Earlier this week, general manager Rick Hahn was reflecting on the White Sox' worst season since 1970, and he pointed to his head and a new crop of gray hair.
Nearly six months of bad baseball has had the same effect on manager Robin Ventura.
Contact information ( * required )
Looking much more gray now than he did back in spring training, Ventura has every right to pull all of his hair out, especially after another odious display by the Sox in Thursday night's 14-3 loss to the Indians at U.S. Cellular Field.
"Not a good game to sit through, watch, anything." Ventura said in maybe his shortest postgame ever as manager. "All the way around, it just wasn't good."
Hired out of nowhere before the 2012 season, Ventura had the White Sox in first place for 117 days and was a bona fide American League Manager of the Year candidate until a 4-11 finish ended any playoff aspirations.
This year the Sox have been in last place every day since June 6. The season can't end soon enough, but maybe all of the adversity makes Ventura a better manager in 2014.
"You learn more going through stuff like this," Ventura said before the White Sox lost to Cleveland for the 12th time in 14 games this season. "I don't know if it makes you better. I don't want to go through this to be thought of as being better or even have to do it again.
"It's experience, but the tougher it is, there's more that's learned from that than there is if it was easy all the time. I don't wish this on anybody, but again, in the end of it you're better for it."
The Sox clearly need to be better offensively and defensively next year, and while young players such as Avisail Garcia, Leury Garcia and Marcus Semien offer some hope for the future, Hahn is going to have to add more established talent through trades or free agency if the team hopes to emerge from the AL Central basement.
"There's no part of it that's easy," Ventura said. "It's work, and you're trying to find ways to change it. That's part of going into the off-season and seeing what we have right now until the end of the year. From that point, you start making assessments and figuring out which way we're going and how we're going to do it."
Hahn has talked about using money saved by trading Jake Peavy and Alex Rios on the amateur draft and international signings, but he's probably going to have to go outside the organization and get a third baseman, first baseman, catcher and center field for next season.
"Again that's something you start looking at as far as where we're at right now and where we're going," Ventura said. "In talking to Rick, that's the plan. How you get there depends on how the off-season goes. There's always plans when you start and throwing ideas out, but again when it happens, that's when things start moving and it becomes a little more concrete.
"Because now it can just be ideas. In the off-season, it's about doing it. The intent of what's been thrown out there and thinking about it, you're excited about that."
Hahn and Ventura have discussed the future, but only in general terms. That will quickly change when the season ends Sept. 29.
"It's going in and looking at what we have," Ventura said. "We're pretty confident with what we have pitching wise and what goes into the future with that. It's always communication and looking at what we had this year and what you think was going to happen and what happened, and you're going to change it."