October is easy to love for the post-season alone, but an underrated element of the month are the press releases from the 22 (or more, as the month winds down) teams whose seasons are done. No sports has fans more obsessive about managerial and front office changes, and even with all the jobs open or coming open over the next few weeks, even I was confused when I got a text from a front office type that simply said, “Ventura?”
Before I could get a reply to my question as to what the person was talking about, I saw the email in my inbox: “WHITE SOX NAME ROBIN VENTURA MANAGER”
The reaction on twitter (where people go to react, quickly, and often without thought), was immediate and overwhelmingly negative. After all, Ventura's post-playing career has consisted of some college baseball analysis on ESPNU and it's now being reporting that he was helping out with a high school team in his native California.
He has zero managerial experience, but that's the thing — we have no idea if this was a good hire. He might be a tactical genius. He might be the kind of strong voice in a clubhouse that can get outstanding efforts from a team where effort was often in question. He also might be just another classic Reinsdorf hiring of a familiar face, and one that won't get in the way of Kenny Williams, whose short list might have been nothing but friendly yes men with name recognition from the fan base.
The point is, we just don't know. We know what we know about baseball based on data. It can be statistical data, it can be scouting data, and in the case of analyzing Ventura's managerial prowess, we have utterly nothing to go on. We might as well say he'll be a good because he walked a lot, or he'll stink because Nolan Ryan introduced him to the noogie patrol.
We don't have to react, just to react. Sometimes we just have to wait and see.
Thank you for reading
This is a free article. If you enjoyed it, consider subscribing to Baseball Prospectus. Subscriptions support ongoing public baseball research and analysis in an increasingly proprietary environment.Subscribe now