Robin Ventura misses baseball (but only just a little)
GLENDALE, Ariz. — Robin Ventura hasn’t received any job offers in baseball since he parted ways with the White Sox after last season, not that he wanted one, anyway.
“You miss baseball, but I don’t miss it to the point of feeling devastated,’’ Ventura said.
The Sox have moved on from Ventura, diving into rebuilding mode with Rick Renteria after five years of mostly going for it with patchwork rosters under Ventura. It didn’t work, not so much because of Ventura but due more to talent shortages, which the people who hired him are finally addressing by building up the farm system.
After going 85-77 and finishing third in AL manager-of-the-year voting in 2012, Ventura oversaw four losing seasons, and by early September, he knew it was time.
He met with general manager Rick Hahn.
“It was a good heart-to-heart about what was going on and what I was feeling,’’ Ventura said. “I also wanted to give them a chance if they wanted to talk to Ricky.’’
The losing was wearing on him, and “I felt like I needed to be home for different reasons,’’ he said.
“You lose enough, and there is that feeling that if I come back, you’re going in answering the same questions. Whether you’re going young or not, regardless of the direction, people want to hear something else.’’
Hahn was thinking the same thing, that it was time for Renteria “to create a new direction,’’ Ventura said.
Exit Ventura, enter the era of the Ricks.
“I have a lot of respect for both of those guys,’’ Ventura said. “I’m pulling for them. I want it to work for them.’’
For Ventura, the former Sox star third baseman who turns 50 in July, the best thing about being back on his sprawling Arroyo Grande, California, acreage he was enjoying when the Sox recruited him 5½ years ago is watching Jack, the youngest of his and wife Stephanie’s four kids, play his last season of high school baseball.
He’ll keep tabs on his Sox, minus Chris Sale and Adam Eaton.
“You’d like to keep all those guys, but we just didn’t have enough to consistently come through,’’ he said. “The only way to do that is deal from your strength, and Sale was that guy.’’
Ventura takes exception to the notion that he lost his clubhouse last season, one his critics say was evident by the Adam LaRoche (kid in the clubhouse) and Sale (cutting throwback jerseys) sagas. Sale didn’t want to wear them, Ventura said too bad, and Sale did his thing before calling out Ventura for not having his back.
“They weren’t in there,’’ Ventura said of his critics. “They don’t know [everything]. They can say whatever they want. I know what was going on. I handled it, and being on the inside and knowing what happened and how it was handled, I’m good with it.’’
Ventura said he doesn’t have to have his say publicly. It’s not his style.
“If that’s the way people want to perceive it . . . sometimes you’re not going to change that anyway,’’ Ventura said. ‘‘That’s fine. Whatever. That’s part of [my] responsibility. Call me out for not switching uniforms? That’s not that big a deal for me.’’
Sale could be a handful because of his short fuse, but Ventura understood him.
“We had a few of those that got heated,’’ he said. “That was fine. That’s part of the job. He’s a competitor, and some of it was the frustration we were both going through. That happens.
“He’s a good kid, has a great family, is a great dad. He just had moments he would get frustrated with certain things. I understand that.’’
Ventura said it felt weird when pitchers and catchers reported, and he stayed put. If an opportunity does present itself to return to baseball, he might consider it.
“I don’t have a bad taste in my mouth about baseball,’’ he said. “I know right now this is what I’m supposed to be doing.’’
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