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The Grand Illusion

The most interesting thing that's happened lately to the Cubs has nothing to do with the Cubs. It has more to do with the Dodgers and Red Sox, but it certainly relates to the Cubs. What is becoming clearer is that teams in major markets make an ass-load of money.

The Dodgers proved that as a team that somehow could barely make payroll last season went out and got a quarter-billion dollars worth of contracts. Do they do that if they couldn't make that back somehow?

And what about the Red Sox? A team that could take on that kind of payroll just decides to give up on the cornerstone of the deal (Adrian Gonzalez) and throw in a few other horrible contracts.

So how does this relate to the Cubs?

In two ways. First, it shows that big-market teams should care less about payroll than small-market teams. L.A. sure could care less about that payroll now. And you think that the Dodgers make more money than the Cubs?

Well, maybe they do, but it's in the same ballpark, friends.

But we were fed a line about cutting salary as the only way things will change around here. Well, the Cubs are full of it. They can handle the payroll. They are taking advantage of the fans.

Second, I don't think it was a salary dump for Boston. It was a "let's get Theo's guys out of here" move. It just so happens that it coincided with a huge salary dump, because we now know from the Dodgers' perspective that big-market teams can have all the salary they want.

Nope, it was a move by new management to get their own people and ideas moving forward instead of the old ones.

And you can look no further than right here on the North Side to see how new management is cleaning house to get their own guys in all the while selling a bill of goods that includes cutting the major-league payroll to the bone.

We are being had, Cub fans, and you only have to take a look around the league to see why. Maybe in 2017 it'll all be worth it, but maybe not.

Week in Review: The Cubs went 2-6 for the week (and a day), losing three of four to the Brewers, two of three to the Giants, and the first of four with the Nats. A hundred losses in still possible.

The Week in Preview: The Cubs stay in D.C. for three more before heading to Pittsburgh for a weekend set with the Pirates. There will be two wins in there if they are lucky.

The Second Basemen Report: Here is a word problem: Darwin Barney is the Cubs' second baseman. The Cubs are bad at baseball, therefore Darwin Barney is bad at baseball. Except on defense, which is less than half of what really counts. Which is not what the ghost of Jim Hendry would have liked but what he left us.

In former second basemen news, Jeff Baker was traded from the Cubs to the Tigers and then from the Tigers to the Braves. So two potential playoff teams have acquired him since late July. And yet, he is not missed.

The Not So Hot Corner: Luis Valbuena still plays third most of the time because at .081, Josh Vitters can't hit his 5th-grade weight. He does have a .121 OBP, though, which is what he weighed in 6th grade.

Weekly Bunting Report: Tony Campana is back! And that means the bunt is once again in the Cubs' offensive arsenal. Not every day, mind you, because Alfonso Soriano is still getting at-bats because he's such a big part of this team's future. But buried on the bench, along with the team's running game.

Endorsement No-Brainer: Theo Epstein for David Copperfield. They both create great illusions.

Ameritrade Stock Pick of the Week: Shares of Nostalgia continue to trade higher than they should.

Sink or Sveum: 25% Analytical, 75% Emotional. Dale stands pat because how low can you go in this pretend season? 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.

manson.jpgneck.jpg jordi.jpgdata.jpg

And just like your thought-to-be level-headed uncle, Dale entered the family limbo contest just for fun but he had no idea the bar would get so low and now he's worried about wrenching his back. It was a bad idea.

Over/Under: The amount of innings anyone should be watching per game right now: +/- 2.1

Don't Hassle LaHoffpauir It kinda turns out that Micah Hoffpauir and Bryan LaHair are the same person. What 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 September call-ups just mean you get to see more guys that you will never see again.

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

The White Sox Report: Know the enemy.

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