The hiring of new 3rd base and bench coaches for mediocre baseball teams normally gets a lot of people hot under the collar, but the potency of ancillary coach arousal is only doubled by the uniqueness of the Robin Ventura situation.
Because Ventura was hired with no experience whatsoever, offering the notion that the 2012 White Sox will be like if the company from The Hudsucker Proxy was a baseball team, the announcement of who his bench coach would be was awaited with baited breath--nay, heavy, accelerated pants--as this would be the brains of the White Sox.
It will be the bench coach teaching Robin how to manage, whacking him in the back of the knee when he puts the bunt sign on, and berating him mercilessly when he calls for the pick n' roll, because that is totally not the right sport.
Ventura selected Mark Parent of the Phillies organization, who while unknown, is pretty much exactly the veteran-coach-with-managing-experience that was being stumped for to provide whatever steadying hand Robin actually ends up needing.
Parent served as the manager of the Phillies Double-A affiliate in 2011, managed in Single-A the year before that, and satisfies the axiom of "If you can't pry away Gene Lamont, secure his doppelganger".
Also selected was Joe McEwing to be the 3rd base coach. He brings even more managerial experience from his past year at Triple-A Charlotte. He brings a reputation for being a stickler for fundamentals and "execution." He had a journeyman career with crappy hitting stats and a funky swing to allow for maximum grindiness. Best of all, he brings this strange picture that the Tribune saw fit to use for him.
To top it off, he's stuck at 3rd base where his Tony La Russa-influence can't hurt anyone. Actually, it totally can. He can go rogue and make Viciedo bunt while Ventura and Parent scream helplessly from the dugout.
But, I'm sure that won't happen. Good for Super Joe. He's a baseball man's baseball man's baseball man.
Minor league hitting coordinator Jeff Manto and Triple-A hitting coach Tim Laker are still being considered to be named as the Major League hitting coach. It's kinda hard to judge these guys objectively for their work in a system devoid of actual prospects, but Viciedo made strides and De Aza hit the ground running, soooo score one for Laker!
Manto appears to be the most likely.
Disgraced, maligned, and voluntarily resigned hitting coach Greg Walker has interest from fellow crap-hitting baseball teams the Atlanta Braves and San Diego Padres, as well as a chance to be retained at a different position within the organization.
Within the organization?!!? This is why you remove the head, or destroy the brain. Apparently when you spend nearly 20 years in the organization and fix Paul Konerko, there's no limit to how soft your landing is. Guh!
Still no word on who the 1st base coach will be, or what the hell Harold Baines is going to do, or whether Harold Baines is just going to stay at 1st base and they haven't gotten around to accepting it, but a few more things should be solidified during Tuesday's formal introduction press conference.
It won't be an interesting press conference, not even remotely. Those are gone now, but it will be classy as hell.