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Open Thread: Cubs vs. Astros, Tuesday 4/10, 1:20 CT

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Much as it pains me to admit this, Jay Mariotti nailed it in his column today:

Except for Mrs. O'Leary's cow starting a fire and burning down the city, I can't think of a bigger aesthetic and civic blunder than uprooting the Cubs. Anybody who messes with the Wrigley Field mystique will be committing baseball suicide. In fact, any prospective owner who even gives it a thought, now that Sam Zell is likely to sell the team and ballpark separately, will be condemned as a plague upon Americana.
Bingo. Mariotti goes on to say that the grandstand could and should be reconstructed (and I agree), leaving the bleachers, brick walls and ivy, scoreboard, and other things that make Wrigley Field what it is. Elsewhere in the Sun-Times today, writer Neil Hayes says the model for how to do this is what the new Red Sox owners did with Fenway Park:
The Red Sox' home was destined for a date with the wrecking ball when the team was sold to a group led by John Henry in 2002. Since then, thanks in part to Janet Marie Smith, the lead Red Sox official on ballpark renovations, they have done what many thought was impossible: Fenway is better than ever. The once-decaying brickpile with the signature green wall in left field has regained its status as baseball's grande dame.

The Red Sox have increased capacity by 10 percent and tapped new revenue streams that have helped them maintain one of baseball's highest payrolls while enhancing the park's historic character and winning raves from fans.

Bingo again. Meanwhile, Darren Rovell, one of the MSM's principal experts on the business side of baseball, writes, apparently seriously, that maybe the Cubs could be sold to a foreign owner, and if you don't like that idea, what about this totally tongue-in-cheek idea of moving them to Santa Barbara, California?

At least it'd be warmer there.

Today's Starting Pitchers
Jason Marquis
J. Marquis
Cubs
vs. Chris Sampson
C. Sampson
Astros
0-0 W-L 0-0
1.50 ERA 0.00
1 SO 2
2 BB 0
0 HR 0
vs. Hou -- vs. Cubs
On paper, this looks like a mismatch. Not only is Marquis only 1-3, 5.40 in four lifetime Wrigley Field starts, but the Astros usually hit him hard (7-4, but a 4.89 ERA, and Lance Berkman is .568/.660/.892, 21-for-37 with 4 doubles, a triple and 2 HR off Marquis). Meanwhile, Sampson, as you likely remember, outdueled Sean Marshall in Houston last June, 1-0 in his first major league start. But only four Cub hitters who played in that game are still on the team -- Michael Barrett, Aramis Ramirez, Matt Murton and Ronny Cedeno. At this moment it's bright and sunny here, so the weather conditions will be better than yesterday's.

The Mediacenter has all the usual sources, plus a Spanish-language radio broadcast via KLAT in Houston.

MLB.com Gameday

And, for the Astros fan point of view, check out The Crawfish Boxes.

Discuss amongst yourselves.