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Crushing The Copycats

I would consider myself a baseball fan. Sure, I'm a Cub fan first, but I play fantasy baseball and keep up with other teams, watch the highlight shows, yadda yadda. But I have to say, who are these guys? Not the Cub guys; I know those guys. I'm talking about the Brewers and Braves, Twins and Padres, Reds, etc. It's like you woke up one day and looked around and everything changed while you sleeping. But you were not even sleeping, it was while you were awake and still kind of paying attention.

And just no way you can't blame the Cubs for this. It's all their fault. Maybe partial blame on the Astros, but so far that's not working out this season. Tanking has officially taken over baseball. Which I guess is good for no-longer-tanking teams like the Cubs, but it's just super weird. What happened to finding lightning in a bottle for that one season? Or having like three guys on your team all have career years to vault your team into contention that one time? Or the blind and idiotic optimism of a franchise that thinks it could put together a 2007 Colorado Rockies-like 14-game or so win streak to make it into the playoffs? It's all gone.

I guess you can chalk it all up to a sign o' the times and a new generation. Maybe just another thing we can blame on millennials. As much as I try not to be that crochety old man telling the kids to get off my lawn, I, um, well, geez dude, you're on my lawn! And I'm trying to keep it looking presentable these days.

But at the same time, it's all so conflicting. It's refreshing for teams to make no bones about the tank job going on. I mean, It was just last season that Theo lied about why they didn't bring Kris Bryant up at the beginning of the season. So, it seems like progress that other teams aren't even trying to pull the wool over anyone's eyes right now.

But what ever happened to hope springing eternal? Or the improbable run of a dark horse team?

Then I think, am I trying too hard to make America great again? Maybe I am.

So yeah, nevermind. I'm good with the Cubs beating the crap out of these Tankers. Or the ghosts of Cubs of 2012 past.

I guess the thing to do is actually look to see who is going to be available in a trade come the second half. Because you know that's what the Cubs did, and that should be what these other teams will be doing. So I guess the success of The Plan with the Cubs has another helpful subplot playing out - you can crush the copycats.

Week in Review: The Cubs went 3-1 for the week with two rainouts. They took both games with the bad Brewers and split two with the lowly Braves. Nothing wrong with 3-1 but boy, this team is already looking so good that any loss makes you ask What the heck happened? Can't wait for them to lose a few series' in a row.

Week in Preview: The boys in blue head to Pittsburgh for three and then come back home for four against the Nats. Should be an interesting week to have games against a couple other teams that are actually trying. It really is a question to ask this year: Did you win or lose against a trying or tanking team.

Musical Outfielders: And no, we aren't talking about Matt Szczur playing the French horn. Jorge Soler had two starts in left and Kris Bryant got the other two. Sczcur got some action in left (and hit a granny) as did Javy Baez. Left field really is the new second base. And this is with Schwarber out for the season. It's clearly shaking out with who the odd man out is. I'll let you guess. (Hint: It's the guy who can't hit or catch or play any other positions.)

Former Annoying Cub of the Week: The Cubs will welcome back former manager Dusty Baker, who is now skippering the Nationals. They are off to a nice start this year. And apparently they remind Dusty of the 1977 Dodgers so much he can't stop talking about the similarities. Which seems like a pretty Dusty-like thing to do - living in the past and putting unfair expectations on this players to live up to one of the better teams in history. Here's hoping there are other things Dusty-like that happen in this series and for the rest of the season with the Nationals. Like managing like a clown and not having a real clue on how to handle a pitching staff, etc. Yeah, he is not missed.

Current Annoying Cub of the Week: Soler is currently entrenched on my annoying list. One-for-6 with two walks for the week - which actually brought up his batting average to .190. But I guess if you want to compare batting averages, Heyward's .211 and Rizzo's .220 need to be looked at as well. So yeah, nice start and all to the season for the Cubs, but it would be nice for a handful of guys to get it rolling already.

Mad(don) Scientist: Finally Big Poppa Joe got the stupid rolling again this season, with "wacky suit" day. I was really beginning to think that we would only have baseball for all of us to enjoy. I wonder what the 1977 Dodgers wore on road trips.

Kubs Kalender: Fans attending the Cubs-Pirates game on Monday in Pittsburgh can come early and paint a picture. This time around it's that Pirate parrot guy. Hopefully the Cubs do this as well with their mascot.

Beachwood Sabermetrics: A complex algorithm performed by The Cub Factor staff using all historical data made available by Major League Baseball has determined that playing the trying-to-win teams should be fun.

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Marty Gangler is The Cub Factor. He welcomes your comments.

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