Robin Ventura

This week the sports blogs were all a buzz over the potential (or inevitable) dismissal of a few MLB managers. According to a Sports Illustrated story out this week, help Robin Ventura was among five MLB Managers likely to be let go at the end of the 2015 season.  Sox fans have been out for the head of Robin Ventura for the past two years because of sub par seasons. As one of my friends said, advice Uncle Jerry (Reinsdorf) is too reliant on past players becoming managers for the club. Which made me think, has there ever been good player that has proven to be good manager for the White Sox? Let’s take a look the last four managers the White Sox have had to see if their player stats can hold up to their managerial ones.

Terry Bevington
Years managed: 1995-1997
Games managed: 436
Record: 222 W vs. 214 L

Sadly, Terry Bevington had a rather forgettable time in Chicago, and he never managed at the major league level after being dismissed by the White Sox following two and a half seasons at the helm. As a player, he tooled around in the minor leagues for a few seasons after being drafted by the New York Yankees in 1974. He played in 368 minor league games between 1974 and 1980 with a career batting average of .247, but was never able to break into the big leagues. One of Bevington’s more infamous moments as the White Sox Manager happened in 1995 when the Brewers manager Phil Garner and Bevington got into a fight near third base. The funny part of this clip are announcers talking about the overreaction by the player on third base, Ozzie Guillen.  Foreshadowing perhaps…

Jerry Manuel
Years managed: 1998-2003
Games managed: 971
Record: 500 W vs. 471 L

One of the more notable names on the list, Jerry Manuel had a decent career in the MLB as a manager for the White Sox and, later, with the New York Mets. As a player from 1975-1982 Manuel played in less than 100 games over five major league seasons with the Detroit Tigers, the Montreal Expos and the San Diego Padres before starting his coaching career. Manuel’s 2004 Topps card highlights his place in a lesser-known equal-rights milestone.

Ozzie Guillen
Years managed: 2004-2011
Games managed: 1,295
Record: 678 W vs. 617 L

Known for managing the third most games in White Sox history, Guillen was passionate and emotional as both a player and a manager. He was originally signed by the San Diego Padres in 1980 as an amateur free agent before being traded to the White Sox where he spent the next 13 seasons.  Guillen’s passion made him a fan favorite on the South Side while he earned the 1985 AL Rookie of the Year award, three All-Star appearances and a Gold Glove Award. In his later career he was traded to the Baltimore Oriels, the Atlanta Braves and then finally to the Tampa Bay Devil Rays in 2000 where he retired as a player at the end of the season. Guillen played in 1,993 games with a career batting average of .264.  In his eight years at the helm of the White Sox, Guillen led the team to a .524 overall winning percentage, highlighted by the team’s first World Series Championship in 88 years.

Robin Ventura
Years managed: 2012-Present (maybe 2015…)
Games managed: 468
Record: 221 W vs. 265 L

As a player, Ventura was drafted by the White Sox in 1988 and was called up to the majors in 1989.  He played for the White Sox for 10 years and spent the six seasons from 1999 through 2004 with the New York Mets, New York Yankees and Los Angeles Dodgers.  At the end of his White Sox days, Ventura had collected a .274 batting average, one All-Star appearance, five Gold Glove Awards and the franchise’s record for most career grand slams with nine.

As you can see from recent White Sox history, a players past stats do not seem to make a difference on their managerial wins and losses.

In January of 2014, the White Sox announced they’d agreed to a “multi-year” contract extension with manager Robin Ventura. No further details on amounts or years were mentioned at that time. My hunch is that these key details were left out of any press release as a potential future exit strategy. There’s only a few more games left in the season until we’ll see what Uncle Jerry will do. If history proves itself in the same pattern of hiring from within the organization, my bet is on Bobby Tigpen who is the current a bullpen coach for the White Sox or Julio Vinas and Tommy Thompson who are managing with White Sox minor league affiliates.  But for now, we’ll just need to wait it out until the final game of the 2015 season to see if 2016 can be a more productive year on the southside.

Who would you replace Robin with? Tweet me your feedback at @colreaney

0 comments
Category: White Sox
Photo credit: STAN HONDA/AFP/Getty Images

Guess who’s back?  Back again…. Colleen’s back….tell a friend!

While I’m very happy to return to SDI as their White Sox blogger, here it’s with mixed emotions that my first blog is on this day.  On September 11th 2001, pharm I was in my final semester at Eastern Illinois University working for WEIU-TV, sale probably planning on covering a small town story in the Charleston-Mattoon area when everything stood still on our small campus and the world watched the television in disbelief at what was happening to our great country.

