On The End Of Robin Ventura, And The Beginning Of Rick Renteria
It didn't feel as good as I thought it was going to.
Maybe it was just the result of spending the last two years waiting for Robin Ventura to be fired that led to the actual end of his tenure just not being able to live up to the expectations. Maybe it was the strange way it all went down, where the team was apparently ready to let him return for another season, but it was Ventura himself who decided he'd had enough.
I don't really buy that, as I believe it was nothing more than this franchise's misguided attempt to remain loyal to one of their greatest players, but it still took the air out of the announcement.
There sat Ventura on Sunday afternoon, after the 435th and final loss of his White Sox tenure, telling the assembled media he was done, and he was suddenly the sympathetic figure. I wasn't glad to see him leaving, I just felt bad for him. This was a man that suffered many a sling and arrow over the last five years due to the bad decisions of those who hired him in the first place.
And I certainly fired plenty of the insults his way.
For as much as I loved Robin as a player, I hated him as a manager. I hated how slow he was to change things that needed to be changed, and I couldn't stand a lot of the decisions he made in game, whether it be bunting or just mismanaging his pitching staff.
It was bad. To list everything he did that I disagreed with would take too long, and would ultimately end up saying the same thing as those three simple words.
Moving forward, it certainly didn't take long to find Ventura's replacement, did it? Rick Renteria is your new White Sox manager, and while that's not exciting, it's fine. It's expected. It's not a solution, but it might be cold medicine.
It's not going to cure the cold, but it could possibly hide some of the symptoms and make it easier to get through the day.
I've seen and heard a lot of "how can you not hold a managerial search" responses to the Renteria move, and while I understand the motivation behind asking such a question, I also think it's a little misinformed.
There are a few reasons Renteria got the job.
First of all, who is going to want this job? Honestly, ask yourself what candidates you'd want for the gig that are going to want to walk into a situation where your bosses constantly have to deny there's discord between them, and oh, by the way, you don't get to pick your own pitching coach, either. This is Don Cooper. He's a little gruff, but you'll just have to live with it because he's been pretty good too.
Second of all, there was a search, it just took place last winter.
Remember the process the Sox went to after firing Mark Parent to find a bench coach for Robin? They admitted without admitting it too loudly that Robin really needed some help with in-game stuff, and finding a more experienced coach to help him out was the goal.
After going through a number of candidates -- including Sandy Alomar because Sandy has to be involved in every Sox coaching search -- they settled on Renteria, and the first thing any White Sox fan thought when he was hired was "there's Robin's replacement."
So acting surprised or offended by it now is disingenuous. We knew this was the end result all along, so now that we're here, accept it.
I don't know if Renteria will be a major improvement, but I think he certainly has a higher ceiling as a manager than Ventura could ever hope for. This is a job Renteria wants, after all. One he's worked for years in hopes of getting some day, and after getting it with the Cubs, he unceremoniously lost it to Joe Maddon.
Now he's getting a second chance at it.
And he's replacing a guy who never seemed to want the job in the first place, and during his press conference on Sunday said he really doesn't think he'll ever manage again.
That alone is an improvement.
But it's hard to get excited about Renteria, especially when we don't know what direction this team is going yet. Will they go for it again this winter, or is Renteria going to be overlooking yet another rebuild like he had been on the other side of town?
I don't know, but now that Ventura is gone and Renteria is in place, the focus will shift to Rick Hahn and Kenny Williams. If they don't succeed this time, they don't have another scapegoat for their failures.
So in that sense, the Renteria hire is a rousing success.