This isn’t directly Twins-related, but it’s interesting. The Chicago White Sox have named Robin Ventura as the team’s manager .
Ventura played 10 years for the Sox, and 16 overall. He was on two teams that made it to the World Series: the 2000 Mets and the 2003 Yankees. He was a powerful slugger at the hot corner who hit an impressive 18 career grand slams and snagged six Gold Glove awards. And yet, despite all of those accomplishments, many baseball fans remember him mostly for this.
So while Ventura will never match the fiery Guillen in terms of temperament, we have concrete evidence that he is a fighter who will bring an emotional charge to the team, for better or for worse.
As a Twins fan, of course I hope it turns out to be worse. But I’m excited about the Sox managerial decision for a couple reasons. First, because his old buddy Nolan Ryan is now a partial owner of the Texas Rangers, and this move instantly makes every Chicago vs. Texas matchup about 100 times more interesting. Seriously, I think I’ll be watching those games just for the tiny chance that Ventura might leap into the stands for a rematch. Ryan’s getting up there in years, but I think he still has what it takes to win a fight.
Secondly, as a writer, I look forward to all the clever puns that Ventura’s name offers. I can come up with hilarious/ lame nicknames like Robin “The Body” Ventura. And, of course, as a red blooded American who came of age in the 1990s, I promise never to miss an opportunity to make a “Robin Ventura, Pet Detective” joke.
Got any more of that gum, Robin?
On the serious side, this looks like a good move for the Sox. Guillen is such a colorful character (“colorful character” is the polite term for it; there are many who would rather use the phrase “obnoxious loudmouth”) that he often dominated the headlines about his team, whether they were winning or losing. Ventura, as mentioned above, is no shrinking violet himself, but he won’t crowd out the real story like Guillen often did. Also, it never hurts ticket sales when you bring in a popular former star player to run the team.
I always liked watching Guillen, and I think the game is more interesting when he is around. His public persona can be caustic, over-sensitive, and quick to anger, but it’s fun to have him around simply because you never know what he’ll do next. Plus, it’s nice to hear him always talk about how great he thinks the Twins are (up until this year anyway). That is why I’m happy he’ll be staying in the game as the manager of the Marlins. But eight seasons worth of Ozzieball is too much for any team to take without risking permanent psychological damage, so it was time for the Sox to move on.
Whether or not the move will actually improve the on-field product remains to be seen, but this move signals a shift to a new era for the Twins’ division rivals.