I thought it would be a little bit of a #FlashbackFriday moment for me to chat with personnel from the White Sox to hear their experiences on September 11, 2001.  With the help of a few great people at the White Sox organization I was able to have a phone interview with White Sox Manger Robin Ventura to recall his experience during the attacks and afterwards.

Ground Zero on 9/11/01 Photo By: www.upi.com

What was your experience like on 9/11/01?

During the 2001 season, Ventura was playing for the New York Mets and was on the road in Pittsburgh to play the Pirates that Tuesday evening.  When he woke up in the morning and turned on The Today Show, Ventura and other Mets players saw the attacks and were shocked.  The Mets players immediately gathered in the lobby to leave the hotel and get on buses to New York.  When they came over the bridge from New Jersey to New York, they could see the smoke from lower Manhattan and Ventura recalled the smell in the air from the devastation that took place at ground zero.

The MLB response to the attacks

Being a Tuesday, the MLB had a full roster of games to be played by all teams.  Right after the attacks, the MLB Commissioner Bud Selig canceled baseball for the evening, and eventually for the week.  I asked Robin what they did during that week.  He told me that Shea Stadium was turned into a staging ground for relief personnel and equipment.  Many firefighters, emergency personnel and other volunteers came to Shea to help build relief packages.  He remembers having one practice and hitting around once, but most of the time the players were sent out around town for moral support to lift the spirits of New Yorkers.  He remembers watching the news often, as everyone did, anxiously awaiting news of survivors from the attacks, which sadly never came.

Shea Stadium Scoreboard Photo by: USA Today

Returning to normalcy, if possible

On Monday, September 17th the Mets returned to Pittsburgh to play the series that was postponed.  This was the first game back for the team and a very emotional day for the players.  The Mets ended up beating the Pirates that day 4-1, which started them on a winning streaking heading home to New York.  September 21st was the team’s first game back at Shea Stadium against the Atlanta Braves and in front of all their fans.  This pregame video from 9/21/2001 encapsulates the mood of the evening.

Robin remembers the bagpipers and the emotion that the game had as it was the first sporting event to return back to New York after the attacks. The Mets went on to beat the Braves that evening 3-2.

I asked him if he could recall any one thing that stood out most for him.  He said that he remembers during the Mets home games there were kids who would attend the game who’d lost parents during the 9/11 attacks.  He stated that watching the kids was really tough on the players and the organization.

In a press release yesterday, Major League Baseball announced that there will be a league-wide commemoration of September 11, 2001 with tributes at all Major League games on Friday, September 11, 2015. This remembrance is part of Baseball’s ongoing effort to honor those whose lives were lost and affected on that tragic day.

On-field personnel, including players, coaches and umpires, will wear caps with a side patch of an American flag during games. All MLB proceeds from sales of these caps will be donated to the 9/11 Memorial and Museum, the Pentagon Memorial and the Flight 93 Memorial.  Home clubs will mark the date with pre-game ceremonies, including a moment of silence, and the “We Shall Not Forget” MLB silhouetted batter ribbon will be displayed throughout ballparks. Additionally, special lineup cards and base jewels will be used for every game played.

The Toronto Blue Jays will wear customized caps recognizing both the United States and Canada for their game in New York against the Yankees on MLB Network Showcase at 7:00 p.m. ET. MLB Network will also feature coverage of the day’s events across MLB in its studio programming. MLB.com and MLBCommunity.org will provide complete coverage of the day’s ceremonies and perspectives through columns, news articles, multimedia and photos across the country.

According to Bob Beghtol, Sr. Director of Media Relations for the White Sox, On Friday, September 11th, the Warrior Watch Riders will participate in a pregame parade, riding the ballpark warning track on their motorcycles with American flags.  Members of the U.S. Armed Services will be recognized on field during a pregame ceremony and take the field to meet White Sox players at their positions.

As I sit here reflecting on the conversation I had this evening with Robin, I’m reminded of the human side of the players and managers we watch on TV and from the stands.  Sure, there are days when I want to throw the remote through the TV in anger at the choices Robin makes while managing my White Sox or sit and stew over the fact that the Cubs may have a good shot at the playoffs (which will no doubt anger me further when their games are on ABC interrupting my #ShondaThursdays this fall).  But for today, one day, we all come together as Americans to remember the lives lost on 9/11 as well as the great unity and resilience that brought neighbors together in solidarity for their country.

2 comments
Category: MLB, White Sox
Alexei Ramirez wins the game

Alexei Ramirez wins the game

It’s still too early to have a definitive answer to the burning question:  how good will the White Sox be in 2014?  It being too early isn’t stopping this team and management from being downright giddy about the possibilities of this team and the difference in attitude and play from last year.

