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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.

  • BD

    I don’t know how good Sveum will be, but I am so glad Quade is gone.

  • JulioZuleta

    “Maybe I’m being an idiot…”
    -Mike Quade

    • EQ76

      haha.. quote of the day!

  • Brian

    The fact that he described the 2011 Cubs performances as, “adequate”, is precisely why he isnt a big league manager any more. Good riddance.

    • art

      thank you.

  • ferrets_bueller

    No, Mike, you ARE an idiot.  No maybe about it.

    http://www.baseball-reference.com/boxes/PHI/PHI201106110.shtml

    That has to be the most absurd batting order I’ve ever seen.  He would have been better off drawing names from a hat…

    • gblan014

      I have to say I always thought it was strange when a manager (because Quade isn’t the only one who does that) will give a regular the day off and then insert whatever bench player is replacing him on that day in the same spot in the lineup. For example, in the boxscore that you linked to, one can assume that Blake DeWitt was filling in for Soriano that day. That’s fine, but why on Earth would you keep DeWitt in the 5-hole for that day? Is it that time-consuming to redo the lineup so that DeWitt can bat in a more appropriate spot?

    • Quintz

      Isn’t the most horrifying part of that not the order they are in, but the names on the page?

    • bt

      Really? A game in which the Cubs lost 7-1 to Cliff Freaking Lee and the Phillies, and you guys think the batting order was a significant issue?

      • ferrets_bueller

        They (the cubs) could have won 10-0 and he would still be a moron for that.

  • Sweetjamesjones

    Uh oh!! There’s going to be a cat fight!!

  • Quintz

    Surprised Quade responded. What does he expect Sveum to say. “I thought you guys tried as hard as you possibly could, and you still really stunk”.

    I’m in the minority but I think baseball managers are mostly created equal (a few exceptions) and while I like Sveum so far, he’ll be getting butchered the same way Quade was when the Cubs claw and scratch to reach .500 all season (and more than likely have about the same record).

    I’m a pessimist and even I can’t hide my optimism for the Cubs future, but that optimism does extend to this years win/loss record.

    • Hawkeyegrad

      Matching last year’s record with a lower payroll (Fukudome, Aramis, Pena gone) and Zambrano not contributing but the Cubs carrying $15 million of his contract is a step in the right direction.

      If you assume you pay $5 million per WAR the approximately $30 million not spent (approx $15 million lower payroll and Zambrano’s $15 million) means you have theoretically gained 6 wins. I know some of these resources are going to the front office/scouting/minor leagues but a large part of the projected benefits from those investmetns will not be realized for several years.

      I will be watching the season through this lens. I can’t envision this team getting to .500 but if they improve their win total by 5 games and they have 6 games of payroll deduction from last year (assuming they will bring payroll up when they get closer to contention) I will be happy. Couple this with my expectations that the Cubs will start to realize the benefits from their investments in the minor leagues and scouting over the next several years and you have a team that is contending.

      • Kyle

        Exactly.

        The 2011 Cubs were a 71-team with an aging collection of high-priced players backed up by a mediocre farm system and a small amount young, pre-FA MLB talent.

        The 2012 Cubs may be a 71-win team (I think they’ll be a little higher, but still below .500), but they’ll be a young team with upside, backed up by a strong farm system and growingly impressive amounts of young, pre-FA MLB talent. And they’ll be $20 million cheaper than the 2011 version.

        That’s a huge step in the right direction.

  • truebluecubbie

    Well for the most part, in the games I seen, there was not a lot of hustle. The younger players and older players seemed to be phoning it in. Quade at the same point looked bored in the dugout much like Pinella did in 2010. The only excitement Quade ever showed was when he was getting ejected from games. It almost seemed like he wanted to get ejected so no one can say he had no emotion in the game.

    • DocWimsey

      Yes, but “hustle” is to “success” in sports what “brown-nosing” is to “learning” in school. The 2012 Cubs’ problems were that they didn’t jog enough when batting and they let the opposition jog too much when pitching.

