Now a Staff Writer for Baseball Digest

In addition to covering the Cubs on Prose and Ivy, I will now also be writing about baseball in general for BaseballDigest.com.

While some of the articles will be Cubs-centric, others will not. It will really all depend on what assignments I receive from their assignment editor.
 
I’m excited to have my writing showcased under the Baseball Digest banner. I used to read the print version cover to cover, every new issue that came out when I was growing up. They are the oldest baseball publication in the country and it’s exciting to be a part of their staff.
 
You can read my first article on BaseballDigest.com by clicking here: http://www.baseballdigest.com/2011/03/13/baseball-digest-birthdays-johan-santana/
As part of their popular Baseball Digest Birthdays feature, I was assigned today’s birthday: Mets pitching ace, Johan Santana. Santana turns 32 today.
 
I hope you enjoy it!
On a separate note, I watched the Cubs battle the Dodgers today on WGN. Baseball in Vegas? Make that…Cubs baseball in Vegas??  Sounds AMAZING. Another Cubs item on my absolutely-must-do list!
 
Zambrano looked great and even though the games don’t count, always fun to see the Cubs win. I’m excited Castro looks as strong as he does. Can’t wait to see what this team is capable of this year. Go Cubs Go!

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.

1st bet mlb sheet info.png
1st bet bet sheet.png

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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