The Cubs fired Dale Sveum this week after his second season as manager on the North Side. Tom Musick and Meghan Montemurro discuss:
Musick: How will history remember the Dale Sveum era with the Cubs? I’ll tell you what I’ll remember most. He always had a three- or four-day-old stubble. Never clean shaven, never a full beard. Also, I liked the tattoos on his arms.
Montemurro: Certainly his Hellboy tattoo set him apart from other managers. I appreciated how Sveum, for the most part, was pretty honest when he faced the media. Of course, that sometimes led to questionable comments like when he suggested earlier this season Anthony Rizzo and Starlin Castro – with contracts worth a combined $101 million – could be sent to Triple-A if they continued to struggle. Wish I could have seen Theo Epstein’s reaction when he heard that.
Musick: Is it fair to assume that Rizzo and Castro were reasons No. 1 and No. 1A why Sveum was tossed in the Dumpster along with all of that old Ron Santo memorabilia?
Montemurro: Rizzo, Castro and the development - or lack of - of young players ultimately cost Sveum his job. Theo and Co. certainly didn’t give him much talent to work with. But Sveum failed to help guys like Rizzo and Castro take their game to the so-called next level. When you add in some communications issues, Sveum was doomed. Maybe Kevin Gregg bought him him some walkie talkies as a going away gift so Sveum doesn’t have any communication issues with his new club in Kansas City.
Did Sveum’s stint leading the Cubs make you yearn for the Mike Quade era?
Musick: I do miss Quade. The guy took the El to Wrigley for his first home game as manager. How great is that? Could you imagine Marc Trestman riding the Metra to Soldier Field for Sunday’s game against the Saints? Or seeing Tom Thibodeau on the 50 Damen bus heading to the United Center? Ultimately, though, Quade was an average Joe as a manager. Sveum probably was, too, although Theo the Genius didn’t give him much support. I’m going to go ahead and guess that the Cubs’ next manager will be equally as average and forgettable as Quade and Sveum. Great managers (see: Tony La Russa, Joe Maddon, etc.) are tough to come by.
Montemurro: Blackhawks coach Joel Quenneville would be outted in two seconds if he did what Quade did. That’s one recognizable ‘stache he’s rocking. As for the future Cubs’ manager, it’s true that he will just be the next guy who comes in thinking he’ll change decades of futility only to get chewed up and spit out by an organization that hasn’t been able to capture that elusive World Series title. Yankees manager Joe Girardi seems like the ideal guy to lead the Cubs. He’d bring instant credibility inside the clubhouse and he’s a proven winner. I’m surprised Cubs fans aren’t outside Wrigley chanting “We want Joe.”
Musick: Chanting or no chanting, they’ll get Joe. He’ll be here when the Yankees visit Wrigley Field in late May. But I hear that Girardi is a man of deep faith, so maybe he views the Cubs job as a chance to help those in need. You’re around the Cubs a lot more than I am. If Girardi (or anyone else, for that matter) takes the job, how quickly will they be able to lead a contender? Is Theo the Genius really making smart moves, or do we just want to believe that?
Montemurro: Whoever comes in won’t be a miracle worker. The Cubs should be better next year but likely won’t achieve contender status until 2015, at the earliest. The organization has more talent in the minors, which you can thank Theo for but until that carries over to the big league team, whoever the Cubs hire to manage has a tough job ahead of him.