      • mjhurdle

        While I agree that you cannot totally judge a player’s effort by their gameday behavior, I  wouldn’t say that “hustle” is un-related to success in baseball.

        Running out a sure out will rarely result in something positive on the diamond, it does reflect on a player’s desire and professionalism. For example, my workplace has a very relaxed dress code. However, some people continue to dress above the bare minimum requirement. Does their dressing that way ensure that their performance is always excellent? No, just as the people that come in jeans and t-shirts does not ensure they have poor performance. But from time and experience, more people that dress up perform well than people that adopt the minimum standards. While the act itself means little, it often shows a dedication and care for the job you are doing.

        When a player does not run out a ground ball, that act itself is often inconsequential. But it is fair to question the motivation and desire. If the player isn’t willing to give 100% when everyone is watching, why should we all assume that they are really putting the effort in behind closed doors? It isn’t fair, but often in life the way you are percieved isn’t fair.

        • necusfan

          How many pieces of flair do you wear?

  • DocWimsey

    The fact of the matter is that Quade watched what his team did in the locker room, in the weight room, in the batting cage, etc. Sveum never saw any of that, and as such, he never was qualified to comment on the effort that the Cubs players put into baseball.

    • JB88

      Really? Does that mean that we Cubs fans aren’t qualified to talk about the effort the Cubs’ players put out? Are you really insinuating that I couldn’t question Starlin Castro’s focus (i.e., effort) when he was turning around during the middle of a pitch captured by ESPN? Or that I can’t question ARam’s effort when I see him jog to first, repeatedly? Or I can’t question Randy Wells’ effort when there are multiple reports of him out partying with Jay Cutler and Greg Olsen until all hours of the night?

      I don’t need to be in the clubhouse or weightroom to question that. And neither does Dale Sveum IMO.

      • Kyle

        Fans are completely unqualified to judge the effort a player puts out. Unless you are following that player around outside of gametime, seeing how much time they put into the batting cage or the video room, you have no idea what kind of effort they put in.

        Aramis Ramirez *should* jog to first on easy outs. Beating out one or two extra ground balls per year is not worth what you lose the first time he pulls a hamstring and is out for three weeks.

        • JB88

          I respect your opinions posted generally on this board, but I vehemently disagree with you on this point.

          I couldn’t tell you the number of times I’ve appeared at my job and seen and know when competitors phone something in. I don’t need to be following them around 24-7 to know who is prepared to do their job and who isn’t. If someone truly believes that Dale Sveum is unqualified to know the level of hustle the 2011 Cubs put forth, then I have a bridge to sell you …

      • DocWimsey

        Focus and effort are very different things. There are times where it does not matter how hard I try, I cannot focus; and there are times where focusing is no effort at all.

        Jogging to first is, in my view, irrelevant. It’s the groundballs that kill the team. Trying to make up for it by creating the illusion of funning hard is like the student coming up after the test and telling me “But I studied really hard….” to atone for a weak answer and get me to bump him/her up a grade. Sorry, but I’m giving the good grade to the student who nailed the pitch.

        As for Wells partying, lots of well-known players who could have given the Rolling Stones a run for the money while on their way to HOF careers. I’m not saying that it helps, but it’s hard for me to imagine that it hurts, either.

        • RoughRiider

          “lots of well-known players who could have given the Rolling Stones a run for the money while on their way to HOF careers. I’m not saying that it helps, but it’s hard for me to imagine that it hurts, either.”

          That reminds me of how I feel when I remember how Dennis Eckersly partied and was a self professed achoholic with the Cubs but cleaned his act up with Oakland and then became a HOF pitcher.

    • art

      it’s what you do on the playing field that counts, and for that Dale and most baseball people and fans were qualified to give their opinion. i could care less what they do in the clubhouse, as long as they perform/hustle when it counts.

