[Keith is standing in the center of the back row]
Keith Edward Donnelly, 33, died Monday at a Las Vegas hospital. He was born Sept. 22, 1966, in Miami. A supervisor for a race and sports book, he was a five-year resident of Las Vegas and a member of Kappa Epsilon fraternity. He is survived by his wife, Tammy of Las Vegas; mother, Rosemary; and brother, Sean; both of Miami. Visitation will be from 4 to 7 p.m. today and from 10 a.m. until noon Friday at Palm Mortuary-Eastern. Services will follow at 2 p.m. at Christ the King Catholic Church.
Monday morning, February 21, 2000, we learned that Keith Donnelly, a legendary Las Vegas NTN player and great person, had passed away in his sleep. Keith's untimely passing was a shock to those who had been blessed with his friendship, to those who had the opportunity to meet him, to those who had only heard of his legendary prowess with a playmaker, and to those who learned of Keith from the many tributes posted on BadBart in the hours following Troy's announcement.
As a small tribute to our friend Keith, I've collected some of the early BadBart posts expressing the shock and disbelief that he could be gone. For those who didn't have an opportunity to meet Keith, these posts provide a glimpse of Keith, how special he was to those who knew him, and how well regarded he was within the NTN community.
DISGUSTED by Troy
I'm absolutely disgusted to let you all know the Keith (MRDATA) passed away last night in his sleep apparently from heart trouble. I'm speechless, he was the happiest person I've ever known and I really know not what to say.
He was just recently married and just found out that he was going to be a father. Tami asked that I tell all of you as she knows how much we all meant to him and how much he loved this forum. More later. . .
RESPONSE TO TROY'S MESSAGE by Ron Philo
My God. I'm speechless, too. I only met him once, but I thought right away he was a great guy.
Ron, shaking his head
RESPONSE TO TROY'S MESSAGE by Don Denton
Unbelievable! I'm sure that I speak for the whole National West Covina team when I express our deepest sympathies to Tami, Keith's family, and his many friends.
On a personal note, Keith was so good at keeping me updated on where the Las Vegas team played Showdown and what score they got when it wasn't posted properly. He was a big help in keeping the team rankings as accurate as possible. I'm going to miss him big time. Such a shame to lose someone that had so much to live for!
Take care, Don
R.I.P. MR DATA by Bob Blake
Keith came to Tampa last year and gave us an amazing demo of serious multibox play.
He was a terrific guy, a real player and a class act.
Here's to you, Keith my friend, I hope all the playmakers work where you are now.
R.I.P. MR DATA by John Carter
Never had the good fortune to meet MRDATA, but have read what y'all said about him.... Thanks to all previous posts for the marvelous insight....
Sorry to lose a great person, magnificent triv player and all-around good guy.... Condolences and kind wishes to his family.
R.I.P. MR DATA by Brian Sarver
How sad! And what a shock. We will all miss his voice on BadBart and I will miss our private correspondence. On behalf of myself and the teams at SHUCKERS and 3 CHEERS I would like to extend our deepest sympathies to Keith's family and friends.
RESPONSE TO TROY'S MESSAGE by Rick Kitchen
Oh, My God! Oh, Troy, I don't know what to say. Keith was a great guy, and one hell of a fast trivia player. Give my best to all of his friends and family.
Corvus, shocked and saddened
RESPONSE TO TROY'S MESSAGE by Mark Boazman
Our condolences as well.
RESPONSE TO TROY'S MESSAGE by John Bychowski
I certainly was amazed at his performance when I paid a visit to Vegas about two years back. Keith practically inspired me to take on so many boxes since then.
My condolences to Keith's family, his friends and the Vegas bunch. He will be missed.
Rest in peace, Keith.
John, aka HAPPY
RESPONSE TO TROY'S MESSAGE by Peter Bauer
Our deepst sympathy and condolences go out to the family and friends of Keith Donnelly. MRDATA will be missed not only by his teammates in Las Vegas and the West, but all over the country. We'll raise a glass to him at Teaser's tomorrow evening.
