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Fired Up

It is more fun to be a Pirates fan today than it is to be a Cubs fan. Just let that soak in.

Dusty Baker is also returning to the playoffs.

So are the St. Louis Cardinals.

Meanwhile, the Cubs are apparently thinking about firing their manager.

And you know what? He deserves firing.

Then again, his bosses aren't distinguishing themselves either no matter how much they pat themselves on the back for their minor league rosters.

"I guess waiting continues to be the good word for those of us destined to suffer all the way to the cemetery with our 'loveable losers,'" Terry Hersom writes for the Sioux City Journal.

It's just that waiting isn't as much fun as it used to be - and our losers aren't very lovable anymore.

That's what happens when you take away the fun and still stink up the joint.

The Week in Review: The Cubs lost three of four to the Brewers and two of three to the Braves, who clinched a playoff spot with one of those wins. The Pirates beat the Cubs on Monday night to also clinch a playoff spot. Getting the Cubs in September is like scheduling Northwestern for homecoming used to be.

Week in Preview: Two more against the Pirates, three at St. Louis and it's over.

The Second Basemen Report: Darwin Barney's problems at the plate cannot simply be attributed to a singularly bad season - instead, the trendline over the last three seasons are clear: his BA has dropped from .276 to .254 to .213 .209; his OBP has dropped from .313 to .299 to .269 .268; and his OPS has dropped from .666 to .653 to .583 .573.

The Third Basemen Report: The Cubs end the season at third the way they began the season at third: with Luis Valbuena's .218/.332/.379 slash line.

The Third Basemen Report would also like to bid adieu to Josh Vitters, who has been moved to the outfield.

And Mike Olt, who was supposed to be in a Cubs uniform as the third baseman of the future within days of being acquired from Texas? He finished his season in Des Moines hitting .201 with an OBP of .303.

Wishing Upon A Starlin: Now it's about showcasing Starlin "as himself" for other teams because he certainly doesn't fit in here. Pencil Javy Baez in for 2015.

The Legend of Dioner Navarro: He's punched his ticket out of here.

Endorsement No-Brainer: Kevin Gregg for Snickers.

Laughable Headline of the Week: Epstein Says Sveum Evaluation 'Standard'.

Runner-up: Dale Sveum Says Anthony Rizzo's Season Is "Not As Bad As Everybody Makes It Out To Be".

Deserted Cubs: Brenly Honored In Legends Entertainment District + Bob Brenly Might Get His Own Street = We miss Bob.

Ameritrade Stock Pick of the Week: We'd love to recommend loading up on shares of Joe Girardi, but instead we're accumulating a position in Sending Dale Sveum A Message.

Sveum's Shadow: Dale Sveum's Five O'Clock Shadow is just seconds from midnight as he sweats out his employment status. And just like his Uncle Lou, he knows he was brought in to supervise a division starved of resources and staffed with poor performers, but in the end he was just as overmatched as they were.

Shark Tank: Jeff Samardzija's three-year trend in ERA: 2.97; 3.81; 4.33.

Jumbotron Preview: Five-thousand-seven-hundred square-feet of other teams clinching on our field.

Kubs Kalender: Wait 'til next year 2015 2016 2017.

Over/Under: Number of core players on current roster: +/- 1.5.

Beachwood Sabermetrics: A complex algorithm performed by The Cub Factor staff using all historical data made available by Major League Baseball has determined that hope is a strategy that only works when bleacher tickets are $5 and there's no advertising in the ballpark.

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

The White Sox Report: Know the enemy.

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