Sunday, September 23, 2007

No more blogging!

You have reached a blog I no longer update!

HOWEVER! There is no need to fret. You can still get your Vegas Dave fix elsewhere:

For my regularly updated podcast site;

For my weekly NFL newsletter published every Friday night;

And for my weekly college football picks broadcast on youtube!

Thanks for the support everyone! You can email me at either;

Thursday, August 9, 2007

Eli Manning - Unstoppable!

To quote the Geico caveman, "Yes, I have a response. Uh, what?"

Seriously. Lets play word association. Ready; go!

BED: Sleep


RED: Apple

TOM BRADY: Super Bowl

ELI MANNING: Unstoppable?!?

Wrong. We would have excepted whiny, baby, cry, sucks, choke, interception, loser...

Honestly what was Citizen thinking? I'm sitting there watching tennis and the next thing I know there is a commercial on my screen saying "Citizen watches... unstoppable... just like the people who wear it." with a dimly lit Eli Manning posing with a football.

As much as I could make this a super-long Eli-bashing thread, I'm only pointing out how stupid Citizen's advertising department was on this one.

I don't think anyone (even Giants fans) think Eli Manning comes anywhere close to exuding an "unstoppable" image. I don't know if others will feel the same way as I do, but to me the commercial comes off as a satire/joke, which makes me take it - and the product - less seriously.

I'm not saying go out and get LT or Tom Brady, because I know they might very well turn it down or demand more money. But honestly... I can think of 50 guys (pretty much any decent/good running back, and about half of the QBs in the league) that would make a much better face for the unstoppable campaign.

At the very least, could you get a guy that isn't flat out STOPPABLE?

Monday, August 6, 2007

Historic Weekend in Baseball

This weekend was a pretty amazing one for baseball fans, and even more amazing for milestone buffs. Saturday brought us two historic home runs, while Sunday brought us one of pitching's greatest feats.

Tom Glavine, New York Mets, 300th win -

Tom Glavine became only the 23rd pitcher in major league baseball history to amass 300 wins over the course of his career. The exclusive 300-win club has introduced only 8 other pitchers since 1980, and only 3 others since 1990 (Ryan 90, Clemens 03, Maddux 04).

To be clear on what constitutes a win, a pitcher must go at least 5 innings and must either have the lead when he leaves the game OR be the most recent pitcher in a game before his team adds runs to take the lead. As such, if a starter leaves a game that is tied and another pitcher comes in, the starter is no longer eligible for a decision in the game and can not win, even if the team goes on to do so. Likewise, if a starting pitcher leaves the game with his team leading and the other team comes back to tie the game, even if the starter's team still ends up winning the game, he does NOT get the win.

In the good ol' days, there was no such thing as "pitch count", which today helps make sure pitchers don't throw too many pitches and hurt their arm. There was no 4 - 5 day rest between pitching. And there was very rarely any need for relief pitching. The starting pitcher pitched often, and threw however many pitches it took to get through 9 innings. And when his team won, he got the win.

This is why 14 of the 23 members of the 300 win club recorded their 300th win before 1965 (and 10 of those were before 1930).

The game didn't really start to use relief pitchers religiously until the mid to late 1980s. Once that trend got started, pitchers were pulled from games based on pitch counts, struggles, "signs of fatigue", and anything else in favor of a fresh arm in the bullpen.

That is what makes Tom Glavine's milestone mark so incredible. Glavine has pitched 19 full seasons (not including his rookie year which was only 50 innings, or this year) without injury, and has pitched deep enough into games to be the pitcher of decision in a relief-pitcher era. Of course credit is due to the teams he played on for getting him the run support he needed for these wins, but there have been many great pitchers in this league's history, and only 23 of them are on this list.

Congrats Tom!

Alex Rodriguez, New York Yankees, 500 home runs

I can't help but think back to earlier this season when the Big Hurt, Frank Thomas, cracked his 500th home run off of Carlos Silva in Minnesota and received a standing ovation from the road crowd. He became only the 21st player to ever accomplish the feat. Fans have been watching the Big Hurt since he cracked into the league at the age of 22 in 1990. Injuries plagued him over the last decade or so, but last season he returned to form with an incredible 39 home runs. This season he put the exclamation point on a great offensive career.

