CLEVELAND — He has seen so many unpleasant events this season, and yet White Sox manager Robin Ventura has “held it together,” per his team’s captain.
Veteran first baseman Paul Konerko is impressed by his manager’s ability to maintain his even-keel approach, the same disposition he had throughout 2012, despite his team’s horrid play in 2013.
In his 15 seasons in the majors, Konerko has played for seven different managers. He credits the way Ventura has handled himself for helping to keep what has been a horrible season on the field from spilling over into the clubhouse. No fingers have been pointed, and any issues have been dealt with internally. With a team that needs one win in five games to avoid 100 losses, Konerko knows the job done by Ventura is more difficult than he makes it look.
“The first thing you usually think of about Robin is steady and consistent,” Konerko said. “He’s just steady. He doesn’t change. The fact that he’s held it together with what he’s had to witness all year, with the rest of the coaches, I could tell you there probably are a lot of staffs and managers that this could have been really bad with what happened. But hopefully this is the last time he has to go through something like this.”
Ventura finished third in the American League Manager of the Year vote after he helped the White Sox win 85 games last season. Despite that fact, some have called for Ventura to lose his job after only two seasons. But none of what has transpired this season is Ventura’s fault, said Konerko, who thinks the White Sox put their manager “in a tough spot all year.”
“There are certain years I don’t think it matters who manages, good and bad,” Konerko said. “There are some teams that have it going, and they are off and running and everything just kind of clicks. Then there’s this year, where it’s the polar opposite of that. ... We never really got to any point in the season where it felt like the staff could implement stuff they wanted to do. We never really got it going.”
But it’s not because the coaches have asked anything less of their players.
Konerko has always been one to appreciate hard work and asks for the most from his teammates. As long as the effort is there, for better or worse, he’s willing to accept the results. Konerko sees his coaches and Ventura asking for the same staunch work ethic.
“There’s a lot of early work,” Konkero said. “There’s a lot of early ground balls. All that kind of stuff. The work is there. From a competitive standpoint, I feel bad that as a team we really didn’t let those guys kind of enjoy being a manager or being coaches because we were never in it really. We were out of it the whole way. It’s tough.”