The idea of managing had crossed Ventura's mind, but he never dreamed his first opportunity would happen this soon. His concern was the control he'd have over the team. "I told Kenny and Jerry that I didn't want it to be that they were telling me what to do all the time, and I'm the guy just doing the interviews while they're running the team," he says. "If this starts going south, I want to be the one making the changes and the calls."
White Sox players joke that Ventura's camp-opening speech broke records for brevity. "He put it in the players' hands to be leaders and do things the right way," reliever Matt Thornton says.
Sitting behind his desk one afternoon in the team's Glendale, Ariz., camp, Ventura admitted, "I still feel like things in my life have been turned upside down a little. But no regrets or second thoughts." The man who had the crazy idea has none either. "People talk about how risky this is," Williams says. "Risky? The way I see it, the risk would have been not hiring a guy like Robin Ventura."