What a week!

Dailies

Why the absence?  Why the ‘back in a bit’ title in the last post?  Why the Muppet wedding video last week?  Because last Saturday I got married.  York Beach, Maine…and it was beautiful. 

ryan sasha dance.pngThe Reverend Tom Vanderslice from Chicago presided over the ceremony in a beautiful chapel, St. Peters by the Sea.

st peters.pngHurricane Bill threatened to make the entire weekend a washout and weather reports were rampant with updates filled with potentially bad news come the wedding day.  However after all was said and done, we only saw rain for 10 minutes Friday night and for 10 minutes a couple hours before the ceremony on Saturday.  PHEW!

The reception afterwards was incredible.  Sasha and her mother did such an amazing job putting every small detail together that it added up to an amazing day that no one that attended will forget.  It was so much fun to dance the day away and look around and see all your family and friends smiling and enjoying themselves as well.  We had a blast, so while I don’t think my new in-laws read this blog, in case they do THANK YOU!!! : )

After the wedding it was off to the honeymoon on Sunday….to LAS VEGAS!!! Or as the locals call it, Lost Wages.  We did well to not lose too much money.  We’d win a little and then lose a lot but it evened out to a very responsible/reasonable amount come Friday when it was time to go home.

ryan and sasha flamingo bench.pngWe had an amazing time in Vegas.  We stayed at the Flamingo Hotel and here was the view from our room:

view from hotel.pngAll the palm trees you see were part of the outside pool area.  Three pools throughout, connected by waterslides.  NICE.  Then you can see how you can basically see for miles and miles to the mountains of the dessert.  It was 100-110 degrees and sunny everyday.  What a crazy experience to fly into Boston Friday night and have it be raining and 50 out.  Bizarre change of elements.  A lot of heat and a lot of hydrating being done throughout the week like this moment here:

serendipity straw ryan.pngFilled the days with fun checking out cool events like the Price is Right Live (neither of us got called to ‘Come on Down’ unfortunately)

price is right photo.jpgLoved the food and hit the buffets hard.  Here’s a sample of my dessert one night:

dessert.pngThat’s right.  Three.  And that wasn’t the end of it.  We’re talking buffet desserts here, not strikes.  Eventually found myself some cotton candy.  I highly recommend the Treasure Island casino buffet if for no other reason than the desserts.  Awesome.  (Currently watching the Mets/Cubs game.  Z got hammered.  Marshall isn’t doing much better and Pagan must be enjoying beating up on the Cubs.  Hopefully we pull this one out but currently down 4-1)

cotton candy.pngLooks like the woman behind me in this photo was excited about the cotton candy too.  She’s taking one to go. : )  Oh, and yes….there was gambling.

Hit every single casino on the strip from the Encore to Circus Circus.  Had a blast.  While I was there, I figured, hey, we bet slots and tables.  Time to bet sports book?  Absolutely!  Wednesday morning I decided to bet on the Cubs vs. Nationals game.  The Nationals are a joke as every knows.  Then again, our bullpen hasn’t faired much better this season.  Here I am making my first Cubs bet of the week.  That’s right.  “First”.

2nd bet fingers crossed.pngI decided that because the bullpen has been having issues, I would give Harden the benefit of the doubt against the Nationals and bet what they call the fifth inning proposition.  I’m not a sports better generally so this was all knew to me.  I could’ve bet on how many runs they’d score, who would win overall, through the 5th inning etc.  So I decided to bet that the Cubs would lead at the end of five innings avoiding a bullpen collapse altogether.  This was a tough call though knowing how many walk offs and late inning wins there are in baseball…did I want to bet all 9?  Nope, go with Harden and that’s that.  So I watched the five innings (to my new wife’s displeasure since it was our honeymoon) and I couldn’t believe it.  The Nats we
re up 1-0 for a while, into the 4th.  The Bradley hit a two run shot in the bottom of the fourth to take the lead.  What a great position to be in right?  Just have to hold them through the top of the 4th and then I win!  My $10 (ten in honor of Ron Santo) bet would pay out about 3.75 and I’d make a few bucks while cheering on the Cubs!  Into the top of the 4th we go.