Fast forward to Saturday, when Alex Rodriguez smacks a ball over the left field wall after a 10-day homer-less drought to join that very same elusive home run club, becoming only the 22nd ever to reach 500.

But the atmosphere was just a tad bit different.

For A-Rod, the home run wasn't even close to being a last great hoorah. On the contrary, as the youngest player to ever accomplish the feat, no one seems to be thinking 600 or even 700 HRs for this guy - it's Barry Bond's record that everyone is speculating whether or not A-Rod can catch.

From this writer's perspective, the answer is simple: YES, he can. And will.

Bonds is at 755 as I write this, and will surpass Aaron's record sometime in the near future. After that, there really isn't much left for Bonds to prove. He may stick around an extra season or two, but I think capping him off at 800 HRs is pretty reasonable. Not saying he CAN'T surpass that (or that it would matter), but its a fair assumption to say that he won't.

Back to A-Rod. As far as work ethic is concerned and athleticism, no one in baseball can do much better than A-Rod. He is nothing but muscle, and works hard to keep it that way. With his work ethic and body type, there is no doubt in my mind that he will be able to play the game for as long as he wants to. (Long enough to break the HR record, anyone?)

NOT including extra homers he will hit this year, A-Rod will have to average 30 HRs a season over the next 10 years to amass 800, which should be enough (or very close). Considering his last 9 year's HR totals are 42, 42, 41, 52, 57, 47, 36, 48, and 35 (36 so far this year), 30 a year shouldn't be a problem. With each 40 HR season he has, he will give himself the luxury of only needing a 20 HR season elsewhere.

By this logic, baring injury or early retirement, A-Rod should have no trouble hitting 800 HRs, and should go down as the greatest power hitter of all time.

Only time will tell for sure. However easy it was, congrats on the big homer A-Rod!

Barry Bonds, San Fransisco Giants, 755th home run

Well, since you've already read enough of me for one day, I'll just save all of my thoughts and analysis on B-Bonds for when he actually hits number 756 and becomes the new home run king.

For the record, I am very, very jealous of the announcers that get to be behind that call.

I believe mine would be something like...

Bonds gets a hold of this one... its high... its deep... and its OUT OF HERE! Love him or hate him, boo him or cheer him, BARRY BONDS is now the greatest home run hitter of all time!

Instead, I'm stuck in the blogosphere. Oh well.

Congrats on 755 Barry. You'll get my take on your career and all the controversy surrounding it next time!

Thursday, August 2, 2007

Burke does the right thing and lets Dustin Penner walk

Brian Burke may be a crybaby, but he's certainly a great GM as well.

Developing young talent is pivotal to any team's success. Finding great players in the draft is a difficult and important process; finding great players outside the draft is even more tricky.

The Ducks signed undrafted then-22-year-old Dustin Penner in 2004 and let him develop for a few years until calling him up for a few games in 2005-06, where he had limited ice time. He definitely showed flashes of brilliance, and earned his spot in the starting rotation last season. In his first full season, Penner excelled, scoring 29 goals and 16 assists. While this translates to only 45 points, it was an excellent rookie season. There aren't too many Ovechkins and Crosbys that just come into the league and score 100 points right off the bat. Penner also had 3 goals and 5 assists during the Ducks' Stanley Cup run. The Ducks found a strong young prospect who has nowhere to go but up, and were looking forward to reaping the benefits.

And then they had him stolen by Kevin Lowe.

The way it was SUPPOSED to go was that the Ducks were supposed to sign Penner to what players this age with this potential usually get; a 2 - 4 year deal somewhere in the 1.5 - 3 mil per year range.

Instead, Kevin Lowe swooped in and offered Penner $21.25 million over 5 years; a staggering $4.25 million a year.

This may or may not be a terrible deal for the Oilers; Penner's play will decide that. It is, however, a terrible deal for the league. It completely screws up player values, and begins the whole "If Dustin Penner is worth 4.25 a year, I'm worth 5!" arguement. I defended Lowe's right to make this move in my last article on the matter; I am not, however, stating that this is a good thing. This deal tells young players that all they need to do is have one strong season and they will be paid a ton of money for it. This may cause inflation in the league... or, it may cause Kevin Lowe to lose his job. Maybe both. Time will tell.

