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Despite losing 101 games in his first season, Theo Epstein and the Cubs are still behind manager Dale Sveum.
The Cubs finished with 10 more losses than the year before, but Epstein and others pointed to the change in the clubhouse under Sveum. The distractions and sideshows from previous years were gone. Epstein said there was a real improvement in the culture around the team and despite losing 101 games, the team stayed unified and played hard each game.
According to the team, much of that change is a result of Sveum, who maintains an even keel and was able to form great relationships with players. Pitcher Jeff Smardzija said he was impressed with Sveum's daily approach and the way he got players to bring the same mentality to the park everyday despite where they may be in the standings.
The Cubs' roster was lacking in 2012, but Epstein believes Sveum will play a big part in changing that. Epstein said players like to play for certain managers and expects Sveum to be a big draw for potential free agents.
"I guarantee you starting today and throughout the whole winter, players will be talking about how great it is to play for Dale Sveum and to be part of this clubhouse," Epstein said, according to CSN Chicago.
Even though 2012 may not have gone as well as some hoped, the Cubs believe they are headed in the right direction and Sveum is a big reason why.