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Harden looks great.  Then a guy gets on first.  Passed ball…guy to second.  Uh-oh.  Base hit with two outs and wouldn’t you know it….one out away and I lose my bet.  2-2 at the end of five innings.  As usual…one out away…lose.

I placed that bet at New York, New York Hotel and Casino.  After a long day of kicking myself for not betting the whole game (the Cubs ended up winning the ballgame which I was happy about.  I’d rather them win and me lose than the other way around) we ended up at Paris, another casino on the strip.  Here we got a souvenir, yard tall eiffel tower shaped strawberry daquiri shown here:

ryan eiffel tower drink.pngNow, I am not a drinker.  So by the time I was done with this drink, I was pretty buzzed.  It was then that I decided the next morning I would bet on the Cubs again.  They’d be playing the Nationals and what are the odds they’d lose to the Nationals.  I mean, they already beat them once, why not again?  And with Wells pitching?  This year they win ALL THE TIME when Wells pitches (not really, but it feels that way).  And because I was buzzed, I decided tomorrow morning I’ll place another bet on the Cubs, this time for nine innings and for $30 dollars.  That way, I can make my money back that I lost the day before.  (Dangerous way of thinking in Vegas).  And so I did.  That morning I knew it was not a great strategy, but I was in Vegas on my honeymoon living it up, so why not do like Ernie said and:

2nd bet let's play two.png“Let’s play two!”  $30 down on the Cubs vs Nationals, Cubs to win at the end of the game mainly because it’s fun and Wells is pitching.  Here is the picture of the bet ticket:

2nd cubs bet ticket.pngIf I win, I get my 30 back, plus 13.60 which would put me where I would’ve been if I won the first bet.  Sweet.  Wells.  Nationals.  Bet it at Bill’s Saloon Casino in honor of Bill Veeck.  Guaranteed. 

Actually, no.  Nothing is guaranteed in Vegas.  No sure things.  Cubs lose.  Wells gets rocked early, down 5-0 early the Cubs could only battle back to 5-4 and I may have been robbed on a play at the plate where it looked like Lee was called out even though his hand appeared to hit the plate before the tag.  So there I was.  $40 lost on the Cubs.  Done?  Nope.  Still a 2:00pm game on Friday before I flew out…let’s make it a three game series for me the Cubs and the sports book!  Why not?

And then wait a second.  I started thinking….I wasn’t losing at the end of five innings on Wednesday’s bet.  At the end of five, the game was tied at 2-2.  Tie goes to the runner, right?  Shouldn’t tie in this case go to the gambler?  So I asked the sportsbook at the Flamingo what happens in the case of a tie and they said……..you get your money back!!!!!  What?!?  I get my money back!!!!?!?!?!  Sweet!  Only thing was in order to get my money back I had to walk all the way back down the strip to get it at NY, NY!  Worth it to me!  SO…I placed my third bet of the week, this time on the Cubs to win, complete game against the Mets.  Lilly pitching at home against the NY Mess (injuries have ripped them apart this year)?  How could I miss?  So, $20 down on the Mets.   I let my 10 ride plus another ten.  Here is a picture of the third bet ticket:

3rd bet ticket.pngAnd here is a picture of me celebrating my tie on the first bet and the fact that I’d get my money back!

1st bet win discovery.pngConsidering I thought I had lost, this was very exciting!  And here I am after I got my $10 back from the betting window:

1st bet push $10 payout .pngNot a big drinker…and look at that smile after keeping $10.  Not a big gambler either.  You’d think I just won a couple hundred bucks.  This was cashed in at NY, NY so of course they had the Mets/Cubs game on in the sports area.  I went to check it out to see how my third bet was doing, a $20 spot on Lilly at home.  Here’s a shot of Bradley on the big screen there:

3rd be t bradley on screen.pngAt this time the score was 1-1.  Time to go to the airport…I’d have to check in later on my phone to see how it turned out.  And as it turned out…Soriano goes deep with a three run shot in the eighth inning to give the Cubs the win 5-2!!!  I win!!!  So I had a tie, a loss and a win in my Cubs betting in Vegas.  A great, great time and it was fun making the Cubs a part of it.  Have to send my winning ticket into the Flamingo for my winnings, doing that this week.  Here is a picture of me at the airport when I realized my third bet was a winner:

