ST. LOUIS – The Cubs have watched three teams celebrate as Dale Sveum waits to find out if he’s getting fired or not.
This time it was the St. Louis Cardinals clinching the National League Central with a 7-0 victory on Friday night at Busch Stadium. Confetti floated through the air in the upper deck and fireworks went off behind center field as 44,030 fans here could hope for a 12th World Series title.
That scene goes along with the Atlanta Braves and Pittsburgh Pirates partying at Wrigley Field this week, trashing the cramped visiting clubhouse with cigars, beers and champagne bottles.
That’s the vision team president Theo Epstein and general manager Jed Hoyer had when they hired Sveum almost two years ago. The Cubs manager and his coaches are waiting for Monday’s meetings to learn if they’ll be back in 2014. Sveum isn’t taking it personally.
“It is what it is,” Sveum said. “It’s not like I have to deal with anything except the norm that comes along with this position and the situation the organization’s in. The evaluation process (comes) at the end of the year, especially with a team that lost 90-plus games.
“It doesn’t effect me and it doesn’t bother me (the way) people might think.”
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Sveum can defend his player-development record by pointing to Travis Wood, the 26-year-old left-hander who bought into the staff’s game-planning system and emerged as an All-Star. The Cubs decided to let Wood throw one inning against the Cardinals, so he could reach 200, before shutting him down for the year.
Wood (9-12, 3.11 ERA) got Matt Carpenter and Carlos Beltran to pop out before allowing six straight base-runners – including Yadier Molina’s double into the left-field corner – and that put the Cubs in a 3-0 deficit.
“That kind of makes you want to throw up,” Sveum said. “That was too bad. But he had one hell of a year, as good as the top 10 guys in the league, if not better than that. For what he’s done for our team, it’s a shame how that all turned out. It just wants to make you puke.”
Wood (24 quality starts) took the kind of leap forward the Cubs hoped to see from shortstop Starlin Castro and first baseman Anthony Rizzo, two core players who have signed long-term contracts. The Cubs could use that playbook again this winter.
“I haven’t thought about it at all,” Wood said. “I just kind of wanted to see the season play out and go into the offseason. I wish it was on a high note. I’d love to have been three up, three down, but that wasn’t the case. Just to be able to stay healthy through every start and take the ball every fifth day was huge for me.”
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The Cubs (66-94) have two games left in St. Louis before the front office will make any announcements. It would be completely out of character to see Sveum sweat.
“When you go into any kind of jobs like these, you understand that these things can happen at any given time,” Sveum said. “I’ve been around too long to see it on both ends. There’s nothing you can do about it. Just keep doing the same things you do and it’s not going to change you as a person.”