Originally posted on Pro Sports Daily  |  Last updated 4/30/12

Back in spring training, the team captain glanced over to Gordon Beckham on the other side of the spacious clubhouse at Camelback Ranch, and shook his head with a laugh.

"That used to be me," Konerko said. "You have a bad day at the park and everything seems so hard for the rest of that day. Now, I come home from the park, bad day or not and I have wonderful kids waiting for me, and a wife that's wondering why I didn't take the garbage out this morning.

"It's all about perspective."

And it's all about becoming as professional a hitter as the White Sox have seen since Frank Thomas was putting up numbers that might soon get him a call to Cooperstown. That's where Konerko is these days.

Not always, and that's why he can relate to young guys like Beckham and Brent Morel.

Up until about the 2009 season, Konerko was a bat-rack guy. Which means a bad at-bat, a missed RBI, and it was obvious where Konerko was going, to the bat rack to take out some frustration and beat up on any near objects.

Garbage cans, clubhouse doors, the bat rack itself. Very few objects were safe.

To Konerko's credit, he usually did it out of the view of the camera, but it was acknowledged by all, including former manager Ozzie Guillen. In fact, when Guillen took over before the 2004 season, he had been told that Konerko didn't have the best reputation when it came to the failures presented by the game.

That was really on display in 2003, when Konerko was in-and-out of manager Jerry Manuel's lineup, hitting a career-low .234 with only 18 home runs.

Working with former hitting coach Greg Walker, however, and giving into the fact that failure is part of the game, whether the hitter has a good at-bat or a bad one, Konerko started letting go of the numbers.

That's usually when the numbers start coming back.

In the 2005 World Series season, Konerko had his second consecutive 40-home run season, as well as a .283 average. After taking less money to come back to the White Sox as a free agent, he was given the "C" on his jersey for team captain.

By 2009, Konerko seemed to get it. To become a professional hitter.

"It's incredible to watch a guy buy into what you are telling him, learn his own swing and then just run with it," Walker, who is now with Atlanta, said near the end of his stint with the White Sox last season. "He hasn't looked back."

Not only has Konerko been the calming force at the plate, but in the clubhouse, becoming the face of the organization in the wake of Guillen taking his talents to South Beach.

That includes a pull-no-punches style of telling it like it is, whether the media, the fans or even his own organization wants to hear it.

That was on display before the start of spring camp, when Konerko said that the White Sox could miss the playoffs this year and still call the season a success. Not exactly what the ticket office wanted to hear.

"This has to be a steady thing to earn the trust back from the fans," Konerko explained. "You want them to see that we've done it right on all levels. We have not done that (the past few years), and that's just me speaking the truth."

The other truth that has to be discussed with Konerko is does he make the leader board as being one of the best White Sox hitters of all time? On April 25, he hit career-home run 400.

Konerko ranks second in White Sox history with 393 home runs and third with 1,246 RBI, looking to build on those numbers, after Monday's off day.

"It's impressive," manager Robin Ventura said of Konerko's numbers in a White Sox uniform. "Any time you start looking at his career and his numbers, he's in some special company."

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