Paul Konerko’s future in baseball has the same status it did eight months ago -- non-existent.
At least for now and the foreseeable future, Konerko -- whose number 14 is set to be retired by the White Sox on Saturday afternoon -- has no plans to return to professional baseball. Not only are his children at an age where he doesn’t feel a long-term commitment would be fair to his family, Konerko said he has no interest in any positions, including as a media analyst. He wouldn’t rule out a return but it’s not anything he’d currently consider.
“There could be a day that does happen if I get away from the game long enough and I say, ‘I would like to go and work with Rookie ball hitters or I would like to go,’” Konerko said on Friday. “I don’t know what it could be. It could be anything. If it hits me where I’m like, if you see me at a job, it’s not going to be because I want to get out of the house and just want to go hang out with the guys.
“If you ever see me working a job in baseball, it’s because I’m going to have as much passion to do that job as I did to play. It’s not going to be anything less than that.”
The oldest of Konerko’s three children is 10 and the youngest is still a toddler. Having already committed 21 years to professional baseball, Konerko repeatedly has said the next portion of his life is to be dedicated to his family. Eight months after he exited U.S. Cellular Field for the last time as a player, Konerko’s mindset hasn’t changed.
“I just don’t think that’s something for how much I’ve been gone, that I could ever justify doing for something I wanted to do,” Konerko said. “So that’s No. 1 and that’s a big No. 1.”
There’s little doubt within the organization that Konerko could return one day to become a coach, instructor or manager. But current White Sox manager Robin Ventura doesn’t get the sense Konerko has the desire.
“He definitely can,” Ventura said. “Whether he does is a whole other thing. But yeah he definitely can.
“He can do it, it just depends on other factors. He has everything. He can pretty much do everything.”
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Konerko has made it clear he wouldn’t take a job just to take one -- he would need to be invested. That’s why he doesn’t want to limit himself to baseball.
“If I ever identify something that’s that, then I’ll jump in both feet and really get after it,” Konerko said. “I just can’t see taking a job before that where again it’s just kind of like that’s what you should do because you played for so long. There are a lot of other things in the world that I’m interested in that I want to go see.
“Maybe I’m good at something else.”