3rd bet win discovery.pngA little scary, I know.  Oh well, it was exciting.  Unfortunately though the honeymoon was over (literally, not figuratively) hence this pathetic shot of me in the hotel room on the way out the door:

honeymoon over pout.png But was Vegas fun?  Absolutely.  In fact, I’d say Vegas is,

slots of fun.pngLooks like the Cubs are going to lose this one day.  Down to their final out.  Sucks…good thing I didn’t have money on this one!  Make that official…last out recorded.  Cubs lose today.  But what a great week.  For those of you who would like to see more photos of the wedding, reception and honeymoon, you can see a slideshow of photos one of the maids of honor took by clicking here.  Happy to share them with you!  Go Cubs Go!!!  Look forward to seeing them when they come to New York this weekend!

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Marmol Aida

Dailies

I don’t know that it came down from Mitch and Murray, maybe just Hendry…but finally Piniella took a stand and made the switch to Marmol as the Cubs’ closer.  Grabow and Guzman were considered but this round goes to Marmol.  Just like anything else, I’m sure it could play out to a situation by situation component of the Cubs pitching staff.  Lou was quoted as saying that Grabow and Guzman will get opportunities to close games as well and that there is no timetable for how long Marmol closes. 

But now what.  How will Marmol respond?  Will he step up and be the guy I’ve seen him as in the closer role in my mind?  Or will he let the pressure go to his head as he’s had some mental toughness issues this year?  29 opportunities and six blown saves by Gregg.  Finally Lou admitted it was time to go after these close ballgames different and secure some tough wins as opposed to constantly sweating tough losses.  The Cards are real strong right now and are considering bringing on Smoltz.  Out of the bullpen that will only make them stronger.  Why the Cubs didn’t make another pitching move to bolster their own pitching (you can never have enough) I don’t know.  At least if the pieces don’t change, we can rearrange and maybe finally figure out how to successfully put his puzzle together.

It’s good too to hear Lou admit they’ve been headed in the wrong direction with Gregg.  A lot of admittance going on in the Cubs clubhouse with Lou speaking up and Z finally admitting that perhaps he’s not exactly the spokesperson for 7 minute abs.  Now if only we can get him to admit he’s not paid to hit home runs during batting practice.  That would be a real accomplishment.

I actually thought we were in decent shape last night until we were defeated by of all things, an inside the park home run.  Is there any other way to lose a ball game that we haven’t seen already this year?  Have we seen them all?  Anyone else notice that whomever is at the plate, whichever team it may be, always scores or does something positive when MLB Network checks in on a game?  It says it’s live, but I feel like any time I’ve seen them check in on a game, like last night’s Cubs game for instance…they score.  I was watching MLB and they checked in on the Cubs game.  Soriano was up, Cubs down 3-2.  And it kind of took the drama away because I just knew they were going to tie it up with the way the check-in’s work.  Sure enough, bloop single by Soriano, RBI, tie game.  Just saying…anyone else notice this?

Good to see Dempster putting up 10 K’s.  Would be better to see him get the W as well.  A lot of that of course comes down to the bullpen taking better care of leads.  Let’s hope Marmol and the newly organized bullpen do just that.  Second place may be a set of steak knives, but as Gregg found out…third place is you’re fired. 

On a more amusing note…I’ve never been to San Diego.  However, if ever there were a time I wished I was, it would be seeing Piniella get stopped for jaywalking.  How he restrained himself from firing his hat down and kicking dirt on the traffic cops shoes would have been a hilarious sight to see.

Harden up tonight.  Here’s to him getting over the .500 mark.  Go Cubs Go!

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No Coffee for you Gregg

Dailies

Did I know much about Gregg before the Cubs signed him?  Not really.  I knew he looked like a goon.  I knew he pitched for the Marlins.  I knew that he was coming in to replace a Cubs favorite.  I knew he’d be challenging Marmol for the closer job.  I knew he was the wrong choice.  I thought I knew Lou knew what he was doing.

