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(CBS) No one could have seen this coming.
Yes, there were reports the White Sox would hire someone who had never managed at the big-league level, but it was never reported that they would hire someone who has never managed at any level or even held a coaching position in the big leagues.
Leave it to the White Sox to shock Chicago — and all of the baseball world — with the announcement the team would hire former White Sox All Star Robin Ventura as the team’s 39th manager.
In a press conference after the announcement, general manager Kenny Williams was clear about what the White Sox do and do not expect from their rookie skipper.
“Make no mistake, we do not expect him to hit the ground and be the guy that he’s going to be two years, three years from now,” Williams said. “We are committed to a growth process here, and a growth process that we think will ultimately will result in one of the best managers in the game.”
It’s clear the White Sox have high hopes for their new manager, but how much can really be expected from a manager taking over a team that finished 16 games out of first place?
“I don’t expect him to be Tony La Russa on Day One,” Williams said. “I know this, by our estimation, the fit is such that all of it can come together and we will ultimately be better off down the line than we would be if, in my opinion, we went in a different direction.
In looking over his new team, Ventura said rebuilding should not be a word associated with the 2012 White Sox.
“I’ve been on rebuilding teams,” Ventura said. “I’ve looked down the names, and there are a lot of names that aren’t rebuilding guys. There are young guys that are mixed in and guys that might have had a down year. I know there are good players on that team and I’ve seen teams rebound from seasons like (2011).
Ventura isn’t sure how he will manage day-to-day issues, but he does know what he’ll expect from the 25 guys who suit up for him.
“The one thing that I know that I’ll have to hang my hat on is that we’re coming to work and play hard,” he said. “As far as the other stuff, that goes into what’s happening during the season. It’s hard to say that right now.”