Tag:Robin Ventura
Posted on: March 1, 2012 1:46 pm
Edited on: March 1, 2012 4:46 pm
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Players, managers react to new playoff format

By Matt Snyder

MLB Playoff expansion
With the news spreading throughout baseball that playoff expansion is very likely for the 2012 season, some reactions from players and managers have started to trickle out of camps. As one would expect on a divisive issue, the reactions are all over the map.

For a very brief recap to those who haven't read about it yet, it's extremely likely that starting this season, MLB will have two wild card teams play one head-to-head game, with the winner advancing to face the division winner with the best record in the LDS. The second and third division winners will face each other. The new collective bargaining agreement established that this system would begin by 2013, but it's likely it will begin this season.

Anyway, here are some of the reactions we've gathered thus far:

Blue Jays manager John Farrell (CBSSports.com's Danny Knobler)

"I think it's great for baseball. Hopefully, we're in the mix to land one of those spots."

Mets third baseman David Wright (Andy McCullough via Twitter)

"That would have been nice five years ago."

Phillies manager Charlie Manuel (CSNPhilly.com)

“It’s hard to swallow sometimes if you play all year and win a lot of games and somebody who did not play as good as you consistently all year gets in and wins. But that’s the way it goes and that’s the process that we live with.

“I understand everything about that and I’m not knocking that. That’s what it is. But at the same time, I look at it as I’m not a second-place guy or third place or fourth place. Basically that’s the part – for me, personally, you shouldn’t get nothing for second or third. That’s the American system.”

Marlins manager Ozzie Guillen (MLB.com)

"Anytime you involve more people, it's good for the game. I think the Commissioner is doing a tremendous job adding people to have a chance to see playoff games, and I think that's great for the fans. This game, we play for them."

Red Sox DH David Ortiz (ESPN Boston)

“One game? That’s kind of crazy. You know how many things we’ve got to move around and pack for one game? It’d make more sense for two wild cards to play at least a two-out-of-three series while the other teams take a break for three days because they won their divisions.”

Rays third baseman Evan Longoria (TampaBay.com)

"I think it's exciting. It's exciting for all of us. ... I think the goal was to allow more teams to have a chance in the end, to hold on to those playoff hopes for longer.''

"I think it was pretty unanimous around the league that the more playoff spots the better. Once you get into the playoffs it's more revenue for the ballclub, it's more excitement for the players, so I think it would be a no-brainer for everybody.''

"I don't think anybody's 'comfortable' with [one-game playoff] -- it's an uncomfortable feeling going into any game that you know you could go home, your season could end. But at the same time, it's exciting -- you're in the playoffs now.''

Braves third baseman Chipper Jones (MLB.com)

"I'm not for it. I think the elite teams deserve to make it to the playoffs. Pretty soon, Major League Baseball is going to be like the NBA. There will be more teams that make it than don't. The season is too long as it is. Now you're going to give teams more travel. I don't agree with it, but we're just a piece of meat. We do what they tell us to."

Braves backup catcher David Ross (MLB.com)

"I like the one game for all of the marbles kind of thing because it's either put up or shut up," Braves backup catcher David Ross said. "It's going to be fun. The fans are going to be tuned in. It will get a lot of media attention. It will be a lot of fun."

Dodgers manager Don Mattingly (ESPN Los Angeles)

"I like it because it forces those two teams to use their best pitcher, so they have to use that guy to get in (to the next round). On paper, that gives the advantage to the team that wins the division because they can line up their rotation the way they want it. It seems fair to me that the team who wins the division gets that advantage.''

White Sox pitcher Chris Sale (ChicagoSports.com)

"Obviously, it’s exciting. Two more teams into the playoffs. At the same time, you want to be one of those teams for sure in there. You want to win the division. "They said it today, you are not playing for second place. It would be great if that did happen, but from here on out, we are going for that No. 1 spot."

White Sox manager Robin Ventura (ChicagoSports.com)

“In the past, when they added (the wild card), it created excitement and even last year, the last day of the season it added fun. You never know. It just depends on how the season goes. But it’s exciting for teams to get in. That’s for sure.”

