Day 15 of the Bus Tour took us to Cubs camp, where the influence, command and smarts of new manager Dale Sveum are obvious. The Cubs, who have little speed, run the bases daily because Sveum has walked it off and determined that if you run the bases properly, you can cut 12 feet off the trip around the bases. He also isn’t afraid to scold anyone -- from the third catcher to a star player -- if he’s not doing the work properly.
As for being prepared, Sveum is well aware that Cubs pitchers walked the most hitters in the National League last year, and Cubs hitters drew the second-fewest walks while also striking out 777 more times than they walked.
“Last year in the major leagues,” Sveum said, “a breaking ball was thrown 50 percent of the time on a 3-2 count. There are no more fastball counts anymore. When I played, when it was 1-0, you got a fastball. Not anymore.”