Levine: Former Cubs Manager Sveum Not Looking Back — Or Holding Grudges
Former Cub manager Dale Sveum has no negative feelings about his two years in Chicago.
Now the hitting coach of the Kansas City Royals, Sveum has moved on in his career, currently trying to help his light hitting crew to be more productive.
Sveum was blamed for not getting better results from Starlin Castro and Anthony Rizzo. He was fired after two seasons as Cub manager. The tough-love message he tried to deliver for the organization to Castro has now been replaced with a new theory and softer approach to dealing with the shortstop.
“They are doing just fine, and did all right when I was there, too,” Sveum says of the two top Cub hitters. “We are talking about just a few months of a guy’s career. People grow into being better hitters. You have heard me say it many times. It is learning and aging, getting more major-league at bats. It is all different things. Don’t forget I was the guy who originally asked Rizzo to lower his hands and finish lower with his swing.”
Sveum has no bad feelings about former bosses Theo Epstein and Jed Hoyer, either. “I wish them all the best,” he says. “I got fired, but there are still people I care about over there.” (He was alluding to the coaches who remain on the Cub staff from 2013 — Chris Bosio, Mike Borzello and Lester Strode)
There was the lovely parting gift of more than $1 million in severance pay, for 2014 and the option for 2015 that Sveum received on his way out of the Wrigley turnstiles. As for getting a new job, Kansas City Manager Ned Yost offered Sveum a position on his coaching staff as he was driving away from his final meeting with Cub executives.
Despite the disappointment of getting the ax in Chicago, Sveum looks forward to managing again. “You are always learning ,” he says. “It is a fantastic game, and I have had a lot of great people to learn from. When you think you have it figured out, you are wrong.”
I asked Sveum if the whole political scene around managing is really worth the frustration of getting blamed for players being lazy and front-office people asking you to take the blame when their theories go haywire.
“It’s worth it,” he said. “There is no question. You must understand if things don’t work out or somebody wants someone else, you can get fired. That is what happens in all sports.”
Sveum has moved on and he is not one for dwelling on the past — good or bad.
“I don’t really think too much about (the Cubs job) anymore. I am focused here, and we are really playing well now. My job is hitting coach here.”