Dale Sveum will not be doing two shows a night at Zanies. That much we know. That much was evident in his introductory press conference as the Cubs’ new manager.
Yeah, well, fine. Stand-up comedy isn't his job. Standing up to the dog attitude of the Cubs players, however, is Job One.
If you listened between the lines Friday morning, Sveum was calling the Cubs of recent vintage lazy, unmotivated and lacking respect for the game and teammates. That description is not exactly a revelation, no matter what Aramis Ramirez’s agent or Carlos Zambrano might think.
But Sveum was unafraid to call a mope a mope. Can I get an “Amen’’?
Sveum is coming from NL Central-rival Milwaukee, so he got a good view of the Mike Quade disaster. When asked whether he had respect for the way the Cubs played the game last season, Sveum damned the regime he’s following.
“Running balls out on a consistent basis, playing the game hard for three hours --- you just don’t see that looking over on the other side,’’ Sveum said.
I mean, any new manager who respected last season’s Cubs is not someone you’d want as your new manager.
Quade’s Cubs stunk on defense and didn’t seem to care about it. Quade’s Cubs ran the bases badly and stupidly. Quade’s Cubs were a whole lot of drooling over veterans, no matter that the veterans were the ones who drove the Cubs to one of the worst records in the game.
Sveum sounds like a guy who won’t be the manager of the kids and the valet for the veterans. He sounds like he intends to demand accountability from everybody and kick the backsides of those who play like, well, Cubs, which puts him ahead of Quade.
Sveum values modern statistical analysis as a method of isolating a team’s advantages, which puts him way ahead of Dusty Baker, who believes walks are bad because they clog the bases.
Sveum was awake, lucid and seemed to care, so he’s ahead of Lou Piniella.
And man, what a voice. Sveum sounded like Jim Leyland’s younger brother. A lot of what he said Friday seemed to have exponential gravitas.
Sveum won’t be a great sound bite the way Ozzie Guillen was a great sound bite. But he also sounds like a guy who won’t shovel a bunch of garbage at the public. I mean, Sveum pretty much called his new team a bunch of dogs. Got to love that.
And thankfully, it also doesn’t sound as if Sveum will try to be the players’ buddy. I swear I’ll start an Occupy Wrigley movement if Sveum starts referring to players with pathetic, embarrassing, cutesy nicknames such as Lopey, Cassie, Sote, Barn, Sleepy, Grumpy and Doc.
Sveum talked about winning the World Series, and he ought to know, having coached third base for Boston’s drought-breaking champions in 2004. So, yeah, Theo Epstein continues to get the band back together.
Truth is, it doesn't matter what you think of Sveum or what you know of him. This is all about trusting Epstein. As if you had a choice.