Thursday, October 6, 2011

Thoughts On Robin Ventura: White Sox Manager


Okay, so I've taken some time to think about the Robin Ventura hire, and I actually have more to say about it than "durrrrrr, what?" The initial announcement was quite a shock, as at no point did the name Robin Ventura appear anywhere while this search was going on.

Something that Jerry Reinsdorf had to love.

I do wonder if this was another situation like the Ozzie hire. Not just in that Guillen was a former White Sox infielder with no managerial experience, but in that Guillen wasn't really on Kenny Williams' radar either. It was at the suggestion of Reinsdorf that Williams interview Guillen, and Kenny liked what he heard.

That worked out well.

However, the more I think about it, the more I think that while Reinsdorf was no doubt in full support of this move, that Kenny had to like the idea as well. While we heard that Dave Martinez was a candidate, the Sox didn't really interview anybody that we heard of before the Ventura announcement came.

However, as Kenny said the night the Ozzie Guillen news was announced, the timetable on naming a new manager would depend on the playoffs and when the team could talk to certain candidates.

Which tells me that Kenny wanted to find out the situation with Terry Francona more than he did Dave Martinez. After all, Martinez just became available to talk and the next thing we know the team is hiring Ventura.

So I wonder if Francona was 1a in Kenny's mind with Robin as 1b. Once Kenny was told by Reinsdorf that he wasn't going to pay the money it would take to get Francona, then Ventura jumped to options one through five.

This is all just speculation on my part, remember. I'm not reporting any of this as fact.

Ventura fits the mold of what the Sox would be looking for in a new manager. He has ties to the organization, just like Francona, Martinez and Guillen, and he's not going to cost a lot. Which is something Reinsdorf likes, as you can tell just by looking at the managerial hires this team has made since he bought it.

Ventura also came back to the organization this summer as an assistant to Buddy Bell in the player development department. So with Kenny saying that he wants to play the kids next season, Ventura makes sense in that aspect too.

Ventura is just another one of the kids.

In a way, the White Sox are as close to rebuilding the entire organization as they can be without actually rebuilding.

As for what kind of manager Ventura will be, I have no idea. Anyone who tells you that they do is lying or delusional. Likely both. We've never seen him manage, therefore we don't know how he's going to manage this team.

He could be wonderful, or he could be an abject failure. We don't know. I know what I'm rooting for because I want this team to win, and I also don't like the idea of one day resenting a man whom I idolized growing up.

I also think that this hire puts a lot more pressure on Williams than it does Ventura. The rift between Guillen and Kenny was one that was painfully obvious for a while, and Williams was the one who emerged with his job still intact.

But he also had no loud, controversial manager to hide behind once Guillen left.

Now he's tied his boat to Robin Ventura's pier. If Ventura fails, then Williams is going down with him. If he succeeds, then Williams repairs his image in this city.

All in all, there's a lot of risk in this hire, but at the end of the day there is no reward without risk.

So, for now, I'm behind this hire. Hopefully Ventura and the team itself will make sure I stay there.

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