2/26 Moreland nervous but ready

New Cubs radio analyst Keith Moreland arrived at HoHoKam Park on Saturday to get prepped for his first broadcast on Sunday with partner Pat Hughes. Moreland is taking over for the late Ron Santo.

“There’s excitement, obviously, and sadness, too,” Moreland said. “Ron was a great friend and a major part of this organization for 50 years. I have sadness and excitement all at the same time. You can’t replace Ron and all I can do is be me. It’s nice to have a Hall of Fame type guy sitting beside me because Pat makes you feel so comfortable.”

Moreland remembers when he first met Santo, and Santo told the young third baseman that he liked how he played the game.

“He was self-deprecating,” Moreland said of Santo. “He would pick on himself awful bad. He would pick on himself so much, he made it so much fun to be around him.”

Will it be tough to criticize players?

“The first thing is there is no substitute for hustle,” Moreland said. “Effort is the one thing you can control. The game of baseball is a game you cannot control the outcome. You can hit the ball four times right on the button or make five really good pitches in a row and two could leave the ballpark. You don’t have control sometimes of the outcome but you do have control of your effort. If there is a point that I could be critical of it will be effort.”

Is he nervous?

“Heck, yeah, I’m nervous,” Moreland said. “I just hope people allow me to be me. Again, [Santo] is irreplaceable, and that’s not my intention in any capacity. Because of that, I have some apprehension. I get to turn to my right and look who’s sitting beside me — he’s the best straight man in the world.”

Hughes has said he wants Moreland to shine and be the star.

“All I can do is be me,” Moreland said. “There’s nothing other than that. I can butcher the English language with the best of them and I’m not sure what words mean sometimes. I try my best to get a point across of what’s taking place on the field.”

– Carrie Muskat

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