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Ball of Confusion

After attending the game at Wrigley on Saturday, I am more confused now about the state of the Cubs than I was last week, when I wrote about the difficult adjustment to no longer having Jim Hendry to blame..

This time, it's Cub fans themselves who have me bewildered. And I'm a lifelong Cubs fan.

Who are these people, and what do they want now?

Obviously, my expectations for the game were low. Winning and losing at this point is irrelevant, right?

Not to the crowd at Wrigley. They acted like the game mattered. They cheered as if every play meant something. They cheered as if every fly ball meant something. They even cared enough to boo.

In fact, when it started raining, they booed the umpires who called the rain delay - yet cheered every time there was a big clap of thunder and a flash of lightning. This seemed counterproductive. They were booing and cheering the same rainstorm.

I left the game more confused and angry than when I arrived. Not because Carlos Marmol gave up a game-winning grand slam to former Cub Derrek Lee in the top of the ninth with two outs, but because I didn't know what the crowd wanted. Maybe they didn't know what they wanted.

This season is lost in more than just the normal ways.

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From Roger Wallenstein's White Sox Report this week:

I was channel-surfing Saturday and watched part of the Cub-Pirate game. How can there be a more meaningless September contest than one between fourth- and fifth-place teams with neither closer than 11 games to .500?

In addition, the North Siders are in disarray. They have no general manager, a field manager who appears clueless, a disgraced star pitcher, paralyzing long-term contracts, and an owner who long ago ceased gushing, "Oh, golly, I met my wife in the bleachers, and now - behold! - I'm owner of the Cubs!"

Yet here they were in the bottom of the seventh, game tied 3-3, Soriano at bat with runners at second and third. The same scene at the Cell might create a slight increase in interest and enthusiasm - despite the ad nauseum use of something called the Fan-O-Meter telling all present to cheer, cheer, and cheer some more. On the North Side, 30,000 fans rise to their feet, clap, yell, and act like the lowly bums are headed for October heroics.

And when Soriano doubled, the place went nuts. Never mind that they lost in the ninth; Cub fans seem, well, happier than we are. It matters little whether the team wins or loses. It's as though they plant a rose bush which fails to thrive. If it comes back to life and produces a lovely flower, that's great. If it dies off, they'll plant another one.

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Week in Review: The Cubs went 4-3 for the week, winning two of three from the Giants and losing two of three of three to the Pirates; they also won the first of a three-game set against the Reds. So they won the series against the team that is good and lost the series against the team that is bad. None of this season makes any sense.

The Week in Preview: The boys in blue finish up with two more against the Reds before heading to New York for three against the Mets. Gotta love the Apple.

The Second Basemen Report: Blake DeWitt got the first start at second last Monday and went 2-5 with a homer and 3 RBI. Darwin Barney got the next five starts and went 1-19. Jeff Baker started yesterday. Just like Jim Hendry drew it up.

In former second basemen news, Eric Young is the first-base coach for the NL West-leading Arizona Diamondbacks. He is missed.

The Zam Bomb: Big Z will continue to be Apologetic or Getting Angry or somewhere in-between all to himself this season.

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Marlon Byrd Supplemental Report: Conte has been injecting Marlon with "Just 11 More RBI Than Tyler Colvin Despite 200 More At-Bats."

Lost in Translation: Tahnkee yu verree little-o is Japanese for Randy Wells' last two good outings.

Endorsement No-Brainer: Matt Garza for the Rivers Casino. Because the guy is the real deal.

Sweet and Sour Quade: 8% sweet, 92% sour. Mike stood pat this week due to not knowing any better. And just like your thought-to-be well-adjusted uncle, Mike was thought to be wise when he kept his mouth shut and revealed to be a fool when he opened it.

Ameritrade Stock Pick of the Week: Shares of Reality traded lower this week on Saturday at Wrigley Field.

Over/Under: The chances Randy Wells will ever beat Tim Lincecum again: +/- 8%.

Beachwood Sabermetrics: A complex algorithm performed by The Cub Factor staff using all historical data made available by Major League Baseball has determined that the 2012 season just can't get here quick enough. Or at least the end of the 2011 season.

Farm Report: Bryan LaHair was finally called up and has three hits in eight at-bats, including a double and an RBI. He clearly doesn't understand Kubs Kulture enough to be considered major league material.

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

The White Sox Report: Know the enemy.

Mike Quade Status Update: "Sean Marshall saved the Cubs' win Sunday with a scoreless ninth, but manager Mike Quade said Carlos Marmol will remain his closer the remainder of the season," Paul Sullivan writes for the Tribune.

"Can the Cubs open 2012 with Marmol as closer?

"'The last thing I thought about was next year,' Quade said."

Because why should he be different than anyone else in the organization?

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They'll start changing the culture later.

Well-Adjusted / Delirious / High

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