MILWAUKEE Draped over the rail of the opposing dugout at Miller Park, Cubs manager Dale Sveum watched intently, rarely breaking his gaze, as left fielder Ryan Braun squared up and hit ball after ball during the Brewers batting practice on Friday.
It's unusual for an opposing manager to be out so early before their own team takes to the field, and it's especially rare for one to watch batting practice so closely. But Sveum continued to look on, his eyes following the balls Braun hit to the Miller Park outfield.
A random passerby might assume Sveum was scouting his opponent by how closely he seemed to watch, observing mechanics and approach. But Sveum knows all these things already. He wasn't scouting. He was reminiscing.
Not long before Braun squared up at the plate for batting practice, he glided across the grass behind home plate, a huge smile across his face. He had seen Sveum standing idly near the opposing dugout, and as he came up to him, he pulled him into a huge hug.