Dale Sveum is as big an NFL fan as there is.
Next year, the Cubs' manager may get to make like an NFL head coach and throw challenge flags under Major League Baseball's expanded use of instant replay to solve disputed calls.
It's not certain whether managers will get to throw challenge flags out of the dugout, but they will be allowed one challenge over the first six innings and two from the seventh inning through the completion of the game.
Sveum sounded supportive of the move.
"It's kind of interesting," he said. "To get anything right, especially late in the game, I think it's got to that point where it will be interesting to throw a flag from the dugout or however the process is going to work."
One big concern is that replay will slow games down in an era when many games take more than three hours to play as it is. Baseball argues that replay will eliminate time-consuming arguments on the field.
"I don't how it could speed the game up," Sveum said. "I guess they say spending too much time out there arguing or going out to find out whatever, but I don't know how it could speed up the game.
"I think they can speed up the process. If somebody's up in the booth or back in New York or whatever, they can somehow relay it, 'OK, here's the flag, he's wrong,' and that's it. I don't know if that's going to happen. It seems we get the replays really quick in the NFL and then it's a process for them after that to get back and get on."
All that said, Sveum said he finds few negatives in the new setup.
"There can't be any negatives to make sure two or three plays a night are gotten right," he said
Taking one for the team:
Pitcher Carlos Villanueva has made a career of being the good soldier, going back and forth between the rotation and the bullpen no matter what team he's been with.
It's back to the bullpen for a second time this year with the Cubs as Jake Arrieta came up from Class AAA Iowa on Friday to take a spot in the rotation.
"I'm grateful I got the opportunity to start," Villanueva said. "If it's the Cubs or some other team that can see me doing that in the future again, then I'm ready for it. Right now, the Cubs need me to be in the bullpen. That's where I'm going to be, and that's where I'm going to do my best.
"Trust me. If next year I'm in the bullpen and we're popping champagne here, I'll have no worries in the world. There's no room in this game to be selfish. When you're needed, you go out there and do the best you can.
"Maybe if I wasn't so versatile, I'd be in Iowa right now. You've got to look at it that way. You can be positive or negative. I choose to be positive and to see it as an asset, to me and to my career and every team I play for."