STUNNED DISBELIEF by Joel Suzuki (LILJOL)
Those were my words in answer to HAPPY's IM earlier this afternoon informing me of the untimely passing of Keith Donnelly, MRDATA of Las Vegas. Apologies to those of you who will be seeing some of the following twice.
As some of you were aware i was in Las Vegas this past weekend. Saturday evening some of the Las Vegas players, including Keith, gathered at one of the PTs Pubs. Around 9:00 PM we called it a night. Keith and i spent a few minutes chatting about this and that.
Keith then invited me to join him for lunch Sunday at The Mirage, where he was the manager of their Sports Book. I arrived just a bit before noon, to see Keith and the rest of the Sports Book staff looking rather busy. However, when he saw me nearing their work area, up came that great smile of his. He managed to break for a few minutes and we more or less picked up where we left off the night before. He then let me know that we wouldn't be able to join me for lunch since business had picked up. Little did i realize, that would be the last time i'd see him.
liljol, joining the rest on BadBart in expressing sympathy to Keith's wife, the rest of his family, and his extended family, the Las Vegas NTN players.
RESPONSE TO TROY'S MESSAGE by Steven Watanabe
My deepest condolences to his family, relatives, friends, and the NTN players that he knew.
I never met MRDATA, and don't know a whole lot about him, but as a fellow BadBarter, and I will drink a toast in his memory.
The timing is terrible: he was about to become a father, and was probably in otherwise decent health.
Geez, I just came back from San Diego a few minutes ago and was about to tell you guys about my trip over there, and this sad news happens.
Well, if we ever have a BadBartBash 2000, we should dedicate it to MRDATA. Whaddaya think, gang?
Steven (SEKA), Sacramento, CA
RESPONSE TO TROY'S MESSAGE by James C. Dobbs
I remember seeing MRDATA's name on the boards and knowing there was a fellow trekkie playing. I'm saddened to hear of his passing. My deepest sympathy to his family and all that knew him.
RESPONSE TO TROY'S MESSAGE by Jim McKelvey
He has always been well respected here in Toronto, to his friends and family we offer our condolances.
RESPONSE TO TROY'S MESSAGE by Bobby
i also never had the pleasure of meeting keith, from what i have heard about him he was a great guy. if anyone is up to it? Romany is going to play all our boards with his handle in. MRDAT2,MRDAT3,MRDAT4 and so on. I hope this isn't too much to ask. I believe this would be a great gesture from all the badbarters out there to let him know he will be missed. my personal sorrow for Keith and his family.
RESPONSE TO TROY'S MESSAGE by Jason Wilson
My deepest sympathy to Tami, Keith's family, his many friends and all of the NTN players in Vegas.
In my book, Keith was one of the nicest guys ever to push a box. I first ran into Keith in late 1996 or early 1997 when he and Tami (then his girlfriend) visited us at NWC. Keith and Tami shared their picture collection with us (which included one purportedly of a laptop at Nick). More importantly, the prized picture was one of Samstown at #1 in Showdown--and as I recall NICK was 2nd. I got a kick out of Keith playing 8 boxes (he worked up a big sweat) and he was great at hedging his boxes (hedging=splitting up his answers on the best choices).
Keith and Troy returned several times. I remember one time playing very late into the night with them and having a great time. Keith had a great time no matter how well we did (and as the night progressed, we did worse--for the obvious reasons). Keith told a number of funny stories about the "fleas" the non-stop gamblers who would never leave the sports book.
In late 1998, I played the horses at the Mirage Sportsbook and visited with Keith. Sportbooks are serious places. There are big bets and people lose big money. When I spotted Keith in the distance, Keith had the demeanor that went with his position as a supervisor at a top casino. He was serious and watchful. If you have every seen the movie Casino, you know what I mean by serious and watchful. When I caught his eye, he broke into a big smile and immediately reached under his desk. Keith pulled out the Showdown rankings and begin to tell me where he and his teammates hoped to finish the year. He voice rang with joy. I remember that joy and his excitement, it was infectious. And the contrast between Keith Donnelly, serious casino supervisor and Mr. Data, joyful NTN player, now, in retrospect, seems very poignant.
