By Nick Snow
STILLWATER, Okla. —
It’s been 24 years since Robin Ventura has donned an Oklahoma State baseball uniform, but the manager of the Chicago White Sox said the friendly confines of Allie P. Reynolds Stadium still feel like home.
“The visuals you have as a 19-year old are different than you have as a 45-year old,” Ventura said. “Even though a lot of things have changed here, they’re still the same. The house I lived in is still here. The stadium is pretty much the same. ... Everytime I walk through the gates at the stadium, you remember things that have happened in your life and how you were molded. That really is my favorite thing about coming back, you feel younger coming back even though I’m old.”
Ventura, who is in town to headline a fundraiser for the Friends of OSU Library Friday, said those experiences in a Cowboy uniform helped him through his first season as the White Sox manager.
“When I’m here, it’s a lot easier to maybe feel it and understand it,” Ventura said. “But there’s things that you remember that happened for us as far as how you did things or the way you thought. ... You take those things. You’re formed on how you’re going to think and do things and I was lucky to be in a program that did a lot of that for me at a very young age.”
With the Cowboys undergoing their own coaching change with Josh Holliday taking the helm, Ventura — who covered college baseball for ESPN — is confident Oklahoma State baseball will be making a return trip to the College World Series.
“I think it’s great,” Ventura said. “Again you’re looking for someone who is passionate about doing it. You get him and Rob (Walton) in here — they both are excited. They’re part of the family that’s been here for a long time. I think people are excited to see them come back in. If you’re looking for people to do the job two years ago or a year ago, their names would have been at the top of the list. To be able to get Josh and to get Rob, I think everybody is excited.”