking over will be Jim Riggleman, who last managed in the big leagues with the Washington Nationals, resigning in June of 2011 because he was unhappy that he did not get a contract extension. It was a weird episode, the sort of which a lot of guys couldn’t have come back from, perhaps being considered quitters. Riggleman took a job managing the Reds’ Double-A team, however, then moved on to Triple-A and then the Reds’ big league coaching staff. There’s something to be said for persistence. And for being a big league lifer.
Anyway, Price’s exit is not likely to change the Reds’ course too much in 2018. But, as it is so often said in baseball, sometimes you gotta make a change all the same.