Dave’s Free Play, Saturday 8/29/15

I'm not going to be playing the Week Three NFLx neighborhood battle between the Redskins and Ravens. But it's a game that I definitely want to watch for a variety of reasons. At the top of that list is checking out the performance of Washington QB Kirk Cousins. In case you missed it, news broke on Friday that Robert Griffin III has not been cleared to play due to concussion symptoms. This is a late reversal on that count, as Griffin had practiced all week and had initially been cleared to play in this game. But upon further scrutiny of the neuropsychology data, RG III is now out and he won't be retested for at least one week, perhaps two. So Griffin's status for the regular season opener is now very much in doubt, and the buzz is that Cousins has a real chance to seize the QB1 spot. Cousins has had a very good camp, flashing better movement in the pocket, and not making mistakes we've gotten accustomed to seeing from him. I want to see what Cousins does against a good first ... More

Dave’s Free Play, Thursday 8/27/15

Michael Vick is now a member of the Pittsburgh Steelers, and a handful of protesters aren't happy about it. They showed up outside the team's practice facility yesterday with signs and did interviews with the assembled media. I understand that this was news of a sort, particularly on National Dog Day. As an animal lover, what Michael Vick did was reprehensible and thoroughly disgusting to me. But he definitely paid the price, having had to serve time in a federal penitentiary and losing a fortune in the process. The protesters don't think Vick should be allowed to play football. They don't believe he deserves a second chance. One of the picketers, speaking with a television reporter, commented that in light of what he had done, Vick was incapable of being rehabilitated and she carried a sign that asked "would you let Michael Vick near your dogs?" Apparently the Humane Society, which actually acts in the best interests of animals rather than carrying around signs and being a ... More

Dave’s Free Play, Wednesday 8/26/15

No commentary today, but as always there's a free play, and this one will be on an upcoming NFLx game. Tuesday was okay here, winning two of three on the diamond. The Braves squandered numerous opportunities on offense, and compounded those missed chances with critical defensive miscues. The first four Rockies runs were all unearned and the fifth Colorado run was keyed by back to back wild pitches. The Angels held on to beat Detroit and I was on the right side of a big rally as the Mariners won, so a good day overall. Get the goods on what's in store for the new football campaign. So far, so good with an encouraging 7-3 NFLx opening. I'll supply the rates and details on how everything works with my flat rate or net winners programs, just email me directly at cokin@cox.net. ------------ Here's a look at one of this weekend's exhibition battles where I see some reasons to give the points. 49ERS @ BRONCOS Take: BRONCOS -5 The 49ers and Broncos should be quote ... More

Dave’s Free Play, Tuesday 8/25/15

I have an idea for a brand new 24-hour network that could make for popular viewing on cable or satellite TV. Welcome to the Apology Network! Hey, why not? There's a network for just about everything already, but this one would have an endless supply of new content, thanks to the astonishing inability of people to comprehend that whatever they happen to say is probably being recorded by someone. Cris Carter is the star of today's Apology Network main event. Carter's advice to first-year NFL players at the 2014 NFL Rookie Symposium got discovered thanks to a recent ESPN The Magazine interview with former 49er Chris Borland. The gist of the speech was a suggestion by Carter to make sure there's a "fall guy in your crew" in case legal trouble arises. The irony is that it probably wasn't bad advice for those players who feel the need to have a "crew", but that's not the point. It almost seemed as though Carter was endorsing the concept of players going this route, and that's kind ... More

Dave’s Free Play, Monday 8/24/15

The college and NFL regular seasons are now just around the bend. That means it's contest entry time here in Nevada. There is a wide ranging variety of action for every type of fan. You name it. you can find it, whether it's a low priced deal where no spreads are involved, or the high roller tournaments with four figure entry fees and huge cash prizes for the winners. The Supercontest at the Westgate has exploded nationally. Estimates are that there could be upwards of 2000 participants this season, which means a prize pool approaching or perhaps even topping $3 million. The Supercontest is NFL sides only, with each participant choosing five plays each week, and the spreads are the same for everyone. The Golden Nugget has turned its Friday Football Showdown from what had been a 16-entry field to a wide open event where anyone can enter for $2000. This contest is seven selections each week, with all boarded college and NFL sides and totals available. One point is awarded for each ... More

Dave’s Free Play, Thursday 8/6/15

Quick blog entry tonight, skipping the usual daily commentary. But no day off as far as the free play is concerned, of course. I'll look at the clash at Wrigley between the Giants and Cubs to the Thursday comp. GIANTS (Heston) @ CUBS (Hammel) Take: GIANTS +117 (Don Best Consensus line at publication time) Two serious playoff contenders open a big weekend series tonight as the Giants and Cubs square off at Wrigley Field. San Francisco is off a  pair of wins vs. the Braves, while the Cubs return home after having their winning streak snapped last night at Pittsburgh. Chris Heston, one of three major leaguers to fashion a no-hitter this season, will get the start for the road team while Jason Hammel throws for the hosts. Heston isn't getting much attention as far as the NL Rookie of the Year conversation is concerned. Even with the headline grabbing gem that got him noticed early this season, Heston seems to still be very much under the radar. But the first-year righty has ... More

