Like Pete Mackanin before him, Chicago Cubs managerial interviewee Dale Sveum, 47, was tasked with meeting with the media immediately after a grueling day of interviews. Among the notable quotes and thoughts…
- On his relationship with Theo Epstein and Jed Hoyer, who were in the front office when Sveum was the third base coach with the Red Sox in 2004 and 2005: “We were very fortunate to win the first World Series in Boston in a very long time. I was only there two years, but we had a good relationship. It was my first tenure as a coach in the big leagues and he was just starting out as a general manager. It was fun. When you win, it cures a lot of things. But it’s not like we kept in touch. But we always have had mutual awareness of each other and respect as well.” It sounds like, while they all worked for the same company for a couple years, they weren’t exactly hanging out together at the water cooler.
- On being passed over for the Brewers’ job in 2009, after a short, successful interim manager stint: “I was disappointed, I would’ve liked to have gotten the job. I didn’t dwell on it. I understand the decisions people make. I was as professional as I could be about it and moved on. It was disappointing. I’m not going to sit here and say I wasn’t disappointed. There’s no doubt about it that I wanted that job and felt it was the right time. I moved on. I knew it would happen someday that I would get an opportunity. I never lost hope.” It’s a credit that Sveum stayed on with the Brewers after being passed over, and that he’s stayed on staff through three managerial changes. He’s clearly a valued voice in the dugout.
- On the future of his pupil, free agent first baseman Prince Fielder: “Well, wherever he signs they are getting one heck of a guy. [He's] one of my favorite people I’ve ever coached. And the way he competes and plays the game hard as he does every night, you wish you had 25 Prince Fielders. The leadership he brings by the way he plays is unmatched by anyone in baseball.” While I don’t buy the idea that the Cubs will or will not pursue Fielder on the basis of the manager’s prior relationship with him, I do buy the idea that Sveum would push the Cubs to pursue Fielder, and might make the Cubs a tiny bit more attractive as a landing spot.
- On his competition, Mike Maddux: “He’s a lot like me as far as due diligent work that he does every day. He’s one of the hardest working coaches, if not the hardest working coach, in baseball, and that’s why he’s put himself in this position to get one of these jobs. It’s just nice to be mentioned with a Mike Maddux, because he’s a good friend of mine and he’ll make a good manager someday, if not this year,”
- On his approach to preparing for games: “We can all use stats the way we want them to be used …. I do my due diligence and video work and prepare as much as anybody. As far as the stats, those are what they are, and we can use them to our advantage. It’s a big part of the game now. It’s helping us win a lot of ballgames, the stats and the matchups. That’s just part of the game now, and you use what you can. But a lot of that stuff, we do throw out, too.” Not much beyond what you’d expect him to say, but the buzz is that Sveum is a bit more heavy into the stats and preparation than most.
- On his stoicism in front of the players: “I think one trait you have to have as a manager is never let [the players] see one way or the other how you’re feeling, whether you’re nervous or mad or whatever. I think it’s a bad trait to show body language to the players nowadays.” Sveum says he’s an emotional guy (his nickname is “Nuts”), but he tries to keep it cool in the dugout and on the field.
- On rebuilding, or not: “When you’re dealing with the Cubs or any major market [team], you’re expected to win that year. You’re not expecting to be rebuilding or doing anything other than thinking about winning the World Series. That’s anybody’s goal. It’s obviously very important to the city of Chicago and the Chicago Cubs and Theo Epstein to not just compete and play .500 baseball.” The inclusion of Epstein, by name, in that statement, to me, suggests this is the impression Sveum got from Epstein during the interview.