And now here we are.  29 opportunities and six blown saves later, the goon who is not Wood nor Marmol is blowing are shot at ’09.  Killed me to wake up and see that the Cards beat the Dodgers last night.  Unbelievable.  Pujols is having an unreal year, the Cards are soaring and here we are, doing our best to simply keep up.  We do pretty well, he hand it over to our closer in the toughest sitch a closer can be in…the one run lead.

Goon gets to one strike away.  Boom.  Blown save.  Boom.  3 run walkoff for the Padres.  The same Padres who hurt us by not beating the Cards in their previous series have shown up once again to hurt us by beating us directly.  The same Padres franchise that crushed us in ’84.  I hate the Padres.  Especially right now.  More so though, I hate Gregg.

Lou, enough already.  Borrow Gregg’s goon goggles if you have to.  Please see that he is not the guy for the ninth.  It’s amazing that fans have been saying it all year yet here we are, in August, and you’ve still got that goon blowing saves.  I know, I know.  After last night you FINALLY said maybe you’ll make a switch as to how you handle the late innings.  That would be great and about time.    You finally made some changes in the lineup and we did marginally better.  Make the change to Marmol, sit Gregg altogether if you have to and move Guzman to the eighth.  At least if you decide to throw Gregg in the seventh we have a shot at making up the runs he gives up.  I swear, nothing upsets me more than seeing L – Gregg in the pitching results.  L – Gregg?  So wait….we were up and that goon blew it AGAIN!?!  Drives me nuts.

The Cardinals are no joke this year.  The Cubs aren’t a joke, but we’re grasping at straws here.  Our line up can’t hit when it matters.  Our starting pitchers can’t stay healthy.  Our closer can’t close.  And our fans can’t hold on to their beer.  Enough already.

I feel like I need to put this clip up for Gregg.  No coffee for you Gregg.  Coffee’s for closers. 

Unbelievable.  Come on Lou.  Enough already.  Gregg doesn’t deserve these leads.

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Or not.

Dailies

I suppose it could go the other way as well.  We could lose a 1/2 game today. 

Which we just did.  2 run home run in the bottom of the ninth by Colby Rasmus, St. Louis wins 7-5.  Gain a half game on the Cubs in their lead in the Central.  So much for possibilities of the previous the post.

Go Cubs Go…let’s get this one back tomorrow!
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Could still pick up 1/2 a game today

Dailies

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That was the photo up on Cubs.com today.  No, people weren’t protecting themselves from rowdy Cubs fans throwing beer at the opposing outfielders.  Simply a photo of the Cubs having no chance in sweeping the PIrates today, due to rain, that will have to wait.  HOWEVER, we still have a chance to pick up 1/2 a game on the Cards as they are currently in their own rain delay in the 8th inning, trailing San Diego 5-4.  Any where we can pick up ground whether it be the division or in the Wild Card race we’ll take it! 

Zambrano pitching A ball.  The guy threw a no-hitter against the MLB Houston Astros about a year ago and yet I’ll bet that won’t happen in the innings Z gets in A ball.  Isn’t that bizarre?  Same guy who can no-hit an MLB team could potentially struggle in an A ball game.  Sure, he’s there to rehab, but still.  When you’re the Cubs’ staff ace, you’ve started five straight opening days and you’ve no-hit the Astros, you should destroy in A ball.  He won’t though and most don’t.  Bizarre.

I’m just looking forward to having him back and healthy.  Anyone else tired of Gregg’s dramatic turn this year?  Anyone else feel like giving Guzman the eighth and Marmol the ninth?  I certainly wouldn’t mind and it would be fine if they didn’t sooner rather than later considering now is crunch time.  Which makes me wonder who is going to step up this last month and half to make up the 4.5 games we need to pick up to grab a share of the division lead.  Sori?  Bradley?  Lee?  Will Soto ever wake up?  Will Fontenot start again at second base or has Baker stolen the starting spot from co-Mr. LSU double play combo Fontenot?  Did Felix Pie’s hitting for the cycle make anyone miss him?  Probably not.  Is Lou really on the hot seat or are sports writers just trying to sell papers?  Probably the latter. 

