Big League Stew - MLB

This and every weekday a.m., let's rise and shine together with the most recent and decent major league happenings. Today's NL roll call starts in the Windy City, where Marty Brennaman can deal with the North Side tradition of throwing back an opponent's home run ball, but when those balls multiply like Tribbles aboard the Enterprise and zip back onto the field at least 15-fold, well, it's a bit much for the Frick laureate to take.

But before we continue, you are implored take a listen to Brennaman's already legendary in St. Louis, Milwaukee and the Southside union halls rant against the fine sunshine-welcoming folks at Wrigley Field. Listen here.

Game of the Day Reds 9, Cubs 2

It's Enrico Pallazzo!: Fans behaved themselves and, presumably, so did Brennaman after Joey Votto and Ken Griffey launched homers in Thursday's win. Yes, those were the only balls returned from the bleachers to the field. However, the night before was a different story after Adam Dunn's solo shot reached Sheffield Avenue beyond the right-field stands and not one, but at least 15 batting practice balls bombarded the playing field ... kind of like Frank Drebin did to the catcher in "Naked Gun" during the baseball game. Anyway, you might say the whole thing ticked off Marty and his associate Jeff "Edwin Encarnacion < Clutch" Brantley a wee bit.

Uh, tell us how you really feel, Marty: "There are balls coming from all over the place," Marty wailed on WLW-AM on Wednesday night. "Left field, center field, right field. ... See, this is the kind of thing, quite honestly right now, that makes you want to see this Chicago Cubs team lose. .. [F]ar and away, the most obnoxious fans in baseball, in this league, are those who follow this team right here. ... You simply root against them. I've said all winter — they talk about this team winning the division — and my comment is, they won't win it because, at the end of the day, they still are the Chicago Cubs, and they will figure out a way to screw this whole thing up." It's not quite Casey Kasem "Death Dedication" good, but it's pretty humorous.

Do as I say: It's hard to argue with some of Brennaman's comments — Wrigley fans have a filthy habit of trashing their own field when unhappy — but something about Marty needs to be pointed out. He's an old radical. Back when Pete Rose still was kosher and managing the Reds, baseball commissioner Bart Giamatti suspended Charlie Hustle 30 days for a volatile argument with umpire Dave Pallone. The ugly incident was worsened by Brennaman and then-partner Joe Nuxhall, who both — in Giamatti's view — incited the crowd, which trashed the field and forced Pallone to leave the game. Here's the 20-year-old story from Murray Chass in the New York Times.

This one belongs to the Reds: Not only was Marty smiling because the Bleacher Bums behaved themselves, but the Red Legs broke a 5-game losing streak by pounding the $40 million-snot out of Ted Lilly, who reportedly topped out at 87 or 88 mph on the radar.

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Feelin' rundown (Thursday's other games)

Brewers 5, Cardinals 3 (10 inn.) — The formerly homerless former home-run champ known as Prince returned to form by formally reaching the seats.

Phillies 10, Astros 2 — "It was like I aged 2 years out there," Miguel Tejada might have said.

Braves 8, Marlins 0 — Coming up next on SuperStation WTBS after Braves baseball... "Night Tracks."

Mets 3, Nationals 2 (14 inn.) — Losing pitcher "Hanrahan" — a name which automatically recalls this scene from "Slap Shot." Or here, en Francoise.

Rockies 2, Padres 1 (22 inn.) — Today's lesson, boys and girls, is to keep pluggin'. Troy Tulowitzki started 0-for-6, but got hits in his final two plate appearances including his go-ahead double in the top of the 22nd. The losing pitcher in this game, Glendon Rusch, was retired and raising cattle in the first inning, sent to Triple-A for extended spring training by the 10th, and at the ballpark in the 19th.

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Photo of the Day: Nuns. When do we get nuns?

"I think the Nats are out of town. Darn, I wanted to see that Lastings Milledge! Should we stay, sisters? 

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Fantasy Freaks

Chris Coste (Phillies) 4-5, HR, 3 RBI

Brett Myers (Phillies) 7 IP, 5 H, ER, BB, 8 K, Win

Prince Fielder (Brewers) 2-5, HR, 3 RBI

Ryan Ludwick (Cardinals) 4-5, 2 R, HR, RBI, .390 BA

Ken Griffey (Reds) 2-5, HR, 3 RBI

Joey Votto (Reds) 2-4, HR, 5 RBI

Reed Johnson (Cubs) 4-4

John Lannan (Nationals) 6 IP, 3 H, ER, 11 K

Chipper "Larry Wayne" Jones (Braves) 4-4, 2 HR, 3 R, 3 RBI

John Smoltz (Braves) 5 IP, 3 H, 2 BB, 10 K, Win Jeff Francis (Rockies) 7 IP, 3 H, BB, 7 K

Jake Peavy (Padres) 8 IP, 4 H, 3 BB, 11 K

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Fantasy Flakes

Ted Lilly (Cubs) 6 IP, 6 H, 5 ER, 3 BB, 6 K, Loss, 9.16 ERA

David Wright (Mets) 0-5, 2 BB (for those 6 of you who play in leagues where walks count for hitters, congratulations)

Brandon Backe (Astros) 3 IP, 10 H, 5 ER, 2 BB, 2 K, Loss

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Big Talker

“I was trying to act tough, but I couldn’t hold it. It was like a Little Leaguer. I was jumping up and down like a little kid.” — Prince Fielder, after clubbing his first homer in 54 at-bats this season.

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