The Eve

Thursday, April 5, 2012

If you’re a White Sox fan, you can’t help but feel like a kid on Christmas Eve with the excitement of Opening Day less than 24 hours away.  Everyone, from the players to the front office staff, is ready to get the 2012 season underway.

John Danks is certainly pumped up about taking the mound tomorrow.

“You couldn’t ask for a better stage,” said Danks.  “If you go out and throw well, you put yourself on the map and the Sox on the map.”

The Texas-native also touched on the prognostications that do not have the White Sox in the running for the division.

“If everything goes as we plan it, there’s going to be a lot of people backpedaling on where they have us right now.”

Robin Ventura also met with the media during the workout day and here’s a transcript of what he had to say:

How do you feel before Opening Day?

It’s good to get here. Guys are excited and ready to go. It’s been a lot of work going into it, but now you get here it’s fun.

About the process so far…

I think once you start going and leave Arizona, get into these Big League parks, it changes. Not only in the way I feel or the way I’m looking at it, but the players; you can just feel their energy and focus pick up once you leave Arizona and get to a Big League park.

Do you have your lineup set for tomorrow?

Yeah. It’s in there somewhere, I don’t know if it’s posted yet but I wrote it out. I do know what it is.

So we’re going to find out tomorrow?

No, it should be in there today.

Was it something you thought a lot about?

You know, you do it all during spring and kind of kick it around with different things, but the way guys have either performed, or their history, you kind of go by that. You go with what you think will give you the best shot.

Do you break the season up into segments?

No, I mean right now we’re just worried about playing tomorrow. I can’t think too far ahead. It’s Opening Day, you’re just more excited about that than you are getting these guys out there. I’m just happy we got here fairly healthy. That’s a big part of getting through spring training is getting everybody here feeling pretty good.

Do you feel much different now compared to when you got hired?

When I took it [the job] it was the whole offseason, so you weren’t really doing baseball stuff on the field. Most of it was reports and a lot of paperwork and different things. Now it’s spring training; you get in uniform, get on the field and get to talk to guys face-to-face and see them play. That’s just a different feeling. It’s been a comfortable month as far as from where it started to where we’re at now. They understand me, I understand them a lot better. We’re just ready to go.

What comes to mind when you come to Texas?

Well I mean I’m not playing, so to me they can get all hyped up on it all they want. I’ve played here in the past, it’s not like I never came back here. So they can get riled up all they want; it’s happened before. I’m concerned more about what my guys are doing and how we play than I’m worrying about if I get booed.

Looking back, what we’re you thinking when you charged Nolan Ryan?

I’ve been asked that plenty of times. It’s more of kind of what the teams were going through at the time, just what was going on with those teams. It wasn’t a-me-against-him thing; it was more of what the teams were going through.

How do you recall that moment now?

Again, it was more of what the teams were going through. Everybody’s made a lot of it, and they can if they want, but when you play a team game and you’re in a locker room with 25 guys sometimes you’re asked to do things that probably aren’t in your comfort zone. But for me, that was me. I needed to kind of be that person at that point and it is what it is.

Any thought on the Rangers decision not to play the video in the ballpark.

No. I mean I’ve seen it, it’s not like I haven’t seen it. It’s up to them. They can play it if they want, it’s not going to change any decision I make or anything else I do. So it’s up to them.

Have you ever talked to Nolan about it?

No, I’ve actually never run into him. I think when we went to Surprise they had a, I think it was a owner’s breakfast or luncheon, so I didn’t run into him.

What is Opening Day like for you?

It’s exciting. You get to actually run a club, and Opening Days are always exciting. This is different because you’re not a player and you don’t get to actually go out and get a hit, or throw somebody out or anything like that. So it is different. Mentally, your mind’s on other people besides just if you’re ready.

Do you think you’ll have the ‘jitters’ like when you were a player?

Yeah, I mean with the excitement, you should have that. You have that with games in the middle of a season. I don’t see that changing just because you’re the manager. I expect, I would I hope that I care enough that it happens. Otherwise something’s wrong with me.

Nothing’s changed about your decision to wait until tomorrow to reveal the closer?

Nothing’s changed.

It is still a decision that you’re processing?

No, I have an idea.

Has that idea crystallized in the last week?

Yeah, I think you go with what you think is going to give your team the best opportunity. And that’s the decision. I think you look at who you’ve got, and what’s best for the team, and that’s my job. My job is to decide what I think is best. And I’ve come to that conclusion.

Why are you waiting for Opening Day to announce it?

I just don’t see a reason to have to do it [now]. They’ll know. They’ll know before the game. It’s not like I’m asking them to go hit or catch. They’re just going to pitch, so I think they’ll be fine.

Is everybody (Don Cooper) on the same page?

Yeah. That’s one of the comforts I have in dealing with Coop; he knows these guys. In the first year you don’t want to do something totally crazy, but when you come up with ideas that move people around and do different things you want to make sure it’s a sound decision. And you want to get their take on it. So we’re all comfortable with it.


Wishing the Sox and their fans a good season. Hope they peove the “experts” wrong and can at least win 82 games.

Mark Liptak

Amen Mark! Happy Opening Day!

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