The last time I saw Keith was last October. I played a few races at the Mirage. Over my protests, Keith insisted on giving me and my friend a comp lunch. Later that night, after his shift ended, Keith showed up at ESM Vegas where I was playing QB1 with Airkev. It was out of Keith's way: he does not play QB1. Keith watched the last quarter of the game with us. I guess he had shown up just to be friendly on behalf of the Vegas players.
I will miss him.
RESPONSE TO TROY'S MESSAGE by Laura French
I didn't know Keith aka MrData, but it is always sad to lose any family member.... and that's what NTN players are... FAMILY. On behalf of the gang at McGees in Citrus Heights, CA... our thoughts and prayers are with him, his wife, his baby-to-be, and his family........ god bless.
Laura French (aka LALA)
MRDATA by Bill
For those those of you who knew Keith and want to see him again, I've attached a picture from the Sam's Town days. For those who didn't have the good fortune to ever meet him, Keith is the guy standing in the middle.
Keith buddy, you will be missed. It won't ever be quite the same without you.
My last thoughts of him will be of him telling me how Tami was going around asking him if she was showing yet, and how she was buying clothes for her pregnancy even though she was still so skinny. He was just beaming and couldn't get that silly grin off his face.
[Note: The picture Bill provided is shown at the top of this page.]
RESPONSE TO TROY'S MESSAGE by Robby Polinsky
On Tue, 26 Oct 1999, Keith Donnelly wrote:
With yesterday's tragedy once again proving how fragile life is, stop and think of your loved ones and give them a call, say I love you or just talk. Go offline and connect with a person, not a server. I will call my mother right now. Sincerely- MRDATA
Eerie and sad, but true :(.
Keith once played a FPOMAN box during Playback, so, as a tribute this Sat. nite, I'll play one of my boards as MRDATA.
R.I.P, MRDATA -- you were one of the greats!
RESPONSE TO TROY'S MESSAGE by Bob G
Although no longer a member of BadBart I'd like to forward a thought regarding a small tribute of sorts to the late MRDATA. Even though I am not playing to the extent I was several months ago, when I get the opportunity to play for the balance of this week, I will forgo playing as DA WIZ and play as MRDATA. I had the chance to play a few tonight. While failing to put MRDATA on the national board, I did manage two scores onto the local monthly board.
I think it would be a great tribute if all Barters played as MRDATA through the end of the week. Can you imagine the National boards for premium games if 15 of the top 20 scores were credited to MRDATA ? A fitting tribute indeed, if I say so myself. If no one else is willing to forgo their usual handle, I * WILL * put MRDATA on the National board this Friday night during Triviaoke.
RESPONSE TO JAMES C DOBBS MESSAGE by Didi Magee
Ditto for Didi. --- A new Trivia Angel has been added to the group. Any Bash will honor MRDATA by it's very nature and we all must still our committee of the mind to hear his answers clear. Once a Triviot, always a Triviot !!!! MRDATA, tell me true, I'll listen !!! -SWEEDI
RESPONSE TO TROY'S MESSAGE by Bill Gardner
When I was out in Vegas for the Super Bowl, I spent an entire day playing the ponies at Keith's Sports Book (Mirage) and we went out and played trivia 3 of the 4 nights I was there. He doesn't smoke and appeared to be in good health. Maybe something was up and he just didn't talk about it. I'm stunned. Troy, how old?
[Note: Troy was 33 years old.]
RESPONSE TO TROY'S MESSAGE by Ken Zeringue
Although I never had the pleasure of meeting Keith in person, I join with BadBart in mourning his passing. I wish his family well.
