In Loving Memory of..
Edwin Lee Eby
~For we know that if the earthly tent we live in is destroyed, we have a building from God, a house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens.~ 2 Corinthians 5:1
At 9am today the Chicago Cubs will be a totally new organization. On the outside that is. The Cubs have come to an agreement with Milwaukee Brewers hitting coach Dale Sveum (pronounced "S-weigh-m") on a three year deal, that also includes an option for the 2015 season.
And in hind sight, it couldn't look more obvious.
Sveum is yet another addition to the "Boston Cubs" front office assembly of former Boston Red Sox front office personnel that are now making decisions for the North Side. Sveum served as the Sox third base coach during the 2004-05 season. Another alumn from the 2004 curse breaking BoSox team, Sveum is the final piece of the pre-meditated puzzle Theo Epstein planned to assemble when he first started thinking about taking the position. To think Theo Epstein, an ivy-league moneyball thinker, wouldn't have this idea in mind is to truly be naive. Variably all testimony of Theo, whether it be colleagues or competitors, is that he is calculated.
- Undertaken after careful estimation of the likely outcome
- Made or planned to accomplish a certain purpose; deliberate
- Likely; apt
To be calculated doesn't necessarily mean abandoning the process. Anyone who understands a meticulous thinker like Theo, knows that by definition they are careful, precise and excessively concerned with detail. So in the case of the manager search, no stone would be left un-turned and no tire left un-kicked. The interviews of Mike Maddux, Sandy Alomar Jr., and Pete Mackinan were not a dog and pony show, but more of a good once over for Theo to make sure this idea was fitting together correctly.
Jed Hoyer, Jason Mcleod, Dale Sveum and Theo Epstein all worked in some capacity with the Boston Red Sox during their 2004 and 2007 World Series Championships. This was broken up intermittently throughout seasons after and between, probably not to the keenness of Epstein, who expressed lack of control of the franchise as a reason for his departure.
Dale Sveum however is the right guy for the Cubs for many reasons beyond being apart of Theo Epsteins' "Front Office Marionettes". In fact Dale Sveums' resume outweighs all other candidates when it comes to the categories that the Cubs need managerial help from.
The Cubs fell below the league average in runs, RBI's, and stolen bases. Sveum would be a perfect fit to an otherwise cavalier Cubs offensive unit. During Sveum's time in Boston as a third base coach, he was notorious for his aggressive approach that yielded a high amount of throw-outs at the plate.
That statistic could be considered moot given the fact that the Cubs attempted the one of the lowest amounts of steals in the majors (69). I wouldn't be surprised if that number doubles next season under Dale's call (Sveum's Brewer hitters attempted 93 steals and 89 sacrifice hits in 2011).
Theo also got to keep his word with Sveum that he wanted someone with major league coaching experience, and some. Dale served as the Brewers interim manager during their final 12 regular season games in 2008 and stopped a late season collapse leading the crew to a 7-5 record heading into the postseason. He adds postseason managerial experience to the Cubs as he lead the Brewers into that 08' postseason, ultimately losing to the red hot Philadelphia Phillies 3-1. The Phillies went on to win the World Series.
Theo also got final piece of the establishment of the "Cub's way", which is a 2011 version of "Revenge of the Nerds" meets "Real Genius". Sveum is another user of advanced statistical analysis, a mantra in the new Chicago Cubs clubhouse,
"I do my due diligence and video work and prepare as much as anybody," Sveum told ESPN. "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."
Dale also now gives the Cubs some clout going into free agency. Sveum's time with Milwaukee free agent Prince Fielder will undoubtedly make a difference in his decision to consider Chicago as a possible landing spot. Sveum is the ultimate players coach, he may even take that role to the next level at times.
Sporting News MLB writer Anthony Witrado went into some detail about Sveum's relationship with players during his time as a coach for his respective organizations,
"He was a trusted confidant that players could go to when they were in a slump or when they had a gripe with someone else. They knew Sveum would handle the situation with tact and respect. He was also the type of coach who wouldn’t spend all his time in an office or in the coaches’ locker room. Sveum mingled among the players, talking to them, answering their questions and sometimes asking his own over a beer, whether it was about baseball or motorcycles or whatever."
"As I See It" and as a Cubs fan, I am excited to enter this new dawn of North Side baseball. Expectations and bars are already set before the first real transaction is made. And it is a good feeling. Even Cubs haters are waiting in anticipation as to what is to behold for the Chicago Cubs future. Everybody wants to see curses be broken, underdogs win, and storybook endings.
Let's hope it is written that Dale Sveum's name is to be etched in history.
Tags: Anthony Wintrado, Boston Red Sox, Chicago Cubs, Dale Sveum, Jason Mcleod, Jed Hoyer, Mike Maddux, Milwaukee Brewers, MLB, Pete Mackinan, Philadelpha Phillies, Prince Fielder, Real Genuis, Revenge of the Nerds, Sandy Alomar Jr., Sporting News, Theo Epstein, World Series