Sveum better prepared for Year 2 with Cubs

MESA, Ariz. -- Last year, Dale Sveum was featured in an ad campaign titled "Baseball is Better," which was a phrase Theo Epstein used at his introductory news conference as president of baseball operations for the Cubs.

It was a little more publicity than Sveum was accustomed to.

"My face was on a fricking billboard," the Cubs manager said Wednesday, laughing. "I haven't even won a game yet in Chicago, and I'm on a billboard."

Now, he heads into Year No. 2 at the helm much better prepared.

"For myself, I know what to expect when I get to Chicago," Sveum said. "I know the living [setup], I know the fans, the clubhouse, and all the clubhouse people, and everybody in the organization. Everything gets a lot easier your second time around.

"It even gets easier for the players -- we talk all the time about the day games," he said. "They've got another year under their belt with that many day games and [know how to handle] three in a row, Friday, Saturday, Sunday. There's a comfort level that comes into play that makes things easier."

Hopefully, the same can be said for the crew loading his motorcycle onto the moving truck headed to Chicago. Sveum recalled how one year, when he was on the Brewers' coaching staff, he got a somewhat panicked phone call while on the road.

There was a problem when the guys were loading the bike onto the truck. Two were pushing on each side, using the handlebars, and for some reason, someone decided to sit on the bike as it was being loaded. Well, the ramp was narrow and one of the crew on the side lost his footing, grabbed the handlebars for support, but the foot peg punctured his groin. He ended up in the emergency room.

There's still a scratch on the front rim of Sveum's bike from the incident.

The Cubs crew had a wider ramp -- and knew the story about the mishap, too.

Sveum said he was treated well in his first year in Chicago, despite the team's struggles. The Cubs lost 101 games last season.

"It was all good," he said. "Everybody was actually really positive all the time, even though things weren't going well. I didn't have any bad incidents or anything."

One of the writers said he didn't recall Sveum being booed.

"I wouldn't say 'never,'" Sveum said. "There were a few times when [the game] was out of my hands."

Carrie Muskat is a reporter for She writes a blog, Muskat Ramblings, and you can follow her on Twitter @CarrieMuskat. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.