But I'll lend some more thought to Ozzie's departure from Chicago. Being an avid White Sox fan since birth, I've only experienced the tenures of Jerry Manuel and Ozzie Guillen. I remember being 12 years old in 2004 and being super pumped about Kenny Williams making Ozzie the manager of my beloved White Sox. He was a household name and I was young, so naturally it was a great signing. Coupled with the fact that he brought the city a World Series ring in his second year on the job, he was the savior of the organization.
While the Sox were winning, his antics were entertaining. He meshed well with the players, provided local and national media with an abundance of juicy material and even got into it with former Chicago Sun-Times sports buffoon Jay Mariotti. Hey but, Mariotti had it coming.
In 2005 and for most of 2006, his erratic behavior was not only tolerated, but embraced by Chicagoans. The Cubs were terrible, so the White Sox capitalized and captured many of Chicago's fair-weather fans. Everything seemed on the up and up for Pale Hose, but then expectations soared and were never met.
Long story short, a combination of terrible free-agent acquisitions, head-scratching trades, poor offense and turmoil between the general manager and skipper led the White Sox to years of middling mediocrity. After winning it all in 2005, Ozzie's managerial record was hardly impressively at 496-475. Essentially, that's six years of .500 ball with a team whose payroll was steadily in the top 10. That just doesn't work.
But now, Ozzie's off to sunny Florida and Robin Ventura is back in town. The move was consistent with Williams' resume, perplexing those around the baseball world. On the surface, the signing of Ventura seemed cheap and safe.
Here's his coaching experience to date: volunteer coaching at Arroyo Grande High School in California.
But if the White Sox are truly rebuilding, this move makes sense. The team and manager are on the same page, both needing to prove their critics wrong. Ozzie was Ozzie for long enough. It was fun for a while, but his shtick got old. Over the years, tensions soured between Williams and Guillen and baseball became an after-thought. The organization needed a change, and Ventura is certainly different.
Off the bat (baseball pun intended), the guy seems well-mannered enough to earn the respect of his players while dealing with the pressures of dealing with the Chicago media. He might not provide the sound bites that Ozzie did, but sometimes no news is the best news.
With expectations being the lowest they've been in years, a bit of peace and quiet might be a good fit. Ventura is a household name who's likable enough where Sox fans will give him time to prove himself.
At this point, that's all you can ask for. The team is riddled with atrocious contracts and a weak minor league system to put it nicely. With many pegging the Sox for between 73-76 wins, I'm a tad bit more optimistic with the news of Victor Martinez going down.
There's definitely going to be a learning curve, but hopefully the Ventura experiment will work out in the long run. If not, Reinsdorf and company can bring on another White Sox "has been." I wonder what Ray Durham's been doing these days...
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