But the point here is that Burke made the right move. Buffalo's GM Darcy Regier had a slightly more difficult choice on his hands when Lowe went after Thomas Vanek with a 7 year, $50 million offer sheet. The choice was to build a franchise around young Vanek (who's rookie season had produced 25 goals and 23 assists, and who's sophomore season last year produced an outstanding 43 goals and 41 assists), or to take the compensation Edmonton would have to pay; 4 first round picks!

Now considering Edmonton isn't a very good team on paper, these picks could definitely be to the tune of top 10 overall picks. With 4 1st rounders, one of them is bound to become a Vanek-like player, and if 2 of the other 3 even become decent NHLers, then letting Vanek walk was the right choice. However, it is understandable to take the franchise-tag route and sign Vanek up long term; Buffalo had already lost Briere and Drury this offseason, and losing Vanek - a bright young 40 goal scorer - would have been a pretty unpopular move among those that aren't prospect-junkies like myself.

The Ducks and Brian Burke, on the other hand, didn't have a 40 goal/80 point scorer on their hands. They had a young talent that may certainly become that; but by and large he is unproven. Burke put it better than I can;

"We don't believe these salaries make sense. If I believe these salaries don't make sense and I match, then I'm just as dumb as the team that extended the offer."

It is very, very difficult to let one of your bright young prospects walk away, at any price. Overpaying to keep them - as Buffalo did - is an understandable defensive tactic.

Understandable, but not always the right thing to do. Burke had a price/value in mind, and when it was stretched past a reasonable point, he didn't fold. It was a smart move, and he will get a 1st, 2nd, and 3rd pick from Edmonton in return for it.

I must say one more time that there is no reason to blame Kevin Lowe for this; he is merely working inside the system in place to try and get the players he wants. If it wasn't him this year, it would have been someone else next year, or the year after that. As we are seeing in the other major sports, young unproven players are being paid now what proven veterans signed long-term to years ago. That's just the way it is; to end my article on a cliche note -

"Don't hate the player, hate the game."

Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Daunte Culpepper signs with the Raiders!

Yes, thats an exclamation mark, because yes, I'm excited!

A few months ago when it was made clear that Culpepper was not going to be returning with the Miami Dolphins, I told anyone who would listen that I would love to see Daunte in a Raiders jersey, and I thought that it was an absolutely perfect fit.

To quote my buddy Jonathan Roberts, "Damn man, you must really be sick about that whole ducks winning the cup thing to think Daunte would be a good Raider"

True, I was pretty sick. But I haven't been this excited by a Raider move in a while.

I'm still not in panic mode over Jamarcus Russell not having signed. I'm assuming he'll be in a Raiders jersey come opening day. So lets see here...

Who would you rather have mentoring a quarterback the size of a house with a rocket arm and mobility?

A 6-4, 215 lb career back-up with an average arm, who has 3 career rushing TDs, 1 rush over 20 yards, and 25 rushing 1st downs...


A 6-4, 265 lb career starter with a powerful arm, who has 30 rushing TDs, 13 rushes over 20 yards, and 187 rushing 1st downs?

It isn't like this is rocket science. Go check out's draft profile on Jamarcus Russell ( If you scroll down a bit...

"Compares To: Daunte Culpepper, Miami Dolphins … Russell has a defensive lineman's build with quick feet for a player his size … He has one of the strongest arms in the game and showed better patience waiting for his targets to get open … He did a better job with his reads to improve his overall accuracy as a junior … He is a perfect prospect for a vertical passing attack … Unlike most big quarterbacks, he doesn't have a windmill-type release and can throw the ball almost the length of the field."

The Raiders just signed the guy that our number one overall pick compares closest to as a mentor! Does it get any better than that?

Plus, theres just no way that Josh McCown lasts the full season as a starter. As soon as the Raiders got off to a bad start (and is there any question about that?), fans would be pressuring the team to start Russell and look for a Vince Young-like surge. Please. Most young QBs that get tossed in there too early take a huge hit to their development process. With a proven starter now aboard, there is no reason to force Jamarcus to take the ball - unless, of course, Culpepper gets injured. Which of course isn't all that unlikely, but all indications are that he is healthy after the long layout and good to go.

