By GORDON WITTENMYER
MESA, Ariz. — Cubs manager Mike Quade isn’t getting much sleep these days, but he says he hopes that might change after holding a team meeting this morning to address the Carlos Silva-Aramis Ramirez dugout fight as well as the play in the field which has looked just as ugly through four games.
“We want to make damn sure that people are committed to the work that they’re doing,” said Quade – who admittedly faced his first major test as a first-year big-league manager with the Silva-Ramirez blowup.
“You look it right in the eye,” said Quade, who was the only one who did any talking in the meeting. “Sometimes a little revolt’s not bad. I’m glad people were pissed off. But we need to channel that anger at the opposition and within ourselves. And that’s all.
“I think we put it to bet – as far as I’m concerned we did – and we move on.”
Wednesday’s trouble erupted when a frustrated Silva bitched about the fielding behind him as he came off the field following a three-error, two-homer, six-run first inning against the Milwaukee Brewers.
Ramirez, who dropped a pop fly in the inning, got in Silva’s face, and the two had to be separated by teammates and coaches.
Ramirez later called it a “misunderstanding” and said he’d moved on. Silva refused media interview requests Wednesday and then again this morning.
Quade said he didn’t talk to the pair separately from the team because he trusted them to resolve their own issues.
“I don’t need to see a handshake,” he said. “They need to go about their business. They need to get along as teammates the best they can, and put this behind them. Whether it’s an acknowledgment, whether it’s a conversation, whether it’s a handshake, I count on them to get that done.”
Silva faces no team discipline and his pitching schedule and status won’t change, Quade said.
“Look, if we were going to have everybody fighting that has made mistakes this spring, we’d have the cage match of all time,” Quade said. “I mean, it hasn’t been good, and it just surprised me, because I’ve been happy with the work and everything else.”
That’s why much of the meeting was about trying to solve the issues in the field and lapses on the bases that have led to much of the early frustration.
The team has committed 14 errors – and at least five or six more mental errors by Quade’s count – in just the first four exhibition games.
“That little blowup notwithstanding, it was time for me – Day 4 or not – to say something about sloppiness and not just the physical errors but the mental errors, too,” Quade said. “These are things we all know we need to overcome. And I don’t think you waltz through spring and then expect to magically turn it on and be a sharp club when the season starts.”
The Cubs have four weeks left to work on it – which, depending what you make of the first four days of games – is either a good thing or a not-so-good thing.
“Crazy things can happen early in camp,” Quade said. “This is a little bit more than I bargained for, but it’s OK.”