Dave’s Free Play, Wednesday 8/5/15

I think it's safe to say that the Washington Nationals are a big disappointment with only 1/3 of the regular season remaining. They're still very much in the playoff hunt. But the Nats are already dead as a doornail in terms of the pre-season win projection at the books, and if the campaign were to end today they would be heading to the golf course rather than the post-season. That's why I was somewhat befuddled at what the Nationals did at the trade deadline. Not that there's anything wrong with Jonathan Papelbon, but they really didn't need a closer. On paper, the Papelbon add does help the bullpen as it moves Drew Storen into the eighth inning role and that gives Washington a strong late game 1-2 punch. But the rumor mill says that Storen was not really pleased with losing the more glamorous closer role, and the opinion here is that this team needed to try and land a bat for what has been a rather pedestrian attack. Take the brilliant Bryce Harper out of the equation, and ... More

Dave’s Free Play, Tuesday 8/4/15

Okay, I just can't let this one go. I'll preface this by stating that I had no action on the Rays/White Sox game on Monday evening. So this isn't one of those sour grapes rants. It's just a description of some truly horrendous decision making that might very well have cost the White Sox a critical win. Here's the scenario. Bottom of the ninth, Rays up 5-4. White Sox shortstop Alexei Ramirez gets the Chisox going with a single and he proceeds to steal second base. Adam LaRoche then delivers a single to center, so it's first and third for the hosts with no one out. They're now a favorite to at least tie the game. Oh wait, scratch that first and third and no outs. Ramirez gets waved home and he's easily thrown out on a play that's not even close. This is baseball at its absolute worst. First of all, unless the runner is going to tally standing up, there is no way he should be trying to score in this situation. Secondly, Ramirez is trying to score on Kevin Kiermaier. Kevin ... More

Dave’s Free Play, Monday 8/3/15

Now that I've had a couple of days to digest all the activity leading up to the non-waiver trading deadline, I've come up with my biggest winner and biggest loser based on what transpired. The Blue Jays are in a category all by themselves. Toronto was clearly the big gambler, pushing all-in to try and land a playoff spot this season. This is a real high wire act by Alex Anthopoulos. Not only do the Blue Jays have to get to the post-season, they'd better win that play-in game if they fail to catch the Yankees in the AL East. A one and done or a miss the show entirely finish and I would bet there's a new GM in Toronto next season. The Dodgers also have a section all to themselves. They're simply operating on a different dollar level from the other 29  teams at this point and therefore can't really be compared to an other franchise. The Dodgers definitely helped themselves at the deadline, and Andrew Friedman certainly knows what he's doing. But they're in a position where even if ... More

Dave’s Free Play, Sunday 8/2/15

Ronda Rousey obliterated yet another overwhelmed opponent at UFC 190. I can't say it's boring, because she's an exciting personality and a tremendous talent. But there's simply no suspense, unless it's whether I can hold my breath for the entire duration of any of her fights. So far, no problem. I've decided to put on my matchmaker's hat, as at some point viewers could perhaps stop forking over the PPV dollars for events where they know what the inevitable outcome is going to be. I think I've come up with the perfect opponent. Dr. Walter Palmer. Hey, why not? It's about time Ronda took on a guy, and I can't think of anyone I'd like to see get pulverized more than the now infamous Minnesota dentist, who is, by the way, NOT a hunter. (If you have to pay several guides to do the actual hunting, and then have them shine a spotlight on the target, you're not really a hunter, you're just a schmuck.) My guess is that Palmer won't be residing in the same income bracket he's grown ... More

Dave’s Free Play, Saturday 8/1/15

The non-waiver trade deadline arrived as scheduled on Friday afternoon, but the flurry of expected activity from a supposed seller never happened. The buzz heading into the final day was that the Padres would be wheeling and dealing. But GM AJ Preller never pulled the trigger on any major deals. This generated some criticism among some former GM's who are now manning microphones on radio and TV. I'll play devil's advocate and will defend Preller's decision to hold onto all his key guys. Preller was between the proverbial rock and hard place here. If he chose to sell whatever he could to the highest bidders, it would have been an admission that he blew it in a big way with the gambles that were supposed to make the Padres 2015 contenders. That's not exactly the best recipe in terms of creating job security. Additionally, there was simply no chance whatsoever that Preller was going to get a prospect haul back that was even close to the one he traded away this winter in hopes of ... More

Dave’s Free Play, Friday 7/31/15

It's deadline time for non-waiver trading in MLB, and that means a handful of hours remaining in what has been one of the most frenzied sessions I can ever recall. I'll try to summarize winners and losers after the weekend. Meanwhile, there are still some deals to be made and here's what the rumor mill is churning out right now. The White Sox were projected to be sellers, but the big recent run by the Pale Hose has caused a dramatic mindset change. Now this team appears to be in buy mode, with the aim a big bat. Yoenis Cespedes makes sense, but the fact he's with the division rival Tigers lessens the chance he's the most gettable target. Justin Upton thus becomes the favorite to end up in the Windy City, and as he's likely strictly a rental the price might not be outrageous. The Yankees missed out on Mike Leake, who is heading to the Giants, and with the Pinstripes apparently unwilling to part with their two perceived top prospects, getting one of the stud starters wasn't going ... More