Just some thoughts on a rainy PPD of a day.  That and of course, let’s keep the heckling of the opposing players to simply that.  And of course, on-line in blogs such as this one.  Ballpark beer is too expensive to waste on a bum like Victorino and doesn’t put Cubs fans in a very good light.  Glad the guy apologized and stepped up in taking responsibility for his actions.  Throwing anything at an opponent is uncalled for.  Especially a cup of $8.00 beer.  Anyway, take advantage of the PPD and spend the time you would’ve spent watching the game checking out the rest of the site and requesting your very own Prosecard.  For more info on what that is, read the next couple posts.  Go Cubs Go!
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Cubsterpiece Theater proudly presents

Dailies

http://www.xtranormal.com/players/jwplayer.swfhttp://www.xtranormal.com/players/embedded-xnl-stats.swf

Enjoy reading Prose and Ivy and following your favorite team all year long?  Be sure to email me at proseandivy@cubsmvp.com to be featured here as the showcased Cubs fan in the new feature “Prosecards from Cubs Nation”!  It takes next to no time at all and is Cubtastic.  Also, way cooler than that last sentence.

Awesome game today, Cubs keeping the wins coming against the Pirates.  Have to win the games we’re expected to win and these are those games.  Gorzelanny had to feel good bring the W against his former mates, especially in being responsible for one of the RBI’s on the Cubs side.  Still not sure where all this is headed this year…hopefully the Cards lose tonight to San Diego and we can pick up a full game today.

Go Cubs Go! 

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NEW FEATURE: Prosecards from Cubs Nation!

Dailies

What’s up Cubs fans!  I remember writing a post last year about how ‘we’ll always have Pittsburgh’.  Seems as if that feeling and situation still rings true.  I didn’t get a chance to watch today’s game as I was up to my eyeballs in work today, but I did have a chance to follow it on-line.  When I saw a four run first inning, I thought, wow it’s about time.  Let’s see how this goes.  See if Wells can hold ’em and maybe we’ll actually beat a team when we have more hits than they do.  And then…BOOM….a 10 run 2nd inning!  What!?!?  10 RUNS?  Unreal. 

That’s the kind of thing you like to see when you check in from work on the ballgame.  The days are long enough without cubs.com sending me a final game score that shows Gregg as the losing pitcher or the fact that the Cubs were blown out.  A 10 run inning is exactly what you need to get you through a miserable afternoon!  Fukudome, Lee (7 RBI!) and the gang doing their thing today and Pittsburgh plays victim to another Cub on-slaught.  Awesome. 

I wasn’t the only one enjoying it either….one of Prose and Ivy’s most loyal readers took great joy in the outcome as well.  She goes by the name of ‘Abracadabra’ and is often found chatting with me and other fans here during Cubs games.  A few of you have really stepped up and stood out as enthusiastic readers and Cubs fans over the past year and a half year and because of the great fans I’m meeting with this blog I decided to add a new feature to Prose and Ivy.  It’s all about Cubs fans and showcasing some of the team’s biggest fans.  This week’s interview is with Abracadabra in a new feature I like to call “Prosecards from Cubs Nation”.  Check out the feature’s debut here with Abracadabra in the lead off spot!

PROSE AND IVY’S “PROSECARDS FROM CUBS NATION”
Prose and Ivy Reader and Cubs Fan showcased: Abracadabra

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Hey Prose! Here's my profile; can't wait to see the interviews up on your blog. Keep the posts coming!!
 
Name: Abracadabra

Why the Cubs are your favorite team: To put it in two words: CUBS
NATION.  We're all in this together, win or lose. It's singing "Go Cubs
Go" with 40,000 of your closest friends after a Cubs victory. It's
going to a Cubs road game and having several thousand Cubs fans
cheering alongside you.
 
It's been a hundred and one years, but when we do win it all, it will
be the greatest celebration ever. No fan of any other team can claim
that. None of us became Cubs fans because it was easy, but I wouldn't
give it up for anything.

Favorite Cubs memory: June 29th, 2007. Cubs vs. Brewers at Wrigley
Field. Rich Hill gives up five runs in the first inning, but the Cubs
chip away and enter the bottom of the ninth trailing by two runs. With
one out, there are runners on first and third and the Cubs get a run on
D-Lee's sac fly. We're down to our last out, and the tying run is only
on first.. Aramis steps up to bat, and hits Francisco Cordero's first
pitch into the left field bleachers for a walk off win. Greatest game
I've ever been to- Wrigley Field was a madhouse.
 