Looking past all of the positives involved around Jamarcus Russell, lets not forget that in his last healthy season in 2004; just 2 seasons removed; Culpepper led the league in passing yards with 4717, and finished second in TDs (39) and QB Rating (110.9), finishing only behind Peyton Manning's 49 and 121.1.

And in 2003, Culpepper had the league's 3rd best passer rating at 96.1. He finished 9th in yardage and 6th in TDs with 25... despite missing 2 games. Kitna, Hasselback, and Brad Johnson all finished ahead of him with 26 each, and all 3 played all 16 games. Culpepper would have easily finished 3rd in the league in TDs that year.

But in a "what have you done for me lately?" league like the NFL, it is easy to forget that Culpepper was once considered one of the top QBs in the game. Am I saying he is a lock to return to form? Of course not. Even at his finest I'm not saying he's necessarily a top 5 QB. But how many teams have the luxury of having one of those? (Well, 5 I guess). I am saying that if he is healthy, and in a 1 year deal where he is playing to prove himself, there is no reason to believe that he can't put together a solid season.

Don't get me wrong. I'm not saying the Raiders will be playoff bound or anything like that. But with a young crop of players, many of which have been around only for the bulk of the last 4 seasons going 15 - 47... you can't tell me that a 7 or 8 win season wouldn't be a HUGE confidence boost and a big step in the right direction.

Daunte Culpepper gives you a better chance of making that happen, while at the same time being a perfect match for Jamarcus Russell.

Was I the only one that saw this coming?

Saturday, July 28, 2007

Hello, my name is Brian Burke, and I'm a big baby (and hockey business 101)

Who is Brian Burke? The Anaheim Ducks General Manager.

- Uh oh... Vegas Dave is complaining and bashing the Ducks again...

Actually, believe it or not, this has nothing to do with my hatred for the team. If this same event happened the same way with any other team, I'd write the same article about it.

Lets bring you up to date.

The Edmonton Oilers GM Kevin Lowe offered Duck's young restricted free agent Dustin Penner a 5-year, $21.25 million offer sheet.

Hmm... since I presume most of my readers aren't experts on the NHL's salary cap and free agency status, I should probably start there before I continue.

----Hockey Business 101----
Pre-lockout, the NHL had no salary cap. As such, teams in major hockey towns (think Detroit, Colorado, New York) could spend as much money as they wanted on any players they wanted. Teams in smaller markets (or penny-pinching teams like the Kings) were left far behind in the talent department. Most importantly, when a team developed a young star, they could afford to sign him when he came of age without having to worry about a salary cap.

Free Agency is quite complicated, but the jist of it is this; When a player is under a certain age (used to be 28, is now 26) and his contract runs out, he is a RESTRICTED free agent. This means that any team can offer him a contract, but the team that he is currently on (we'll call them Team A) has the chance to match any and all offers. If Team A matches the offer, they keep the player. If they decide not to match the offer, the team that signs the player must compensate Team A with draft picks. If a player is over 26 years old, they are an UNRESTRICTED free agent, and can sign wherever they please.

This is a lot of explaining just to gripe about one guy, but hey, if I can provide sports business knowledge to my loyal readers, I'm happy to do so.

Post-lockout, a salary cap was instituted to try and level the playing field. Each team could only spend $39 million to start, but due to good ticket sales league wide, the cap raised to $44 million in 06-07 and has now been raised to $50.3 million for the 07-08 season. Having a salary cap this high seems like it could cause some new monitary problems for the NHL... but thats a whole different post.

To make sure teams stay competitive, there is also a salary floor. Each team MUST spend a certain amount; in 06-07 it was $28 million and for 07-08 it will be $34.3 million.

Daniel Briere, Chris Drury, and Scott Gomez were the top 3 free agents available this year. Drury and Gomez were both signed by the Rangers to 5 year, $35.25 million and 7 year, $51.5 million deals, respectively. Briere signed an 8 year, $52 million deal with a no-trade-clause! With $50 million of cap space to use as wiggle room, teams can now afford to overpay for players they want, which...
----Hockey Business 101 End----

Is exactly what Kevin Lowe chose to do.

Penner was the second restricted free agent Lowe has gone after this season. He offered Buffalo's Thomas Vanek a 7 year, $50 million offer sheet on July 6th. Buffalo chose to match the offer and keep Vanek.

