GLENDALE, Ariz. -- Matt Smith would have understood completely if Dale Sveum had backed out of his bachelor party. After all, Sveum found out the day before that he was going to be the Cubs' 52nd manager.
Smith, a home clubhouse assistant at Miller Park, had asked Sveum to be the best man, and the plan was to hold a bachelor party for eight men during the Green Bay Packers game against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Lambeau Field the weekend before. Sveum and Smith have known each other for six years, since Sveum joined the Brewers' coaching staff. They would have beers after games, get together in Arizona to play golf and go to Packers games in the winter.
Everything for that weekend had been planned over the summer. Leading up to the event, Sveum interviewed with both the Cubs and Red Sox for their managerial openings. He got the Cubs job on Nov. 18.
"It was a wild set of circumstances," Smith said. "We had the whole thing planned way back with the two weekends -- the guys' weekend before the wedding, and then the wedding itself. With the interview process going on, it was wild. It really showed how first-class Dale is, to not only take that step in his life and his career but also still stay true to his commitment to what he was trying to do."
Sveum had a second interview with Theo Epstein, the Cubs' president of baseball operations, and general manager Jed Hoyer in Milwaukee. The Cubs wanted to introduce Sveum in Chicago but he hadn't brought a blazer, so on the way to the news conference, the contingent stopped in Racine, Wis., where Smith lives, to visit a Men's Wearhouse. Sveum was able to be fitted for his wedding wear and also pick up a navy jacket and a couple of shirts for his Chicago appearances.
"It wasn't that big a deal," Sveum said on Sunday about trying to cram everything in during the hectic weekend. "It was more impressive that Theo and Jed were like, 'Sure, yeah, we'll stop.' What's funny is, we're sitting in the Men's Wearhouse, and Jed and Theo Epstein are sitting there talking on their cellphones while I'm picking out a jacket and shirts."
After all the hoopla in Chicago, Sveum went back to Smith's house.
"After he got the job and went to Chicago and did the press conference and everything, he came back to my house the night before we went up to Green Bay," Smith said. "We dragged the grill out on the driveway and fired up some steaks, and it was the first time he could just sit and relax. It was great, and he took a big breath.
"I think that's when it hit him. It was like, 'Wow.' It set in that he'd gotten to that point. Then the work began. He had a good weekend, and then it was down to business."
The rest of the bachelor party chipped in while Sveum was busy with his Cubs responsibilities, though he had arranged everything from the game tickets to the hotel rooms to the tailgate food.
"We had to help him out because he had a lot on his plate, so we picked up the meat and things like that," said Smith, who, naturally, served bratwurst for the tailgate. The Packers also helped, with a win over the Buccaneers.
After the Green Bay weekend, Sveum went home to Arizona, then returned to Milwaukee the Friday after Thanksgiving for the wedding. After all, he was the best man.
"I would have completely understood, when you're taking that step in your life and it's a dream of his to become a manager, to back out, but he found time for his friends," Smith said. "He says what he wants to do, and he's true to his word, and he always is, and that's why he's such a great guy. He's fantastic."
Carrie Muskat is a reporter for MLB.com. She writes a blog, Muskat Ramblings, and you can follow her on Twitter@CarrieMuskat. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.