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What If?

That's the big question as the Cubs embark once more unto the breach, dear friends. What if they win the whole thing?

Sure it's been speculated upon for years - the part about the Cubs faithful burning the city to the ground and wandering the ruins for months in a drunken stupor. And, yeah, that could really happen.

But how would all things Cub really change? I've been thinking in terms of all the things that would go away, never to be thought of again. I submit to you a list.

* The Billy Goat Tavern(s). Poof! Gone. Replaced in an instant with Beachwood Inns.

* Black cats would suddenly turn white.

* Steve Bartman would become a hero upon physicists determining that going back in time and making him sit down would have delayed a World Series championship by another 100 years.

* 1969, 1984, 1989, 1998, 2003, 2007 and 2008 would vanish from the world's calendars.

* Lee Elia's voice would suddenly disappear from that audio.

* Tom Trebelhorn's firehouse chat would turn into the time he put out the Chicago Fire.

* Babe Ruth's called shot would become a foul ball.

* Sammy Sosa's Flintstone vitamins would have really been Flintstone vitamins.

* Sammy Sosa's corked bat would have been corked with Flintstone vitamins.

* The Chicago Fire would become the Lovable Losers, and Section 8 the Bleacher Bums.

* We wouldn't bother hating Steve Garvey and Will Clark anymore.

* Every failed closer would be erased from our memory banks, as would Corey Patterson's stubborn at-bats, Don Baylor's thousand-yard stare, Dusty Baker's bullshit, Uncle Lou's dementia, and the impotence of Mike Quade, Dale Sveum and Ricky Renteria.

* That loudmouth White Sox fan you work with . . . would still be a loudmouth White Sox fan. Let's be real.

* The video scoreboards and lights and CBOE seats and ads on the brick behind home plate would all disappear, and old Wrigley would become old Wrigley again.

* Harry Caray would walk out of the ivy to call games for us again.

* Chip Caray would work far away, calling games for a semipro league in Butte.

* The outfield of Soriano, Fukudome and Bradley would remain intact - for the Yankees.

* No one would ever again utter that "The Cubs will never win because they are the Cubs."

Oh, who are we kidding, those things will never change; that's the Cubs lore that would make a World Series win so much sweeter than any other franchise could deliver.

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The Season in Review: The Cubs closed out the regular season on an eight-game winning streak and came up just one game short of hosting the Wild Card game and three games shy of the division-winning Cardinals. Hey, you know what? The Cubs went 5-3 to open the season without Kris Bryant! Maybe those first 10 "Let's all pretend we think Kris Bryant is not ready" games cost the Cubs after all!

The Postseason In Preview: The postseason so far is just one game in Pittsburgh. We'll take it.

The Second Basemen Report: Arismendy Alcantara, Javy Baez, Chris Coghlan, Starlin Castro, Jonathan Herrera, Tommy La Stella and Addison Russell all played second base for the Cubs this season. And we were so sure the position had stabilized that we briefly dropped this segment in favor of The Left Fielder Report.

In former Cubs second basemen news, Elliot Taylor "Bump" Wills last played second base for the Cubs in 1982. Bump, the son of Maury, was a disappointment as the 6th overall pick in the 1975 draft, but he did notch a career .266 BA and .335 OBP, which would make Bump totally a candidate for the Cubs right now. He is missed.

Mad(don) Scientist: Big Poppa Joe should win Manager of the Year, if not Manager of the Decade and perhaps even Best Manager of the Cubs Ever. And he's a Spoxer. Yeah, it's spinning and boxing. Who knew you could combine those things and make a movement out of it? I'll tell you who knew: Joe Maddon knew. And he'll make it chill and fun and super laid-back to do, and you'll be successful doing it because, well, because Joe Maddon.

Wishing Upon A Starlin: Everyone's favorite Castro (sorry, Fidel) finished the season on a tear; he did so well that he finished above replacement level, which isn't bad for a guy who was, well, replaced.

Kubs Kalender: No giveaways in the playoffs. Just a big trophy at the end of them all. And then the looting and fires, of course.

Ameritrade Stock Pick Of The Week: Beware overvalued shares of We Told You So; futures are tricky.

Over/Under: The number of hits Jake Arrieta gives up on Wednesday: +/- 2.5.

Beachwood Sabermetrics: A complex algorithm performed by The Cub Factor staff using all historical data made available by Major League Baseball has determined that Gerrit Cole is also good.

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* Touch 'em all: The Cub Factor archives.

* Know thy enemy: The White Sox Reports.

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Marty Gangler is our man on the Cub. He welcomes your comments.

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