- Bruce Levine, Chicago baseball beat reporter
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CHICAGO – Chicago White Sox manager Robin Ventura has always been about taking responsibility as a player. It is not a shock that as manager of the team with the second worst record in the American League that he shoulders a good portion of the blame for his team’s first-half failure.
“As manager you make sure your players don’t let it get to them,” Ventura said. “I am the manager so you wear it at the park, you wear when you go home. It is tough when you are not winning games. For a manager it is like being a player and going a long time without a hit.The process is a constant and you are just trying to find ways for guys to play better.”
Ventura had a very good rookie season as a manager in 2012. He was third in the baseball writers’ voting for the American League Manager of the Year award. But since September of 2012 the Sox offense has been among the worst in baseball. The Sox are 36-59 since Sept. 16.
As a player Ventura was able to control his own fate to an extent.
“When you play you can do something physical about winning or losing,” he said. “This is more a mental exercise where you try to motivate or push ideas. You also are there to help take the stress out of it for your players. With (managing) you never quite know when you are doing your part. For this you are always grinding and pushing.”
Ventura turned down a contract extension in the spring, choosing to see out his three-year deal before deciding on his future. That said, the game is still what makes Ventura find a balance with his family-first mentality.
“I enjoy what I do,” Ventura said. “It is not always easy but if it was everybody would do it. This has nothing to do with not signing an extension. Believe me, I have had a lot of worse times in baseball than this.”
Keeping his perspective on baseball and real-life problems are an easy distinction for Ventura.
“For me, although we all hate losing there are worse things going on. All you have to do is turn on the news and you can see real-life things that are much worse going on. If you play big league baseball you are one of the more fortunate people. You should be having fun playing this game -- even the losing part -- as hard as that is to take. You make sure you and the people around you are working hard. At the end of the day, it is what it is.”
Ventura sleeps OK at night knowing that he and his coaching staff are doing the best they can to prepare his team for success.
“ The bottom line is that we are doing the best we can as a staff to push and prod our players to a positive result,” he said.