After hearing new Cubs manager Dale Sveum at his press conference on Friday, I'm having second thoughts about my comments about him the other day. There is nothing I hate more than someone who says one thing one day and something else the next, so let me spell it out for you.
He still was not my choice. I clearly said I wanted Mike Maddux and would have settled for Sandy Alomar Jr.
That being said, I like the way he came across in the interview session. He impressed me with what he had to say, especially about holding players accountable and playing hard.
That's something they didn't do last year, and to me, that is inexcusable.
He had a chance to witness that first-hand from the Milwaukee Brewers dugout, and he seemed to allude that he was disgusted by it.
In an article on ESPN Chicago he said, "You're trying to create a situation where the other team knows how you play the game. The worst thing that happens in baseball is when we look over and are like, That team, man, they're dogs."
The Cubs had enough of those to start a kennel, and hopefully the new regime will sweep them out.
From the baseball side, he seems to be a little bit country, a little bit rock and roll.
He feels there is a place for stats, but he's not married to them. His philosophy appears to be it depends on the situation, which is good, because that seems to mean he can think.
Sveum is known as a players' manager, but he doesn't have a problem getting in their face if they're not doing what they're supposed to.
That's a refreshing change from Mike Quade. Players would get in his face (Ryan Dempster) or he would joke about someone emasculating him saying, "That's just Carlos."
He also tried to emphasize that blaming the conditions at Wrigley Field for the teams' history of failures are just excuses, and that the ballpark has to become a home-field advantage for the Cubs.
How he's going to do that is up in the air, and he's going to need help from the front office to supply him with the right players to make that happen.
There is a lot of work to be done. This is a construction site, and the rebuilding hasn't even begun.
They need a third and first baseman, and possibly someone at second, though I like Darwin Barney's hustle. The entire outfield is a mess, and might be the worst in baseball.
Soriano might end up being a special project of Sveum's if he is still here next year, which unfortunately is likely. Marlon Byrd is hustle and not much else, and right field is a question mark that hopefully will be answered by rookie Brett Jackson.
That's not even getting to the pitching staff. They need at least two starters, and someone has to either fix what's wrong with Carlos Marmol, or move him out of the closer's role.
Sveum can only work with the tools he's provided with.
He seems like a serious guy, but he exhibited a sense of humor when talking about his "nuts."
He said everything right in the press conference, but once the season starts and reality sets in, we'll see if it was just talk, or if this guy also walks the walk.
There used to be a Chicago Bulls player who later got a job on the local sports scene named Norm Van Lier. When something somebody did bothered him, he would say, "I'm going to put a foot up his ass."
If I see Sveum do that to Alfonso Soriano next year during one of his many "dog" moments, then, he'll be my guy.
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