It's not going to be the College of Coaches, but after eight years of The Ozzie Guillen Show, it seems like Robin Ventura is going to allow the members of his staff to showcase their personalities.
For instance, during SoxFest weekend, Ventura knows he's going to have to rely on Don Cooper. In turn, Cooper asserted his clout by reacting somewhat snippily to the suggestion that Matt Thornton was the front-runner ... not knowing that Ventura made the suggestion. And even then, he was skeptical.
Now you have Mark Parent, who made waves during SoxFest with his "Chicago Way" comments about HBPs, which provoked garden-variety well-I-never commentary from those who are unaware of just how many lumps the Sox have taken. His philosophy involves more than Hammurabi's Code, as he told Mark Gonzales:
"It's something that needs to be done here," Parent, the White Sox's new bench coach, said of the uniformity of fundamentals that was stressed throughout the Orioles organization and helped make the club perennial postseason contenders from the mid-1960s to the early 1980s. Those teams were taught by longtime teachers like manager Earl Weaver and the late Ripken.
"The last couple of years (the Sox) have got too big of a separation between the major leagues and the minor leagues," Parent said. "The minor leagues weren't on the same page. They weren't doing the same things they were doing in Chicago."
This isn't the first time we've heard this -- somebody mentioned the lack of continuity late in the season, and it might have been Ozzie Guillen. Alas, I'm not coming up with the link. But I like that we're hearing it again, and in reference to a team that isn't the White Sox.
One of the reasons Dave Martinez was a popular fellow during the managerial search was that, at least in theory, he would bring a different set of player-development values to the table. And one of the reasons Robin Ventura's hiring was somewhat of a letdown was because the White Sox had spent the previous nine years with White Sox infielders in leadership roles (longer if you count Kenny Williams as an infielder, and few do), and that formula had grown stale.
But Parent has different ideals, and they seem to address the White Sox's most frustrating deficiencies. And while it's just talk, Guillen couldn't even get that part right towards the end.
Now, as Parent and Cooper mark their territories, it will be interesting to see how Ventura positions himself. So far, he's mostly played the role of neutralizer, bringing the extreme sentiments more towards the middle. Maybe he'll deputize his coaching staff and prefer to sit back and act as a harmonizing force, but at some point, he's going to have to make his vision known. Given the strong opinions espoused by Cooper and Parent, it seems to me like he could run the risk of stepping on their ... toes.
Christian Marrero Reading Room
- Johnson grateful for shot with Chicago White Sox - chicagotribune.com
- Johnson "shooting for stars" with White Sox - suntimes.com
Man, I don't ever remember Brad Eldred getting this kind of press.
During SoxFest, Ken tweeted that Doug Laumann made it to Chicago in between trips to Puerto Rico and the Dominican Republic. Gonzales adds to a little context to what Laumann and Marco Paddy are trying to accomplish.
James looks at the various standings projections, none of which are optimistic about the White Sox's chances. I'm more curious as to why James is bathing a fish.
Now that he's got his statue on the concourse, Frank Thomas wants to sell his beer next to it.
I found this Scott Merkin article kind of funny, especially after SoxFest panelists said that chemistry is a byproduct of winning, and even then, you can win without it.