Perhaps the best example of Trebelhorn's steadying influence has been the performance of Sveum, who last season made 30 errors in 91 games. This year he has been flawless, and one night in Baltimore he made an astonishing play on a ball Alan Wiggins hit deep into the hole, throwing out the speedy Wiggins from one knee. "When I make a good play this year," says Sveum, 23, "I'm proving that the people who were so down on me last year were wrong."
Sveum is a Norwegian name pronounced Swaim. Sveum says his family name was originally Olson, but in McLeod, N. Dak., there were so many Olsons—all of them related—that part of the family decided to change to Sveum. And what does Sveum mean? "It means a lot of people mispronounce your name," says Sveum, who has learned the wisdom of forgiving errors.
The Brewers' young starters pitched admirably all week—along with Nieves and Higuera, 24-year-old Bill Wegman and 25-year-old Mark Ciardi won their starts—and when they faltered, Plesac was there. Plesac and Mark Clear were the stoppers last year in a bullpen that was 59-2 when Milwaukee took a lead into the eighth inning. "I was kind of thrown to the wolves," says Plesac.
Plesac, whose name is Croatian and was probably Olson somewhere along the line, has to wear braces on his teeth for the next two seasons. "I told my orthodontist I didn't care if he straightened my teeth as long as he didn't straighten out my curveball," Plesac says. By the time either of those things happens, the Brewers will have lost maybe a couple of games. But right now the pitchers are ahead of the orthodontists, and anything is possible.