MILWAUKEE -- If Milwaukee manager Ron Roenicke needs any sort of reference points for the last time the Brewers were in the postseason, back in 2008, he doesn't have to travel far to find the manager from back then.
In a testament to the family atmosphere that surrounds this fun bunch of Brewers, Dale Sveum continues his work with the organization as hitting coach, his time in charge largely forgotten in the dustbin of history.
When the Brewers nearly folded down the stretch in '08, they fired manager Ned Yost in a shocking move in mid-September, with just 12 games left in their season.
Sveum took over on an interim basis for those 12 games, then managed in the playoffs as the Brewers were eliminated in four games by the Phillies.
After that, Sveum was considered as full-time manager but didn't get the job. The Brewers instead hired Ken Macha, who ran the club in 2009 and 2010. When they didn't renew his contract, they plucked Roenicke off of Mike Scioscia's Angels staff.
So here we are, three years later, and there's Sveum, working behind the batting cage, offering this bit of advice to Prince Fielder, that bit of help to Ryan Braun.
Surely, he had to swallow some pride when he was passed over as manager. Why did he stay?
"It was a very unfortunate situation at the time," Sveum, 47, told me when we spoke here a couple of weeks ago. "I only managed for 12 days and then the playoffs. It wasn't like I was there for three months or something. It wasn't the norm where you think you deserve the job."
Given that feeling, the strange circumstances and his affinity for the young core group of players in '08 -- most of whom will play this afternoon in what could be Prince Fielder's final game as a Brewer -- Sveum never gave serious thought to leaving. Maybe others would have walked away in a huff, but not this guy.
"I've been with quite a few organizations, but the Brewers have been great," said Sveum, who played for the Brewers, Pirates, White Sox, Athletics, Mariners and Yankees during his 12-year major-league career. "I love it here. I love the city.
"There would be nothing more gratifying than winning one here. I played here. I coached here. We have a great owner [Mark Attanasio] who is not afraid to spend money and keep guys. We drew three million fans this year.
"This is not a bad place to be. And these jobs don't come around very often."
While Sveum said the run in '08 with CC Sabathia was a whole lot of fun, he said this year has been better because "we have a complete pitching staff, and whenever you have a complete pitching staff, you have a chance to go deep into the playoffs."
"The fans are not stupid," Sveum said. "They know there's a window here to go deep into the playoffs, and that's what brings electricity."
Those fans, on edge since Arizona evened this series 2-2 on Wednesday night in the desert, only hope the window to go deep into the playoffs doesn't slam shut prematurely later tonight.
Likes: Three Game 5s. How great is this? ... Fabulous Tigers-Yankees Game 5, and what a job of managing in that series by Jim Leyland. ... The folks who work for Southwest Airlines are some of the friendliest and most helpful in the business. The other day, a little portfolio-type thing I carry that has a ton for frequent-flier cards, numbers and receipts in it, fell out of my workbag on a flight. I didn't notice until I got to the baggage claim area, and a terrific lady for Southwest in the baggage claim area jumped on the case immediately, phoned the gate and had it back to me within 15 minutes. The folks cleaning the plane had found it and, phew, what a relief. ... Mo's steakhouse in downtown Milwaukee. The "McAlpine" Horseradish Crusted Prime Ribeye, white cheddar mashed potatoes and sautéed spinach ... now that's a meal. ... Culver's frozen custard, a Wisconsin staple.
Dislikes: Another week of great baseball, 75 degrees in Milwaukee today, beautiful sun, sailboats on Lake Michigan ... what's not to like?
Rock 'n' Roll Lyric of the Day:
"Reading departure signs in some big airport
"Reminds me of the places I've been.
"Visions of good times that brought so much pleasure
"Makes me want to go back again.
"If it suddenly ended tomorrow,
"I could somehow adjust to the fall.
"Good times and riches and son of a bitches,
"I've seen more than I can recall
"These changes in latitudes, changes in attitudes,
"Nothing remains quite the same.
"Through all of our running and all of our cunning
"If we couldn't laugh we would all go insane"
-- Jimmy Buffett, Changes in Latitudes, Changes in Attitudes