Team pokes fun at Sveum's hunting accident
MESA, Ariz. -- About halfway through Cubs manager Dale Sveum's speech prior to the first full squad workout on Sunday, the players started to take off their jackets to reveal bright orange hunting gear tops. Then, they put on the orange caps.
"Of course, they gave me one with a target on it," Sveum said, chuckling.
The quick clothing change was a humorous response to Sveum being accidentally shot by Hall of Famer Robin Yount while the two were quail hunting in Arizona before the Winter Meetings. Sveum was hit in the ear and back.
Cubs pitcher Matt Garza thought the orange crush helped ease things on the first day.
"Guys laughed it off and Skip laughed it off," Garza said. "I think it was a good icebreaker for a bunch of guys. I think it loosened the tone in there, loosened the feeling going on. Everybody's first meeting, they're a little nervous. Good one, whoever did it."
It helped that Sveum took it well.
"He was laughing," Garza said. "That's always good. When the person who gets it is laughing, it's good. If you get a mean face, it's probably not the move you want to make."
"It was actually funny," Sveum said of the players. "All of a sudden, people are taking their jackets off, and it was like, OK, cool."
Sveum has yet to find out the instigator. The players were more interested in hearing details about the story.
"I was like -- 'Get out of the way,'" Garza said of his first response when he heard about the freak accident. "[Sveum] said it was a weird situation. I've never been quail hunting before, so I don't know. I go for big game."
The rest of Sveum's message was similar to what he delivered one year ago before his first season as Cubs manager.
"It was basically the same message that the organization wants to get through and what I want to get through to every player who comes through here, which is accountability and work ethic and preparation and that things aren't maybe accepted here as much as other places sometimes," he said. "I talked about a lot of the positives that came out of last year, because there were."
Cubs chairman Tom Ricketts also addressed the players, and discussed some of the renovations to be made at Wrigley Field. The team also will move into a new Spring Training facility in west Mesa in 2014.
"A year ago, we knew we were getting a Spring Training facility and nobody knew we were getting a new clubhouse at that time, so there are a lot of things going on with the rennovations and what the Ricketts family has done for this organization in a short amount of time and that will always continue," Sveum said. "These players have to realize how much change has gone in an organization in one year."