Thursday, September 26, 2013
Ventura learns from lost season
By Bruce Levine
CHICAGO -- Coming into 2013, White Sox manager Robin Ventura was riding the wave of an 85-win season in 2012 and accolades from industry experts on his success as a rookie manager.
The reactions to the Sox's last-place finish in the AL Central have been a different learning curve for Ventura. Pitching coach Don Cooper told reporters Wednesday that he was embarrassed by the team's performance in 2013.
Robin Ventura says he and GM Rick Hahn have already spent time making plans for the offseason to improve the Sox heading into 2014.
"Sure there have been times I have felt that way," said Ventura as the team prepared to play its last series of the season. "Any time you have a year like this, that is part of it. Frustration, anger, all of those things."
Ventura has found enough passion in a lost season to know he wants to stay on the job despite all of the losing.
"That is just the frustration of right now. After that, it will be behind us," he said. "At that point you move forward and make adjustments and find a way to get better."
The franchise will have its hands full moving up in a division that has been dominated by the Detroit Tigers, who have won the past three division titles. There also are two up-and-coming teams in the Cleveland Indians and Kansas City Royals. Both have young talent that is being complemented by an influx of free agents and veterans acquired in trades.
Sox general manager Rick Hahn and Ventura are on the same page moving forward and have spent a good deal of time making plans for the 2013 offseason and 2014.
"The object is for us to go and win games," Ventura said. "We don't think what we have done is OK. We are going to try and make some moves. You are planning to be better and that is our focus. We are not going to the playoffs, so you must figure out a way to construct a team and build on that beginning in spring training."
Ventura admitted it has been a different dynamic in his second season that has led him to have more one-on-one conversations with players. His tactics have ranged from motivational speaking to tough love.
"My personality is different in the clubhouse than it is out here," he said. "There were different times I was angrier than others. Still if you look at our record, it didn't change very much. You learn to try everything to make it better. This year it just did not happen."
Ventura has one year left on a three-year, $3 million contract. The fire appears to burn in his belly to manage more now than when he first was convinced to take the job in 2012. One thing you learn from being around Ventura is that when things get tough he tries harder.
That was a part of his success as a player and will be something players either will adhere to or they'll find another team to play for.
Much like when Ozzie Guillen came into the organization in 2004, the front office will listen to the manager's thoughts on player-personnel decisions.