We all should cut Cubs Manager Dale Sveum some slack.
Taking on a rebuilding job for your first gig isn’t easy. On top of that, it’s in a major market that hasn’t won in 100 plus years. It’s hard to find a lot of fault with the job the Cubs skipper has done to this point.
However, Sveum has raised my antenna lately with one go to move. He has developed somewhat of a penchant for putting players on notice or critiquing them through the media.
Is Sveum using the media to motivate?
We all know about the hollow Iowa threats he threw out to building blocks Anthony Rizzo and Starlin Castro. Come to think of it, there aren’t many weeks that go by without Sveum addressing or assessing his young shortstop publicly. He has done it with other players on many occasions as well.
Sveum is generally fair in his public observations and criticisms in my opinion. However, he does seem to use the media often to convey these messages, or is it just the local reporters getting some choice sound bites out of him? Edwin Jackson's comments the other day made me think I'm not imagining this.
Sveum said recently he wanted to see Jackson pitch with more conviction at the start of games, throwing at full velocity instead of gradually getting into the flow. When asked if Jackson had spoken to Sveum about the perceived lack of conviction the laid back Jackson let this fly.
"I have talked to him," Jackson said. "If he wants everybody to know what we talked about, I'm sure when you go ask him, he'll go put it out there in the paper."
I talked to someone today who is close to the situation on a daily basis. He originally thought Jackson was too laid back to even pay attention to Sveum’s comments to the media. It sounded to me like Jackson did in this case. I asked if the skipper was starting to rub some of his clubhouse the wrong way by putting his players out there too often.
There are somewhat mixed reports whether Sveum’s is intentionally trying to (motivate through media) or not. Sometimes it's just as simple as answering the questions, Im told. Apparently the line of questioning drives it more than his motivations.
“He's prepped, but there are times where he doesn't give it much thought” says my source.
If that is the case, maybe he needs to give it some.
Filed under: coaching staff