Dale Sveum just finished a 25-minute session with the media. He spoke eloquently about the passion in Boston and what a great place Fenway Park is for somebody in baseball.
Sveum is well aware that he was not a popular third base coach during his two years here. But that does not deter him from wanting to come back as manager.
Sveum wasn’t afraid to take chances and that led to a series of runners being thrown out at the plate, particularly in the second half of the 2004 season. For a week or two, some particularly rabid fans wanted him removed from the coach’s box.
“I’m glad I was scrutinized for being aggressive instead of passive,” Sveum said. “I’m not a very passive person. I’m a very aggressive person and I always have been.
“Don’t get me wrong, I made a couple decisions I’d like to have back and maybe a comment or two in the paper.”
Sveum found the hysteria to border on the comical, but never lost faith in his knowledge and instincts. The Red Sox supported him and when he left to join the Milwaukee coaching staff, it was on his own accord.
The Red Sox interviewed Phillies bench coach Pete Mackanin on Monday. General manager Ben Cherington has requested permission to speak with two other candidates and is waiting to hear back from their teams.
Cherington did not reveal any names. But the Red Sox are believed to be interested in Rangers pitching coach Mike Maddux, Indians bench coach Sandy Alomar Jr. and possibly Rays bench coach Dave Martinez.
The Cardinals are seeking a new manager with the retirement of Tony La Russa and now the Cubs are in the market after firing Mike Quade today.
Cherington and Cubs president of baseball operations Theo Epstein, the former Sox GM, could find themselves vying for the same candidates given their shared sensibilities. But Cherington does not expect that to be a roadblock to getting the man he wants.
“It’s possible we’ll be talking to some of the same people,” Cherington said. “The teams are at different stages, the cities are different. I think the right manager in Boston is not necessarily the right manager in Chicago."
Given his love of Boston and Fenway Park, Sveum hopes he emerges as the best candidate.
“It’s the ultimate place to ever be. There’s nothing like Fenway Park. There’s nothing like Boston the city, the passion the people have for the Boston Red Sox,” he said. “You just can’t replace that feeling every night coming to a ballpark. You play 162 games and when you get to play 81 of them in Fenway Park it’s not too tough to come to the ballpark every day when you play in front of those kind of fans.”
Cherington is not worried about having to having to sell Sveum to skeptical fans who remember the misadventures at third base.
“I don’t see how that’s relevant,” he said. “He’s done a lot of different things in baseball. … We’re looking at the entire body of work. I think his experience as a third base coach is a benefit to him. He’s been through some adversity in Boston and a lot of our candidates won’t have been through that.”
See the Globe tomorrow for much more on Sveum. As to other matters:
• Cherington does not expect to sign any of his free agents before the exclusivity period ends at 12:01 a.m. He said talks have been going on with David Ortiz and his agents and to a lesser extent with Jonathan Papelbon's agents. Ortiz is still in Boston.
“I wouldn’t expect any closure on either of those guys any time soon,” Cherington said.
• Third base prospect Will Middlebrooks sprained a ligament in his left thumb and was placed in a cast, ending his season in the Arizona Fall League after 13 games. Cherington said Middlebrooks should be fine after 4-6 weeks.