That's what is going to drive us. Knowing that the name on the front of the uniform is more important than the name on the back. That you're all seeking to establish one common goal -- and that is to be the best team possible.
It was important to establish that message early and be very consistent, to the point of almost being a little redundant. We talk about respect when you play a sport. The way you respect a sport is through the commitment you make to doing what is required to improve -- bringing energy to the table each and every day. Sometimes you have to repeat the message a lot to make sure it is being received in the proper way. At the end of the day, it always should be clear what the message is.
• Renteria has gratitude for former Sox skipper Ventura
Human beings aren't robots. If you can believe you are capable of doing something, you might commit to doing what it takes to get over the hump. That is what we're trying to instill in our players.
Most athletes want to be part of something that's bigger than themselves. They want to be part of the puzzle. Every player is required to do a certain job. Their job isn't to serve themselves; it is to serve the team.
Once on a Sunday during a Mass, the pastor did a sermon on relationships between parents and their children. He said, "Parents, you're not always going to like your kids, but you're always going to love them. Kids, you're not always going to like your parents, but you're always going to love them."
I thought it was insightful, because a team is very much that way. We might not like each other every day. There's always going to be issues. But teams should be able to confide in each other, discuss and work things out. No matter what happens, our overriding belief is that we should always continue to love each other.
I could see the difference in our team when we left Spring Training to open the season. It wasn't that the players were different. It's that they became a part of each other.
How does that manifest itself on the field? It manifests itself through confidence in your teammate. It's knowing that you're always going to pick up the other guy. You're trying to play as flawless a game as possible, but it's not always going to be that way. If someone boots a ball, it's the pitcher saying, "Don't worry about it, we've got this."
Our goal is to represent the White Sox and the City of Chicago with a club that gives you energy, enthusiasm and hustle. Over the long haul, if we're consistent in our approach -- if we all can be on the same page -- we have a great chance of being successful.
As told to Ed Sherman.