Cubs officially hire Dale Sveum as manager

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Well, it’s officially official.

According to ESPN’s Gordon Edes, the Cubs have announced that Dale Sveum will become the team’s next manager. He’s to be introduced at a press conference scheduled for 9 a.m. Friday in Chicago.

Sveum was offered the job on Wednesday evening after a second in-person interview, then issued his official acceptance on Thursday afternoon after recieving a visit at his hotel from new Cubs president Theo Epstein and new Cubs GM Jed Hoyer.

The now-former Brewers hitting coach has only managed on an interim basis in the major leagues, but he was regarded as a rising star in the profession down in the minors and he should have no trouble picking up the intricacies of the job at the next level. Sveum was also a candidate for Boston’s opening, but they’re now expected to extend their search into next week and there are reports that it might even last into December.

Sveum becomes the 52nd manager in Cubs history. He was given a three-year contract.

Kirk Gibson home run happened 30 years ago

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With the Dodgers trying to make it back to the World Series for the second year in a row — and trying to win it for the first time in 30 years — it’s worth looking back at the last time they won it. More specifically, it’s worth looking back at the signature moment from the last time they won it. Which, really, was one of baseball’s all-time signature moments.

Yep, I’m talking about Kirk Gibson’s famous game-winning home run off of Dennis Eckersley of the Oakland Athletics in Game 1 of the 1988 World Series, which happened 30 years ago tonight.

All playoff magic for anyone too young to remember Bill Mazeroski’s homer in 1960 is measured against Gibson taking Dennis Eckersley downtown to turn a 4-3 deficit into a 5-4 win. Heck, even if you were around in 1960, it’s far less likely that you saw Mazeroski’s homer than it was for you to have seen Gibson’s. Nationally broadcast in prime time to a nation of millions who had not yet fragmented into viewers of hundreds of obscure cable channels and various forms of streaming entertainments, it was a moment that sent shockwaves through the world of sports.

For my part, I was fifteen years-old, sitting in my living room in Beckley, West Virginia watching it as it happened. Like most of the rest of the country, I was convinced that the Dodgers had no chance to beat the mighty Bash Brothers and the 104-win Oakland A’s. Especially given that the Dodgers’ leader, MVP-to-be Gibson, was hobbled and not starting. Even when he was called on to pinch hit, I had no faith that he’d be able to touch Eckersley, the best relief pitcher on the planet, let alone hit the ball with any kind of authority.

But, as Vin said when he called it, the Dodgers’ year was so improbable that, in hindsight, it made perfect sense for Gibson to have done the impossible: