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Monday, December 4

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Cubs Mon Nov 28 2011

Cubs Look Ahead With Sveum at the Helm

Thumbnail image for cubs.gifWell, he's not Terry Francona. And he's not Mike Maddux. Or Sandy Alomar Jr.

Regardless, Dale Sveum is the new Cubs manager.

Sveum, 48, coached in a couple different roles in Milwaukee. He was an interim manager for a brief time in the 2008 season -- after Ned Yost was fired in September, Sveum led the team into the postseason.

This is Sveum's first managerial job. Just who is this guy?

• He's the second straight bald manager for the Cubs
• He was the third base coach for the Red Sox in 2004 and 2005, and was the bench coach, third base coach and hitting coach for the Brewers from 2006 to 2011.
• He played from 1986 to 1999 for the Brewers, Phillies, White Sox, Athletics, Mariners, Pirates and Yankees, playing a lot of shortstop, third base and first base.
• He finished his career with 69 home runs and a .236 batting average.
• His finest season was 1987 for Milwaukee, where he hit .252 with 25 home runs and 95 RBIs, while playing 153 games at short and second.
• He won two World Series rings, with the Yankees as a player in 1998 and with the Red Sox as a coach in 2004.
• He is the 52nd manager in Cubs history.

Since Sveum has very little experience managing, we have no statistical precedence to make a prediction on. But plenty of folks have weighed in with their early opinions.

Sun-Times writer Gordon Wittenmyer wrote that Sveum will be a no-nonsense type of guy:

In fact, you get the impression just listening to Sveum, the Cubs' new manager, that he's not only prepared but also focused, tough, even-tempered, intolerant of ''crap'' and as steeped in baseball education as anyone in the room.

Rick Morrissey, also of the Sun-Times, wrote in a column that Sveum is the type of manager who holds his players accountable, and will say what needs to be said (like Sveum's comments on not babying pitcher Carlos Zambrano). He also added that Sveum is exactly the type of manager that the new regime was looking for.

Sveum is the flesh and blood that complements the data-driven approach that Epstein and general manager Jed Hoyer like to apply to anything that moves. There was a gleam in Epstein's eye Friday [Nov. 18] when he described how Sveum, before each Brewers series, would watch video of the most recent 100 grounders off the bat of each opposing hitter to help his fielders know where to position themselves.

The Tribune's Paul Sullivan wrote that the Cubs can expect Sveum, son of a marine, to be a guy who will crack the whip and not take any excuses.

Pain and suffering long have gone hand in hand for the Cubs, but Sveum is hoping to provide a cure-all as their manager. He mentioned "whining" more than once Friday during his introductory news briefing at Wrigley Field, which he plans to turn into a whine-free zone. Day games? Cramped clubhouse? Not enough indoor batting cages? Deal with it.

So what do we know? One, the Cubs got the man they wanted. Two, Sveum will not accept excuses, prima donnas or players giving less than 100%.

The Cubs will bring in a manager who should be the perfect fit for them. And it doesn't matter that he's not the biggest name.

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