There have been a few games this season that players and manager, generic Robin Ventura believe that last year’s team would have lost, medicine but not this team…so far.  Even Paul Konerko has high praise for this team.  He believes that this team’s offense is better than the ’05 offense.

Okay, let’s slow down a minute the season is only a couple of weeks old and there are reasons to be concerned.  The offense has bailed out the poor bullpen but they won’t be able to out slug every team every night.  If pitching coach Don Cooper isn’t able to work his magic with his struggling pitchers and the offense isn’t able to make up for their mistakes will this team be as happy?  Only time will tell.

White Sox Celebrate The Win

White Sox Celebrate The Win

The Soxs’ 7-game home stand got off to a great start with the southsiders winning 3 out of 4 games against the Cleveland Indians; the same team that last year had a record of 17 wins and 2 losses against the Sox.  Shortstop Alexei Ramirez was the hero in Sunday’s game with a game winning homerun.  He definitely is off to a hot start and seems more at ease this season as he is hitting 420 and has a hit in each game so far this season.  The bad news is that Right fielder Avisail Garcia is out for the year after undergoing surgery for his torn left labrum.  He sustained the injury while diving to attempt a catch during Wednesday’s game.  Due to this injury Outfielder Dayan Viciedo will get an opportunity, will he take advantage of it like 2nd Baseman Marcus Semien who hit the go ahead home run on Sunday and has been patient at the plate and played good defense.  The heroics of the offense have been made necessary due to the struggling bullpen, which is last in the AL with a 6.93 ERA, 26 walks and teams batting 295 against them.

The Sox finish up the home stand against some old friends on the 2013 World Champions Boston Red Sox, Jake Peavy and  A.J. Pierzynski.  After snowing on Monday the weather will slowly improve this week, so get out to the games either for a date night or hanging with your girlfriends.  Eat good food, have a few drinks and watch a much improved baseball team.

Sox Notes

Streaks:  “Sexy Lexi” Alexei Ramirez has had a hit in every game, Conor Gillaspie in on a 10-game hitting streak, and Adam Eaton has gone the last five games with multi-hits

The Sox signed RHP Frank Francisco, 34 years old, with 73 career saves and 3.93 ERA who was immediately sent to Triple-A in Charlotte

All of MLB honored the legacy of Jackie Robinson on Tuesday, April 15th                  

K-Zone Section

K-Zone Section

Promotions:  April 16th-White Sox Calendar, April 17th-K-Zone Cards for the Chris Sale K-Zone in the stands

0 comments
SportsDivas, Inc.'s Weekend Wrap

It’s O.K. if you missed a few games this weekend, cialis we did too. But you can still roll into the office, your next client meeting, and your hot date tonight with the buzz-worthy highlights from the busy sports weekend.

We’ve wrapped up the most discussion-worthy events from the weekend just so you never have to miss a beat come Monday.

CUBS: (From Rachel Musnicki) 

It was another big weekend for the Cubs front office, with Theo Epstein and Jed Hoyer making another big move before the MLB Trade Deadline by sending 37-year old outfielder Alfonso Soriano back to the New York Yankees, the team the slugger began his career with way back in 1999.  

In exchange for Soriano the Cubs received right handed minor league pitcher Corey Black. The Yankees will cover $6.8 million of Soriano’s $25 million contract. In his return to the Bronx, Soriano went 4-5, including a home run.  

Alfonso Soriano

“This is my house. I play here. I start my career [here],” Soriano said. “I think I have a great moment here with the Yankees and I’m happy when I play here, so that’s why I come back here.”

In the midst of trade deadline madness, the Cubs journeyed out to San Francisco this weekend to take on the Giants. The Cubs swept the defending champs, winning the three game series.

The Cubbies came back late in the game Friday night to beat the Giants 3-2. Trailing 2-1 in the ninth, Anthony Rizzo hit a line drive that went through first baseman Brian Belt’s legs, scoring Julio Borbon and Junior Lake. Edwin Jackson had a solid inning, winning three of his last five outings. Closer Kevin Gregg picked up his 20th save of the season. The win gave the Cubs their 24th road win, tying their total from last season. 

The Cubs didn’t need much offense on Saturday, winning 1-0. Chris Rusin threw 7 scoreless innings. The Cubs were able to avoid trouble, and closer Kevin Gregg was able to get out of a bases loaded jam in the ninth. Nate Schierholtzwas the hero of the day, hitting a solo home run off his former team with one out in the night.  