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Posted on: November 2, 2011 11:59 am
Edited on: November 14, 2011 9:12 pm
 

Rangers, Ryan take high road for Ventura's debut



By C. Trent Rosecrans

One of the more interesting side notes to Robin Ventura's being named the manager of the White Sox was that his first regular-season game as a manager would come in Texas -- site of what may have been his most embarrassing moment in the big leagues, a pummeling from current Rangers president Nolan Ryan. 

The video clip of Ryan punching Ventura during a brawl in 1993 is often played at Rangers Ballpark, but will not be played during the series with the White Sox, Ryan told Randy Galloway on ESPN Dallas radio.

"Well, I think out of fairness to Robin and out of respect to him, I think we probably shouldn't show that when he's in town," Ryan said.

Plenty of folks will probably bemoan a missed opportunity, but it's a classy gesture by Ryan to put the kibosh on that kind of taunting. But that doesn't mean we can't enjoy watching it right now.

H/T to 'Duk at Yahoo's Big League Stew.

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Posted on: October 18, 2011 10:20 am
 

Guillen fires back at White Sox pitching coach

Ozzie GuillenBy C. Trent Rosecrans

Chicago just can't quit Ozzie Guillen.

And can you blame him? If you're a columnist, just call him up and you've got a story (I can't quit him, either). The latest has the Marlins manager lashing out at his former pitching coach, Don Cooper. Two weeks ago Cooper said he signed an extension with the White Sox without Guillen getting a deal because Guillen allegedly told management to "let (the coaches) sweat" when asked by general manager Ken Williams about extensions.

Guillen lashed back on Monday, talking to the Chicago Sun-Times' Joe Cowley, saying, "Cooper needs to look in the mirror. He didn't back-stab me. I know who he is. He back-stabbed his fellow coaches, the guys he worked with for years. You got family? That's fine. Everyone does. We all knew Coop was Kenny's (expletive deleted, but suffice to say it refers to a gender of canine).

"Look, Coop is not a good coach; he's a great coach. But Coop is Coop. He doesn't worry about anyone; he worries about himself. I stuck up for my coaches like a (expletive deleted, but it's two words, the first being mother).

"I told [the White Sox] I want to keep my coaching staff, and I never lied to the media. I talked to Jerry Reinsdorf maybe five times [about extensions for the coaches]. The reason I was so comfortable with the Sox was the coaches. Let them sweat it out? Coop was Kenny's guy, and my staff knew that. We all know what he really is."

Guillen did say he was happy for the White Sox and new manager Robin Ventura -- "the Sox picked the right guy," he told Cowley.

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Posted on: October 11, 2011 1:00 pm
Edited on: October 11, 2011 1:08 pm
 

White Sox considered Konerko for manager job

By Matt Snyder

Within the past few weeks, the White Sox let manager Ozzie Guillen go and then hired former third baseman Robin Ventura to be the new manager. We knew this. What we didn't know is who exactly general manager Kenny Williams considered for a manager before eventually deciding on Ventura. One name he considered is a shocker: First baseman Paul Konerko.

Yes, current first baseman Paul Konerko. Williams told reporters Tuesday he mulled it over and decided he'd rather Konerko just focus on playing -- also noting he never spoke to Konerko about the thought (Scott Merkin via Twitter).

White Sox coverage
The Ventura hire was very unpopular in the Chicago media, so I can't imagine the uproar this would have caused. There hasn't been a player-manager since Pete Rose did so for the Reds back from 1984-86.

Konerko, 35, is a five-time All-Star and a great baseball man. He's played in the majors since 1997 and has been with the White Sox since 1999. There's no question he eventually be an asset in the dugout for someone as a coach or manager, if he wants to take that path with his post-playing career. But there's a reason there hasn't been a player-manager for 25 years. Being a player and being a manager are two entirely different full-time jobs and giving one man both of those is just too much.

In fairness to Williams, "considering" someone and thinking seriously about hiring him are not synonymous. It's just amusing Konerko was even a consideration -- and quite the compliment to the veteran as well.

