CHICAGO -- When the title of manager and the name of Robin Ventura are presently put together, they are quickly followed by talk of the best first-half work done by an American League man in charge, along with the Yankees' Joe Girardi and the Orioles' Buck Showalter.
Those Spring Training doubts attached to Ventura's complete lack of big league coaching or managerial experience have been replaced by a huge amount of personal credit given to him for the White Sox AL Central-leading status at the All-Star break.
"I guess if there's a natural at doing it, he's got to be right up there," said White Sox captain Paul Konerko of Ventura. "It doesn't seem like anything caught him off guard. The game doesn't seem fast to him. He makes it look easy, I think, for the most part. He manages people well.
"Robin has been great. The whole staff has been. They had a plan coming in from the offseason of what they wanted to do and they have stuck to it -- regardless of the schedules or how we played good or bad -- and just wanted to be consistent with the way they gave us things as we went."
Ventura has become the perfect fit at the perfect time for the White Sox, and put together a high-quality staff that meshes well with his personality and style. He's pretty much what the players expected, according to Konerko, which is a good thing -- as the standings would indicate.
"He's not a yeller or a screamer," Konerko said. "He's not over-managing or anything like that. He trusts his players, but I think he set the tone early that, 'I'm not going to talk a lot, but when I talk, it's important and everybody listen.' He can be stern if he wants to.
"But I think everybody respects him and nobody wants to force his hand in that nature. Everybody wants to show up and play for him. That goes for all of our coaches. There's a lot of, besides the record, the hard work that's going on here."
As far as Ventura's self-assessment, he doesn't feel it's necessary. The players will let him know how he's doing, and so far, that grade stands well above passing.
"Again, I'm in a place where I want to be with a staff I enjoy being around," Ventura said. "The players have been great. I got a good group. I got lucky for the first year. I got pros.
"You're always learning, even guys that have been around a long time. Different situations come up. I don't think I know it all. Every day, you continue to either be a little more comfortable or learn new things."