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« Coming & Going: Cubs First Basemen Could This Be You? »

White Sox Mon Feb 06 2012

Coming & Going: White Sox Move On After Ozzie

It's been a tumultuous offseason for the local nines, with the Cubs and White Sox both saying goodbye to big names who played big roles in recent years. Let's get you up to speed before spring training arrives. (Part of a series.)


Goodbye: Ozzie Guillen
78-82 (.488) last season; .524 win percentage in eight seasons, 1 World Series title

Hello: Robin Ventura

What Happened?

After eight increasingly exhausting seasons, it just became time to end the Ozzie Guillen era. The squabbling with Kenny Williams, constantly the focus of a Chicago press corps, subsumed a 2011 season appropriately promoted as an "all in" year for the Sox. It was bust, not boom, and after 21 years as a Sox player and manager, Ozzie, Kenny and Jerry Reinsdorf agreed he should get an early start on his new job managing the newly renamed Miami Marlins. He left the team in Don Cooper's hands for the final two games last fall.

How Will the Sox Miss Ozzie?

Well, he did win a World Series title, so you definitely could do worse. All of Guillen's weaknesses, especially his refusal to make tough choices about struggling veterans, were laid bare in his final season here, but ...


You know what? That's enough about Ozzie Guillen. It was time for a change. Let's just be done with him until the 25-year reunion in 2030.

What Does Ventura Bring?

As Jim Margalus aptly observed at South Side Sox, the franchise clearly moved to hire Ozzie's polar opposite, even while choosing the man who played alongside him on the left side of the infield. Ventura, the consummate (white) "professional," is as boring as Ozzie is "colorful" (spicy Latino). He's not going to say anything controversial, embarrassing or possibly even interesting.

But he was a completely out-of-nowhere choice, a well respected and very productive former player who has never managed or even coached since his playing retirement -- and who in fact was saying only a few years ago that the grind of getting into major-league coaching seemed like too much work.

So ... that's worrying.

The Sox aren't expected to be very good, so the bar isn't set real high for Ventura this year. This is pitching coach Don Cooper's team as much as anyone's. It'll be interesting, though, to see what kind of leader Ventura reveals himself to be. Certainly the Sox are banking on his innate skills and talents more than any demonstrated performance.

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