As a Cubs fan I’m not quite sure how I feel about this. On one hand, I want to hear stories of new manager Dave Sveum putting the boys through a gauntlet of drills and coaching them up hard. Stories that rope me into having my expectations set so high that by mid season I am so disgusted that I can’t stand to watch them.
Then on the other hand, keeping things light and loose isn’t such a bad thing. And that’s what Sveum is attempting to with his 64 man March Madness style bunting tournament.
Sveum came up with the idea while managing in the minors. Lines are drawn on the infield with different point totals allotted depending on where the ball lands. The winner of each matchup moves on to the next round, with pitchers and hitters in different brackets.
“I remembered it and wanted to do something if I ever managed,” Sveum said. “I thought it would be fun for the team, break things up a little bit.”
The consensus favorites are starters Ryan Dempster and Randy Wells, who get more opportunities to bunt during actual games. Matt Garza, who was glaringly lacking in bunting skills last year due to seasons in the American League, will face Carlos Marmol, who seldom batted because he’s a closer.
Bryan LaHair will face Anthony Rizzo, with the winner possibly facing Tony Campana, who considers himself the tourney favorite. LaHair compared the possible second-round matchup between Campana and him as the equivalent of a second-round NCAA game between Kentucky and Syracuse, both likely No. 1 seeds.
Either way, Sveum’s tourney has camp buzzing, and no one wants to embarrass themselves.
“Everyone as athletes likes to compete,” Barney said.
According to a source, the top prize will be $2,000, andSveum is eligible to win.
“Of course,” he said. “My $50 is already in.”
This better work Sveum!
Image via Phil Sullivan’s Facebook page