I think "stunned disbelief" also sums up my own feelings about his untimely demise. I, too will play my machine as MRDATA on Tuesday night in tribute to this 'Barter.
Not many people have had the chance to visit us out here in the hinterlands, so I just wanted to tell you all that MRDATA had achieved near legendary status among the regular triviots out here. I have been relaying stories about the multiple-machine-play talents of MRDATA to many a newcomer who had the audacity to suggest that the boxes took away points too fast.
Ken Z. aka BLZBUB @ Slate St & TGIF Albuquerque
RESPONSE TO TROY'S MESSAGE by Bill Rushton
The first time I met Keith was several years ago, late on a Monday night. I was playing at Sam's Town, on one of my Vegas vacations, and he was playing at a separate table, with about 4 or 5 boxes, of course. After a few games, he came up to me and introduced himself, and invited me to join the Showdown group the next night. Even though he wouldn't be able to make it that night, he told me about all the people that would be there, and made me feel more comfortable about joining them for the game.
I would see him every so often at the Golden Nugget, where he worked as a ticket writer in the Sports Book, and later at the Mirage, where he had moved up to a supervisor in the Sports Book there. He would always encourage me to stop by to see him whenever I could when I was out there. We would often discuss whatever the latest in trivia was, whether it was participating in the million dollar contest that NTN held or trying to get on the current wave of tv game shows. He'd always ask for any local insight on his beloved Jets. When he was supervisor at the Mirage, I knew there was no way I'd leave before he would invite me to a comped meal at the hotel.
There were many memorable nights playing trivia with him as well. For Showdown, he would always have his own table with at least 8 boxes. He'd often manage to get all his answers in before some of us could enter them in 1 or 2 boxes, sometimes deftly splitting answers on various boxes and keeping accurate track of which box had what. The longest amount of time I spent playing NTN consecutively was with him, as Troy, he, and I closed Sam's Town early that night.
RESPONSE TO TROY'S MESSAGE by Kevyn Curry
I felt I should add my sympathy and condolences to the family and loved ones of Keith, and pass on memories of my one meeting with him, oddly enough, before I'd ever heard of Badbart. I believe it was in 1997, when a couple of teacher friends, and fellow NTN Showdown teammates and I decided to take a road trip to Las Vegas during spring break for a little desert fun.
After consulting the sitefinder, we decided to head over to Sam's Town for Showdown. Although our little group was crushed by the Sam's Town team, Keith came over and introduced himself and welcomed us. He dazzled us with his multi-box playing demonstration and also explained what the handle "F NICK" meant. I had thought it was a person. Who knew?
He then invited us to team up the following night to play Decades (No. 1 team in the nation -- bring back Decades!) and Trivial Pursuit, and we all had a great time playing NTN and joking about the karaoke singers (I will never listen to "Four Non-Blondes" again).
We stopped by his sports book the next day and made a token bet, and he told us to be sure to let him know whenever we were in town. Unfortunately, I was never able to squeeze in a Vegas trip after that, but I'll never forget how welcome he made us feel, in a town that's not known for warm feelings.
I'll be raising my glass tomorrow night (the usual, Coke -- no ice, with a cherry) to one of the great ones.
So here's to you, Keith.
And while I'm here, I want to take the time to say that I've been fortunate enough to meet and make many new friends, mostly during the last year, solely due to NTN and Badbart, and have almost without exception been welcomed on first sight with overwhelming kindness and camaraderie as though I was an old friend.
Sometimes while we're busy arguing about trivialities like computers and whatnot, it takes something like Keith's passing to remind us of what's REALLY important, and why we got involved in NTN and Badbart in the first place. And it makes me realize that some of the fond memories I have of the people and places I've met and visited through NTN/Badbart are ones that I wouldn't trade for anything.
So to the many of you whom I've met I want to say thanks for the memories, and to those friends on Badbart I've not had the opportunity to meet yet I can only hope that someday I will.