Favorite current Cub: Ryan Theriot

Favorite all-time Cub: Ernie Banks

Your dream Cub line up: Derrek Lee 1B, Ryne Sandberg 2B, Aramis Ramirez
3B, Ernie Banks SS, Billy Williams LF, Hack Wilson CF, Andre Dawson RF,
Jody Davis C, Fergie Jenkins P

How would you celebrate a Cubs championship?: My dream is to be in the
stands at Wrigley Field, or at least in Wrigleyville, but I don't know
what the probability is of either of those happening. Wherever I am, it
will be a combination of shouting/cheering/crying/waving my W flag and
hi-fiving/hugging anyone who's close by. I can't even imagine how
exciting it will be- you know, like all the years of heartbreak have
finally paid off.

Most feared opposing batter: Albert Pujols

Most feared opposing pitcher: Tim Lincecum

You can either sing during the seventh inning stretch or call a half
inning, which would you rather do and why?
Call a half inning. Singing
in front of 40,000 is not my thing.

One thing you would change about Wrigley Field: Ticket prices. 

One thing you would change about the game of baseball: Get rid of the DH in the American League.

You're having dinner in the Cubs clubhouse and can invite any four
Cubs, living or dead.  Who would you invite and why?
Jake Fox, he seems
like he is a really nice, down to earth guy. He also played with my
cousin (Kevin Slowey) in the Arizona Fall League. Ryan Theriot. He's my
favorite player! Ernie Banks, he's Mr. Cub!! Ryne Sandberg, another
Cubs great and Hall of Famer. 

Do you believe the Cubs are cursed?  Yes or no and why? NO. Curses are
just excuses. Baseball is determined by the players on the field.

More vital to the Cubs' success...Zambrano's bananas or the back up Gatorade machine? Got to go with the bananas.

You have 30 seconds to break the news to Soriano that he is never going
to lead off for the Cubs again.  What do you say?
Sorry Alfonso, we
need you in the lineup, but we need you batting in the sixth hole. It's
best for the team, and we could use your power lower in the order.
You're best suited to bat around the middle of the order, so we want to
utilize that. 

You have 30 seconds to break the news to Kerry Wood that he'll never
pitch for the Cubs again.  What do you say?
I wish I wasn't the one to
tell you this, but the team has decided to move on with another closer.
I know how much you would have liked to end your career with the Cubs.
Please understand that the fans didn't want this to happen, and you
will always be welcome in Chicago.

You have 30 seconds to break the news to Carlos Marmol that despite
being the fan favorite and most dominating pitcher on the roster to
compete for the closer, the job is going to Kevin Gregg.  What do you
say?
You've had a great spring Carlos, and I know your goal was to win
the closer's spot, but we've decided to give the job to Kevin Gregg.
I'm not saying Gregg is the better pitcher, all it is, is that we're
giving you the 8th inning role which can be just as important. In fact
there's more flexibility for the team if you're not going to close,
since we can bring you in to get out of a jam in the 7th inning if we
need. 

You are Steve Bartman.  You have the opportunity to see the Cubs play
in the postseason at Wrigley Field and potentially close out the NLCS
making your way to the World Series.  However, you are warned that
either you, or the guy next to you is going to make a decision that
night that will make you one of the most hated Cubs fans in the history
of the game.  50-50 shot.  Do you go to the game?
No... If you go your
life may be in danger, and you'd always be hated by Cubs fans, even
though you're one of them. 
Disclamer: I don't hold Steve Bartman responsible for the Cubs collapse.

