MESA, AZ--New Cubs manager Dale Sveum vowed this spring training to change the culture in the team’s locker room to a culture of winning, playing hard, and accountability. In doing so, he becomes the record 51st manger to change the culture in the Cubs locker room.
“We’re going to change the culture in this locker room, “ Sveum said. “For too long the culture here has been negativity and defeatism. No more. We are going to fight, we are going to scrap, we are going to get our uniforms dirty and we are going to will ourselves to victory. I know every Cubs manager has said this, but this time it’s going to be different. Why? Because I’m saying it, I guess.”
Prior to Sveum, manager Mike Quade promised to change the culture in the Cubs locker room. Quade lasted one year as skipper.
“Yes, Mike changed the culture, too, but he didn’t change it to the right culture,” Sveum said. “He just sort of tweaked the old culture. I’m overhauling it. These guys are going to be eating nails and shitting bullets when I’m done with them. They’re going to be running their teammates' ground balls. This will produce a grand total of three additional wins, but you have to start somewhere.”
The Cubs have a rich history of culture-changing managers, from Lou Pinella all the way back to Leo Durocher and Frank Chance.
Said Chance upon taking over in 1905: “We really need to change the culture in this locker room. We can’t just sit here and accept losing. We have to get out there and play hard every day and make things happen for ourselves. If we don’t, we’re not going anywhere this year. We’ll be golfing come September. Or, more accurately, going back to our jobs at the shoe factory.”
Baseball historians say the first culture change for the Cubs came even earlier than that, pointing to a 130 year-old article from the Chicago Tribune in which new manager Cap Anson promises to change the culture on the team.
“In this fascinating article from the 19th century, we can see what is, in our best estimate, the very first time a Chicago Cubs manager promised to change the culture on the team,” said baseball historian Walter Kenney. “It’s hard to make out, but you can see a quote from Cap Anson in which he lashes out at the, quote, insolent cads, drunken louts, and rapacious gamblers that have infected the Cubs clubhouse. And right here, he says ‘This culture must change!’ At least Dale is in good company.”
To be fair, the 2012 Cubs have gone through a pretty sizeable makeover, including some changes to the team’s front office with the addition of Theo Epstein and Jed Hoyer from the Boston Red Sox. According to those who have been around the team for years, things do seem a little different in 2012.
“There’s definitely a different vibe this year,” said WGN play-by-play man Pat Hughes. “The change is palpable from the end of last year. I sense optimism, I sense a bit of swagger, and I sense a belief that, although this team isn’t stacked with all-stars, anything can happen. I can’t remember the last time I felt that way with the Cubs. Actually, I can. It was last year’s spring training. And every spring training before that.”
Copyright 2012, The Brushback - Do not reprint without permission. This article is satire and is not intended as actual news.