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Emma: White Sox Will Ultimately Determine Ventura's Fate

By Chris Emma--

CHICAGO (CBS) -- Some three hours and change before first pitch each day, manager Robin Ventura strolls through his White Sox clubhouse.

Regardless of the prior night's outcome, Ventura oozes that California cool, joking around with players and reporters alike. His laid-back personality remains unfazed with each day during the grind of a long baseball season.

No matter the successes or struggles, Ventura's demeanor doesn't change. So, as the White Sox search for a surge to stay in contention, Ventura isn't changing his mindset.

"Every day is a single day," Ventura said before Wednesday's game with the Twins. "You can't sit there and talk about a winning streak if you can't win that day."

Ventura is fighting for his future with the White Sox's chase for the postseason. In his fifth year in Chicago, Ventura is working through the final year of his deal, with no guarantees beyond 2015.

Meanwhile, the White Sox are 38-39 and haven't looked like more than just a .500 team. They faced an ideal chance on Tuesday against the worst team in baseball, facing a pitcher with a sky-high ERA, but the Twins came out with a 4-0 victory. It was just another rough night for the White Sox.

"We're a good team," outfielder Melky Cabrera said through a translator. "The group that we have here, it's a good group."

With each night, Ventura is evaluated. His manager's seat is scalding hot and with that comes the pressure to produce. Ventura is 335-390 in his five years as a manager, with the best run coming in 2012, a year in which the White Sox fell short of the postseason. The playoffs have eluded Chicago's South Side team since 2008.

Players stand by the 48-year-old Ventura, with whom they all relate. After all, Ventura is one of them.

"It's one reason why he's so good at his job," outfielder Adam Eaton said, "because he is so even-keeled, and he is an upbeat guy. He understands the grind.

"His upbeat mentality keeps us focused and allows us to have a reality check every day -- we got a game today to play, we have a game to win today. You have to have that mentality. It's definitely helpful."

For all Ventura brings to the table, he has many shortcomings, too. He joined the White Sox with no coaching experience. Chairman Jerry Reinsdorf oversaw the surprising move that brought Ventura to Chicago as Ozzie Guillen's replacement.

Far too often, Ventura is guilty of a head-scratching bunt or ill-fated bullpen maneuver. Every manager makes these mistakes, but Ventura's issue is that he doesn't have the padded resume that he can fall back. These questionable decisions naturally leads to wonder about whether Ventura puts his team in a position to win.

Ventura is a knowledgeable baseball man, but managing the intricate details of a game is another animal. Ventura is indeed even-keeled and brings an enjoyable presence to the ballpark, but that hasn't made the White Sox any better this season.

Nothing is promised for Ventura at season's end. He has to earn another deal with the White Sox, delivering for a franchise starved for the postseason. With one more ugly skid or perhaps the consistent inconsistencies, Ventura could be gone before the end of his contract.

The White Sox brought in Rick Renteria to replace fired bench coach Mark Parent at the end of the disappointing 2015 campaign -- one that started with such hope. Parent essentially became a scapegoat, and Renteria has been an excellent addition.

Perhaps it could be Renteria that replaces Ventura is the White Sox's season continues to trend south. Like Ventura, players love what Renteria brings to the table.

"What does he not bring to the table?" White Sox third baseman Todd Frazier replied during an interview in May.

"It's like an undercover manager that helps you out with the little things in the game that you'll never see — and I'm not giving away the secrets."

Asked constantly about his job security, Ventura smiles and shrugs it off. He's been constantly booed at the ballpark that cheered him so many times as a player. It's not easy to handle -- especially given a decorated White Sox playing career.

To his credit, Ventura hasn't changed his upbeat mindset. The White Sox have endured some brutal stretches this season. Nothing can faze their manager. Players relate to Ventura, they relate to him and vow to fight for him, but they have to win for him.

Ultimately, Ventura's fate will be decided by this White Sox team.

Chris Emma covers the Bears, Chicago's sports scene and more for Follow him on Twitter @CEmma670 and like his Facebook page.

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