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Wavin' Hello to Wavin' Dale Sveum

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We've all had our 24 hours or so of relief and celebration, so it's about time somebody calls the cops on this party.

As is often the case with interim managers not named Jack McKeon or Cito Gaston, we really don't have a clue what Sveum will be like at the helm.  All we've seen are the handful of innings last season when, as bench coach, he took over after Ned got ejected.  Even then, he was probably making decisions that Ned instructed him to, or the ones he thought Ned would make.

Worse yet, while this move is designed to shake things up, there's only so much you can do on September 16th.  I doubt we'll see a crazy new lineup (at least not any crazier than the ones in Sunday's doubleheader), and while Gagne might not last as the 8th inning guy, I somehow doubt Sveum will sit in the dugout with a handy leverage index spreadsheet.

My point, I guess, is this: In the eyes of knowledgeable fans--especially sabermetrically oriented ones--most managers hurt their teams.  I've certainly never been convinced that Ned was a net positive for the Brewers, so it may well be true that we've got a better team now that he's gone.

But, as was the case when the Mariners dumped Richie Sexson and brought in the great new hope of Bryan LaHair (with a little Miguel Cairo mixed in for flavor), firing the manager doesn't immediately set the scale to league average. 

We might get lucky--maybe a bright analytical mind has been hidden in the third-base coaching box all this time.  But the odds are against it.  A replacement-level manager just isn't very good, and I suspect that, at least this year, Ned was better than replacement level.

Now, I'm probably jumping into the strategy side of Sveum's managerial career a little early.  Without a doubt, Ned wasn't fired right now because Attanasio suddenly decided he couldn't take any more stupid late-inning matchups.  (Though it couldn't have helped matters.)  This is a fire-up-the-boys move, and maybe it doesn't matter who is at the reins so long as most of the right guys are in the lineup and CC and Ben keep pitching every fifth day.

And naturally, if the fire-up-the-boys move serves its purpose and gets us the 8-4 finish that will probably put the Brewers in the postseason, it won't make much of a difference who pitches the eight inning, or who bats second.

But, being a [pick one: contrarian; realist; asshole], I think it's important to recognize that the smart money is on Sveum making just as many lame decisions as Ned did.  We can only hope the offense reignites and it doesn't end up mattering who's in the dugout when that happens.