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Posted on: October 11, 2011 9:48 am
 

Remembering Ventura's grand slam single

By Matt Snyder

Aside from Albert Pujols reminding everyone he's still Albert Pujols, the big story in baseball Monday night was Nelson Cruz's walk-off grand slam giving the Rangers a 2-0 lead in the ALCS. Cruz's blast was the first walk-off grand slam in MLB postseason history.

And, if you're like me, your reaction to hearing that news was: "No, that's not true ... oh, wait ... that is right."

Because in the 1999 NLCS, Mets third baseman Robin Ventura came to bat with the bases loaded in the bottom of the 15th inning in Shea Stadium with a tie game. And he hit a Kevin McGlinchy pitch over the right-center field wall to beat the Braves. It wouldn't be a technical grand slam, however, because Ventura's teammates mobbed him before he could reach second base. Thus, the official scorebook says it was a walk-off single. Ventura only got one RBI for it.

Here's the highlight, via MLB.com:



It's funny, two weeks ago Ventura hadn't been in the news in ages, other than for someone to mock him for being used as Nolan Ryan's punching bag once upon a time. All of a sudden, he's the White Sox manager and we get to reminisce about his grand slam that wasn't.

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Posted on: October 6, 2011 4:51 pm
Edited on: October 6, 2011 7:44 pm
 

Robin Ventura named White Sox manager

Ventura

By Evan Brunell

The White Sox announced Thursday they have named Robin Ventura as their new manager.

"When I rejoined the White Sox this June, I said this was my baseball home and that part of me never left the White Sox organization," Ventura said in a team release announcing the hire.  

"My family and I are thrilled to be returning to Chicago.  Managing a Major League Baseball team is a tremendous honor.  It’s also an opportunity and a challenge.

"I am excited to begin my career as a manager surrounded by former teammates, staff, media and White Sox fans I know very well.  I already am looking forward to talking to our players, to this offseason and to getting things underway at spring training next February."

Ventura (pictured, left, with ex-manager Ozzie Guillen) becomes the club's 38th manager and beats out Rays bench coach Dave Martinez among other potential candidates. Martinez was considered a lock for the job, and Ventura's hiring comes as a big surprise; the only coaching experience he has had is as hitting coach for his children's high school baseball team in Arroyo Grande, Calif., he said in an interview with the Omaha World-Herald in June.

More White Sox coverage
"When I met with the media as our season ended, I identified one person at the very top of my managerial list," GM Kenny Williams said in a team release.  "I wanted someone who met very specific criteria centered around his leadership abilities. Robin Ventura was that man. His baseball knowledge and expertise, his professionalism, his familiarity with the White Sox and Chicago and his outstanding character make him absolutely the right person to lead our clubhouse and this organization into the seasons ahead."

Ventura is very familiar with the White Sox, having spent 10 years with the team starting in 1989. In a 16-year MLB career, he played under such luminaries as Jeff Torborg, Bobby Valentine and Joe Torre. "I ran the gamut on different styles and smart baseball men," he said, adding that he wants players who are willing to be accountable for their actions.

Ventura finished his career with a .267/.362/.444 line in 2,079 plate appearances with 294 home runs, retiring after the 2004 season. He's most famous for his on-field fight with Nolan Ryan that delivered an iconic picture of Ryan gripping Ventura in a headlock. Ryan is currently the CEO of the Texas Rangers, who will play in the ALCS on Friday. He had previously served as a broadcaster with ESPN, appearing at times on ESPNU and also serving as analyst during the College World Series. He has also been special adviser to the director of player development for the White Sox since June, working under former manager Buddy Bell who was considered a strong contender for the job before he declined to be considered. The former third baseman, who made two All-Star teams and won six Gold Gloves, was asked earlier this year in an ESPN chat how he felt about a coaching career.

"I'm happy right now, I have four kids at home," he wrote. "It's nice to be around for that. I do stuff with ESPN. Coaching is a big commitment, and some people just think you can be a guest celebrity coach, and that's not what it is. Lot of work. Happy doing what I'm doing."

Well, apparently Ventura's ready for the commitment of being the White Sox manager. He admitted to being surprised when approached about the position by Bell and Williams, but quickly warmed to the idea.

