The critics, Cubs-White Sox wont get under Sveums skin

765146.png

The critics, Cubs-White Sox wont get under Sveums skin

Almost two years ago, the Chicago media crowded around Lou Piniella as the Cubs manager sat down in the Wrigley Field dugout.

A crosstown game against the White Sox meant wall-to-wall coverage. One reporter asked a harmless question about how encouraged Piniella must be by the development of Tyler Colvin and Starlin Castro.

That set off Piniella, who fired back at the critics questioning how he handled young players. He blasted White Sox broadcaster Steve Stone and the ridiculous way media personalities did their jobs.

Ive won over 1,800 games as a manager and Im not a damn dummy, Piniella said that day. There are only 13 others that have won more games than me, so I guess I think I know what the hell Im doing.

Dale Sveum has a much longer fuse, and we havent seen him explode yet. Theres almost no chance the Cubs manager will go viral when the White Sox come to the North Side for a three-game series that begins Friday.

Ozzie Guillen who was replaced by the low-key Robin Ventura and Carlos Zambrano and Milton Bradley wont be there to light a match.

Sveum has an answer for everything Castro bunting, using or not using Kerry Wood and he explains baseball mechanics in great detail. He understands that the second-guessing is part of the job.

Its gonna happen, Sveum said Wednesday. I dont read the papers. Im not a guy that Tweets, or whatever you call that thing. Im not a big computer guy. I dont read the news.

(During) my free time, I watch the NFL channel as much as I canto keep up on (things) for fantasy reasons.

Cubs executives Theo Epstein and Jed Hoyer had managerial candidates meet with the media as part of the interview process last fall. They knew that Sveum took the heat as an aggressive third-base coach with the Boston Red Sox in 2004 and 2005.

There was about a two-week period where I got about 10 guys thrown out at home, Sveum recalled. Thats the animal you deal with when youre in the big markets. If I got 10 guys thrown out in Milwaukee, I wouldnt have had press conferences. I was having press conferences as a third-base coach.

I understand how fans react when youre in a passionate place.

Sveum shows no signs of nervous energy. Reading his body language behind the desk, youd have no idea whether the Cubs won or lost when you walk into the managers office after the game.

Sveum thought back to Tuesdays walk-off loss in St. Louis, how the Cardinals won it when Yadier Molina hit a ball past diving second baseman Darwin Barney, who was shaded one way because thats where the data said he should be.

Theres nothing you can do about it, Sveum said. Sometimes it is a game of inches. As long as you know that your team is giving everything theyve got, and the preparation is there through the coaching staff, (you live with it).

You know somebodys got to lose that night. Put it that way. (When you do), you dwell on it for a little while. Maybe (its) should-a, would-a, could-a, but I dont take it home with me. That woulddrive you crazy.

Sveum has been disciplined and stayed on message. His quotes dont go out on Twitter the way it could when Mike Quade said things like Im not a lunatic.

Sveum has shown patience with young pitchers and trusted them in big situations. He has set the tone for a quiet, purpose-driven clubhouse. He has the hammer that comes with being a former big-leaguer, and being Epsteins guy.

The Cubs president hired Sveum so he could grow into the job and become the next Terry Francona (instead of bringing in the actual Terry Francona).

It helped having 16 games as Milwaukees interim manager in 2008. But its not easy when you have to tell Carlos Marmol that hes losing his job. Six weeks in, the manager is settling into the job. The White Sox shouldnt knock him off his game.

You can sit here and say youre prepared and want to manage and all that, Sveum said. There are still many things that are going to come up, (like) when you take somebody out of the closers role.

(Its not) the nine-inning strategies you go through or the double switches and all that. Sometimes, thats the easy part of managing the game. Its a lot of the other stuff behind the scenes.

Penn State and negative recruiting becomes hot topic at Big Ten Media Days

james-franklin-0726.png

Penn State and negative recruiting becomes hot topic at Big Ten Media Days

Urban Meyer was taken aback.

Did he or his coaching staff participate in “negative recruiting” against Penn State? Meaning, does Ohio State tell recruits that the continuing fallout of the Jerry Sandusky scandal will result in future NCAA sanctions?

Meyer didn’t seem to know what to say.

“That's the first time I've heard that," he said.

The question stemmed from comments Penn State head coach James Franklin made in an interview with the Reading Eagle that was published over the weekend.

Franklin is still in the process of dragging his program out of the shadow of the Sandusky scandal, which resulted in NCAA sanctions that reduced the number of scholarships and banned the Nittany Lions from bowl participation for multiple seasons.

