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Scar Tissue

As I look at this 2016 incarnation of the Cubs, it's hard for me not to think about my shoulder.

Sure, that sounds a bit odd, but I just had shoulder surgery. So I can't think of much of anything right now without thinking about my shoulder.

For a little background, I initially hurt my shoulder 20-some years ago playing inline street hockey on a tennis court. I wiped out and my shoulder popped out of its socket. It would continue to do this over the years and I'd have to pop it back in myself. This got to be a bit too much to deal with and I had surgery to tighten up the joint. But now the issue has become too much to deal with again and I needed a clean-out. Weird thing these days is they give you a DVD of the surgery as the doc goes in with a camera himself to work his magic. Turns out I had a ton of scar tissue, loose debris, bone chips, even an old license plate from Louisiana in there.

Okay, not the license plate, but the doc was in there cleaning up a mess from years of a degenerating joint. Which of course makes me think of the 2016 Cubs.

I can't say I was ever a fan of the tanking-on-purpose initiative. And I was pretty critical through the years over management decisions, fanboy ownership, forced nostalgia, the parade of crappy second basemen, pricing out the old-school fans, etc.

And Old Wrigley Field? Talk about a degenerative joint.

But man, getting on to the other side now, it's almost like a clean slate. If the rest of the season keeps going like this, how can any fan hold on to that anger of the past?

Sure, the disappointment is still there lurking and waiting to strike in October, like in your knees and your intermittent back pain, but man, your shoulder feels better than it's been in a long time. And that is a real good thing.

Week in Review: The Cubs went 4-2 for the week and stand with a record of 9-3 for the young season. They swept three from the Reds and lost two of three to the Rockies. And while losing a series to the Rockies kinda stinks, the Cubs have to lose here and there. It is baseball.

Week in Preview: The boys in blue head to St Lou for three with the Cards and then straight to Cincy for four with the Reds. So, that's a lot of red for one week. The Cubs in a four-ggame series have to scare the crap out of a pitching coach. Working walks and upping pitch counts is what these guys do. Maybe a few more hits will help but there should be a stretch where pitchers start coming after these guys, and that's when the real magic happens.

Musical Outfielders: And no, we aren't talking about Matt Szczur playing the French horn. The main point of contention this season (going in) was to know how there would be enough playing time for both Jorge Soler and Kyle Schwarber in left field. But somehow that worked itself out in the form of a season-ending injury. Is it mean to say that in that fashion? I mean, it was almost like they planned it to happen. So Jorge started five of the games this week in left with Kris Bryant getting the other start. But it's not like Soler finishes games in left, because he doesn't. Should be interesting to see how this all plays out. Not to mention Bryant committing a couple errors this week at the hot corner. He really could be the left fielder for the stretch run.

Former Annoying Cub: Yes, this is my column and I will discuss the Cubs from the past who have bugged me. Interesting tidbit in here about Darwin Barney. He forgot to mention the part about the Cubs losing on purpose while he was a regular, because if they were trying to win even "Darwin Barney, the good years" would still not be a starter. So yeah, you'll have to forgive me that I think I disliked the right Cub because the "Darwin Barney, I think I'm better than I am" era was a disaster and it certainly sounds like he admits he was an idiot. He is not missed.

Current Annoying Cub: Can't say anyone is jumping out for me so far this season. But being the spokesperson for this is really pretty lame. I am no fashion plate, but no one thinks this is cool, right?

Mad(don) Scientist: Big Poppa Joe is not feeling the new clubhouse. I think you can read between the lines that he's not super on board. He is saying the right things to keep the peace and not fly in the face of management yadda yadda, but I think he'll stand by his "less is more" philosophy about being at the park if push ever comes to shove. But yeah, the sound system is sweet.

Kubs Kalender: On Saturday in Cincy the Reds will be giving away Joey "Vottomatic" bobbleheads. I didn't know that was his nickname, but I like it. So you could say, even in a big RBI situation, Joey will Vottomatically take the walk.

Over/Under: The number of games the Cubs will be up by the end of April: +/- more than you expected.

Beachwood Sabermetrics: A complex algorithm performed by The Cub Factor staff using all historical data made available by Major League Baseball has determined that this is going to be a fun regular season.

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

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