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Hot in pink: Konerko goes 5 for 5 in Mother’s Day cleats

David Brown
Big League Stew

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Chicago White Sox broadcaster Hawk Harrelson half-jokingly noted Sunday that lumbering slugger Paul Konerko "looks faster" while wearing pink cleats.

But later in the game, sure enough, Konerko did seem fleeter afoot than usual in scoring from second base on a two-out single. He scooted home in shoes worn to support Major League Baseball's annual Mother's Day initiative to promote breast cancer awareness.

Watch Konerko run in pink shoes

"He's got to continue to wear those things," Harrelson said. "I mean, he just looks like he's appreciably faster."

On a day where players across the league wore pink — on their uniforms or with their equipment — Konerko went 5 for 5, tying his career high in hits in Chicago's 5-2, 10-inning victory at Seattle.

Watch Konerko go 5 for 5

And to think — Konerko nearly wore the usual slow-footed black and white cleats. {YSP:MORE}

As Doug Padilla of the ESPN Chicago wrote, Konerko's teammates had to persuade him to go pink. Because the White Sox were on the West Coast, the team had a chance to watch early games and saw other players — such as the Mets' Jose Reyes and Minnesota's Trevor Plouffe — wearing pink cleats. Plouffe's mom is a cancer survivor.

Freddie Freeman of the Atlanta Braves lost his mom to melanoma when he was 10 years old. Wearing pink spikes, he had three hits, including a home run.

Although it hasn't always been the case, pink today is widely associated with femininity.

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Since he didn't have to go first, Konerko slipped on the special shoes and went to work, picking up his third career five-hit game. It was only the second 5-for-5 day in the bigs this season as Konerko joined a crosstown counterpart named Kosuke Fukudome.

"It might have been the shoes, I don't know," Konerko said. "But they were comfortable but they stood out. We've had a lot of Mother's Days and Father's Days where some [performances] were horrific. Today obviously was a good day."

Teammate Mark Buehrle's view on pink shoes for himself has not evolved like Konerko's :

"I don't know if I could have got away with it, and If I could have, I don't think I would have worn them," Buehrle said.

Konerko's color scheme stood out in another way: He went with his usual black bat, though the other White Sox starters swung pink ones. Konerko indicated he would support a similar color-based MLB initiative in the future:

"Now you don't think twice about it. You know it's good," Konerko said. "Makes people out there think about the right things. They should do more days with colors and stuff, incorporate other things."

Catcher Ramon Castro thought of another way to communicate on a special day. His eye-black strips displayed a message to his mother that was as old as televised sports:

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Jesse Sanchez of MLB.com wrote a solid rundown of who did what in pink on Sunday.

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