CLEVELAND -- Rick Renteria doesn’t hold meetings just to hold a meeting.
Even though he downplayed it on Friday afternoon, players knew something was up when Renteria huddled them together in the dugout on Thursday night to try and light a fire under his club, who at the time was down by six runs. Though the White Sox ultimately came up short, they fought back to give the Tampa Bay Rays a scare before falling 7-5 at Tropicana Field.
“It's like a dog that's always barking --- at some point you just start to ignore it,” Renteria said. “I think you just have to have purpose, you have to have a good feel, a sense of time for when it is you're supposed to speak to people. I don't think that's necessarily limited to the game of baseball. I think anybody in any walk of life, in anything they do, at some point in time you have to have a conversation with the group or individual. You have to have a feel and a sense of time when you're going to do it. Like I said I think you have to have purpose, you have to have the ability to articulate a message if you need to present it. Just depends, everybody's different. The people that you're working with alongside are ultimately dictate what you need to do.”
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The Rays radio broadcast described Renteria’s impromptu meeting as similar to a football coach huddling his players together and trying to fire them up. Renteria said he merely tried to offer his players encouragement and said it wasn’t a big deal.
Whatever Renteria went with, it appeared to work. Todd Frazier singled to start the fifth inning and Tim Anderson walked. The White Sox didn’t score in the fifth but they cut a 6-0 deficit to one run on Frazier’s two-run homer in the eighth and brought the tying run to the plate.
“Ricky kind of got in us a little bit in the dugout, saying ‘We’re professionals, let’s go --- pick it up a little bit,’ ” Frazier said. “That was right before I got the single so we kind of kick-started ourselves a little bit to play the game, keep playing. We fought our way back. We had a chance to tie it or win it. True grit, that’s how we’ve been playing. We’ve got to do that a little earlier and a little more often.”