That’s all done with now — the bowl ban lifted two seasons ago and Franklin telling reporters Monday that he’s back to a full allotment of 85 scholarships — but Franklin said his team is still short on seniors and the scandal’s effects still loom. Most notably, that’s coming in the form of new developments, new reports of who knew what and when during Joe Paterno’s decades-long tenure in State College.

In that interview, Franklin seemed to accuse Penn State’s Big Ten East Division rivals — Michigan, Michigan State and Ohio State — of telling kids on the recruiting trail that more punishments are coming with every new development.

Here’s what he told the Reading Eagle:

“We're able to tell kids they're going to compete against the very highest level week in and week out,” Franklin said when asked what it’s like having those three powerhouse programs in the same division as Penn State. “What makes it tricky, they're not having to deal with some of the things we're dealing with and working through, which magnifies it. Those programs as well as others know that and use that against us. We have that conversation with every single prospect. We don't usually initiate it, but it's coming from somewhere.”

Elsewhere during the interview, he had this to say:

“The one thing that I can't predict is when there is going to be finality to everything. A month ago, I'm in Chicago at a wedding of one of my former players and the most recent things (from the Sandusky scandal) come up. I spend all Friday and Saturday on the phone talking to all of our players because other schools are contacting them and telling them the NCAA is going to get involved again and impose more sanctions.

“The people we're competing with — Ohio State, Michigan, Michigan State, Notre Dame — this is just not something they have to deal with. Although we want to move on, those other schools are not letting us move on.”

As Meyer said Tuesday, those sound like some pretty serious allegations.

“I'll address that with Coach Franklin if that is an issue," he said. "That's a pretty strong allegation that I've not heard yet. So that's not been presented to me until this moment. Absolutely not. We've got a great deal of respect for every school in our conference. And we don't worry about that stuff. I'm glad you told me that. If that's true, I'll address that."

Michigan State head coach Mark Dantonio was asked the same question.

“From my standpoint, I have not said anything negative about Penn State. And hopefully our coaches have not as well,” Dantonio said. “So I was surprised to read that. I don't know what happens out there on the road completely. But it's not our MO. And that's not how we do business.”

Franklin tried to clear up his comments after the story picked up steam, telling Fox Sports’ Bruce Feldman that he didn’t accuse those schools of any negative recruiting.

Additionally, Franklin received his own allegation on Tuesday morning.

Who knows what’s actually going on between coaches and high school prospects. Certainly coaches taking swipes at each other is nothing new, nor is the win-at-all-costs arena of college football recruiting.

Still, it added some drama to the second day of Big Ten Media Days.

31 Days to Kickoff: Minooka

31 Days to Kickoff: Minooka

CSNChicago.com preps reporter "Edgy" Tim O’Halloran spotlights 100 high school football teams in 100 days. The first 75 team profiles will focus on teams making strides across Chicagoland and elsewhere in the state. Starting Aug. 1, we’ll unveil the @CSNPreps Top 25 Power Rankings, leading up to kickoff on Friday, Aug. 26. You can view Edgy Tim's other football previews here.

School: Minooka

Head coach: Paul Forsythe

Assistant Coaches: Bert Kooi, Frank Yudzentis, Paige Schoolman, Matt Harding, Mic Resner

How they fared in 2015: 5-5 (3-4) Southwest Prairie Conference. Minooka made the 2015 Class 8A state playoff field and lost to Huntley in opening round action.

Biggest storyline in 2016: Can the Indians get back to the state playoffs and advance?

Names to watch this season: QB Johnny Carnagio, WR/DB Isaiah Hill

Biggest holes to fill: The Indians will need to replace it's entire starting defensive line from a season ago.

EDGY's Early Take: With 13 starters back (8 offense 5 defense) from it's 2015 state playoff team the Indians have high hopes this fall. The pass/catch combo of QB Carnagio to WR Hill is one of the tops in the conference. If Minooka can find a few answers up front on defense they could make a return state playoff push.

Former Bears return man Devin Hester released by Falcons

Former Bears return man Devin Hester released by Falcons

Devin Hester is hitting the market.

The Atlanta Falcons announced Tuesday that they have released the kick return specialist after a two-year run with the team.

The former Bear holds the NFL record for most return touchdowns with 20. Hester left the Bears — after eight seasons — tied with Deion Sanders at 19. 

On Sept. 18, 2014, Hester broke that record with the Falcons on a 62-yard punt return against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

Prime Time gave Hester this shoutout afterwards:

Hester only played in five games last season due to a turf toe injury. He underwent foot surgery in January 2016.