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Over the Labor Day weekend a couple of guys broke into Wrigley Field in the wee hours to steal some of its iconic ivy; a caper born, perhaps, of a few too many beers. Seems they knew what was of real value in the “friendly confines” these days.

It has been a long, all too familiar season for the Chicago Cubs and their fans. A dozen or so games remain to be played and all that’s left for the team hunkered in a struggle to avoid last place is the role of spoilers in a tight division race. Otherwise, they might as well empty their lockers and turn out the lights. Even Cubbies have to hibernate. Hopefully their dreaming will not match the nightmares of their season.

Yes, there were bright spots, but few and far between. The dominant themes, however, were frustration and disappointment, though the mindset of “a rebuilding year” can be called something of a saving grace. Injuries and trades kept the team off balance; both pitching and hitting were constant puzzles at home and on the road.

Glimmers of hope would take the mound, fade mid-game and rarely find a recharge in the bullpen. The story of the club’s season can be found from the fifth-inning on. The Cubbies failed much too often to capitalize on quality starts as their pitching usually came up short in later innings.

Of course, much can be blamed on their hitting as well. The numbers of their go-to players went south after mid-season and especially after the Soriano trade. Not even the voltage of some new blood could compensate. And injuries early on did not help. Still, the not so lovable losers continued to pack ’em in – their brand of creative baseball being full of unhappy surprises.

Change has been in the air since the Ricketts took over and the off-season should be wild with it. Wrigley Field itself is up for a make-over. That won’t happen overnight  but fans will be bracing themselves for the jolt of seeing a new Jumbotron scoreboard above the left-field bleachers come next season. The “museum” the Ricketts say they didn’t buy is going modern.

The good news is that the Northsiders aren’t getting worse. Just same-old, same-old. It is said that everyone loves a mystery and the Cubs are the longest running one in baseball. Maybe the do-over in Wrigleyville will help to solve it. How ’bout that, fans!