ARLINGTON, Tex. – It wasn’t Robin Ventura’s one shining moment as a player. But it’s the one that came up first Thursday with media in Texas, where he fought Rangers legend and current team president CEO Nolan Ryan as a player in 1993.
Ventura will manage his first game for the Sox against the Rangers on Friday. The video that shows Ventura taking exception to being hit by a Ryan pitch and charging the mound – Ryan put him in a headlock and landed punches on the top of Ventura’s head as bench-clearing brawl broke out – will not be played on the outfield scoreboard.
“To me, they can get all hyped up all they want,” Ventura said. “I’m concerned more with what my guys are doing and how we play than being Âworried about if I get booed.”
Asked what he was thinking when he went after the middle-aged legend, Ventra said it was “more of what the teams were going through at the time. Not just a me against him thing.”
Night and day
Former hitting coach Greg Walker was highly thought of by Sox hitters, including Paul Konerko, who says Walker will always be “my hitting guy.” New coach Jeff Manto has a contrasting style and has been well-received, too.
“Jeff is a huge change of pace from Walker,” Brent Lillibridge said. “He’s more of a feel guy, approach, direction. Walker’s specialty was look at a guy’s swing and know what needed to be changed. With Jeff, it’s try to simplify it with a couple of words like ‘stay back’ and we hear that registers to what we’re trying to do.”
Wishing Robin well
The Sox have a fan in Miami in former Ventura teammate and former Sox manager Ozzie Guillen.
“I’m going to root for the White Sox, whether people here like that comment or not, just because my friend is managing,” Guillen said. “I have players there that I still talk to a lot.”
Contributing: Joe Cowley