Showing posts with label Jerry Reinsdorf. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Jerry Reinsdorf. Show all posts

Friday, October 14, 2016

New White Sox manager Rick Renteria's coaching staff will feature familiar people

Joe McEwing
If you were hoping for significant changes to the White Sox coaching staff this offseason, prepare to be disappointed.

The only hope I have is that new manager Rick Renteria was allowed to make his own choices with regard to the coaching staff. I have no evidence one way or the other, but I'd be lying if I said I didn't suspect that these selections were made for him.

In any case, third-base coach Joe McEwing has been promoted to bench coach, taking the role vacated by Renteria when he accepted the job as manager. McEwing, 44, served as third-base coach for each of the five seasons Robin Ventura was manager. He also managed in the Sox's minor-league system for three seasons. He has been with the organization for nine years.

The McEwing move, of course, creates a need for a new third-base coach, a role that will be filled by Nick Capra, who had been serving as the team's director of player development. Capra has been in that front office role for five years, but he also has been the minor-league field coordinator, the assistant director of minor-league instruction and the minor-league hitting coordinator. Before that, he managed in the Sox's system for 10 seasons. Capra, 58, has been with the organization for 21 years.

Minor-league pitching coordinator Curt Hasler will replace Bobby Thigpen as the team's bullpen coach. Hasler, 51, has been the minor-league pitching coordinator for six years. He pitched in the Sox organization from 1987 to 1991, and he pretty much never left. He's been a pitching coach or coordinator somewhere in the organization for the past 25 years.

Don Cooper will return for his 30th year with the Sox and 16th as pitching coach. Hitting coach Todd Steverson and assistant hitting coach Greg Sparks also return. Daryl Boston remains as the first-base coach.

The organization men have been shuffled around a little bit, but basically, the gang is still all here -- except for Ventura. Typically, you'd expect bigger changes after four consecutive losing seasons, but as we've learned, that's not the Jerry Reinsdorf way.

Thursday, September 29, 2016

Let's speculate some more about Robin Ventura's future

Robin Ventura
Before we go any further, let's put away our visceral fan anger about yesterday's rumor that Robin Ventura will return as White Sox manager next year if he wants.

As most of you know, I'm a journalist by trade, so I'm taking off my fan hat and putting on my journalist hat here. My journalist brain has three questions in response to this news: Who leaked this rumor? Why did they leak this rumor? And why did they leak it now?

Of course, I'm not a beat writer. I don't have the opportunity or the means to investigate, but as a blogger, I'm free to speculate, so speculate I will.

My first thought was this leak is perhaps yet another sign of a rift in the Sox front office about the future direction of the team. Around the trade deadline, we heard talk that general manager Rick Hahn was looking to make significant changes, but that he was not allowed to do so by either owner Jerry Reinsdorf and/or senior vice president Ken Williams.

If the front office wasn't in lockstep on trade deadline moves, could it be possible they are not in lockstep on Ventura's future? For the sake of argument, let's say Reinsdorf and Williams want Ventura to stay (pure speculation, again, no basis in fact here), while Hahn does not. Under that scenario, maybe Hahn goes to the press and leaks that Ventura is likely to stay, in hopes of provoking a visceral anti-Ventura sentiment among the fan base.

As expected, the fan anger and backlash over the past 24 hours has been quite overwhelming, and that can be used as a powerful argument for a front office person who wants Ventura gone. You can say, "Hey, this is proof we need a change here. Everyone is fed up with the status quo. We're not selling any tickets for 2017 if Ventura stays. He's had his chances. It's time to move on."

Maybe I'm reaching, but it's a theory.

Here's another theory: The Sox are trying to create a soft landing for Ventura. They floated the "he can come back if he wants" thing, already knowing he isn't going to come back. Perhaps they want it to look like he's leaving on his own, as opposed to them kicking him to the curb, when in reality the decision has already been made.

That probably sounds a little stupid, and it's definitely passive-aggressive, but that fits the way this White Sox regime does business.

For his part, Ventura refused to answer questions on the topic Wednesday. He wouldn't say that he wants to return, which is different from what we've heard from him in the past. Hahn didn't take questions at all, which makes this even more weird.

It's really hard to figure out why someone in Sox brass would leak this to USA Today and create such a media storm with just five days left in the season. Couldn't it wait until Monday?

As far as USA Today reporter Bob Nightengale's part in this, I was shocked to see him criticize Sox fans so harshly in his column. I don't know if he's acting as a mouthpiece for Sox management, or if he's just out-of-town stupid (keep in mind, he covers all 30 teams, not just the Sox), but I emailed him today to remind him that Ventura has a .426 winning percentage against AL Central opponents over his five years at the helm.

We've chronicled Ventura's weaknesses over and over and over again on this blog. No, it is not all his fault, but some of it is, and he should be held accountable for those failures.