"I think there is a challenge there, getting back into the game," he said in a conference call.  "I do have a passion for it. I do have a passion for this team and this city. I'm not one to really back away from a lot of things. ...The passion is there to do it, I was asked to do it. I'm honored."

Williams, for his part, explained how they convinced Ventura it would be a good move.

"Needless to say he was a little surprised and little apprehensive," Williams said. "We had to explain to him exactly what the support system would be and exactly what our expectations were at the start. I was very clear with him that I do not expect him to be Tony La Russa on day one. In our estimation the fit is such that all of that will come together and we will ultimately be better off down the line that we could be if -- in my opinion -- we went in a different direction."

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Posted on: June 20, 2011 10:06 am
Edited on: June 20, 2011 4:01 pm
 

On Deck: How about a Zito-Soriano swap?


By C. Trent Rosecrans

BASEBALL TODAY: Is 80-year-old Jack McKeon the answer for the Marlins? MLB.com's Tom Boorstein joins Scott Braun to talk about the Fish, Albert Pujols and more. Click on the video above to hear about it all.

TRADE IDEA: There's an old saying that you don't trade players, you trade contracts. And there are hardly two contracts worse than those belonging to Giants lefty Barry Zito and Cubs outfielder Alfonso Soriano. Andrew Baggarly of the San Jose Mercury News suggests those two swap teams -- well, because it wouldn't hurt. Barry Zito would help out the Cubs' awful pitching, while Soriano would help the Gints' offensive worries. Soriano is paid through 2014, while Zito can be bought out before that season. The Giants would end up paying $7.75 million more in the deal, but Soriano is probably that much more valuable than Zito for them, considering the team's pitching depth.

Sure, both players have full no-trade clauses, so there's that, but it could happen. Baggarly notes he's just spitballing and that he hasn't heard anything about this kind of trade -- but it makes some sense. It's not totally unheard of for the Cubs, who made the bad contract swap with the Mariners before the 2010 season sending Milton Bradley to Seattle for Carlos Silva. It's an interesting thought, that's for sure.

MANAGING THROUGH PAIN: White Sox manager Ozzie Guillen was rushed to a Phoenix hospital Sunday morning where he passed a kidney stone before returning to Chase Field about two hours before the team's 8-2 victory over the Diamondbacks. [Chicago Tribune]

SPEEDY GONZALEZ: Red Sox first baseman Adrian Gonzalez legged out a triple Sunday for his 1,000th career hit. It was actually his third triple of the season, two more than Red Sox outfielder Jacoby Ellsbury. "I was telling Jacoby I have more triples than you do. What's going on?" Gonzalez told reporters after the game (via WEEI.com). "He just said, 'Hey, you're faster than me.'" And a better hitter. 

CLEAN PLAYS: Giants fans are sure to disagree, but Yankees catcher Russell Martin said the play in which Cubs first baseman Carlos Pena bowled into him on Saturday clean, and so was the hit that ended the season of Giants catcher Buster Posey. Martin said it's only a dirty play if the catcher is standing in front of the plate and the runner goes out of his way to hit him, which wasn't the case for Posey and the Marlins' Scott Cousins. [MLB.com]

WEBB STRUGGLES: Rangers right-hander Brandon Webb gave up six hits and four runs in two-thirds of an inning at Double-A Frisco on Sunday.

GOOD NEWS FOR Astros: An MRI revealed no structural damage in the elbow of right fielder Hunter Pence, who has a sprain in his left elbow. He is listed as day-to-day, but manager Brad Mills said he is "questionable" for the Astros' upcoming series against the Rangers. [Houston Chronicle]

NATS PLANS UNCHANGED: You may not have noticed the Washington Nationals are one of baseball's hottest teams, winning eight in a row before Sunday's loss and are now just 4 1/2 games out of first place in the National League Wild Card standings. That doesn't change Mike Rizzo's plans for the future. The biggest decision may be whether to deal starter Jason Marquis at the deadline. If the Nats go into another funk before the end of July, they'll likely deal him. [Washington Post]

GOOD IDEA: Orioles reliever Chris Jakubauskas picked up his first big league hit on Sunday and with that came his first play at the plate when third base coach John Russell waved him home on J.J. Hardy's double in the fifth inning. He was out by a mile. "My main thing was don't fall down, because when I hit third my legs got Jello-ey," Jakubauskas told MASNSports.com.

