CHICAGO -- If Paul Konerko was running stadium operations around Major League Baseball, he would not put up individual averages and RBIs on the scoreboard until the middle of May.
Anything earlier than that point simply falls under the "Too early to judge" heading in the captain's educated estimation. But as Gordon Beckham and Brent Morel can attest, many people don't hold the same patience as Konerko concerning early-season slumps.
"There are people inside the game who are smart baseball people and people outside the game that aren't smart baseball people, they all do it," Konerko said. "Everybody is kind of guilty early in the year of looking at a 20 or 30 at-bat sample and making judgments off of that. Even smart people.
"Everybody knows it's wrong and still does it. A tradition, I guess. It's up to the players. ... There's a lot of distractions in the big leagues, and if it was just about playing the game it would be a lot easier.
"You have to figure out ways to block that stuff out and know what you're doing is right and over the long haul it will hold up," Konerko said. "You have to trust that, and stick with the people who know and are there to help you. And the rest of them? They have no place in your day."
Count White Sox manager Robin Ventura as one of those people planted firmly in the corner of his struggling hitters. Despite Morel hitting .103 with two RBIs, he was back at the two-slot for Wednesday night's 8-1 victory over the Orioles. Beckham with his .152 average and one RBI was hitting ninth.
Of course, the two players have 72 at-bats combined and even a 7-for-15 sort of hot streak would instantly raise their average above .200. Slumps are part of the game, but they are more pronounced when there's less evidence to study.
"There have been some bad at-bats, but there have also been a lot of really good at-bats that didn't result in hits," said Konerko, who certainly is not part of the White Sox April struggles. "If you keep doing it, the cycle will turn. There's a team right now that's getting it done, they'll have this cycle in the middle of August and no one will notice. That's how baseball works."
"If we're going to do anything this year, you're going to get something out of Beckham and Morel," Ventura said. "We're going to need them to play well so you do have to have patience with them."