      Soriano supposedly was the hardest worker before (cage) games, sure didn’t show come game time. instead of taking batting practice he should have practiced bouncing off the ivy.

    • Brian

      For me, it is obvious that these players didn’t put the “proper” amount of themselves into it.
      There were many games they let slip last year because they could not make the routine happen.

      • Mick

        You mean we could have been winning World Series’ all along if our players had just put the “proper amount of themselves into it”? Hurry up and tell Theo about this so he can stop turning over the roster!

        • Brian

          No, but maybe, just maybe, the ordinary routine play that everyone makes, except this team, would have been handled alot better and instead of averaging 3 errors per game it could have been reduced down and more games won in the end.
          If per chance you have more insight, please share the opinoin you so value.

  • King Jeff

    When you lose 90 games with a 130 million dollar payroll, it’s pretty obvious the effort wasn’t there day in and day out. When Quade comes out and says he thinks his team put in a pretty darn good effort, it tells me to quit listening when Quade talks about baseball.

    • Kyle

      I don’t find that obvious at all. When you lose 90 games with a $130 million payroll, it tells me that much of that money was tied up in players on the downside of their careers and that you had a rush of starting pitcher injuries and your backup options were terrible. Effort had little to do with it, if anything.

      • King Jeff

        I don’t think age had anything to do with the way Aramis Ramirez would go after a ground ball, or how Alfonso Soriano would run out a fly ball, or how Starlin Castro forgets that he’s playing in a baseball game. That’s lack of effort and accountability, and it trickles down from the leaders to the young players. I agree that the starting pitching had a lot to do with the way the season went, but the overpaid underachievers set the team back further in the long run with their lack of playing hard everyday. It also seems to me that Quade and his coaches didn’t put in a whole lot of effort coaching their young players and helping them improve.

      • Quintz

        “Hustle” and “effort” is the way my 90 year old grandpa explains every Cub loss. He also thinks Tony Campana is a futre HOFer.

  • WGNstatic

    This is one thing I always hate about a change in manager. The new guy ALWAYS stresses fundamentals, playing the game the right way, hustle, blah blah blah.

    It is fascinating to go back and read the comments from and regarding Quade from a year ago. At the time it was all about hustle, running balls out, fundamentals, etc.

    I am glad Quade is gone. I am fine with Sveum. But let’s face it, the talk around a new manager is just that, talk.

    • Quintz

      There is a reason baseball managers are paid much less on average compared to other professional sports (or any SEC football coach). Wins and losses in baseball don’t have that much to do with them.

  • HoustonTransplant

    “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.”

    I completely agree.

  • Mick

    I don’t like this story or thread at all. It really gives off the whole “if you’re not with us then you’re against us” mentality that I hate in sports fans. Especially since Quade was a man of the people, lived in Chicago, rode the L to the games, etc. Let the man enjoy his year off and wish him the best.

    • WGNstatic

      I completely agree. Let me say I didn’t like the Quade hire, and I didn’t like him as manager.

      That said, this talk always happens when a new manager comes in. Nobody stuck a microphone in Sweet Lou’s face last offseason and said “What do you think about Quade’s comment that he was going to stress fundamentals? Does this mean he thinks you didn’t care about fundamental baseball?”

      the new manager’s comment line is a full of cliche’s as anything in sports. Take them for what they are, and leave it at that. Sometimes, a cigar isn’t even a cigar.

    • Brian

      Then the media should not have solicited a response! Us, the fans have a right to respond to his response as seen fit!

      • Mick

        The right to speak and the right to remain silent. Its called the high-road, I wouldn’t expect the media or White Sox fans to take it but we Cubs’ fans are better than that. C’mon man!

        • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

          I found Quade’s comments interesting and newsworthy. I don’t see anything mean-spirited in the post.

          • Mick

            Well, you could have picked a photo w/Quade smiling then!

            • ferrets_bueller

              Yeah, like this one!

              • Mick

                Yes, exactly. That pic must be from Spring Training, I loved the red alternates.

                p.s. freakin’ hilarious pic!

