By Adam Harris
CHICAGO (CBS) – Cubs President Theo Epstein and General Manager Jed Hoyer stood in the back of a cramped PNC Club at Wrigley Field Monday night as the Chicago media fired questions at current Milwaukee Brewers Hitting Coach Dale Sveum, who could be the next Cubs manager.
The mild-mannered, calm candidate was introduced to the media after his interview Epstein and Hoyer.
“I have knowledge of this game,” Sveum said. “I think there’s one thing I’ve done in all my years is pay attention, and I’ve gotten to learn this game from a lot of people and a lot of (good) managers.”
Sveum played shortstop, third base, and first base throughout his 13-year Major League career. He played for the likes of Tony LaRussa (1993 Oakland A’s), Joe Torre (1998 New York Yankees), Lou Piniella (1994 Seattle Mariners), Jim Leyland (1996-97 Pittsburgh Pirates) and Gene Lamont (Milwaukee Brewers and Pittsburgh Pirates). All five of those managers won Manager of the Year awards at some point in their careers.
“I take a little bit from each and every one of them (his former managers),” Sveum said. “The way they manage a game, the way they handle themselves, the way they demand respect and they way they get respect. I learned a lot from each and every one of them, whether it was how to handle the bullpen, how to handle the bench players or the everyday players or the bench players. They all handled it different … but I understand when you take it all in, which part of it really works.”
Sveum worked with Epstein in Boston as the third base coach in the 2004-2005 seasons, winning a World Series in 2004. Sveum has been with the Brewers ever since 2006 and was the bench coach, third base coach, interim manager, and is now the hitting coach.
Sveum’s only managerial experience in the majors lasted 12 regular season games and four playoff games in 2008 with the Brewers after Ned Yost was fired late in the season. Sveum went 1-3 in the NLDS that year, losing to the Phillies, who eventually won the World Series.
“Once I got to manage that year,” Sveum said. “Even for just those 12 days and the four games of the playoffs, it was definitely something where I felt I was right at home and felt comfortable doing.”
Sveum was unaware that fellow candidate and Texas Rangers Pitching Coach Mike Maddux had pulled from consideration for the Boston Red Sox opening. Sveum is also a candidate for the Red Sox opening and understands how important this is for him and in baseball.
“They’re the two most prestigious jobs in baseball almost, if not in sports,” Sveum said. “They both rank right up there. I’m honored to be considered for both of them and to be a part of both interviews for both clubs … Hopefully I’ll be back for another interview.”
Sveum did not seem fazed by media interaction. He smiled a few times, but was not too emotional either way. His mild-tempered attitude during the press conference is how he says he likes to manage.
“I think one trait that you have to have as a manager is never to let your players see one way or the other what you’re feeling,” Sveum said. “Whether you’re nervous or you’re mad or whatever, I think it’s a bad trait to show body language to the players.”
Sveum is, however, known as an aggressive manager/coach. He was known to aggressively coach third base in Boston, which is something Red Sox fans enjoyed. Cubs and Red Sox fans alike will wait and see if Sveum is their new guy.