When Dale Sveum was introduced as the new manager of the Chicago Cubs (and in the months that have followed), he made a number of references to “playing the game the right way,” “giving effort on every play,” and so on, and so forth. He indicated that Cubs players will be held accountable for their effort – implying that they hadn’t been in the past.

Moreover, Sveum alluded to the way he perceived the Cubs’ effort last year when he was sitting in the other dugout, and suggested that, around baseball, the Cubs weren’t exactly known for their hustle.

At the time, it was all rah-rah, and easy to be pleased. But, after a few moments, it was fair to wonder: how would recently-dumped manager Mike Quade feel about hearing, essentially, that his team didn’t try very hard last year?

Not well, it turns out.

“It’s a beautiful day fishing in the sunshine — I appreciate you [messing] up my day,’’ Quade told Daryl Van Schouwen of the Sun-Times when informed of Sveum’s comments and asked for his thoughts (Quade laughed as it said it). “Maybe I’m being an ­idiot, but I thought we gave a pretty damn good effort every night. I don’t know, maybe that was [Sveum’s] philosophy or a backhanded shot. I didn’t hear that.’’

It’s always unfair to regard months of a man’s professional work with just a few faint recollections, but it seemed that, throughout the season, Quade was hard on the younger players when their effort came under fire, but was lax on the vets. Maybe it was just an attractive narrative that developed over one or two examples, and was then repeated throughout the year, but it’s a fair representation of the way I remember things.

For his part, Quade believes that Cubs players’ effort in 2011 was adequate.

“If comments are made … there’s no reason for anybody to do anything but look forward. I can’t be bothered, because I was pretty damn happy. Did everybody run out every ball? No. That’s going to happen with a lot of people [on a lot of teams],” Quade said before noting his thoughts on one of the more heavily-criticized effort-offenders. “I thought [Aramis] Ramirez gave a helluva effort last year. Maybe because it was contract year, I don’t know.’’

Ultimately, the whole “effort” issue has been overblown in my mind, and it certainly wouldn’t be among the top five reasons Quade was rightly let go. Of course Sveum was going to come in and say that his guys are going to work hard – that’s what fans want to hear, and that’s what managers say.

The proof will be in the pudding; though I suspect that, to our eyes, the biggest difference in “effort” will actually be a byproduct of a difference in the personnel, not the attitudes.

  • Ivy Walls

    Okay now we are in an area I know a little more than the average fan having known actual HOF coaches. There are a few things a head coach or manager must do or be and there are a few tools they have all of which Quade either didn’t possess or didn’t use and why his players didn’t play the game ‘the right way” and yes Quade because you were placed in a position that was out of your league you were “a self described idiot”, your personal emotions withstanding.

    Okay what is the head coach or in baseball jargon the manager—he is THE ALPHA MALE….meaning all things start and stop with him, how you play the game, who you gain favor with et cetera—-why because the ALPHA MALE determines two things;

    WHEN YOU PLAY and WHERE YOU PLAY….or in other words IF YOU PLAY and if you do WHEN.

    How you play is up to the player, but then the ALPHA MALE decides whether it is good, whether your effort, decisions and production warrant more playing time and when or if.

    It is the power of god in the team sport world.

    Want to get the attention of a player, sit his ass down and don’t pay attention to him for awhile, they will begin to figure it out….

    Quade let the asylum inhabitats rule the asylum (Ramirez, Pena, Zambrano, Marmol, Soriano, Byrd) and he got the effort and results from that….

    Even if they might hit a HR or two, were their overall contributions more a subtraction to the team effort?

    When you watch teams with powerful managers (Cox or LaRussa for example) they play for the manager and what that manager thinks is best way to play, if not those players don’t play.

    So Sveum will have an opportunity, bench those who are not playing to his criteria and he will be the ALPHA MALE…then it comes down to execution and talent.

  • Bric

    There’s a reason Q went 20 something years in the minors without ever getting a majors’ job. Last year Hendry figured after somehow playing with the house money for 2 years too long (Bradley deal?) he might as well tip the server with a taste of the high life before he got ran out of the casino.

  • mysterious4th

    The entire team saw his lack of work ethic as a coach and the team as a whole seemed to take on his attitude for the game. It seemed like quade didn’t care and if the players see their coach not giving a crap then why would they care? As for most of the vets they could have set a better example for the younger players. Soriano out there in RF was off in his own little world half the time (hence his defense being even worse -mixed with lack of fielding skills), so of course castro is going to see that half the vets aren’t paying attention half the time and he is going to do what they’re doing. Why not make soriano stand in front of the media and say I’m sorry for having some stupid little hop when I’m catching a fly ball, and because of my stupid hop I’ve misplayed the balls and even injured myself. Big Z is gone, quade, and hopefully soriano will be gone as well soon. If the cubs only win 50 games but get rid of soriano Ill be happy if they get rid of him.

    • mysterious4th

      Correction: LF

  • Brian Peters

    Who gives a fiddler’s fart what that wrinkled-up mother trucker has to say?? He’ll never get another shot as a manager. Period.

    • mysterious4th

      Hey shouldn’t have been given a baseball job anyways let alone 20yrs worth of them in the minors and never a coaching job at the majors level. I’m sure my dog could have done a better job coaching then he did. Did hendry think he owed it to him. Or maybe he knew his time was up before the hiring of quade and wanted to screw us in an inconspicous (sp?) Way. Hendry, Z, kenny(out of the gm title) was probably the best things the theo trio has done on a non-player level. Quade should realize how terrible he was in his 180ish games he was in that position and give us back our money for what he is due on his final payment of his 2yr contract for being such an effin loser coach! Oh and if the MLB umpires can get rid of west that would be amazing. He’s like the carlos zambrano of umpires!

  • bluekoolaidaholic

    I notice that he didn’t mention how inept he was at managing pitchers.
    He personally didn’t do a very “darn good job every night”.
    He also didn’t mention Ramirez’s “helluva effort” first half when we needed him.
    He did continue to rank on the youngsters, especially Castro.
    Sorry Mike, it’s a poor craftsman who blames his tools.
    See ya, enjoy your free money, just like all those other overpaid lazy vets you like so much.