            • Andrew

              I dont know if there are pictures of Quade smiling

  • mpope30

    As I read through the comments, I can’t help but think about Allen Iverson………PRACTICE???

  • rbreeze

    Certain veterans on this team had complacency written all over their level play in the field which translated to mediocre.  Ramirez woke up after we were out of it.  Zambrano couldn’t get his head out of his ass.  I wanted Sandberg over Quade but I was willing to give him a chance.  Early on they looked interesting (first 3 games?).  Then Wells and Cashner went down and there was no safety net to staying competitive.  Quade like him or not, never had the horses.

    Theo and Jed got us a little younger and more athletic.  We won’t be waiting for that 3 run homer anymore.  Hustle and quality baseball play will have to help us win.  We may only win 70 some games this year with this current group.  But show me some hustle and effort and some of the hope for the future they are trying to build here and I’ll watch the games.

  • cubfanincardinalland

    Excuses, excuses and more cover my butt excuses. This is what the Cubs have stood for way to long.
    The most refreshing part about the people running this team now, is they are not going to put up with the b.s. rationalizing failure. Produce and win or hit the road and shut up.
    Sveum’s tatoo on his arm sums up his way of doing business. “Pain is inevitable, suffering is optional”. Save the crybaby routine from now on boys.

  • jstraw

    “Quade was hard on the younger players when their effort came under fire…”

    Exactly. He was reactive to the media…he didn’t hold them accountable *first*.

    Quade sucks at managing a baseball team.

  • Joe N

    Quade was a TERRIBLE manager. If he was going to call out Castro, he needed to call out whoever, whenever there was a problem… Dempster’s BS that he tried with Quade AND got away with, for example. The lazy crap that other veterans tried and got away with… Benching Castro loses all reasoning if you don’t do the same to others when they pull crap.
    Quade was just a boat-load of horse crap. He may be a nice guy, but you can’t lead a team and expect to teach the rookies something when you aren’t treating everyone the same way. All that does is tell Castro and the others that it’ll be ok in a few years… just act like you care until it doesn’t matter.
    That and he couldn’t put together a lineup correctly with the ’27 Yankees…

  • Joe N

    Oh yeah.. I almost forgot.. when he made the comment that fans don’t realize how “fast” everything happens when you’re in the dugout just confirmed for me that if they’re happening that fast for him, maybe HE shouldn’t be in the dugout. I’m just sayin’…

  • rbreeze

    I know some Brewer fans at work and they say that Sveum will not put up with poor play and a lack of effort.  He will hold all players accountable and that’s what we have not had here for a long time.

  • Andrew

    Hustle is overrated in baseball. Everyone is complaining about ramirez’s and castro’s lack of hustle but they were easily two of the most productive players on the team. Ramirez and Soriano aren’t very fast, the chance that running out a groundball especially hard is going to help the team win at all is extremely slim.

    Look over every groundball and lazy fly of pujols and I’m willing to bet he was jogging to first on at least half of them, but nobody’s gonna complain about that obviously.

    Baseball is not football. Baseball is not a physical game, therefore the effect hustle has is very small. A manager’s main job is to make decisions regarding the team. That means deciding the lineup, rotation and the various in game decisions. I think Quade did a bad job at making decisions. Starting James Russell ever? Not ever knowing where to bat Castro. Overusing Marmol. There are lots of ways Quade mismanaged the team, but I don’t think he had any effect on the teams hustle.

    I don’t think Sveum will affect the teams hustle. I think he’ll say the same things Quade said and every other manager says i.e. run out every ball, keep your head in the game, hustle every play, etc. I hope what will be different is that he will effectively emphasize taking good deep at bats, walks, and make statistically logical lineups, all of which I think he will since those are things Theo was looking for in a manager.

