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As the Cubs inch closer to September, the biggest "deal" there is out there is what they are going to do at the trade deadline. Or, what more they are going to do at the deadline as they made a deal for some bullpen help already with Mike Montgomery. The move that seems like it's a done deal involves the Cubs picking up Aroldis Chapman, he of the 30-game suspension for violation of the league's domestic violence policy (he wasn't criminally charged due to "conflicting stories and a lack of cooperation from all parties involved."
To some Cub fans, acquiring Chapman goes against the "good time" vibe of the present-day Cubs, a bunch of mostly young kids holding dance parties after wins and wearing pajamas on road trips at the behest of their favorite uncle, who happens to manage the team.
Chapman and the Cubs sure don't seem like a good fit, do they?
Theo Epstein and Jed Hoyer have been all about "character guys," starting with bringing Anthony Rizzo here in January 2012, just months after arriving themselves. But we have to remind ourselves that the Cubs are in a whole different world now. Just look at the Wrigley Field, no longer the lovable little ballpark nestled in a neighborhood. Nope. Now it's one cog in the Rickettsville money machine.
Lots of modest yet memorable landmarks (the McDonald's!) are gone or going, to be replaced with modern structures designed to make sure the already ultra-rich Ricketts family vacuum every nickel out of your pockets as possible.
Lovable losers are gone. So too, now, are lovable winners. Now it's just about winning.
So you can be torn if you like on welcoming a not-so-nice guy to the team, but management doesn't much care. They no longer have to sell lovable. They have reached their goal: to be a winning machine that makes an assload of money.
Week In Review: The Cubs went 4-2, taking two of three from the hated Mets and two of three from the not-really-so-hated Brewers. I was at Miller Park on Saturday night, and I sweated out that loss with a lot of wet, smelly Cub fans. It was nice to see some Brewer fans there as well. But I have to say that if I was a Brewer fan, I would have stayed home and caught the next series. Even I was tired of all the Cub love after awhile.
Week In Preview: The boys in blue stay in town for the Crosstown Classic, jumping on the Red Line to play two at the Cell then "coming home" for two more at Wrigley. Maybe they'll wear some throwback jerseys in honor of Chris Sale on Thursday, when he should be starting. Oh, and the Mariners come to town this weekend as well. Time to get fat on some bad teams.
Musical Outfielders: And no we aren't talking about Matt Szczur playing the French horn. Willson Contreras (can we call him the L?) seems to have locked down left field, with five starts there last week. Now right field seems up for grabs, with Ben Zobrist getting two starts there, and Kris Bryant and Szczur each getting one. Albert Almora Jr. (not to be confused with Sr.) came in as a defensive replacement in center as well as getting one start out there. Then he got sent down as Dexter Fowler is now back and should be taking most of the CF starts, for a while anyway. There will be a DH this week for two games, so that is good. There never seems to be enough positions for all these guys.
Former Annoying Cub Of The Week: When I was at Miller Park on Saturday, I noticed a number of Matt Garza banner things, and I have to say, man, sorry Brewer fans. To have to print out Matt Garza head shots on anything to promote your team has to be really painful. I hope the rebuild works, because Matt Garza is the worst, and he is not missed.
Current Annoying Cub Of The Week: Mike Montgomery had just been acquired by the Cubs when he promptly gave up a three-run bomb cementing, the loss at Miller Park on Saturday night. The extra annoying part is that I really liked Dan Vogelbach, whom the Cubs gave up to get him. Sure, Big Dan didn't really have a spot to play as he is a first baseman - and not even a good one - but I was hoping the National League would finally get a DH and we could see this dude rake for a while. Montgomery will probably be fine, but he was certainly annoying last week.
Mad(don) Scientist: I am really looking forward to the Maddonism spin when the Cubs get Chapman. Big Poppa Joe will be asked about it and he'll somehow slither away without taking any heat. Because that is what he is good at, but I honestly do not know what his angle will be.
Kubs Calendar: Fans attending the Cubs-Mariners game on Saturday will receive a Cubs misting fan. When asked about how Cub fans feel about getting Chapman, you can just shoot the misting fan in the face of the questioner to avoid any soul-searching insight.
Beachwood Sabermetrics: A complex algorithm performed by The Cub Factor staff using all historical data made available by Major League Baseball has determined that winning is the only thing.
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