You're hired to run the Cubs 2010 public relations campaign.  You can
use any slogan, player, etc that you want to.  What is your advertising
campaign/slogan for the 2010 season?
My advertising slogan would be a
movie trailer for the 2010 season starring the players in various
roles: Aramis Ramirez: "The RBI Machine", Carlos Zambrano "The
Venezuelan Bull", Ryan 'The Riot' Theriot "The Sparkplug", Derrek Lee
"Veteran Leader". And of course, soundtrack by Steve Goodman.
"For the last hundred years, every season, every playoff berth has been
nothing more than an unfinished chapter in a long, sad book... but with
handful of determined players and a veteran leader, the whole story may
be rewritten."
Believe- A Lou Piniella Film, coming April 2010

Awesome to hear from Abracadabra!  Thanks again Abracadabra for leading off in the new Prose and Ivy feature spot!  17-2 win today.  Good things happen when Wells pitches lately.  And playing Pittsburgh sure doesn’t hurt!  Can’t wait to have Z and Lilly at full strength again.  Rami back at full strength would be a true blessing as well.  We won’t be playing the Pirates everyday, need to get as much fire power going as possible in rounding out this season…and it’ll be September before you know it!  I know we’re supposed to beat teams like the Pirates so it’s good that we do, because so is everyone else.  Now we need to keep this up AND figure out how to stay competitive and take series from true contenders.

If you want to be featured as a Prosecard from Cubs Nation and do a fan interview to be posted here at Prose and Ivy to share with other Cubs fans, please email me at proseandivy@cubsmvp.com and I’ll send you the questions to answer!  Thanks again Abracadabra!  Go Cubs Go!
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Make that ‘See-Saw’

Dailies

Once again, following a strong one run win by the Cubs, they follow it up with being on the wrong end of a blow out.  I think Wells has been great for this team this year but today the Rockies proved to be too much for him.  The amount of wins he’s collected for us and the recent innings he’s eaten up have made him one of our most valuable Cubs this year.  And now with Zambrano out with spasms, who knows how much more we’ll need to get out of him.  We might have to keep asking for too much from the youngster in order to keep up the W’s while the L’s seem to keep chugging along aside them.

Two games behind the Cards now as neither team has really been able to take advantage of the other’s mediocrity.  I have to feel like the Cardinals are a little closer to having it together though and the Cubs need to find a way to be more consistent.  Ironically, that’s been the one constant through the entire season.  There’s a reason why when people say ‘at least I’m consistent’ after they make another mistake they are joking and making light of a bad situation.  Unfortunately the numbers don’t lie and it’s going to be hard for the Cubs to make light of a situation that could end up with them quickly falling to the middle of the pack in the Central if the Cardinals do prove to be the team closer to having it together in upcoming weeks.

I feel like this team has been kept together by duct tape, gauze and bandages all season long.  It still blows my mind that we’re two games back even without having all our guys on the field most of the year.  It’s been this weird game of watching the 15 day DL rotate throughout the year and a stressful one at that.  I need to research and find out how many games each of the guys have missed this year.  Hard to wonder where we’d be had we been able to stay healthy.  I’ve thought losing DeRosa has had a big impact on this team this year, but DeRo or no DeRo, he’d have no influence on guys staying healthy.

The latest lineups have been entertaining though and I like that Piniella isn’t afraid to try new things and look for the fix.  Fukudome’s been fairly consistent no matter where in the line up and I like what he’s doing with Soriano.  Lee has turned it around and is pushing towards having another 30 HR 100 RBI season.  Having Rami out with a sore shoulder is scary as we saw what a force he was for the Cubs run production when he returned to the lineup.

Hopefully Piniella and the staff are wise in how they use everyone going forward.  Need guys as healthy as possible going into September which is exactly what we’ll be heading into come the end of Zambrano’s stay on the DL.  And hopefully that will translate into more consistency and less of a see-saw performance from the team to round out the year.  Two games back.  Time to tighten it up.

Go Cubs Go!
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Good to See

Dailies

Bradley’s game saving catch followed by the stare down of the Rockies crowd and a thump of his chest on the way back to the dugout.  That sequence was fun to watch tonight.  Not only because it preserved the Cubs’ lead, but it showed some fire this team has been lacking this year.  The Cubbie Swagger.  I realize winning brings swagger but sometimes the fake it til you make it swagger can bring wins as well, I believe.  And Bradley’s attitude after that play is exactly the kind of swagger this team needs to keep momentum in the NL Central.

