"It just goes to show where you've got to be, when it's all said and done," Sveum said of the Nats' success. "Every position, the pitching, everything -- it just goes to show a lot of young guys that, wow, this is what a contending, World Series-type team looks like.
"They've got to understand there's a lot of people on this field for the Nationals that lost 100 games a couple years in a row. There is light at the end of the tunnel, but all these guys have improved quite a bit over their Major League careers."
Sveum's comments came at an interesting time, one afternoon after he said Wednesday night's 9-1 loss to the Nats was "just men playing against boys." Indeed, the Cubs have used 20 rookies -- including 11 pitchers -- this season, a feat that hasn't occurred since 1974.
Even more interesting -- and, perhaps contradictory -- is the timing of the comment after it was 19-year-old Bryce Harper who did the most damage for the Nats on Wednesday. Harper knocked two solo homers to finish 2-for-3 with two walks.
"Yeah, I thought about that after I said that," Sveum said. "It's a 19-year-old kid. One thing about him, even in the history of the game, there's been only a couple of those kind that have ever come along. Alex Rodriguez was almost 20 years ago now, and obviously [Harper's] another one of those people to come around."
Regarding Harper's home runs, the first of which struck the back wall of the Cubs' bullpen in left-center field, Sveum was even more superlative.
"That's about as good as I've seen bat speed in the big leagues, period, let alone from a 19-year-old kid," he said.