The Sox are standing in 1st place on August 26th, 2012. They are 71-55 on the season and at a record high 16 games over .500. Sports Illustrated had them slated for 67 wins and a 4th place finish. Local media and publications had them as a 3rd place team just under .500. Well, everyone has been wrong. With 33 games to go down the stretch run, the Sox are a contender for the American League Central Division and the Wild Card. They have a realistic possibility of being a 90 game winner. So what or who is responsible for this?
The real answer is there is no one person or area responsible. The easy response has been to say it was Ozzie's fault and Robin is a better manager for the team. I'm not going to get into a Ozzie debate, but I will say Ozzie Guillen is a good manager and a smart baseball man. Ventura can't make players perform, but he has created a atmosphere conducive for players to succeed. Ventura has brought a calm and a sense of "respect the game" to the club. He manages a lot like Ozzie Guillen even though many might not notice. Where Ventura differs is in his approach. His personality allows him to be patient and stick with guys. He puts players in a position to succeed, but the player themselves has to perform. I mean Robin isn't helping Adam Dunn hit those homeruns, batting for Alex Rios at the plate, or grinding it out on the mound for Jake Peavy. Guys have bounced back in a strong way. Ventura has though took a group of veterans, infused them with rookies, and kept the room light leading to a fun season up to date.
The players have to perform though no matter what Robin does. Bounce back seasons from Dunn, Rios, and Peavy have been instrumental. Veterans like Paul Konerko and Kevin Youkilis have been leaders. AJ Pierzynski is having a career year in the power numbers categories. Young players like Dayan Viciedo and Alejandro De Aza have sparked this team. Chris Sale has become a front line starter. A bullpen full of rookies has been great, and the veteran arms out there have been rock solid. All these factors lead to a successful season. The players need to receive credit for the way they keep grinding out this season. When a clutch homerun is needed, BAM it's there. Runners on 1st and 3rd with no outs. A reliever comes out of the pen to get 3 outs and allows no runs. This is the stuff that makes a team a winning team and hopefully a deep playoff team.
Let's not forget about the front office. I have given credit to Ventura and the players, but GM Ken Williams in my opinion is back this season. Williams may have been affected by the struggling relationship he had with Guillen. With Guillen gone though, Williams has come out strong. Williams seems to have reverted back to "Old Kenny" after struggling his last 2yrs with the on field product. William's will tell you himself he isn't enjoying this season. He doesn't have time to and to be honest that's Ken Williams at his best. When he is strictly focused on baseball. Every day trying to get this team into a World Series winner. The trades for Kevin Youkilis, Brett Myers, and Francisco Liriano were great. They all filled needs and Williams did it giving up very little. If I had a vote, he would win Executive of the Year.
So who is responsible for the Sox? For me it's no one person. It's the entire organization being responsible for itself. It's Robin showing all his doubters how good of a manger he is going to be. It's the players performing at their peak levels. It's guys like Dunn hitting 50 HR's for the year possibly and Rios crushing the ball all season. Finally, it's Williams never standing still and always looking to improve his vision of this team. There were doubters who now have become silent. It's time for Sox fans to stand loud and proud. This your team and it's time to support them down the stretch run.
Filed under: Uncategorized