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White Sox get the message on Robin Ventura’s “big-boy pants” comment

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BALTIMORE — Robin Ventura doesn’t speak out a lot so Adam Eaton knows when he does he should listen.

So when the White Sox manager said his team, losers of five straight, need to put on their “big-boy pants” after Monday’s loss, Eaton understands. The White Sox aren’t playing a particularly bad brand of baseball — far from 2013 levels, in fact. But they need more after losing every game on this road trip by a combined total of seven runs, Eaton said.

“He says stuff for a purpose,” Eaton said. “He doesn’t say anything, he doesn’t say anything and then when he does say something people listen. I think it’s definitely for a purpose and to get us fired up and I think we’re going to take that, play with a purpose (Tuesday) and hopefully continue to do so.”

Following Monday’s 6-4 loss on a walk-off, three-run homer, Ventura was displeased with his club. He doesn’t like how they have found several ways to lose some very winnable games on their road trip.

“Baseball’s tough,” Ventura said. “You’ve got to put your big-boy pants on and go out there and win a game. That’s a fact.”

[MORE: Sox make a switch in rotation, stand by Belisario]

Second baseman Gordon Beckham knows where Ventura’s coming from. If it were a blowout, the White Sox would be more prone to letting go of their losses easier knowing they had been beat, Beckham said.

But that’s not the case at all and that’s why Beckham figures Ventura sent the missive in Monday’s postgame comments.

“I feel like we really haven’t gotten beat,” Beckham said. “Obviously we’re losing games but we’re kind of beating ourselves in terms of not finding a way to win.

“We just need to find a way to get a win here and break up this skid we’re on. We’ve played hard, we just haven’t found a way to win. I think his point is we just need to get over the hump here. We’re in these games and if we’re in these games we need to find a way to win one or two of them. It’s never fun to go through it, but this season is too long, this game is too tough to ride the low or ride the high too much. You’ve just got to go out there and play and grind it out.”

Marlins granted permission to interview Larry Bowa

Larry Bowa
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The Miami Marlins, despite not having technically fired Dan Jennings, are actively interviewing for a new manager. Their latest target is a familiar name: Larry Bowa.

Jim Salisbury of reports on the coaching staff shakeup with the Phillies and, in the course of it, notes that the Marlins have asked and have been granted permission to interview Bowa, who is currently the Phillies’ bench coach. He has been offered a contract for 2016 by the Phillies, but he has never made a secret of his desire to manage again and has interviewed a few times over the years. Bowa, of course, managed the Padres in 1987 and 1988 and managed the Phillies from 2001 into the 2004 season.

As recently as a year ago it seemed unlikely that Bowa would get another look for a top job anyplace, what with baseball’s seeming eschewing of the crusty and feisty old managerial types in favor of young, inexperienced managers who had just recently retired from playing. But given how poorly that’s gone for most clubs — the Marlins included with Mike Redmond — this could be a winter in which we see a bunch of those old salty types returning.

Champagne after a loss? Why not?

Astros Wild Card

There was some hockey person last week arguing about how it was silly or untoward for baseball teams to celebrate clinching wild cards or other, less-than-championship-level accomplishments. Calling it bush league or lacking in act-like-you’ve-been-thereness or what have you. I can only imagine what he’d say about the Astros celebrating with champagne following (a) winning a wild card; and (b) losing the game which immediately preceded the celebration.

But screw him. Seriously.

I used to think that way. Indeed, if you search the HBT archives I’m sure there’s a post or two in which I disapprove of teams engaging in multiple champagne celebrations. But I was wrong about that and I’ve changed my mind on the matter over the past year or too. And on some other matters as well, all for the same reason: athletes are people just like us, not some avatars for our machismo and our fantasies. They’re people who have spent their entire lives devoted to their calling and do it under a lot of pressure and in the face of a lot of criticism and expectations from others. Why on Earth would anyone deny them their happiness upon the realization of an accomplishment?

This is even more true if you’re one of those misguided souls who erroneously believe that sports actually is separate from real life and believe them to be supremely and impossibly important. Even if you’re right — and you’re not — wouldn’t that give the athletes an even greater incentive to celebrate accomplishments? Funny how those people who who act as if sports is life and death would deny athletes their joy for defying death, as it were.

My view on the matter now is that if a guy hits a homer he should be able to celebrate it. If a pitcher strikes a guy out, he should be able to celebrate it. If a team makes the playoffs, no matter how low their seed and no matter the manner in which the accomplishment is achieved short of their competitors going down in a plane crash, they should be able to celebrate if they so choose.

So enjoy your hangovers this morning, Houston Astros.