Figuring that a teleconference didn't quite cut it, the White Sox brought out Robin Ventura for a formal press conference Tuesday, and introduced him as the 39th manager in club history.
In front of a semi-captivated collection of reporters, he talked about being "fair" with players, how all the terrible hitters in the lineup need to "take a break", and providing instruction where he can. He also fielded a brief wave of softball questions, and put a jersey on over a dress shirt, which made him look like one of those guys who just throws a jersey on top of his work clothes, before sitting in a luxury box for 6 innings and leaving early.
Seriously, just let the guy go in the bathroom and change already, it'll only take a second.
In other words, the event was pretty darn boring, and I'm sure I'll be noticing that for all of Ventura's press interactions for the next 6 months. Really, unless it's Ozzie or one of those gonzo, overly-intense types who looks like he might bite into the microphone, manager press conferences are built to be boring. Guy walks in, awkwardly puts on jersey, speaks in banalities, expresses a desire to "win baseball games", then breaks for lunch.
Apparently on this day of smiling and expressing hope for the future, condemning Twitter and chatting about how Harold Baines would return to coaching 1st base and help out hitting instruction and the outfielders didn't quite satiate Kenny Williams, because he had to go and throw in something goofy:
General manager Ken Williams confirmed Tuesday that he did consider Paul Konerko for that promotion.
"It was considered long enough for me to realize Paul is a very cerebral person and he probably would drive himself nuts right now playing and managing at the same time," Williams said in confirming a New York Daily News report.
"But that's the kind of respect I have for him that, yeah, I did consider it. Then I thought I would rather him focus more on hitting third or fourth in the lineup and driving in 100 runs than trying to worry about 25 other guys in addition to it. We are trying to win."
Best-case scenario: Williams was just getting very hyperbolic in his praise and respect for the long-tenured captain. Hey, it happens sometimes! Especially on record!
Worst-case scenario: The White Sox are so hopelessly insular and self-congratulatory in their thinking, so removed of curiosity about alternative approaches to the game, that their list of managerial candidates never extended beyond a cadre of former and current players that just seemed like "really awesome dudes".
Worst-worst-worst-case scenario: Paul Konerko has everything it takes to be the greatest manager of all-time, and that coward Williams couldn't make the deal!
Tom Fornelli of South Side Asylum interpreted it as a hint that the White Sox are really trying to spare themselves every expense possible, a directive that would probably spell the end of Mark Buehrle's tenure in Chicago. Supporting his feeling, is this statement:
"The market has to tell us what [Buehrle]’s going to command," Williams said. "And we’ll look into then to see if it fits into our planning and budget."
At face value, Buehrle getting paid market value sounds like exactly the scenario under which he won't return. Perhaps the market just sets where Mark Buehrle's hometown discount comes down from, and is irrelevant if Reinsdorf determines at the last second that he must retire a White Sox, but if we follow the logic of Williams' statements since the close of the season, it suggests the end for Burls. I know we already know it, but this is another one of those moments that makes me think again, "Man, 2011 was a disaster."
Fortunately, the White Sox can still afford auto-dial, because I got a sweet pre-recorded message on my phone from Robin Ventura inviting me to a fan forum with the new manager on Wednesday. I assume it was an automated message; if it was actually Robin Ventura on my phone and I let it go to voicemail, that'd be somewhat regrettable. In any case, a half hour long conference call with Ventura taking questions from season-ticket holders! Everyone should know what it's like to interview Robin Ventura. Everyone.
LAST-SECOND EDIT: Late-night news coverage of Robin Ventura press conference shows that he never smiles with his teeth while shaking Kenny Williams' hand - Discuss.