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Cubs look to stop the attendance bleeding in '13

The first 100-loss season in 46 years already has cost the Cubs about 200,000 in attendance losses this year.

And with “rebuilding” still the operative word for the franchise going into 2013, what’s it going to take to keep the totals from plunging even further?

“The one thing we have going for us is we’re playing for the Chicago Cubs and fans do come out even in tough times,” manager Dale Sveum said.

But even Cub fans theoretically have their limits.

“It’s all of our jobs to put a product on the field next year that’s competitive, that’s winning,” Sveum said. “The one good thing is that at least we’re pretty close to .500 at home. The road record was a whole ‘nother entity.”

Whether they can improve the product on the field likely is a function of how much of the hefty payroll flexibility the front office is willing to spend on upgrading the starting pitching. And whether the Cubs can score a few runs once in a while.

“As much as anything,” Sveum said, “I think it’s very, very important to get off to a good start next year.”