- Bruce Levine, Chicago baseball beat reporter
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CHICAGO -- Chicago White Sox interim manager Don Cooper made a grand entrance for his media session on Friday. Showing up an hour after Robin Ventura normally talks, Cooper quickly shot down any grousing from the media about the change of schedule.
“I’d rather (mess) up your day than take away from our pregame schedule,” the gritty pitching coach said.
This type of emotional outburst is the beauty of Cooper, who was filling in Friday while Ventura and bench coach Mark Parent attend their children’s high school graduations.
Showing his usual aggressiveness and determination he could be heard saying, “I don’t expect to lose tonight.”
Cooper has been an outspoken and very successful pitching coach at the major league level for close to a decade. The thought of managing a club in the future isn’t out of the question for the baseball lifer.
“That is not my passion, “Cooper said. “I think I could do it, but my passion is White Sox pitching.
“If somebody came to me and said, ‘We would like you to be a manager,’ then it would be in my mind. Other than that I don’t think about it. I am a pitching coach that is managing today.”
Boston manager John Farrell and the Padres’ Bud Black are former pitchers who have become successful big league dugout bosses. This reverses a trend over the years where managers mostly had catching or infield experience before starting managing careers. Cooper does have natural leadership qualities to go along with his pitching expertise.
“It is flattering when you hear it,” Cooper said. “I don’t think you have to have all the x’s and o’s like football. I said it the other day, if you have someone on base and you have someone that can handle the bat -- maybe you try a hit and run. That kind of stuff presents itself. I managed for five years in (winter ball) so I have done it before.”
Cooper previously managed at the end of the 2011 season when Ozzie Guillen resigned as White Sox manager to take the Miami Marlins job.