White Sox manager Robin Ventura announces he will not return as the White Sox's manager after finishing the 2016 season with a 78-84 record. (Colleen Kane / Chicago Tribune)
Robin Ventura stood at the edge of the dugout at U.S. Cellular Field for much of Sunday's game, clapping hands with or slapping the backsides of players such as Chris Sale and Todd Frazier as they jogged down the steps.
But after the final out of the Sox's 6-3 loss to the Twins, he wasted little time slipping inside the clubhouse and then making his way to the interview room to announce the game was his last as Sox manager after five seasons.
He called the exit, in the final year of his contract, "a personal decision," saying it was the right time for the organization to bring in a new leader for a team that completed its fourth straight losing season and eighth straight year without the playoffs Sunday.
The Sox are expected to name bench coach Rick Renteria as Ventura's replacement at a news conference with general manager Rick Hahn at 11 a.m. Monday. Other coaching staff announcements are expected to be made at a later date.
"I enjoy this place," Ventura said. "I love this place. At the end, it probably needs a new voice … and I have to be big enough to understand that and go down and voice that."
Ventura initiated the conversation about leaving the team with Hahn in early September — making it a moot point whether the Sox wanted to retain him or not — but he wanted to finish out the season before announcing the decision.
Looking back on a rocky five years, he said wouldn't have changed his decision to take the position before the 2012 season, when executive vice president Ken Williams hired him even though he had no managerial experience.
But after completing his managerial career with the Sox with a 375-435 record, including a 78-84 finish in 2016, he said he leaves wishing he could have won more. Asked if he felt like he was given good enough players to win, Ventura said he controlled what he could.
"We came up short, and I feel like that falls on me," Ventura said. "You just do what you can do and (control) how you conduct yourself. It's not like they're going to be putting a statue out on the concourse (of me). You do what you can, and that's all you can really do."
Ventura's final season will be remembered for both the team's collapse after a 23-10 start and for bizarre off-the-field issues. Those included Adam LaRoche's retirement over his son's clubhouse time during spring training and Chris Sale's suspension after he cut up team throwback jerseys because he was upset about being required to wear them.
Ventura said the losses following the high expectations were tougher to deal with than the clubhouse conflicts.
"There are a lot of things that go on when you're together a lot and you're a family," Ventura said. "Part of that is there are some tough times, and some tough love and a kick in the pants some other times. I just don't publicly do it. But these guys all play hard. They went out and played hard, and that's the main thing. "
Ventura spoke to the team before the game about his departure, and afterward, he stood near the exit to the clubhouse, shaking hands and sharing hugs as players, staff and media members made their way out.
The former third baseman who played 10 of his 16 seasons with the Sox said he will miss the people the most. He said he doesn't know what he will do now, and while he has no immediate plans to stay in a role with the Sox or manage again, he didn't rule it out.