The 2015 season – heck, the past four seasons are not the fault of the Chicago White Sox manager Robin Ventura.
Shame on those who believe a friend of the White Sox, one of the better players to ever wear a White Sox uniform, would be at fault for this franchise headed into a path of three straight losing seasons of 89 or more losses.
Shame. Shame. Shame.
That is the message the folks in charge of the front office seem to be giving fans of the White Sox this season, right?
Doug Padilla of ESPN Chicago quoted White Sox VP Kenny Williams on Ventura last week:
"“With regards to Robin, listen, you only have so much control as a manager on your overall team play,” Williams said ahead of his team’s game against the Tigers at Comerica Park. “He will be the first to admit they haven’t played and they haven’t followed the direction as much as he would have liked. But what we have to look at in management is, have we given him the right pieces?”"
At least Williams has admitted the White Sox have underperformed, but if he’s not blaming Ventura – and he later says in the ESPN Chicago article it falls on his desk – if that is true, then why does he keep bringing him the “wrong players” year after year?
Who are scouting these players and deciding to give their free agent pickups such large contracts? In the past few seasons, some players the White Sox have brought in via trade or free agency are: Jose Abreu, Adam Eaton, Adam LaRoche, Jeff Samardzija, David Robertson and Melky Cabrera.
Those are just some of the players brought in to rebuild this franchise, and if that’s not working, then someone has to shoulder the blame. Again, not all blame is off the players, either; they should get just as much blame for losing as the manager, coaches and front office. And for their play this season, some of those said players will not finish the ’15 season in Chicago.
Some of those players cost the White Sox draft choices, so the front office must have thought enough of “those pieces” to give up second- and third-round selections this past draft, and acquiring those players has not worked out.
Aug 16, 2014; Chicago, IL, USA; Chicago White Sox manager Robin Ventura (left) and general manager Kenny Williams (right) talk prior to a game against the Toronto Blue Jays at U.S Cellular Field. Mandatory Credit: Dennis Wierzbicki-USA TODAY Sports
In his time as the manager of the White Sox, Ventura currently holds the 25th-best winning percentage of the 39 men who’ve managed the White Sox. That percentage is .452, a record of 253-307.
The manager the White Sox asked to leave before Ventura, Ozzie Guillen, had a winning percentage of .524, ninth-best in the history of the White Sox managers, and along the way of his eight years in the dugout of the “Good Guys,” he won a World Series championship and had two trips to the postseason.
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Winning isn’t what is important when it comes to this organization … what is important is the front office is happy and the manager doesn’t second-guess any decision made by upper management … at least that is what it looks and feels like from the outside looking in.
It doesn’t matter that the sister franchise of the White Sox, that being the Chicago Bulls of the NBA (both owned by Jerry Reinsdorf), have made the playoffs and won a lot of basketball games. Tom Thibodeau suffered the same fate as Ozzie to complete his tenure as the Bulls head coach. Playoffs don’t mean a darn thing, and winning means even less, so it seems.
What matters the most is the White Sox folks signing the checks are happy, and that is what Ventura does … he apparently keeps smiles on the bosses’ faces.
All kidding aside, Ventura could be a great person away from the baseball diamond. Heck, I grew up idolizing his play while he played for the White Sox in the ’90s.
I wanted Ventura to succeed and bring another winner to Chicago, but this just isn’t working for anyone involved. Pick a season … since the collapse of the final few weeks of the ’12 season and up to this current disaster that is 2015, the White Sox have been in a downward spiral. I want to remember Ventura as a player for the White Sox, and not as a manager.
The players have changed over the past couple seasons – the ’15 team isn’t the same team as the ones that had 89-or more losses the two previous seasons – but the result is still the same.
Some in the media are blaming the White Sox players for this failure of ’15, and I’m with them there as well, but I’m also of the belief the manager, coaching staff and the ones with the final decisions in the front office are to blame as well.
Here are the records of Ventura-led teams:
2015: 32-42* (current season)
The only team that has been worse in that span is the Houston Astros.
Jun 12, 2015; St. Petersburg, FL, USA; Chicago White Sox starting pitcher John Danks (50) reacts as he is taken out of the game during the sixth inning at Tropicana Field. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports
The past four seasons don’t make sense. Did the White Sox brass really believe a former player with zero managing or coaching experience would bring a fourth World Series championship to this franchise?
If they did, maybe they should spruce up their resumés as well. There is no team in baseball I want to see succeed more than the White Sox, but I’ve finally faced the facts.
Unless there is a minor miracle like the one in the Disney movie “Angels in the Outfield,” there is no way the White Sox will be earning a trip to the MLB Postseason, as division champions or even with one of the two AL Wild Card spots.
Something – no, more than a few things need to be changed. That includes coaches, players, whatever, but if the White Sox keep sending out the same thing on a nightly basis, we’ll all continue to keep watching sloppy baseball on most nights.
That thought you can, sadly, put on the board.