- Bruce Levine, Chicago baseball beat reporter
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ARLINGTON, Texas -- Teamwork may be an overused phrase in the business of sports, but in the world of Robin Ventura’s Chicago White Sox it can’t be emphasized enough.
The new manager took little credit for his first victory on Saturday night, keeping his focus on how his veterans and younger players mesh together in the beginning of the season.
“People were happy for me,” Ventura said. “You want your guys to get a good feeling, especially after winning a game late. Those are fun things. Those are good things that happen to a team. You begin to think late in a game you can score a run or two to get that lead back.”
The leadership qualities Ventura had as a player are evident in the way he has handled himself as the manager of the White Sox.
During Ventura’s playing days, anytime a player got away from the team concept, he could expect a little one-on-one visit from the third baseman. Things will be no different with him in charge of the all 25 players. Many players pointed to the selfless way both rookie Hector Santiago and Ventura handled winning the first game of the season as an important event.
Both Ventura and Santiago tried to give the ball from the final out of Saturday’s game to the other.
“The first [save] for a player is different,” Ventura said. “I have [balls] from when I played and I am hoping I will have more as a manager, but it is special for what he did and where he came from. I would rather have him have that than me.
That team first mantra will be the key note of Ventura’s time in the dugout.
“You have to invest in each other as far as the team concept of playing,” Ventura said. “It’s more about the game you win, like last night’s. It’s a tough game against a good team and to be able to win late in a game, that is the kind of stuff that bonds a team.”