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Robin Ventura’s attitude keeps him going in White Sox’ rough times

BY TONI GINNETTI
For the Sun-Times

Year 4 of Robin Ventura’s tenure at the helm of the White Sox hasn’t been the compelling season he and his superiors envisioned.

A dismal first half brought a chorus of criticism aimed at Ventura, who then was exonerated by fans when the Sox seemed to rally with a seven-game winning streak just before the July 31 trade deadline.

The Sox have gone 12-18 since that streak. Yet Ventura has maintained his patient persona.

“You just have to keep doing [the job],” he said. “It’s part of baseball. You can go home miserable, but I’ve always believed you wake up every day and get to create your own attitude that day.

“There are worse things you could be doing, believe me. I think you get to the ballpark and you create that. Every day should be a fun day, no matter how miserable you go to bed. You better be able to wake up and get a good attitude and be ready to get after it today.”

Whatever weaknesses he might have, one of Ventura’s strengths is maintaining an even keel.

Even the good years bring challenges, he said. And in the tougher years, such as this one, he tries to find positives.

“You continue to grind and look at it and see it from how the players are doing,” he said. “That’s a big thing, too. You want to see how these guys develop and move on. It can be a grind, and you go through it. But, yeah, I enjoy coming in here every day.”

Days such as Sunday, when the Sox and starter Jose Quintana again trailed in the first inning, can end up being good ones.

The Sox rallied for a 6-5 victory in 11 innings on Tyler Saladino’s single scoring Alexei Ramirez.

The game wasn’t good for Quintana, who couldn’t get out of the fifth. But Sox pitchers recorded a franchise-record-tying 19 strikeouts, and the bullpen held the Mariners to one run in the final 6⅔ innings.

“Hustling to the end is part of playing the game,” Ventura said. “We end the month on a good note.”

Ending the season with a good September would make things more palatable, too.

“I understand [the fans’] frustrations,” Ventura said. “We had some high expectations, and you don’t reach them. It can be very frustrating, and you understand that.”

So is competition, and Ventura said he finds that thrill through managing.

“That’s part of what you form when you played [as a child] to when you grew up,” he said. “It’s a different way of doing it than playing, but you enjoy it and it’s part of trying to be able to come back and figure it out.

“I think anybody who competes, you like that, and this is obviously a different way to do it. Having done other stuff in the game, you don’t hurt as much when you lose if you’re not in uniform, and you don’t feel as good when you win. And that’s something that when you’re in uniform, you have to take it home with you.”

What Ventura takes home now is the knowledge he is a face of the franchise.

“As a player, you can tell [the media] how you did that day,” he said. “But now, every time you speak, you probably have 25 guys listening to what you’re saying about them and your attitude.”

Follow me on Twitter @toniginnetti.