  • Dick

    My main memory of Quade will be his 24-13 record in 2010, and the 396,000 references to that record from the end of 2010 to the middle of 2011 by every hack sportswriter and broadcaster. He was a crap manager who had one good month when the Cubs played almost exclusively second division teams. Either that or Xadier Nady was the second coming.

  • cubfanincardinalland

    You know when Quade lost me totally. It was that last Saturday game in St. Louis, we go to the ninth with a 1-0 lead, and we can deliver a death blow to the Cardinals. And he justs sits there and watches Marmol blow yet another game, missing the strike zone by five feet, when it took anybody else about 10 seconds to realize Marmol was clueless that day. Reminded me of the saying that doing nothing is worse than doing the wrong thing.
    And the stinking Cardinals go on to win the freaking World Series. I will always blame Quade for it.

  • die hard

    Yikes!! ….beating up Quade again?!….. hes been beaten to a pulp already….looks like everyone getting last punches in before focusing on Sveum?….hope this much venom appears in June when realization sets in that even absent Quade, the Cubs wont win 60 games in 2012…

    • Deer

      c’mon now, it’s nearly impossible not to win 60 games. 70 might take some luck though.

  • Cheryl

    Enough about Quade and last year’s team. He tried, but he just didn’t seem to get it as a manager. And, the players from last year didn’t seem to put in much effort. This team will see more changes than what has happened so far. The changes were and are necessary. I’m looking forward to this season and the new cubs team.

  • OHBearCub

    Quade was as useless as tits on a male hog. Why would anyone even want to interview him anyway. Mike sit back on your boat and watch some game film while your waiting for a fish to bite. You will probablu still take to long to figure out how pathetically stupid you are. Mean while the fish ate your bait because you cant do two things at once. Maybe you will get another some day when you admit you were in way over your head in so many ways. You let your pitchers mouth off to you and then leave the dugout or the stadium (Dumpster and Zambino) . How did you take one of the greatest jobs in baseball and F it up that bad. Anybody could have outsmarted you on a daily basis.

    Check your gas in the boat, check your bait and set your gps and loran to the bermuda triangle… what I am saying is get lost. And please nobody else interview the moron.

  • TSB

    Quade played not to win, but played not to lose, the kiss of death for a team . Don’t rock the boat, don’t take any chances, don’t hurt the veterans’ feelings. The players sensed his attitude, and adopted it as their own.

  • Eric

    Please don’t take this as hate for Quade. But the comments he made all sound like excuses. Which is exactly the opposite type of attitude Sveum has had so far. He’s said no excuses, you won’t beable to walk by me in the dugout of you don’t give 100%. Now ofcourse SO FAR that’s just talk. We’ll see what he does. But it’s an attitude of appeasement and excuses vs an attitude of no excuses for lack of 100% play. Quade made Castro appologize PUBLICLY to the media for slacking off at SS on defense. How many times did he SIT or make appologize publicly any of his vets for an apparent lack of “effort” or “caring”?

  • mysterious4th

    Quade wasn’t qualified to coach in the majors. So, if you have an unqualified coach that means he will not be effective on a regular basis. Quade is the kind of guy that’s a career minor league coach (bench coach at the highest). It seems he knows the game of baseball like a regular everyday baseball fan (cubs fans know the game better then he does) I don’t think he “hustled” either. Him not reworking a line up card when you give your everyday player a day off is comparable to soriano watch the fly ball he thinks is leaving the yard but in fact could have been a double or a triple but was only a single because he watched it. And for him as a coach to be so hard on the young players and not hold the vets just as responsible seems to set the tone for lack of field effort! IMO

  • NL_Cubs

    “Maybe I’m being an ­idiot, but I thought we gave a pretty damn good effort every night”. – Mike Quade

    Yes Mike, you’re an idiot.

    If it looks like a duck, walks like a duck and talks like a duck, it’s a duck.

    There was no accountability, no improvement in fundies and no winning attitude and I’m soooooo glad he’s gone.

  • Mike foster

    Zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz……………

    • ferrets_bueller

      Glad he’s gone too.

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