Mets HEALING: David Wright played catch and took ground balls on his knees Sunday and is expected to ride an exercise bike on Monday as he rehabs from a stress fracture in his lower back. He's expected to have more news after an evaluation later this week. Meanwhile, lefty Johan Santana is still long-tossing and hopes to return to the mound later this week. [Star-Ledger and ESPNNewYork.com]

SMOKELESS Rays: Tampa Bay will be wearing the uniform of the Tampa Smokers on July 2 for their yearly Turn Back the Clock game, but when they released the pictures of the jersey, the team isn't staying true to the team's old logo. The Rays are omitting the cigar pictured on the original jersey, which is just a shame. We all know smoking is bad for you, but if you're not going to actually want to show a cigar, you probably should honor a team called the "Smokers." [JoeRaysFan.com]

THE YANKEE STRIPPER: Need a gift idea for the Yankee fan who has everything? Well, how about a photo of a showering Joe DiMaggio?

A photo from a postage shower us up for auction at Lelands.com if you're interested in that sort of thing. [San Francisco Chronicle]

FATHERLY ADVICE: When the Blue Jays demoted Kyle Drabek to Triple-A, he made a call to his dad for some advice. That's a pretty good idea when your dad has 155 career victories and a Cy Young Award on his mantle. [The Canadian Press]

HEFTY BILL: I'm not sure how aware most casual fans are of this unwritten rule of baseball, but when a big league star has a rehab appearance at the minor-league level, the tradition is the big leaguer buys the postgame meal for the team. Zito says his four rehab starts have cost him $4,500. Somehow, I think he can afford it. [San Francisco Chronicle]

ANOTHER GOOD BAUTISTA FEATURE: Last week Jeff Passan of Yahoo! wrote a great feature looking at the backstory of Jose Bautista. This weekend the Toronto Star's Vinay Menon wrote another good look at the guy who may be baseball's best player right now.

ANOTHER FATHER'S DAY STORY: Former Mariners manager Don Wakamatsu tells the Toronto Star about his father and grandfather, who were in a Japanese-American internment camp in California during World War II.

HARPER RESTS: Bryce Harper sat out his second consecutive game on Sunday, as the Nationals determined he needed to rest more than play at this point. The Hagerstown Suns had been eliminated from winning the South Atlantic League first-half title, so they gave Harper some time off. Harper finished his first half of professional ball hitting .330/.429/.586 with 14 homers, 45 RBI and 13 stolen bases in 227 at-bats. He will certainly play at the South Atlantic League All-Star Game on Tuesday and may then be promoted to high-Class A Potomac for the start of the second-half of the Carolina League season starting on Thursday. [Washington Post]

BAD TRAVEL DAY: Tacoma Rainers broadcaster Mike Curto has the details on the Triple-A team's rough travel day on Friday that saw the team get to the park at 6:45 p.m. for a game that was scheduled to start at 7:05 p.m.

DOES BASEBALL NEED TO BE CHANGED?: The Los Angeles Times asked various people -- including a filmmaker, an actor, an artist and a physics professor -- about how to improve the game. Some of the suggestions are benign, some ridiculous and few give easy answers. But it's an interesting read, anyway.

VENTURA PAIN-FREE: There have been few baseball injuries as grotesque as the one former White Sox third baseman Robin Ventura suffered in a spring training game against Boston in 1997, when Ventura ran slid into Red Sox catcher Bill Haselman and then Ventura held his leg up with a dangling ankle. Today, he's pain-free after an ankle transplant. [Los Angeles Times]

PINGLESS: If you watched any of the College World Series this weekend, you noticed the ping of aluminum bats has been replaced by more of a thud sound. That's because college baseball changed to bats that perform more like wood this season. The results have been dramatic. [New York Times]

For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsmlb on Twitter or subscribe to the RSS feed.
Posted on: June 7, 2011 9:10 am
Edited on: June 7, 2011 10:55 am
 

Pepper: Royals hope to shake Pujols curse



By C. Trent Rosecrans

BASEBALL TODAY -- CBSSports.com senior writer Scott Miller, with his belly full of Kansas City barbecue, joins Lauren Shehadi to talk about the Red Sox and Yankees, as well as Dan Haren, Ubaldo Jimenez and more.

