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At times this column turns personal. And really, isn't that why we follow sports, and especially the Cubs? It's the personal connection. And I'm not even talking about Ron Santo. This week another lifelong fan of the Cubs, my father-in-law Jim Casey, will be passing on without seeing them win a World Series.
What makes Jim different than your garden-variety Cub fan was that he was a minor league guy to the core. The Tennessee Smokies, the Iowa Cubs, the Peoria Chiefs, he went everywhere. Even saw them on the road. As a retired Greyhound bus driver, he had no problem logging the long miles needed to literally follow his Cubs wherever they played.
And he loved the kids; always said how this guy and that guy was a good player and was going to be good. He wasn't often right, but, well, we all know that the Cubs haven't yielded much from the farm system in the last, well, forever. But he still went and still believed in the kids.
And in pure Cub fan fashion, just when the Cubs as an organization are prioritizing their farm system, the guy who valued that over everything else is not going to be here to witness it, let alone a World Series.
The timing seems even more weird as Theo and boys try to bolster the farm system as the trading deadline approaches. It's really in the process of happening and Jim isn't going to be here. Or we at least think it's in the process of happening. We believe that help will be on the way, just like Jim Casey always did.
Week in Review: The Cubs went 2-4 for the week, taking two of three from the Marlins before getting swept by the Cardinals. It's about time they lost a few games; I was beginning to think they were actually good.
The Week in Preview: The Cubs travel to Pittsburgh for three with the Pirates, then come home for three more with the Cardinals. But the real action will be on the trading front.
The Second Basemen Report: Darwin Barney started every game this week at second again. Darwin had five hits, one walk, and a few good plays in the field - including this spectacular play.
I'm still not sold on this guy at the plate, but he makes play after play in the field and makes the game worth watching, and that means somethig. Which is just like the ghost of Jim Hendry would have wanted.
In former second basemen news, DJ LeMahieu has been shuffling back and forth between the majors and Triple-A for the Colorado Rockies this season. DJ last spun double plays for the Cubs in 2011. He was part of the Ian Stewart trade, and he is missed.
Crazy Corners Nothing to see here. Luis Valbuena continues to play third and not hit and The Riz shouldn't be getting a day off until 2027.
Weekly Bunting Report: Tony Campana got a couple pinch-hitting opportunities this week and he bunted on one. He was out, but he bunted. He walked in his other at-bat. So 100% of this balls in play this week were bunts.
The Zam Bomb: Big Z got knocked around in Pittsburgh this week and has lost five of his last six decisions. This means Big Z is Getting Angry. He also ducked out of pitching at Wrigley, which made us Angry.
Endorsement No-Brainer: The Cardinals for eggs. Because they scored a dozen runs in one inning against the Cubs. Look at that box score.
Ameritrade Stock Pick of the Week: Shares of class traded lower this week while the Marlins and Ozzie Guillen were in town.
Sink or Sveum: 32% Analytical, 68% Emotional. Dale doesn't move the meter this week due to getting swept in St. Louis after winning the Marlins series. On a scale of Bat Sh#t Crazy, (Charles Manson), Not All There, (random guy with a neck tattoo), Thinking Clearly (Jordi LaForge), and Non-Emotional Robot (Data), Dale is Not All There.
And just like your thought-to-be level-headed uncle, Dale got a little big for his britches. Literally. So he had to get bigger britches.
Over/Under: The number of mentions Andrew McCutcheon gets about being the MVP this week: +/- he deserves more.
Don't Hassle The Hoff: Micah Hoffpauir hasn't played much this week. Seems like some kind of Japanese hassle, or he could be hurt, or on holiday or something, but probably a hassle.
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 Pirates are finally decent.
The Cub Factor: Unlike Alfonso Soriano, you can catch 'em all!
The White Sox Report: Know the enemy.
Fantasy Fix: Stars On Thin Ice.
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