ESPN Wisconsin

Sveum's exit may drive some fans crazy

By DREW OLSON

dolson@espnmilwaukee.com

The Packers beat the Bears in the NFC Championship Game, the Brewers won their first Central Division title and the Badgers are preparing to (most likely) pound the daylights out of Illinois on Saturday.

You’d think those events would temporarily alleviate -- if not completely obliterate -- the Wisconsin sports fan inferiority complex when it comes to our southerly neighbors.

No dice.

Once word surfaced that Brewers hitting coach Dale Sveum is likely to be named manager of the Cubs, some locals -- and you know who you are -- started worrying and wondering.

If the Cubs brainy brain trust -- Theo Epstein and Jed Hoyer -- decided to hire Sveum, then Brewers GM Doug Melvin must have missed something, right?

What if Sveum turns out to be a mixture of Billy Martin, Terry Francona, Tony La Russa and... (insert other successful skippers here)?

What if he ends the curse of the Billy Goat and tortures the Brewers for a decade or more?

What if -- gasp! -- he convinces Prince Fielder to join him at Wrigley Field.

Relax, folks.

Dale Sveum has been a loyal Brewers employee. He’s a good “baseball man” who was enormously popular with players, fellow coaches and clubhouse employees. He deserves a shot at managing in the big leagues and there are two reasons he’s not managing right now in Milwaukee.

When the Brewers sought Ned Yost’s permanent replacement in after the 2008 season, Melvin decided his team was “ready for primetime” and wanted a manager with big-league experience. He also could not resist the chance to hire Ken Macha, who was his first choice in 2003. (Macha stayed in Oakland that year, opening the door for Yost).

When Macha got the gate, Melvin considered Sveum for the job but was blown away by Ron Roenicke in the interview / endorsement process.

Roenicke, you may recall, guided the team to 96 victories, a division title, and a berth in the NLCS. He finished second in the NL manager of the year voting, too.

That Sveum was being courted by the Red Sox and Cubs was hardly a surprise. When he coached in Boston a few years back, Epstein was starting his run as GM and Ben Cherington, who replaced Epstein at Fenway, also was in the front office. They both got to see Sveum’s personality, work ethic and the way players respond to him.

I said on “The D-List” Wednesday that the Chicago job probably seemed more attractive to Sveum. The Cubs are in rebuilding mode, so there will be much less pressure to win right away. He won’t have to deal with pitchers who like fried chicken and beer during the seventh-inning stretch. And, he’ll be able to stay at his Phoenix-area home during nearly two months of spring training.

Sveum deserves this chance. If the Brewers reach the level that they’re striving for, they’ll lose other members of their coaching staff, too. It’s a byproduct of running a successful operation at the major-league level. Rather than worrying about “letting good people get away,” fans should be glad that the Brewers have coaches that other teams covet.

QUICK HITS
Opinion, news, notes and nonsense

As more news outlets dig deeper into the Penn State scandal, one word that keeps coming up is "cult." Clearly, some victims and even prosecutors/investigators were hesitant to take on the Paterno regime.

Look for the Brewers to add a handful of players to the 40-man roster before the end of the week. Leading candidates include Caleb Gindl, Zelous Wheeler and Santo Manzanillo. The roster stands at 31.

With extra time on his hands, Bucks radio announcer Ted Davis has taken to Twitter. You should follow him @nbated.

FILM STUDY
SportsPage Video of the Day

Getting interviewed these days is not a big deal for Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers. Check out this early clip from his days at Butte Junior College (and look at his uniform number).

AROUND THE HORN
News and notes from other sources

PACKERS

Tom Silverstein takes a look at Rodgers' numerical achievements

Former Packers star/coach Forrest Gregg has Parkinson's disease

Mike Neal could play on Sunday after all

Bucs' coach Raheem Morris admits that last year was a bit fluky

BADGERS

Tight end Byrne is unsung hero in offense

Freshman guard Marshall will take a red shirt

Manasseh Garner can't catch a break

Illinois won't be lacking motivation on Saturday

BREWERS

Tom Haudricourt talks to the Brewers' brain trust about next season

Roenicke says he's OK with not winning manager of the year

Bob Wolfley crunches some numbers on the Brewers' season

MVT (Most Valuable Tweets)
Interesting comments from the world of Twitter

Cubs don't expect to win for several years, yet Sveum seems to have preferred them to Sox. Possible reasons: less pressure, NLC exp, Az spg
--DKnobler

One competing gm: #redsox should interview sandberg. Me: that could be best way to get revenge on new rival cubs
--@si_jonheyman

About a dozen stories into SportsCenter, they finally get around to the Penn State story. Way to stay on point, Bristol.
--@czabe

This is the first time #Pittsburgh has lost a non-conference game in November at the Petersen Events Center (was 41-0).

