I’m sitting here in my living room tonight watching Tim Tebow, a quarterback who can’t throw, leading his team to victory during the passing renaissance of the NFL; an unbreakable bond that goes beyond age and common sense shatter as Demi Moore announces to the Associated Press that she’s ending her six-year marriage to Ashton Kutcher; and the most ballyhooed front office perhaps in major league history make their first big move in hiring a manager that creates a collective shrug from a fan base ready to shower roses on command like a tv audience cheers when the APPLAUSE light turns on.  Something just isn’t adding up.

Dale Sveum is the new manager of your Chicago Cubs and for some reason I think you’ll be seeing more “EPSTEIN” jerseys around Wrigley next spring than you will “SVEUM”, even though there will technically be one in the building every day due to Major League uniform protocol.  The papers will be filled in the morning with puff pieces for Dale talking about how he’s a “player’s manager”, and was a “grinder” back in his day, heck, he even says that he embraces the Northside’s new buzz word “sabermetrics,” but come on, this isn’t the blockbuster move we were all hoping for. 

With names like home grown Ryne Sandberg, two-time World Series Champion Terry Francona, or the brother of our beloved Greg Maddux sitting out on the street, it’s tough to get excited about a bald guy named Dale. 

I will give Sveum credit for his sweet forearm tattoos.  I bet on any given day next summer our manager has more sweet tats than the opposing manager does.  He also has rocked a sweet ‘stache at various times in his life like this, this, and this.  So it definitely could be worse.  There’s also a story that John Greenberg tells in his piece for ESPN Chicago where Sveum got released by the Yankees in 1998 but liked the team chemistry so much that he stayed on voluntarily as the bullpen catcher as opposed to trying to catch on with another team.  Does that reek of desperation or speak highly of a man dedicated to concepts like teamwork and self-sacrifice?  It may be several years before we can answer that question for ourselves.

To his credit Sveum has paid his dues from being that bullpen catcher, to serving as the third base coach for the 2004 Championship Red Sox, and steering the Brewers offense for the past six years.  The cynic would say the bullpen catcher thing was a puss-move, anyone could have waved their arm in circles as the Red Sox scored  an astounding 949 runs (the Cubs scored 654 this year for a frame of reference), and I think I literally could have told Price Fielder and Ryan Braun to go swing and given them high fives after they rounded the bases to more acclaim. 

With that said, maybe he’s what the Cubs need right now.  He certainly is not the guy who is going to hog the spotlight a la Ozzie Guillen.  He also is not going to come to Chicago with the fanfare of Lou Pinella or Dusty Baker before him with their own established way of doing things.  What Sveum is, is a guy who reportedly gets to know the players personally and will approach this with a team first mentality that I’m guessing appeals to Theo and Jed.  I get the sense that the real draw to the Cubs situation to each of our new boy wonders is the fact that they essentially get to start with a blank slate for all intents and purposes.  I don’t think they want to come out of the gates with a team that immediately has an identity.  If given their choice I don’t think they’d want to be Jeter’s team, or A-Rod’s team, or Ozzie’s team for that matter.  I think they’d rather sell off any name players that your mother may know and start fresh with a group of up and comers that earn their reputation together from the ground up.  If that is in fact the case then Sveum starts to make a lot of sense, and I wouldn’t plan on his relationship with Prince Fielder resulting in Prince donning Cubbie Blue pinstripes any time soon. 

In the past month only three fan bases in baseball have had something to be excited about and the Rangers fans already packed up and went home.  The Cubs fans are one of the last two left standing even without playing a meaningful game since May.  It’s been a fun and exciting ride where each press release from Wrigley tops the last.  While Dale takes the podium at 9am Friday morning that trend comes to an end.  He’s not going to be sexy (unless you’re into the bald & tattoo’d look) but he also may be just what the Cubs need.

As for the Bears, I like what I’ve seen these past few weeks.  They’ve done everything you could ask of them, and I would even say they’ve done it with swagger.  The defense is a different now than they were six weeks ago – despite wearing the same jerseys, the offense has potential with Earl Bennett filling the void of a serious threat in the passing game, and the special teams are downright special.  On top of that, this week’s opponent from San Diego is absolutely reeling right now.  They just lost their starting center for the season from a line that gives up sacks as often as the Bears do, Philip Rivers is having a very un-Philip Rivers type season (leading the league in interceptions), and they’ve lost games their last four games coming into this weekend.  Everything points to the Bears in a route but that’s exactly what worries me.  When everyone in Vegas is betting one way (which they are right now), it’s usually wise to go the other.  On top of that San Diego is a passing team and the Bears may be missing DJ Moore Sunday and more importantly Philip Rivers literally hates Jay Cutler so who knows what that means on the field.  These two developed a pretty healthy rivalry back when Cutler was in Denver…

I’m not scared of the Chargers, but let’s call it apprehensive.  I’m going Bears 27-Chargers 24 but will not be visiting the window to put my money where my blog is this weekend. 

Have a happy Friday everyone and special shout out to The Wife as her Birthday Weekend Extravaganza begins…. Now!

Prediction: Bears 27 – Chargers 24

Bears Record: 6-3

Chi-Guy Record: 5-4