White Sox manager Robin Ventura's first season has been a lot of things: Pleasantly surprising, agonizing, frustrating and educational. He made it clear Sunday that it's been enjoyable, too.
"Yeah, absolutely,'' Ventura said before the team's home finale. "I enjoy the people I work with, the guys on the team, what they've done, so that part's been fun."
Ventura won't win the AL Manager of the Year Award - Buck Showalter of the Orioles and Bob Melvin of the A's are the favorites - but he was under consideration while the Sox spent most of the season in first place.
"The hard part is you're always thinking,'' Ventura said. "If one guy's doing well, somebody else might not be. You're always thinking that way. You're thinking of 25 guys instead of just what you have to do. That's the hard part. The easy part is that you enjoy coming to the ballpark. It's easy to get up and get ready to come to the ballpark."
Ventura signed a three-year contract and he reiterated Sunday what he told the Sun-Times the day before: "I plan on being here for two more years, yes. Unless they don't want me to be here."
Being surrounded by a trustworthy and capable coaching staff has been a plus, especially for a first-year manager.
"That's been big,'' Ventura said. "To spend that much time together and realize everybody's doing what they're supposed to be doing ... they respect each other, what we're all doing. It's pretty open communication. I think everybody understands what everybody else's job is, but they're free to talk about anything, really."