MILWAUKEE -- Remember that idea that the Cubs and Red Sox were on parallel tracks in their manager searches?
This is where the tracks divide.
The Cubs made their pick of Dale Sveum official on Thursday, announcing that they'll introduce him at a Friday morning press conference at Wrigley Field.
The Red Sox made it official that their eight weeks of turmoil will lead to a ninth, and likely to a 10th and 11th, as well.
"We're going to take a breather [from the managerial search] this weekend," general manager Ben Cherington said as he left the Pfister Hotel early Thursday afternoon.
Cherington is fighting the perception that he and the Red Sox baseball people are being overruled by ownership on the manager search, a perception that was only fed by later reports Thursday that the owners were talking to Bobby Valentine about the job. The Red Sox are fighting the perception that the September collapse and the departures of Theo Epstein and Terry Francona have left them as one of baseball's biggest messes.
Thursday morning, Peter Gammons reported that Red Sox ownership wants managerial "experience." This after the team's baseball leadership went through an initial round of interviews in which only one of the five candidates (Tigers third-base coach Gene Lamont) had managed a full season in the big leagues.
Not only that, but Cherington and his aides picked Sveum as the one candidate to bring in for a second interview, and to meet the owners. Sveum's managerial experience consists of 12 regular-season games and four playoff games with the 2008 Brewers.
Sveum had lunch with the Red Sox on Wednesday, but by the end of the day he was no longer a candidate in Boston, and had the Cubs offer that he officially accepted Thursday.
So where do the Red Sox go from here?
Cherington and some of his aides are headed to the Dominican Republic, where they are expected to watch soon-to-be free agent Yoennis Cespedes.
When they return, Cherington said that the Red Sox may expand their search. As of now, Lamont, Torey Lovullo and Sandy Alomar Jr. remain in contention, with Pete Mackanin already told that he is no longer a candidate.
"There could be at least one more," Cherington said.
You have to wonder if Ryne Sandberg, who was said to have interviewed well in St. Louis before the Cardinals hired Mike Matheny, will now get a chance.
And as for that "experience" thing?
"It's a factor, but not the overriding factor," Cherington said.
Eventually, they'll hire a manager. And maybe it won't be a disaster.
Remember, it took until Dec. 4 before the Red Sox hired Francona in 2003.
That worked out well.