HOMETOWN BOY STAYS -- One of the more interesting picks in the first round of the draft last night was the Royals taking Bubba Starling with the fifth pick overall. Conventional wisdom going into the draft was the team would take a college arm to help supplement its incoming wave of talent. However, the team went with Starling, the top athlete in the draft. 

Don't discount the Albert Pujols factor here. Since 2001, Royals fans and others have been asking how the Royals could have missed on Albert Pujols, who went to high school and junior college in Kansas City (don't mind the fact everyone missed on Pujols, who wasn't drafted until the 13th round of the 1999 draft.) With Starling coming out of nearby Gardner, Kan., the Royals won't have to hear that criticism if Starling lives up to his potential.

BRUIN BONANZA -- UCLA baseball coach John Savage said he knew from the day Gerrit Cole stepped on campus that he'd likely be the No. 1 pick in the 2011 draft. (UCLABruins.com)

Mets MAIN MAN -- Although he's best-known as the stat geek from Moneyball, the Mets' Paul DePodesta (who looks nothing like Jonah Hill), is the key to the Mets' scouting department. (Newark Star-Ledger)

SORIA'S BACK -- If you missed it, Joakim Soria is back as the Royals' closer, even though Aaron Crow never got a chance to close a game in his eight games as the team's designated closer. (CBSSports.com)

MINDREADER -- In addition to being a columnist, Joe Cowley of the Chicago Sun-Times is also apparently a mind-reader. The omniscient Cowley says Carlos Zambrano is a liar and really wants out of Chicago (or at least the North side), because Zambrano said he wants to move on from his comments that the way the Cubs are playing is "embarrassing." Even though, to be fair, Zambrano said he wanted to move on before another "embarrassing" loss in Cincinnati.

BLAME GAME -- Mariners shortstop Brendan Ryan took credit for Monday's loss, even though he probably doesn't deserve it. (Seattle Times)

MOVING ON UP -- The Indians have promoted former Yankees first baseman Nick Johnson -- to Triple-A. Johnson played two games at Double-A and had one hit in nine plate appearances (with three walks). He's not on Cleveland's 40-man roster, so manager Manny Acta said not to expect him in Cleveland anytime soon. (MLB.com)

A'S SHUFFLE -- A's third baseman Kevin Kouzmanoff, hitting just .221. was demoted to Triple-A on Monday. Utility man Adam Rosales was activiated from the 60-day disabled list. Kouzmanoff wasn't just struggling at the plate; he also had nine errors, the second-most in the American League. (MLB.com)

ZIMMERMAN UPDATE -- The Nationals' Ryan Zimmerman played seven innings at Class A Potomac on Monday, but manager Jim Riggleman said it's "unlikely" he will return before Sunday, when the team wraps up an 11-game road trip. (Washington Post)

PEAVY AVOIDS DL -- White Sox right-hander Jake Peavy will miss a start, but isn't expected to go on the disabled list after being diagnosed with a mild strain of his right groin. (Chicago Tribune)

FLASH GORDON -- Dodgers shortstop Dee Gordon made his debut last night and his father, former pitcher Tom Gordon, was in the stands to see his son enter the game as a pinch-runner in the ninth inning. Gordon scored the Dodgers' only run. While his father was nicknamed "Flash," the name may be more appropriate for the son, because it describes his blazing speed.

CARTER STARTS TREATMENT -- Hall of Famer Gary Carter began his chemotherapy treatment on Saturday and will begin radiation treatment today. (ESPNNewYork.com)

VENTURA RETURNS -- Former White Sox third baseman Robin Ventura has returned to the organization as a special adviser to player development director Buddy Bell -- that's two pretty good defensive third basemen in the front office. (Chicago Sun-Times)

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The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com