So Lowe set his sights on Dustin Penner, offering him the deal mentioned at the top of this article. Penner was making the league minimum last year, and needless to say, the Ducks were likely going to sign him for a lot less than this.

Which, naturally, is going to frustrate any GM. If you are trying to iron out a deal with your player and someone else comes along and offers him 5 times more than what you were working out, wouldn't you be angry?


But do you have to be a baby about it?

Brian Burke set up a media conference call. Were the Ducks matching or turning down the offer? Were they announcing the retirement or return of veterans Teemu Selanne and Scott Neidermayer?

No answers. Burke just wanted to whine.

"I certainly think [the offer] could have waited until Monday. I think it was a classless move, timing-wise. I was not notified of this until Dustin Penner’s agent faxed it in. I would have thought Kevin would have notified me. I thought that was gutless."

"I have no problem with offer sheets. They’re part of the CBA [Collective Bargaining Agreement]. But in my opinion, Edmonton has offered a mostly inflated salary for a player, and I think it’s an act of desperation for a general manager who is fighting to keep his job."

Classless? Gutless? Desperation?

This is the business. I understand that it sucks, and I'm not saying this rate isn't inflated, but the market is what it is. If someone wants to overpay a young player they want on their team and can afford to do so, why shouldn't they?

Classless because he didn't wait til Monday? Teams have a week to decide. Who cares when he made the offer? It may be "inconvinient" for Burke, but the world doesn't revolve around his schedule.

Gutless because he didn't call Burke directly? Like he'd be any less upset hearing the news directly? Going to the player instead of the GM isn't that crazy.

Burke being upset doesn't bother me. It also wouldn't bother me if he answered questions regarding how upset he was.

Calling a media conference to attack another GM personally for just doing his job? That bothers me.

Boo-hoo. Compensation is in the form of a 1st, 2nd, and 3rd round pick. The team can live without Dustin Penner. Take the picks, punch your pillow, and shut up.

Friday, July 27, 2007

Bob Costas; Journalist, Announcer, Award Winner, Midget Man


Oh Barry. As if the steriod scandal doesn't get him enough press, he has to open his mouth.

I'll get into how I feel about him as a baseball player, steroids, his place in history, and all of that good stuff when he actually breaks the record.

But for now, I just needed a laugh.

In response to Bob Costas running a special on Barry Bonds and his well-documented "alleged" steroid use, Bonds declared that Costas is a "little midget man who knows (nothing) about baseball".

I suppose when you stand (a listed) 6'2", 236 pounds, a measly 5'6" and a half pound man could be considered a "midget".

"As anyone can see, I'm 5'6" and a half and a strapping 150, and unlike some people, I came by all of it naturally" Costas retorted.

Perhaps as funny as the original statement, Bonds response to Costas's retort was "How do you know [he came by it naturally]?... I don't care."

Calling one of the sports' most recognizable and distinguished journalists a "midget man" is certainly not going to make you any more popular, but then, do you think Barry Bonds cares?

While this little episode is pretty good, my all-time favorite Bonds quote comes from when he addressed the grand jury:

"Bonds said that Anderson had so little money that he 'lives in his car half the time.' Asked by a juror why he didn't buy 'a mansion' for his trainer, Bonds answered:

'One, I'm black, and I'm keeping my money. And there's not too many rich black people in this world. There's more wealthy Asian people and Caucasian and white. And I ain't giving my money up.'"

Caucasian and white?

What a guy.

I mean after all, what is life without friendship?

"This is our fraternity, and if we don't stand for each other, who is going to stand for us? And I will stand by my fellow player, regardless of anything."

Oh Barry.

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Quick Fantasy Baseball Update

If you play fantasy baseball, and you need saves go grab JAMIE WALKER. Baltimore' Chris Ray just hit the DL and will be done until at least mid August, likely the rest of the season, with an elbow injury. Walker is a solid replacement that will help your team down the stretch and will be available in 99% of leagues if you go get him now.

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Anyone else irritated with ESPN?


The Worldwide Leader in Sports.

Why don't they instead call themselves "The Worldwide Leader in Sports That Matter"?

This isn't even just about lack of hockey coverage anymore. Between "Who's Now" and the ESPYs, it is becoming more and more clear that if you aren't the NBA, NFL, MLB, NCAA, and maybe NASCAR, you really don't matter.

