Billboards popping up around Chicago depict a confident-looking Dale Sveum — arms folded — superimposed in front of a cyclonic photo of Wrigley Field, along with three messages including: "Baseball is Better Here." So the Chicago Cubs hope.
The Cubs have started a new era (again) and Sveum, in his first season as manager, appears to be the center of the marketing campaign. Nobody in marketing cleared it with Sveum but then again, they don't have to. He probably would have preferred the faces of Theo Epstein and Jed Hoyer, or one of the many fine Cubs players, to be on the billboards.
Among the outlets to get a reaction out of Sveum in Arizona was ESPN Chicago:
"[H]e practically cringed, saying he's "not really" at ease with it.
"You appreciate it or whatever but I've never had my picture on a billboard," Sveum said. "I'm not exactly the most fashionable guy or somebody that is going to smile or take pictures very well all the time. But I heard it's OK. I'm not real comfortable with it, put it that way."
Oh, c'mon, skip. You're a tremendous slouch. And the billboards actually look good, from an aesthetic standpoint. A cynical person might look at them, however, and conclude that Cubs honchos Epstein and Jed Hoyer expect baseball to be better — and if it isn't, it's the fault of the guy on the billboard. Maybe that's what gives Sveum the willies.