Travis Wood

On Sunday it was all about Travis Wood. The starter lasted seven innings, giving up only one run and four hits. Wood struck out seven, and joined in on the scoring, hitting his third home run of the year, off Giants’ ace Tim Lincecum. Wellington Castillo also added a solo home run, and 2 runs were all the Cubs would need, winning 2-1. The Cubbies are now 6-2-3 over their last 11 games. 

WHITE SOX: (From Kristen Perteet) 

The Sox suffered another weekend sweep, this time at the hands of the Kansas City Royals, but the question that dominated White Sox discussions over the weekend was whether starting pitcher Jake Peavy be a member of the White Sox by the middle of the week?

All signs are pointing to ‘yes’ as Peavy’s bags were already packed and his belongings removed from the White Sox clubhouse on Sunday.

The way this team is playing this year it might be time for a great deal of the Sox players to be sent packing.  The Sox are sinking deeper and deeper below .500 and giving their quality pitching staff nothing to work with game by game.

Jake Peavy

Some people including manager Robin Ventura think the trade rumors are a distraction but Sox first baseman and team leader Paul Konerko stated they were playing like (expletive) before the rumors even started.

This past weekend the south siders faced their division foe the Kansas City Royals and as usual, the Sox struggled mightily against them.  The weekend series started with fall like weather in the forecast and just like the temperature the Sox’ bats were cold.

Friday night was a wasted night for pitcher Jose Quintana.  He only allowed 2 runs in his quality start, but the offense and bullpen didn’t come through and the Sox lost 5-1.  On Saturday, Chris Sale took the 1-0 loss after posting his 16th quality start.  Will this team ever score for him? He receives the lowest runs per game in the league.

Sunday wasn’t any better as the Sox couldn’t avoid the sweep to the Royals.  The Royals’ Alex Gordon hit a 2 run homer in the 12th inning to beat the Sox 4-2.  One positive note from the game is Adam Dunn hitting his 15th homerun to tie Cal Ripken Jr. on the all-time homerun list.  The Sox finished the weekend 22 games under 500 and head on the road for seven games in Cleveland and Detroit.

Be on the lookout for some big moves from the Sox early this week before Wednesday’s MLB Trade Deadline.

BLACKHAWKS: 

The 2013 Stanley Cup Champion Blackhawks hosted their sixth annual Convention this weekend at the Chicago Hilton. Check back in later today for Trish Christake’s recap from Saturday’s festivities.

0 comments
Adam Dunn

After a very dismal start to the 2013 season, capsule the White Sox currently sit in second to last place in the American League Central Division standings with an 10-14 record on the season (still not as bad as the Cubs who are 9-15….but that’s not saying much).

After hearing much chatter at the office, in the neighborhood and in local pubs regarding this year’s lousy start, I took to social media this week to ask you, the fans, what do you think is wrong with the White Sox this season.

Via Twitter: @JBDstarwars “low on base percentages”

Which is actually the #1 responses that I received from fans.  The White Sox are in last place in the America League with .280 on base percentage, 80 runs scored on the season and 77 RBIs.  Fundamentals were a foundation of the White Sox marketing plan a few years ago, maybe we should bring it back.

Via Facebook:  Dan P. “Hitting!!! Mainly from our “big hitters”, especially Dunn”. 

Adam Dunn
Courtesy: www.imageslides.com

I can barely discuss Adam Dunn, (as nausea is forming while writing this sentence).  Was his comeback player of the year in 2012 a fluke?  Is he really someone that we can look as a leader on the White Sox this year?  In 22 games played, he has a .134 batting average and a .211 on base percentage.  Please find someone else to fill his roster spot and to hit the damn ball!

 

Via Twitter: @HotRodBlago30 “…I don’t think Robin is managing this team that great this year.” 

I would agree!  Is this a second year manager slump?  While recognizing it is still early in the season and the amount of new coaches to his staff, Robin needs to set the line-ups and roster with confidence.  Each day the Sox post their game line-up on White Sox Facebook page, you should check out some of the comments fans are leaving regarding the line-ups.  https://www.facebook.com/WhiteSox?fref=ts

White Sox Facebook Fan Page

Via Facebook:  Timothy F. “Small ball and speed do not exist on this team”

Well said!  As stated before, baseball basics are key.  The White Sox are last in the AL with 54 numbers of walks taken by players.  The Sox need to start going deep into the count to allow more errors on the opponent’s pitchers, while allowing more men on base in scoring position.  We are also tied for last place in the MLB for sacrifice bunts, (but maybe that’s because no one is in base to move over…).

Via Facebook:  Chris F. “…we have scored less runs that the sorry-ass Cubs”.