Unless, of course, its poker, which has far surpassed hockey, tennis, golf, softball, bowling, extreme sports, etc etc. (And this isn't a knock on poker either. I love the game. But should highlights of it be on ESPN classic more often than great tennis and golf championships?)

Funny that a network that used to get by by showing only minor sports in the 1970's has now all but completely left them to die. Remember when MTV used to show music videos?

Keyshawn Johnson is going to tell me that Sidney Crosby isn't "now".

The league's top scorer as a 19 year old is simply worth a chuckle, because his sport is a joke.

Roger Federer winning a title gets as much time on Sportscenter as one of the 15 baseball games that were played that day gets.

Any golfer not named Tiger Woods that wins a major is lucky to even get that much time.

Its one thing if ESPN only had so much time to work with, so could only go through the major sports. But with ESPN 2, ESPNews, and so many more, you can't tell me it would be that difficult to get decent coverage of more sports than just football, baseball, and basketball?

And they don't even cover those fairly! Big market teams get long breakdowns and post game interviews while "un-important" teams just get a highlight or two. Assuming you aren't a Yankee or Red Sox fan, how do you feel about the coverage your team gets?

Just imagine for me if it were your favorite sport being completely neglected and ignored.


How would you feel?

Monday, July 16, 2007

I'm Back

Batteries recharged... I'm good to go again.

Thanks to my regular readers for staying patient and for returning. I appreciate it a lot.

As anyone could have quite easily guessed, my break was induced by the Ducks winning the Stanley Cup. I still haven't gotten over it, and I never will. It hurts me to my very core. And I'm not exaggerating in the least bit; the Ducks' cup win has seriously made me re-consider my passion for sports, what I want to do with my life, just about everything.

"It's just a game!" "You shouldn't take it so personally!"

Yeah. Right. Got all that.

The problem is, you don't get to decide what makes you tick. You can spin certain events in your life by looking at them in a positive or negative way; but if something hits you directly, there really isn't much you can do about it.

I frequent on, a message board created by a Kings fan, run by Kings fans, for Kings fans. Thousands upon thousands of fans visit this site daily and talk Kings hockey. I never saw myself as a message board person (and still don't), but this is one site that is simply an exception.

Fans of all ages gather on this site, teenagers, but mainly fans in their 20's, 30's, 40's, and above. Most of these people have been dedicated Kings fans for their entire lives... many have been for the entire 40 years the Kings have been in the league. These thousands of fans only scratch the surface; how many more tens of thousands or even hundreds of thousands are huge Kings fans but don't hang out on the message board?

I won't get into why I hate Ducks fans again... I know I've been a broken record. If you want a recap, click here. I'm sure I come off as whiny and unprofessional, but so be it.

It just isn't fair. I know "Life's not fair". But sports to me has always been an escape from the bitterness of real life for me. Despite the fact that my teams have never won, the point is that when I was having an awful day, I could turn on a game and get lost in it. That's been shaken a little, because my dream-like sports world has been shaken back to reality.

It doesn't matter that there are many more Kings fans than Ducks fans. It doesn't matter that there are many bandwagon Ducks fans. It doesn't matter that Cleveland Browns fans never won a Super Bowl, but THEIR TEAM moved to Baltimore and won a championship there. It doesn't matter that millions of people have lived their entire lives as Cubs fan (or until recently, Red Sox fans) and millions have died lifelong Cub fans without ever seeing a championship. It doesn't matter that loyal fans of every major sport team in Philadelphia and Cleveland haven't won a damn thing in years. The list goes on and on and on.

It doesn't matter how much you care or how much you love. All that matters is who's got the best team, and who's got the bounces on their side.

And that hurts me. It is hard to come to terms with the fact that the thing that brings you the most joy in this world; pro sports; is just like everything else. People get screwed. People get heartbroken. Great fans live and die unrewarded and bandwagon fans celebrate 20 championships.

But with each terrible loss comes a great win. With each dream shattered comes a dream come true. That is the beauty of sports... and its also its dark underbelly.

So I return to you a bit broken, a bit bitter, a bit disillusioned, but 100% still in love with the world of sports.

I hope you'll take me back with open arms.