Robin Ventura remains upbeat as skid grows after 4-3 loss in 10 to A’s
BY DARYL VAN SCHOUWEN firstname.lastname@example.org June 1, 2013 9:42PM
Chicago White Sox v Oakland Athletics
Updated: July 3, 2013 7:12AM
OAKLAND, Calif. — In times such as these, you think back to when Robin Ventura turned down a contract extension offer during spring training and wonder if he is glad he did so.
A late-season fade notwithstanding, Ventura’s first year as a manager was a success. The Sox held first place for 117 days, and Ventura finished third in American League Manager of the Year voting as a rookie.
He hasn’t been able to lift his team out of the pit it tumbled into during mid-September, and the more this run of bad baseball continues the more Ventura will be scrutinized — especially after the Blackhawks are done and columnists and sports talkers search for subjects to weigh in on.
Ventura knows this, and as bad as things are, he still likes his job, has no regrets about getting back into baseball and is prepared to have his feet held to the fire.
“Absolutely,’’ Ventura said Saturday, before the Sox lost their fifth game in a row, this one 4-3 to the Oakland A’s on a walk with the bases loaded in the 10th inning. “This won’t be the last [slump]. You hope it’s the worst one but every time in my career somebody gives the old ‘it can’t get worse than this’ you know that it can get a lot worse.’’
Ventura said he slept well Friday night after Dylan Axelrod’s gem of a start was wasted because of a five-hit display by a Sox offense that Ventura said “stinks.’’
“He’s not lying,’’ right fielder Alex Rios said. “We’re not doing what we’re supposed to do.’’
By the time his head hit the pillow Friday night he was over it. He slept well. After Saturday’s tough loss, Ventura complimented his team on its fight, coming back from a 3-1 deficit.
What else could he say?
“You do everything you can when you get here [to the ballpark] to turn it around,’’ Ventura said. “When I get home I’m not going to make my wife and kids pay for it. I did that for a while as a player and she straightened that out with a ‘Can I talk to you for a second?’ ’’
Ventura replays game decisions on his way home or to the team hotel on the road. He will second-guess himself and think about ways to manage better.
“Oh yeah,’’ he said. “That I do, but during the day. And on the way home. But once I get home, I’m out.’’
If the losses keep mounting, Ventura knows he’ll have to look himself in the mirror. He already is.
“Absolutely, absolutely,’’ he said. “I get that. But I know the work that goes into what the coaches are doing and what you’re accountable to, I get all that. But after that … there’s only so far you can go.’’
And to think things can get worse.
“It can always get worse. You can run off 10 [losses] in a row like this if you aren’t careful,’’ Ventura said. “That’s one of the crazy things about the game. There’s so many games. It’s every day. You have to have the mental discipline to put yesterday behind you and look at today optimistically with some sort of offensive production.
“It’s gotta happen. The more you sit around and think it’s not going to happen, you run into stretches where it gets longer. Last year we had a stretch where it didn’t go well, but eventually we got out of it. You just don’t want to go down the road of feeling sorry for yourself, or thinking you’re not going to get out of it because then it will be 10 or 15 games.’’