LOS ANGELES-- When Paul Konerko broke into the big leagues with the Dodgers in 1997, he was supposed to be the next Mike Piazza or Eric Karros.
He wasn't even sure he was going to be the first Paul Konerko.
"I used to take this game much more seriously than I should have," said the Chicago White Sox first baseman, who will likely be named to his sixth American League All Star team. He currently stands second by about a half-million voted behind Detroit's Prince Fielder. "I remember putting so much pressure on myself when I was (with the Dodgers), that I was driving myself crazy.
"Every at bat, every play in the field was like the end of the worldwell, not the end of the worldbut you know what I mean. And I honestly didn't know if I was going to succeed in this game. I always knew I had the talent, but I was worried early-on about getting a chance, then being able to deliver when I did get in the lineup."
During his first two seasons, he had reason to be concerned.
In 81 games ...