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The Cubs are gonna stink again this season and it's not alright.

There is absolutely no guarantee that Theo's rebuild will quadruple lap the rest of the league's franchises in, say, oh, 2016, justifying our continued pain, and there is absolutely no excuse for the most profitable team in baseball owned by one of America's richest families one year away from another huge jackpot to not try to win a the major league level on a parallel track to reshaping the farm system.

And a Jumbotron doesn't make things better, it makes things worse.

The desecration of sport's most uniquely special franchise, intimately tied to its uniquely special ballpark, is nearly complete.

Some of us only watch in anger these days.

Week in Review: The Cubs went 1-4-2 (yes, there are ties in spring training) in their last week of the exhibition season. They went 16-19 on the whole. They are terrible.

Week in Preview: The Cubs open today in Pittsburgh, whom they will battle all season long for last place in the NL Central, with the winner (loser) being relegated to Peoria to replace the departing Rivermen, who play hockey. Two more against the Pirates after the requisite Tuesday break will be followed by three losses in Atlanta over the weekend.

The Second Basemen Report: Just as we were ready to retire The Second Basemen Report, Darwin Barney goes and lacerates his knee and lands himself on the DL. That puts White Sox refugee Brent Lillibridge in line to be a Cubs Opening Day starter, which should make this kid very happy - or very sad. Someone should check in with him.

Meanwhile, Alberto Gonzalez is expected to be called up from Triple-A to fill Barney's roster spot, and the team revealed that Opening Day third baseman Luis Valbuena - imagine seeing that advertised 50-feet tall at Wrigley - is also capable of playing second. So we're not done with this feature just yet.

In former second basemen news, Mickey Morandini is in second season managing the Phillies' Class A Lakewood (N.J.) BlueClaws, and in his third season overall in the organization. He is missed.

The Not-So-Hot Corner: Luis Valbuena has a career WAR of -0.3. Which is better than I thought it would be. Oh, Cubs.

(His WAR last year was 1.4, but that must take into consideration that his replacement player was former hotshit prospect Josh Vitters. Meanwhile, Junior Lake is adapting to the Cubs Way quite nicely.)

Deserted Cubs: Tony Campana tripled and drove in two runs on Wednesday - just a week after a cut on his hand earned while stealing a base and requiring eight stitches re-opened - but was optioned to Triple-A Reno to start the season.

Meanwhile, Bob Brenly is in a better booth.

Endorsement No-Brainer: Tom Ricketts for Wall Street: Insatiable greed on wheels that destroys everything sacred in its path.

Ameritrade Stock Pick of the Week: Shares in Rosemont refused to move higher as only David Kaplan and David Haugh bought in to a short-sell play so ridiculous that authorities won't even bother to investigate. Shares of Bullshit, however, continued to do well.

Sink or Sveum: 50% Analytical, 50% Emotional. Dale Sveum proved to be nothing more than Mike Quade with a five o'clock shadow last year. 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 starts the season as he left it: Bat Sh#t Crazy and Thinking Clearly.

manson.jpgneck.jpg jordi.jpgdata.jpg

And just like your thought-to-be level-headed uncle, Dale put his seeds in the ground knowing that it was too early and the cold would kill them but hoping that somehow, someway, he could cheat the laws of gardening.

Over/Under: Number of losses in 2013: +/- 99.

Beachwood Sabermetrics: A complex algorithm performed by The Cub Factor staff using all historical data made available by Major League Baseball has determined that Theo Epstein gets more free passes than The Funny Bone hands out for open mic night.

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

The White Sox Report: Know the enemy.


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