If anything, Ned Yost tried not to hire Dale Sveum the first chance he got.
“When he got fired [by the Cubs], I gave it an hour, and I called him,” said the Kansas City Royals manager, whose new third-base coach was hired the day after the Cubs fired him two months ago after two years as manager.
The two go back to three seasons together in Milwaukee, where Yost was the manager until Sveum replaced him the final two weeks of the Brewers’ 2008 playoff season. Sveum weighed the quick offer overnight before agreeing to take the job despite a year left on his Cubs contract that would have allowed him to take a paid sabbatical in 2014.
“He’s tremendously organized. A lot of focus. A smart, smart baseball guy,” Yost said. “He can coach third, can bench coach, can hitting coach, can be the infield coach, can be the defensive coach. He can just about do any job you have on your staff.
“I don’t know the particulars of what happened [with the Cubs]. I didn’t ask. That’s not my business. … We all get fired, for whatever reasons. A lot of times it’s justifiable, and sometimes it’s not. I don’t care why.
“All’s I care about is that he’s back helping us win a championship.”
He wasn’t always so sure about Sveum – who was blamed by Cubs management for communication problems that led to stalled development with young players.
Yost was looking for a bench coach after the 2005 season in Milwaukee when he got Sveum as part of an unintended package deal.
“When we tried to hire Robin Yount as my bench coach back in Milwaukee, Rob said, ‘I’ll think about it on one condition: that we bring Dale Sveum, too.’ I thought, I don’t even know Dale Sveum.”
Sveum and Yount are best friends, going back to their playing days in Milwaukee and extending to off-season hunting trips that occasionally involve one maiming the other with birdshot.
“I said, ‘I don’t know Dale Sveum; I want you,’ “ Yost said. “And he said, `Well, if you want me, Dale’s got to come, too.’ And he said, ‘Let me tell you something. I promise you, and I guarantee you this, Dale Sveum will be the best coach you ever had.
“So I wanted Robin that bad I hired Robin and Dale Sveum. And you know what, Robin was right.”