They may have had their share of heated exchanges, but five-time All-Star Chris Sale said Sunday afternoon he holds Robin Ventura in high regard.
Shortly after Ventura announced he wouldn’t return as White Sox manager in 2017, Sale applauded him for the suggestion that the club might be in need of a new voice after five seasons. While he and Ventura clashed several times over the years, including a July incident that resulted in the ace pitcher’s five-game suspension for insubordination and destruction of team property, Sale said both men wanted the same things.
“We always had the same goal, the same vision, the same passion,” Sale said. “You get a bunch of guys in the same room and the testosterone is pumping. This is a competitive game, sports are competitive. Things happen, but that doesn’t change what I think of him personally. He’s as good as they get.
“If you’re going to make a big change something drastic needs to happen. You can’t do the same things over and over and expect things to change. More than anything, people should look at what he said and respect that. Not all people can stand up in these lights and say that. You have to have respect for him and he’s as good as they get.”
Following the July incident in which he destroyed throwback jerseys the team was scheduled to wear, Sale criticized Ventura’s handling of the situation in an MLB.com article. When he returned from his suspension, Sale downplayed the notion there was a rift between himself and Ventura and his manager did the same. Ventura said the focus needed to return to the field and never publicly returned fire at Sale.
Recently, Sale thanked Ventura for the opportunity to pitch deep into games late in the season. He followed that by noting that Sunday’s announcement was “tough.”
“He’s as good as they get, really,” Sale said. “Over the last five years he did everything in his power to help us win games, honestly. Obviously it didn’t work out as planned, but he wasn’t exactly given two aces out of the gate. He did the best with what he had and I’m appreciative of that.”