By Sam Zuba-
(CBS) Robin Ventura isn’t fooling anyone, nor is he trying to.
He knows what experience he has. It’s not a secret he hasn’t managed – or even coached – at any level in professional baseball. What Ventura lacks in experience, though, he makes up for in confidence.
It’s not the type of confidence that will smack you in the face and leave a bad taste in your mouth, but the subtle kind — like the guy who knows something you don’t know and is OK with it.
“Granted, I don’t have that coaching or managing experience officially, but I think later in my career, it was something that I felt like I could do,” Ventura said. “I feel confident that I can do it.”
The new manager of the Chicago White Sox sat at table during his introductory conference and fielded questions from reporters for about 15 minutes. Missing from those 15 minutes were profanity-laced tirades, clever attempts at humor and even sarcastic comebacks to members of the media. With Ventura, those antics appear to be a thing of the past.
Ozzie Guillen is gone. After eight dramatic seasons, the White Sox have a much calmer skipper at the helm, one who isn’t going to baffle you with a monologue or blow you away with his answer.
Yes, Ventura lacks experience, but it’s important to remember that when Guillen took over for Jerry Manuel, he wasn’t exactly Tony La Russa or Joe Torre, but he quickly became one of the most dominant mangers in the game. Guillen had just three seasons of coaching experience under his belt before he took over for the White Sox.
One year later, the city of Chicago threw him a parade. Guillen was a hero — and it didn’t take long for him to reach that status. He coached in Montreal for two season before joining the Marlins for a season. Before that he, too, had only 16 years of major-league experience on his resume.
“The last guy I hired didn’t have any managerial experience. I studied that one pretty hard, and it worked out,” general manager Ken Williams said.
“(Experience) is not a prerequisite. It’s not. I think if you can do the job, you can do the job. He’s got 16 years of managerial experience, from my perspective. I know what you think about when you’re out there as a player, and as a player who is very focused on the game at hand.”
The White Sox organization is focused on Ventura’s 16 seasons with four different teams in Major League Baseball. The thought process is such that though he’s never sat in a dug out, made pitching changes and dealt with the day-to-day duties of a typical manager, Ventura has played the game, learning how to manage every day along the way.
“For me, you take something from every guy you play with and every guy that coached you and managed you,” he said. “I think everybody has that. Everybody takes pieces. I got to play for a lot of great managers. I plan on — I don’t know if it’s stealing — but using a lot of their styles and philosophies. That makes me confident because I played for a lot of great manager.”
He may not wear his confidence on his sleeve like Guillen did, but it’s there.
While the favored names to fill Guillen’s shoes were guys like Terry Francona, Sandy Alomar Jr. and Dave Martinez, Ventura isn’t going to apologize for where he sits in the White Sox organization.
“I feel confident that they’re making a good decision, too.”
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