9/29 Sveum preps for Game No. 162
Dale Sveum made out the Cubs’ lineup card for Sunday’s game as he has for the previous 161 games this season, not knowing if it’s his last one.
“Like I said the other day, you’d be lying if you didn’t have anxiety about what’s going to happen in 24 hours,” Sveum said Sunday. “That’s human nature.”
Theo Epstein will meet Monday in Chicago with Sveum and some of the coaching staff to discuss their status. It’s part of the evaluation process Epstein is doing. If Sveum is anxious, he hasn’t shown it.
“You try [not to],” Sveum said of keeping a low profile. “There’s obviously frustrations [with the season], but my personality — I can get as [ticked] as anybody, but the focus should be on the players anyway. There’s something wrong if I’m seen too much. That’s my personality. I am what I am.”
It isn’t just Sveum who will find out Monday, either.
“Theo’s still evaluating [the coaches], too,” Sveum said. “He didn’t specifically say he was evaluating me but evaluating the whole staff situation.”
The Cubs will finish with at least 90 losses for the third straight season, the second in a row under Epstein and with Sveum at the helm. The Cubs have used a franchise record 56 different players this year, and only 12 remained on the roster for Game No. 162 who were present for the first game.
Sveum’s fiery side was revealed during the Cubs last series in Milwaukee Sept. 16-18 when he was caught on camera in the dugout arguing with pitcher Edwin Jackson. The next day, Jeff Samardzija was seen arguing with coach David Bell in the dugout. Epstein called those incidents “brushfires” and complimented Sveum because they were the only such incidents during his two years at the helm.
“It happens,” Jackson said Sunday about the argument. “In families, there’s nobody who has brothers or sisters who hasn’t been in an altercation with a brother or sister. It happens in other sports. But when it happens in baseball, it’s the less aggressive sport than other sports, and sometimes it’s made to be a big deal.
“You see a first place team, a playoff team [like the Braves], and it happens,” Jackson said of Atlanta’s dugout tussle Saturday between coach Terry Pendleton and Chris Johnson. “I’m sure they talked it over the next day. I’m sure it’s happened with plenty of players and managers and they make up the next day.”
As to whether Jackson wants Sveum back, the pitcher deferred to Epstein and the front office.
“It’s my first year with the organization,” Jackson said. “That’s a decision for those guys on top to make. My job is to go out and take the ball every fifth day to give the team a chance to win.”
Sveum has met with each of the players, either with Epstein and general manager Jed Hoyer present, or just Hoyer, to review the season and talk about next year. Sveum said his relationship with the front office has been good.
“Theo was honest with everybody that there’s an evaluation going on with all of us, myself included with the coaches,” Sveum said. “That doesn’t change your relationship with anybody. It’s my job to do what I do, and Theo’s job to do what he does. Just because there’s an evaluation going on doesn’t change anything.”
It’s impossible to predict the Cubs lineup for 2014. Sveum will find out Monday whether he’ll be part of the continued rebuilding process.
What was on his mind as he prepped for Sunday’s season finale?
“The same thing that was on my mind yesterday,” Sveum said. “Obviously, it’s the last day so it’s a little different than any other day with the players. You know it’s the last day of the season and you’re going to play it out and hopefully win a ballgame.”
– Carrie Muskat