Ask yourself, can you see the Sox winning the World Series with Robin Ventura as their manager? Ever? My answer is a resounding no, and I challenge anybody who would answer yes to find a credible argument to support that position.

Thursday, February 25, 2016

White Sox vice chairman Eddie Einhorn dies

White Sox vice chairman Eddie Einhorn died Tuesday night in New Jersey from complications following a stroke, according to a team news release. He was 80.

Einhorn has served as the team's vice chairman for the past 25 years. Before that, he was the team's president and chief operating officer from 1981-90.

Einhorn was the founder and chairman of TVS Television Network, a leader of sports programming in the 1970s. He is credited with helping the growth of college basketball on television and was inducted into the National Collegiate Basketball Hall of Fame in 2011 for his role in catapulting the sport into national prominence.

"Eddie was a creative whirlwind whose ideas -- many of them far ahead of their time -- changed the landscape of sports, and sports on television, forever," White Sox chairman Jerry Reinsdorf said in the release. "He was a man of many interests, projects, ideas and opinions, and we all will miss him dearly. It is exceedingly rare in this day and age to have enjoyed a friendship and a working partnership that lasted our lifetimes. We celebrated many great moments together."

The White Sox will honor Einhorn by wearing a sleeve patch during the regular season.
 

Monday, August 18, 2014

Fire the manager? Not so fast ...

Whenever a team goes through a losing season, you're going to have some fans and media who want the manager to pay with his job. Sometimes, it's a vocal minority that is calling for a skipper to be fired. Other times, it's a clear majority.

It's easy to fall into that line of thinking if your favorite team is an also-ran as we hit the dog days of August. A lost season is always frustrating. However, calling for a manager's head isn't always the smartest thing to do.

Let's take a look at the careers of Tony La Russa, Bobby Cox and Joe Torre. They were the best managers of a generation, combining to win eight World Series championships. From 1988 through 2006, 14 of the 19 World Series featured at least one of those three managers.

It's no mystery why all three of them went into the Hall of Fame last month. First, all three managed for a long time.

Most games managed in MLB history:
1. Connie Mack 7,755
2. La Russa 5,097
3. John McGraw 4,769
4. Cox 4,508
5. Bucky Harris 4,410
6. Torre 4,329

Secondly, all three won with great frequency.

Most games won by managers in MLB history:
1. Mack 3,731
2. McGraw 2,763
3. La Russa 2,728
4. Cox 2,504
5. Torre 2,326

But here's something you may not have known about these three men: They all lost frequently early in their managerial careers. I recently read a Sports Illustrated article that pointed out that La Russa, Cox and Torre all had losing records and no playoff appearances after four years in the dugout:

Record through four years:
La Russa: 238-244 (.494)
Cox: 266-323 (.452)
Torre: 245-358 (.406)

None of these three men reached the World Series in their first managing jobs. They were all let go for various reasons. La Russa won at his second stop in Oakland. Cox was on his second tour of duty in Atlanta before he won. Torre was fired three times before winning four championships as manager of the New York Yankees.

This is all food for thought if you're one of those impatient fans who thinks a manager should be fired if he doesn't win right away, or if you're one of those fans who thinks a manager should be fired because he doesn't have "enough experience." Your impatience may, in fact, be costing you a guy who is or will become a good manager.

La Russa was managing the White Sox when I was a young kid, and I vividly recall him getting booed at Comiskey Park. There were a lot of people who wanted his head, even after he led the Sox to the 1983 American League West Division title.

The Sox finally fired La Russa in 1986. Time has shown that move was foolish. Team owner Jerry Reinsdorf continues to call La Russa's firing the biggest regret of his life.

Right now, the Sox have another manager without much experience -- Robin Ventura. He isn't winning enough. His record is 207-241 entering Monday's play. He's got a .462 winning percentage as he nears the end of his third year at the helm.

Some say Ventura should be fired, which is an easy argument to make with the Sox on their way to a second consecutive losing streak. And, obviously, it would take quite a leap of faith to believe Ventura's managerial skills will ever be mentioned in the same breath as La Russa, Cox or Torre. That's extraordinarily unlikely.

I bring up those three Hall of Fame guys to make one simple point: Three years isn't long enough to determine whether a guy is going to succeed or fail over the long haul as a manager. The jury is still out on Ventura, and given the rosters he's been handed with the White Sox, I can't pin the team's losing ways on him over the past two seasons.

Managers are no different than players. They can and do get better with more experience. I don't think it's ridiculous to say Ventura still could improve in his role as Sox manager. It's just that most people today don't have that kind of patience, which is unfortunate, because you never know just how close a younger, developing manager might be to becoming a good manager you could win with in the years to come.

Keep that in mind if you're one of the people in the "Fire Ventura" camp, or if you're a fan of another team that is struggling this season.