Quentin working on lightening up

July, 12, 2011
7/12/11
2:07
PM CT
Levine By Bruce Levine
ESPNChicago.com
Archive
PHOENIX -- Chicago White Sox All-Star Carlos Quentin has always struggled with the idea of showing joy when it comes to playing baseball.

Candidly even Quentin's manager and coaches have tried to help him understand why it seems so difficult for him to let loose.

[+] EnlargeCarlos Quentin
AP Photo/Nam Y. Huh)Carlos Quentin views teammate Paul Konerko as a role model when it comes to having a positive outlook on the field.
I've seen Quentin pull pranks on his teammates during spring training and actually enjoy the clubhouse banter. But for some reason, Quentin's fun usually ends by the time the Sox travel to Chicago for the regular season.

"Fun for me is winning," Quentin said as he prepared for his second all-star game. "Fun is contributing, that's the easy part of this game being fun. The harder part is dealing with the battle of this game being so difficult to play, but it's also fun to be challenged."

Quentin, who is batting .251 with 17 home runs and 51 RBIs, is aware that he is wound too tight.

"Am I having fun in general? Yes. Yeah, I'm doing better at that," Quentin said. "Yes, I feel I've done better at that this year, but for me sometimes as a player things don't feel fun at all but that's just the game."

Quentin's frustrations cost him the month of September and a possible MVP award in 2008 when he broke his hand slamming down a bat in frustration after making an out. At the time Quentin had 36 home runs and 100 RBIs with 30 games left to play.

He said he has learned about self control from teammate Paul Konerko.

"As I said before, there are moments in time when things don't seem fun at all," Quentin said. "At that point I try to sit back and get a perspective on it. That way you hope you can live with it and return to that good place where you know this is a game you should enjoy. My mentor is Paul Konerko. He went through a lot of things and learned a lot about that as well. I observe Paul, and I don't miss anything that he does, trying to go through this game and be better at it by having an optimistic attitude everyday."

What is Quentin's overall goal for himself?

"I'll continue my process of trying to get better at [enjoying the game]," Quentin said. "I hope I am able to do it not only for my team's sake but for my sake as well. This has always been my battle."

While rumors continue to buzz around the Sox that Quentin might be traded to a National League team, they know that trading one of their top run producers would be a risky proposition with others like Adam Dunn, Alex Rios and Gordon Beckham in season-long slumps.

Bruce Levine | email

Chicago baseball beat reporter
Bruce Levine has covered sports in Chicago for over 28 years and hosts "Talkin' Baseball," heard Saturday mornings on ESPN 1000.

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