I enjoyed watching the replay of Lee heading back to the dugout after a strike out and telling teammate Fukudome about a breaking pitch he had just gone down on.  Fukudome, you could tell, regardless of language barrier understood what Lee was telling him about the pitch and what he was warning him to look out for.  Why?  Because it must not be an English/Japanese thing with these guys at this point.  After playing together so long, I’m sure they’ve figured out a way to simply communicate by speaking baseball.  Whatever it was Lee said sure did do the trick.  Fukudome stepped into the box and sent the first pitch he saw (fastball) straight out to the seats in right field.  Cub fan got a souvenir, Fukudome got his ninth of the year and the Cubs got the win.

Marmol was dominant once again in the eighth.  I watched the game on the MLB Network so it was the Rockies broadcast.  Interesting to hear even their broadcast team talk about how the Cubs have the guy with the nastiest stuff pitching the eighth instead of the ninth.  That’s always been my argument for having Marmol pitch the ninth, but I guess the ninth doesn’t matter with a lead….so….I don’t know.  But Marmol was dominant in striking out the side.  The broadcaster’s point about Marmol falling hard to the first base side when he pitches was interesting too.  I’m sure it doesn’t help in painting the corner against a lefty or coming inside accurately to a righty.  In fact, I could see it making so much sense that I bet if we had a total of hit batsmen by Marmol, it would favor righties for a number of reasons, but mainly that one.

Then Gregg came in in the ninth and did his thing.  Couple balls hit really well but the Cubs had the field covered perfectly and Gregg added a save and the Cubs put one more up in the W column.  Interesting to see the Cubs are 55-15 when they score 3 or more runs.  70 games with at least 3 runs.  For as much as this team has struggled and missed having their whole lineup this year, I don’t think I would’ve guessed that they would’ve hit 70 at this point. 

Anyone else thoroughly enjoy Theriot’s stop and toss to second?  One of the guys I truly enjoy watching day in and day out.  Why did we see Fuld and Baker late in the game again?  Are they that great of an upgrade defensively over the guys they replaced?  I don’t think so but the ninth worked out, so perhaps?  Anyone else impressed with how many Cubs fans were at the game?  Felt like every other person in the stadium had Cubbie blue on.  Along with the other details of tonight’s game….good to see!

Getting married in two weeks from today.  In two weeks from today I will have been married for nearly seven hours.  Wow.  Funny when I can feel it set in a little deeper.  Talking about it of course quite a bit lately but every now and then, you can just feel it set in a little deeper.  Tell you all about it in a few weeks…honeymoon in Vegas the week after.  Vegas baby. : )

In the meantime, let’s keep it up boys!  Go Cubs Go!  And Happy 21st Anniversary to night games at Wrigley!
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Hughes Blues

Dailies

Unbelievable.  John Hughes died today.  Chicago native, he set a lot of the greatest comedies ever produced there.  I grew up with John Hughes films.  Vacation, Home Alone, Planes Trains and Automobiles, Ferris Bueller’s Day Off, Breakfast Club.  I remember loving the idea of my family leaving me home alone by accident while they all ran off on vacation.  Looked like a blast.  I remember actually faking illness at the school nurse and then going home, recording myself ‘snoring’, playing it on the tape deck in my bedroom and filling the bed with anything I could find to make it look like I was sleeping.  When my Mom came in and thought I was the lump in the bed sleeping, for that split second, was one of my proudest teen moments.  Stupid, but definitely some pride in pulling it off a la Bueller.  And if I didn’t?  What’s the worst that would happen?  Detention?  Hughes took detention and made it look like fun. 

John Candy, Chevy Chase, Steve Martin, Matthew Broderick, Macaulay Caulkin, Molly Ringwald, John Cusack and on and on.  Hughes produced comedies that all ages could relate to and helped make stars out of some of my favorite screen actors today.  I have countless on DVD and find it hard to believe that at only the young age of 59, John Hughes is no longer with us.  What a shame.

Someone like John Hughes is exactly what this world needs and it’s a shame when we lose someone like him.  I wonder if he was a Cubs fan.  I wonder how badly he wanted to see a Cubs championship if that was the case.  For all the laughter and joy he provided us over the years, that was the least he could have had in return.

John Hughes died today.  Unbelievable.  RIP.
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