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Konerko stands alone in experience at Comerica Park

Konerko stands alone in experience at Comerica Park

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DETROIT -- The Tigers moved from Tigers Stadium to Comerica Park in 2000, back when the average gallon of gas cost about $1.50 and the song "Say My Name" by Destiny's Child was at the top of music charts.

Amidst all the changes through the years, White Sox first baseman Paul Konerko is the only player who has played with the same team at Comerica Park for all 14 years of its existence.

"I do take pride in that, and in this day and age, it's rare for a guy to get up to 10-plus years with the same team," Konerko said. "It's just tough with the business side of it and all that to have that happen, so I feel lucky to be one of those guys that's had the chance to do that."

Yankees closer Mariano Rivera and shortstop Derek Jeter both have been playing since the park's opening, but missed a trip to Detroit in the either of the last two years because of injuries. Konerko was a free agent following the 2005 and '10 seasons, but chose to stay with the White Sox each time.

"Really after 2005, that was the one where you're kind of in the middle of your career and right then you're going to make a choice whether you go somewhere else for probably six, seven years or you're going to play where you are, and you're kind of going to make your stand then," Konerko said. "I did, and I'm proud that I stayed.

"I think once those decisions were made, you come to those crossroads in your career, and you make your stand right then and once you make them it's over with. I haven't really thought about going or playing for another team since then."

Konerko only played five games at the old Tigers Stadium and said he doesn't remember much about the park besides it's short distances down the lines and the conditions of the visiting clubhouse.

"Obviously, the clubhouse was not good," Konerko said. "I don't remember too much. Whenever I think of Detroit, I think of this stadium now. For a while, they weren't drawing fans here, they weren't a good team and all that, so I've seen this change. It seems night and day compared to where it was in the early to mid-2000's."

Bobby Nightengale is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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