Dale Sveum sits in his office seething. 7-6 loss to the division-leading Cardinals and he replays the missed opportunities in his mind. The room smells of cigarette smoke and microwaved taquitos - the typical smell of a man coming to grips with big-league mortality. Something is off. Sveum dons his favorite (and supposedly lucky, or so he thought) red hunting cap. He keeps the bottle of Wild Turkey within arms reach. He grabs the bottle and takes a long pull. Managing a last place ballclub is not for the faint of heart, especially if your decisions are contributing to the losses. The losses are piling up. His eating habits are shit, and to make matters worse, he missed his scheduled doctor's appointment for the second straight time.
Something is off and Dale Sveum aims to fix it. In what will surely qualify as one of his smarter decisions this year, Sveum summons the reporters to his office. The reporters file in, microphones in hand. Sveum clears his throat, takes another pull from the bottle and begins his declaration.
SVEUM: Ladies and gentlemen, I've called you here today...
REPORTER 1: Why did you pitch to Molina?
REPORTER 2: Has the clubhouse turned on Kerry Wood?
SVEUM: Enough! You will write my story. I will NOT write yours.
The room turns quiet after witnessing Sveum accidentally knock over the bottle of Wild Turkey. They know he's liable to snap even more violently at the slightest disturbance.
SVEUM: Like I was saying...I've called you here today to deliver a message of CHANGE. The...
REPORTER 1: Are you stepping down as Cubs manager?
REPORTER 2: Has Kerry Wood been released?
REPORTER 3: Do you consider bunting every at-bat a viable offensive strategy?
Sveum finishes off the bottle and breaks it across the table. He tightly grips the piece in his hand and jabs it towards the reporters.
SVEUM: The next person to interrupt me will be blogging from a hospital bed!
SVEUM: OK, now that we're on the same page, I can deliver my message of CHANGE. As an organization, from top to bottom, we need to take a different approach towards evaluating our team. We cannot continue to rely on outdated teaching methods and misleading statistics. We need to be on the cutting edge. We need to start imagining new ways to define success in this league. I believe, with the help of my red hunting cap, Wild Turkey, and a couple games of 3-card Solitaire, I have found the solution. I'm not reinventing the wheel or anything, but prepare to be amazed.
Sveum pauses for effect
SVEUM: Series-splits. You hate 'em. I hate 'em. So we're just going to do away with them. In this game we need results - a clear winner and loser. Series' need to be won, not split. So starting today, the Chicago Cubs, as an organization, are going to refer to series splits as series victories. Think of it as rounding up. By my count, we've won five of eleven series' this year. That's not perfect, but we're on the right track. We're trying to win more than we lose, and redefining words to suit our purposes is just the way to do that. I'll take questions now.
REPORTER 1: I can get a column out of that!
REPORTER 2: Is it safe to say that approximately two unnamed players are furious with the declaration you delivered five seconds ago?
REPORTER 3: How does any of this pertain to Junior Lake?
Meanwhile, Cubs broadcaster Bob Brenly gets to work on the tape. He has committed roughly 1.4 million dollars towards converting his home into the world's largest Instant Replay center, catering to all of the major American sports. Brenly just wants the possibility of human error removed from the game. He would prefer machines to do the job of humans, provided they can do a better job. And they can. Just ask him. When he is not announcing Cubs games, Brenly is fine-tuning the Instant Replay technology he will present to MLB this offseason. We asked him about Sveum's comments.
BRENLY: Interesting. Very interesting. I would have loved to "round up," so to speak. Anything to trick the guys into thinking we were doing good. But we're getting away from the real issue here. Umpires are ruining the game of baseball. Do you know what percentage of calls they get right? It's not 100, I can tell you that much. WE HAVE THE TECHNOLOGY. It won't slow the game down any more than a manager coming out to argue a call. We have a guy up in the booth who can quickly review every call and then buzz the crew chief down on the field when a call needs to be overturned. Or better yet, we can replace the human umpires with robot umpires and assure all of the calls will be right in the first place. China, I believe, has already implemented this strategy with great success.
Point is, with the correct calls, Dale Sveum might win more games. He also might lose more games. Doesn't matter to me. It's not even June yet and I feel like we're in the dog days . Christ, pass the Wild Turkey. You drank it all? Damn you.