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Abandoned Hope

Here's the sad truth about today's home opener: We've already been instructed to wait 'til next year. Or the year after that. Or, realistically, the year after that. If all the tumblers click into place. And every other franchise gets worse - or even remains stagnant.

And therein lies the problem with Theo's Plan. Hope deferred wasn't always hope denied for Cubs fans because we at least had until June before we could adjust our modest expectations. A few times we even had until October. These days our seasons are over before they get started.

Hope is dead. Or at least in a deep-freeze. But good luck with your new billboards, Mr. Ricketts!

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The Ghost of Wrigley Future is on the South Side.

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Eddie Vedder channeling Lee Elia when Cubs fans were true.

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Week in Review: The Cubs opened the season with a 2-4 road trip that resembled last season's start in the way the bullpen buried the team early. Carlos Marmol has already been demoted - in favor of the guy who gave up more runs than he did in Saturday night's disaster.

Week in Preview: The Cubs open a seven-game homestand at Wrigley today with three against the Brewers and four against the Giants on tap. Look for Rafael Dolis to be the closer by the end of it.

The Second Basemen Report: Brent Lillibridge went 0 for his first 11 before Dale Sveum replaced him with Alberto Gonzalez, who went 2 for his first 11. So, progress. Darwin Barney isn't due back for another week.

In former second basemen news, Jeff Baker struck out in his only appearance thus far this season as a Texas Ranger utility man. He is missed.

The Not-So-Hot Corner Luis Valbuena is 2 for his first 16, though one of those hits was a home run. Prospect Joshua Warren Vitters is 0-for-1 in Des Moines.

Deserted Cubs: Tony Campana is 0 for his first 14 in Reno. Bob Brenly is doing much better - this Arizona Republic dispatch illustrates why he never really fit in around here:

The start of this year's baseball season has brought more than new players and a fresh start for the Arizona Diamondbacks. This year, both team and fans have a new restaurant, as well.

Game Seven Grill held its grand opening during the D-Backs home opener on April 1. The sports grill, which is operated in partnership with Levy Restaurants, took over the former Sliders location outside Chase Field in downtown Phoenix.

Located in the plaza directly outside the stadium's main entrance, the restaurant serves slow-smoked barbecue, salads, burgers, sandwiches, dessert, beer and wine. It was designed to be more of a family-friendly restaurant than a sports bar.

The large restaurant is decorated in sports memorabilia such as game-day jerseys, baseball bats, a replica scoreboard and a photo of former coach (now broadcaster) Bob Brenly holding the World Series Trophy after the D-Backs won Game 7 of the 2001 World Series.

Endorsement No-Brainer: U.S. Cellular Field for Wrigley Field: You'll love the ads, parking garage and empty seats!

Ameritrade Stock Pick of the Week: Shares in Deadlines sunk to lows not seen since the last CTA Doomsday budget crisis as the Ricketts' drop-dead date came and went without a Wrigley renovation deal. That's okay, though; the ivy removal company is booked until July anyway.

Sveum's Shadow: 6 p.m. Just one week into the season and Sveum's shadow is already one hour past its 5 o'clock start position. Can an ironic mustache be far away?

Shark Tank: Jeff Samardzija's performance on Sunday was classic Cub: He blew a game in which he struck out 13 of the 17 batters he faced. He also walked four and gave up four hits with most of the damage done in a three-run sixth that chased him from the game. Nonetheless, he was hailed in all quarters of Cub punditry for demonstrating that he was a true ace. Not so. What happened to Samardzija is what happens to pitchers who don't ever pitch to contact; you throw 105 pitches in 5 2/3 innings and burn three guys out of the bullpen.

Jumbotron Preview: Donnie Navarro and his .100 average 60-feet high.

Kubs Kalender: Wait 'til next year 2016.

Over/Under: Games until Carlos Marmol is returned to the closer's role: 18.

Beachwood Sabermetrics: A complex algorithm performed by The Cub Factor staff using all historical data made available by Major League Baseball has determined that it's just not any fun anymore.

The Cub Factor: Unlike Alfonso Soriano, you can catch 'em all!

The White Sox Report: Know the enemy.

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Contact The Cub Factor!

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