By Jim Owczarski
The last time Chicago White Sox fans were able to see Robin Ventura on a daily basis was the summer of 1998, before he departed via free agency for the New York Mets.
Some lasting images linger, of course: The confrontation with Nolan Ryan on the mound and teammate Frank Thomas in the dugout; the horrific ankle injury in the spring of 1997 and subsequent return just a few months later.
But 14 years is a long time, and set against the personality of former manager Ozzie Guillen, Ventura seems placid.
I think there are misunderstandings, Ventura said about his perception.
The 44-year-old first year manager went about dispelling some of those during the first day of SoxFest at the Palmer House Hilton Friday night during a question and answer session alongside general manager Kenny Williams.
Ventura put his sense of humor on display, but as he tried to play into the laid back persona, Williams interrupted, saying the 44-year-old first year manager has a lot more fire in his belly than what appears on the surface.
Not everybody has a personal relationship with you, Ventura said of the fan base. The people I played with and the people I played for know what Im like, they know how I handle situations.
"Kenny and (White Sox chairman) Jerry (Reinsdorf) have known me a long time. Theyve known me since I was a kid and now as an adult, how I handle things and how I go about it. They wouldnt hire me if I was just going to come in and sit down and not do anything or say anything.