Who needs Brandon Allen when you have Paul Konerko?
As The Cheat noted already, Konerko became the first Sox hitter to go yard three times in one game since Jose Valentin did it in 2003. I hated Jose Valentin - all he was good for was killing the Cubs, which, admittedly, is a pretty awesome thing to be good for - but you have to admit he had a flawless mustache.
But a Jose Valentin mustache remembrance wasn't the only majestic consequence to appear in Paulie's wake. On Konerko's third bomb, Hawk treated us to another raucous 'HELLLL YESSS'. I can't embed the video here because Major League Baseball is the Mike Celizic of pro sports (it's 2009, guys), but you can still watch it here. Check it out. It's glorious.
Quietly, Konerko has come back from the dead to put together a hella good year (and, yes, I am going to see No Doubt on Saturday. Thanks for asking). He appeared to be on the Richie Sexton career path there for a while, but he's broken out of it big time thus far. Though yesterday skews it a little, Konerko's .881 OPS is still damn good. Perhaps even more surprising is that batting average, which now sits at a cool .301. Remember, we're talking about a guy who was seemingly hitting .230 or lower most of the last two seasons.
Konerko's resurgence is huge for two reasons: a) he still has another year left on the extension he signed after the World Series that pays him a boatload of money (even with the hometown discount!), and b) the Sox traded away his most likely successor yesterday, Brandon Allen.
I was high on Allen and a bit puzzled by the trade. As The Cheat notes yesterday, the guy the Sox got back, Tony Pena, certainly appears to be valuable, but did it really have to take Brandon Allen to get him?
What this really means is that the Sox believe either Tyler Flowers or Dayan Vicideo can't stick at their respective positions. Hopefully not both. I never thought Viciedo would be able to handle third anyway, so I'm hoping he'll slide over to first whenever the Thome/Konerko Era comes to a close. The Sox need to give Flowers every chance to stick behind the plate, just because finding catchers is so hard. And, you know, the guy they have behind the plate now probably couldn't throw out Kenny Powers at second, so how much worse could Flowers be?
Yesterday's win puts the Sox at 43-40, two games behind the division leading Tigers. I said at the beginning of the year that, if nothing else, the Sox should keep us interested all summer by staying in contention, and that certainly looks like it's going to happen. Can't ask for much more for a team rebuilding on the fly and still staying relevant.