What a week!

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<br />
t bradley on screen.png” src=”http://mlblogsonedayatwrigleyac000000.files.wordpress.com/2009/08/3rd20bet20bradley20on20screen-thumb-400×228-15016811.png” class=”mt-image-center” style=”text-align:center;display:block;margin:0 auto 20px;” height=”228″ width=”400″ /></a></span>At 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:</p>
<p><span class=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

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

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.

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

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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

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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