Konerko likes White Sox's chances

Paul Konerko has high hopes for what could be his final season with the White Sox. Jason Miller/Getty Images

CHICAGO -- Heading into what could be his final season on the South Side, Paul Konerko is thinking more about team success than the end of a personal era.

Guys like A.J. Pierzynski and Kevin Youkilis are gone, but Konerko doesn’t expect a drop off for the Chicago White Sox in the slightest.

“I feel (the team) is very similar to last year,” Konerko said. “There are a lot of the same faces, and a couple guys we added fit in. Last year was very good. We fit well as a team. We jelled very well last year and kept that going so I know that will continue. It’s a matter of executing on the field along with that.”

Monday will be Konerko’s 15th Opening Day with the White Sox and after all that time the thrill of the occasion still resonates with him.

“Opening Day is different from any other day of the year,” he said. “It’s exciting and there’s a lot of butterflies, especially for the home opener. (Monday) will feel like the playoffs. That’s the only day of the year you get that feeling. As a kid, watching Opening Day, you never forget that. It’s a special day.”

If Konerko has no interest in talking about a potential White Sox farewell, he has even less interest in the projections that the Detroit Tigers will run away with the American league Central and the White Sox will be nothing more than an average nondescript club.

“I don’t really pay attention to (that),” Konerko said. “I think we were the same or worse going in last year and put up a pretty good fight. We didn’t get where we wanted to get to, but I think that showed the accuracy of (the predictions). Sometimes those things are right on, and sometimes they miss the mark. What’s this one going to be? We’ll find out.

“For the guys in here, I can only speak for them, the only time it crosses our minds is when (reporters) asks about them, and then we don’t think about it before or after because we know we can make our own way on the field. If we play well, we can go where we want to get it. If we don’t, we won’t. You shouldn’t concern yourself with other things.”