White Sox with the BP Crosstown Cup

While we are down and out, let’s just take a swing at the Cubs too.  The Cubs are in last place in their league AND they have a worst record than us. However, the Sox are currently only one position above them with 83 runs on the season.  I do appreciate your crosstown classic rivalry!  Let’s revisit this topic in May when we have our four-game Chicago crosstown classic BP cup series.

Via Facebook:  Kathy S. “That I haven’t been to a game yet.” 

Funny you should say that, as I don’t think you are alone.  Many fans have not been visiting ballparks this spring to cheer on the home team.  The crappy weather in the Chicagoland area and across the US this spring has brought ticket sales down in many parks.  Yahoo Sports.com had a great article about the “Disappearing MLB Fans” that you should check out!

Other Honorable Mentions…

Via Facebook:  Michael M. “6 years of working in that bullpen during April I think I have a little experience of what I’m talking about. It’s hard to concentrate on baseball when it’s in the 40’s and windy. The players best friend during April are hand warmers, watch where the players in the field keep their exposed hands. So relax and hope for some “baseball” weather to come soon. Then we can assess the team.”  Well said, Michael!

Via Facebook:  Vinnie P. “They’ve already ruined my summer, and it’s not even the end of April!” Good thing we have the Blackhawks and Bulls in the playoffs to pull us through this spring!

Any more comments, suggestions or gripes? Please let ‘er rip and post below.

0 comments
Opening Day

I will be the first to admit, clinic as a Chicago sports fan, gearing up for the 2013 MLB season has been challenging this year. With the excitement of the NCAA tourney, the Hawks still kicking ass and taking names, and the anticipation surrounding the ongoing Derrick Rose Saga, the 2013 MLB season seems far off in the distance.  That is, until you open the calendar and realize that baseball in Chicago is just one week away!  YAY!

The Sox open their season at home on Monday, April 1st against the Kansas City Royals at 3PM CT.  But before you head off to the ballpark, let’s review who will be in uniform this year for as there have been plenty of noteworthy changes to the Sox roster. This will be a three part series, introducing you to the White Sox coaches, pitching staff and position players.  In the words of Sox announcer Gene Honda, “YOUR 2013 Chicago White Sox!”

The Coaches

This is Robin Ventura’s second year as manager of the Southsiders. As a 2012 candidate for American League Manager of the Year, his team ended last season with a record of 85-77. Not too bad for a “rebuilding year” and a season that many projected the Sox to finish last in the AL Central.

However, many fans view the 2012 season as a disappointment because after leading the Division for more than half the season, the Sox ended up losing the Division to the Tigers by only three games and missing the Playoffs for the fourth consecutive year.

In the coaching ranks, the White Sox shuffled around some of Ventura’s supporting cast in the off-season.  When the Sox are batting, there will be a noticeable difference as, for the first time in seven years, Harold Baines will not be on the field as the first base coach.  Baines has been moved to become the Sox’ assistant hitting coach and his first base coaching duties will be passed on to former White Sox player and minor league coach Daryl Boston.

Harold Baines, Source: ESPN.com

According to the Daily Herald, Baines actually started working with hitting coach Jeff Manto last season, in an unofficial capacity, so the transition should be smooth. “We have the same philosophy,” Manto said. “Obviously, Bainsey, we’re not going to compare careers by any means. But we have the same philosophy on hitting and it’s going to be a great addition. All season long [in 2012], I leaned on him anyways.  He was the guy I went to if I had a question about what he thought or [if] I needed his opinion. We’re both on the same page and it just adds a ton of validity as to what we’re accomplishing with these hitters. It’s going to be a great relationship and I think the players are going to be surprised at just how good of a hitting coach he is.”

Bobby Thigpen, Source: ChicagoNow.com

Another change in the offseason was the addition of former White Sox pitcher Bobby Thigpen as the Sox’ new bullpen coach.  Thigpen, who recorded a then-record 57 saves in 1990 for the White Sox, was asked to take over for Juan Nieves, who left to become the Boston Red Sox’ pitching coach.

Thigpen was quoted in a recent ESPN.com article: “’One of the positives for me, as I look at it, is the fact all those good young arms we got, that I’ve already had for the past couple, three years as they came up through the organization,’ said Thigpen, who previously worked as a pitching coach in the White Sox’s system. ‘I’ve had Nate Jones three of his five years, Hector [Santiago] same thing.’”

It’s time to get excited as the baseball season is rapidly approaching and, in my next installment, we’ll take a look at how the pitching staff is shaping up for 2013.

0 comments
back to top