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Open Thread: Cubs vs. Pirates, Saturday 4/19, 12:05 CT

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Reds broadcaster Marty Brennaman is unrepentant:

"It may have been over the top," Brennaman said. "The only qualifier I will offer is that to the true Cub fans I apologize to them because I know there are great fans in the town. What I witnessed the other night -- that's the only ballpark in baseball you would see people throw 15-20 freaking baseballs on to a field, which I think is a total disrespect to the game.

"I understand all these fans are all upset. Half of them are probably brain dead to begin with. If they can't understand that what happened Wednesday night is completely over the top and out of line, then I'm sorry.

"I think what I said about how tough it is to root for the Cubs is something that a lot of people, those that didn't grow up to be Cub fans, feel the same way I do, but they don't want to articulate it. I'm not afraid to say what I think."

Sure, Marty. So NOW you say there are great Cubs fans? That's not what you said on the air Wednesday night:

"This is the kind of thing … that makes you want to see the Chicago Cubs team lose," Brennaman said on his Reds broadcast at the time, adding that Cubs fans are "far and away the most obnoxious fans in baseball in this league." At the very least, Marty, admit that your hatred toward Chicago and Cubs fans is based on the fact that you think the Cubs "mistreated" your son, which is pretty far from what actually happened. The Cubs didn't want Thom to split work between WGN and Fox. He wasn't fired -- he went out and found his own gig in Arizona, where they allowed him to work for Fox. For Marty to hold that against the Cubs and Cub fans is petulant, childish and unprofessional. Time for you to retire.

In actual baseball news, Reed Johnson will be leading off today -- and maybe for a while. As long as he stays hot, why not?

Eric Patterson promises he'll show up on time for games. No, really:

This time around, the 25-year-old, who was called up Wednesday, has a master plan to combat any possible tardiness.

"Yeah, get about four or five alarm clocks and make sure they get set," he said with a laugh. "It's a mistake that happened and last year's in the past and this year you learn from it and don't let it happen again."

Matt Murton has apparently been called up -- there's no official confirmation yet on the Cubs website, nor any word on who's headed back to Iowa as a result.

Today's Starting Pitchers
Jason Marquis
J. Marquis
Cubs
vs. Tom Gorzelanny
T. Gorzelanny
Pirates
0-0 W-L 1-1
5.23 ERA 6.75
4 SO 6
6 BB 11
2 HR 1
vs. Pit -- vs. Cubs

The Cubs beat the daylights out of Gorzelanny in the Pirates' home opener 12 days ago, but had to go to extra innings to win the game. Ronny Cedeno had a three-run double; maybe he'll get the start today.

Jason Marquis suffered a similar beating at the hands of the Pirates last September 21, but the Cubs also won that game. In fact, the Cubs have now won seven straight games against the Pirates. Jason Bay is a particular Marquis nemesis (13-for-34, 4 doubles, a triple, 4 HR, 5 walks). Marquis has handled the rest of the current Pirates pretty well, except for Nate McLouth (4-for-11, a HR).

Today's game is on cable in the Pittsburgh and Chicago areas. Unfortunately, with the Fox Saturday blackouts, that's about it for TV coverage. For other information check today's MLB.com Mediacenter.

MLB.com Gameday (2007 version)

MLB.com Gameday (2008 version)

Baseball-reference.com game preview

Discuss amongst yourselves.