Perhaps forgetting the heights scaled by the New York Mets when John Franco was wearing the Captain’s “C”, the Chicago Sun Times argues against such a designation for 1B Paul Konerko.
Captains are an outdated commodity in baseball. Former Cubs manager Don Baylor made the curious move of ordaining Sammy Sosa, Mark Grace, Rick Aguilera and Kevin Tapani his captains during spring training in 2000. Sosa proudly wore the ”C” on his uniform through the 2004 season — though by then it was generally regarded that the ”C” stood for CLOWN.
Konerko arrives with all of the necessary credentials to be the captain. He’s a leader in the clubhouse, a force on the field, and he has the years of service to back up the rank.
The problem is this team doesn’t need a captain. That crazy clubhouse is filled with them.
With Guillen as manager, most agree the inmates no longer run the asylum, but the asylum still exists. This odd collection of characters meshed last season because no one — especially the now-departed Frank Thomas — was held in higher regard than the others.
A captain could come in and alter that perfect order.
”The way our team operates best, it seems to me, is when everybody has an equal voice — right down to the guy who has 10 days in the big leagues,” Konerko said. ”It seems like everybody treats each other with respect, and there isn’t that ranking of [service] time and stuff like that. I think that’s when things can kind of go south. I think when you play it cool and everybody treats each other equally, then you get better things.”
Captains played a bigger role in baseball, but the title was generally phased out in the 1980s. Some teams — such as the Yankees with Derek Jeter — still have captains. But captains seem more suited for another sport, say hockey.
”First of all, I don’t think there are going to be too-many-men-on-the-ice penalties or anything like that that you have to talk to the refs about,” Konerko said with a laugh.