--@espnstatsinfo

After getting powerhouse LG Steve Hutchinson two of last three games, #Packers D-line must deal with powerhouse RG Davin Joseph of #Bucs.

--@mcginn

If I hear another sports radio caller begin with, "I'm the dad of two boys, and ..." One need not be a father to be disgusted by Sandusky.

--@jeffpearlman

When I was at MU I went to the Great Alaska Shootout. Since then they have gone to Maui (twice) and the Virgin Islands. Thats some BS.

--@chrisgrimm33

My favorite sites could get shut down by 1st censorship system for the internet. Must stop it: 11/16 #usacensored americancensorship.org
--@robneyer


The Kings fans just sarcastically chanted "Ver-ti-go" to the Ducks goalie (who had vertigo this year). Hockey is the best.
--@sportsguy33


VIEW FROM THE BASEMENT
What the sports blogs are writing

Sports by Brooks does some digging on the Penn State scandal

Cheesehead TV delivers a "Hard Count" podcast

Bucksketball takes a look at Herb Kohl's role in the lockout

UniWatch checks out the Orioles' new (old) uniform look

Awful Announcing posits that UFC has a bright future

Editor's note: We are always looking for interesting blog items about Wisconsin sports teams. If you have a favorite blog or come across an item we should spotlight, e-mail the address to SportsPage headquarters.

ON TAP

PACKERS -- Tampa Bay, 3 p.m. Sunday

BADGERS -- At Illinois, 11 a.m. Saturday

GOLDEN EAGLES -- vs. Winthrop, 7:30 p.m. Friday (U.S. Virgin Islands)

BUCKS -- Locked out.

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THIS DATE IN SPORTS HISTORY (NOVEMBER 17)
1926 - NHL's Chicago Blackhawks play their 1st game, beat Tor St Pats 4-1
1940 - Green Bay Packers become 1st NFL team to travel by plane
1953 - St Louis Browns officially become the Baltimore Baseball Club Inc
1956 - Syracuse fullback Jim Brown, scores NCAA record of 43 pts (vs Colgate)
1963 - Kathy Whitworth wins LPGA Mary Mills Miss Gulf Coast Golf Invitational
1965 - William Eckert is unanimously elected commissioner of baseball
1968 - Kathy Whitworth wins LPGA Pensacola Ladies' Golf Invitational
1974 - Bonnie Bryant wins Bill Branch LPGA Golf Classic
1979 - Daniel Okrent sketches out 1st draft rules for Rotisserie Baseball
1981 - NBA NY Knick Bill Cartwright, ties record of 19 of 19 free throws
1983 - Phila Flyers win 13th straight NHL game
1984 - Golden State Warrior scores 59 points losing to NJ Nets 124-110
1985 - NY Jets best offensive production beating Tampa Bay 62-28
1987 - George Bell is 1st Blue Jay ever to win the AL MVP
1989 - Bret Saberhagen signs record $2,966,667 per year KC Royal contract
1991 - Detroit Lion Mike Utley is paralized in a game vs LA Rams
1992 - Blue Jay Nigel Wilson is 1st pick of Marlins in expansion draft
1997 - Mario Lemieux enters NHL Hall of Fame

NOVEMBER 17 BIRTHDAYS
1877 - Frank Calder, the first NHL President (d. 1943)
1930 - Bob Mathias, Tulare Calif, decathelete (Olympic-gold-1948, 52)
1933 - Orlando Peña, Cuban baseball player
1938 - Peter Snell, NZ, 800m/1500m runner (Olympic-gold-1960, 64)
1944 - Tom Seaver, pitcher (NY Met, 300 game winner, Cy Young '69 '73 '75)
1945 - Elvin Hayes, NBA star (San Diego, Houston, Baltimore)
1949 - Thomas Lionel Hill, New Orleans, 110m hurdler (Olympic-bronze-1972)
1951 - Butch Davis, American football coach
1955 - Bill McCreary, Ontario, NHL referee
1963 - Marco T Dawson, Freising Germany, PGA golfer (1995 Greater Milw-2nd)
1965 - Paul Sorrento, Somerville MA, infielder (Seattle Mariners)
1965 - Winthrop Graham, Jamaica, 4x400m runner (Olympic-silver-1988)
1966 - Jeff Nelson, Baltimore MD, pitcher (NY Yankees)
1968 - Sean Miller, American basketball coach
1970 - Max Huiberts, soccer player (Roda JC)
1973 - Scott Rehberg, tackle (New England Patriots)
1973 - Eli Marrero, American baseball player
1974 - Marc Edwards, NFL fullback (SF 49ers)
1978 - Reggie Wayne, American football player
1983 - Ryan Braun, American baseball player
1983 - Nick Markakis, American baseball player
1987 - Darren McKillion, Northern Irish sportsman

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