Ten years from now after Robin Ventura has lead the White Sox to three championships, and someone asks me, “do you remember where you were when the Sox announced Robin Ventura as their manager,” I will reply, YES. Not because I believe anything that I just wrote is going to happen, but because I would not have been more surprised if Charlie started walking and speaking fluently at five months.
I will remember also because I was sitting at my desk working diligently on a RFP, and my phone went off with a text from Smitty that read, “Robin Venture new White Sox manager?” I immediately replied in disbelief and then my phone was ringing and it was my brother. At that point I knew what had happened and what it meant, Kenny Williams will either go down as a mad genius or will be unemployed within the next three years. I say three years because the Sox are already talking that they do not expect immediate results from Ventura. What does that sound like to you? Rebuilding, as much as they can with huge contracts of Adam Dunn, Alex Rios, and Jake Peavy. Again, bounce back years from those guys and the Sox are giving the Tigers a run for their money, but lets talk about what we know.
We know Ventura was probably hired because he definitely presented Williams with a situation of the least grief possible, and I would call this a selfish signing on Williams’ part. What else is new with this guy? That’s all he does.
With Ventura in place who has no managerial or coaching experience, Williams has complete control of the situation. There’s no one to dispute his vision or question any of his moves, Ventura is a puppet of sorts. Williams telling Jerry Reinsdorf that Ventura is the right man for the job is an easy sell, since Reinsdorf adores Ventura and we all know how Jerry loves keeping things in the White Sox family.
There’s more than a few things though that are in Ventura’s favor, he gets Don Cooper, Harold Baines, and Jeff Marquez from Ozzie Guillen’s staff. The best news out of this is that all the pitching coaches are intact with Cooper and Marquez, which will be zero transition for the Sox pitching staff.
The other big rumor is the possibility of Frank Thomas taking over as hitting coach for the White Sox, and all I can say about that is make it happen. You will see a team that lacked patience at the plate all season suddenly develop a Yankee-like mentality to hitting working pitch counts. The other good news for Ventura is they are talking to candidates outside the organization for bench coach, which means they will be bringing in someone with big league experience.
The final reason to be positive about Ventura is that he’s a smart baseball man according to anyone that’s been asked, which may be enough for him to succeed.
We won’t have to wait long to see who’s on Ventura’s staff, since they will be introduced at a press conference on Tuesday.
So those are reasons to be optimistic, but there’s one HUGE reason not to be optimistic; Ventura has zero coaching experience, let alone managerial. While I’m happy for Ventura, I’m not terribly happy as a White Sox fan, not when there were more legitimate candidates available. I’ll narrow it down even further by saying the only thing that would have made me happy would have been Davey Martinez, he would have paid the quickest dividends for the White Sox.
One Tribune columnist dared to compare Ventura to Guillen this morning stating that the Sox had taken a risk on another White Sox infielder with no managerial experience and he won a World Series. Great spin pal, except Guillen had spent time coaching for the Marlins under Jack McKeon and the Braves under Bobby Cox. That columnist should be fired for even writing that, it’s a ridiculous statement. Whoa, wait, calm down, everyone is entitled to his or her opinion, even if we’re dumber for reading it.
I’m going to remain positive and reassess Ventura in May, since it’s unfair to pass judgment on someone who’s never even managed, I mean it’s not like we hired Manny Acta… thank God that never happened.