The Chicago White Sox made shockwaves Thursday, hiring Robin Ventura to be their next manager and succeed Ozzie Guillen.
Ventura has no managing experience at any level, and was just brought to the organization in June as an adviser to Chicago's player development director, Buddy Bell.
So why Ventura? Why, in choosing who to succeed Guillen -- who completed a successful run from 2004-11 and is now the manager of the Florida Marlins -- did White Sox general manager Ken Williams choose Ventura, of all people?
Let him take it away in the team release.
When I met with the media as our season ended, I identified one person at the very top of my managerial list, Williams said in the release.
I wanted someone who met very specific criteria centered around his leadership abilities. Robin Ventura was that man. His baseball knowledge and expertise, his professionalism, his familiarity with the White Sox and Chicago and his outstanding character make him absolutely the right person to lead our clubhouse and this organization into the seasons ahead.
With Williams' two cents in, here are three reasons why hiring Ventura could pay dividends for the White Sox.
- The White Sox do not have a lot to lose. The White Sox are coming off the reign of a manager in Guillen that charmed fans one day and then polarized them the next. Ventura said he has a passion for this team and this city. That's the way to win fans over, not that he needs a lot of help from playing there for the first 10 seasons of his career. He has a fiery streak in his past -- see his charging of the mound in 1993 after Nolan Ryan hit him with a pitch -- but it's pretty safe to assume there won't be any postgame outbursts or Twitter meltdowns. He's definitely a safe pick in that sense.
- No experience, but great pedigree. Ventura has played for some truly great managers, and he acknowledged that any and all of them could influence his managerial style. Gene Lamont, Jerry Manuel, Jeff Torborg, Joe Torre and Jim Tracy are a few. Hopefully he takes the best qualities, like Torre's calming influence in the clubhouse, and leaves the worst behind, like Bobby Valentine's fake mustaches.
- He already has great support. You cannot expect much else than for a team to praise its new manager, but in Ventura's case, it is reassuring. The list of players and people in the organization speaking up Thursday with glowing statements about Ventura goes on: Chairman Jerry Reinsdorf, former White Sox slugger Frank Thomas, catcher A.J. Pierzynski, starting pitcher John Danks, third baseman Brent Morel. Support only lasts so long on the honeymoon, but it's a good start.