Sunday, April 30, 2006 

Detroit Lions Draft Picks, Day 1

Round 1, Pick 9:
Ernie Sims (OLB, Florida State)
- The Positives:
After Paul Tagliabue announced that the Lions had taken Sims, ESPN showed his highlight package from Florida State. Although I was initially disappointed by the announcement, the highlight reel immediately revealed his explosive hits and closing speed. All the experts are comparing Sims to former FSU weakside linebacker Derrick Brooks. Marinelli refers to Ernie as a "collision hunter."

According to Rotowire, Bill Belichick considers Sims a top 5 talent, which is very reassuring. Belichick's stamp of approval on your draft pick is comparable to Nate Dogg singing the hook on your rap song. It's almost guaranteed that the player/song will have some success.

The reports on Sims say that he is very intense, which is a trait that the Lion defense could most definitely use. The ESPN Draft Magazine compares Sims to Ian Gold.

- The Negatives:
With Michael Huff off the board, we really thought that the Lions should trade down in the first round or take the best player on the board, Matt Leinart. This is a deep draft and picking up an extra Day 1 pick by trading down would have yielded an additional starter quality prospect. Sims just doesn't seem to have been a great value for the #9 slot and the Lions could have gotten a player of similar value later in the round.

Of course there is also the little problem of being a "collision hunter" while also being a bit under-sized: Sims has been concussed 5 times. This is pretty concerning to everyone...except Matt "Fire" Millen. When asked what a history of concussions says about a player, Millen said “The first thing that that tells me: the kid hits.” I'm no GM, but the first thing it tells me is that the player is one or two big hits away from calling it a career. With Boss Bailey and Teddy Lehman, can the Lions really afford another injury prone player at linebacker? It would seem this is only marginally preferable to taking another wide receiver with a questionable work ethic.

Finally, I don't know about anyone else, but I find it hard to completely trust the character of players from Free Shoes University.

- The Judgement:
The Lions get faster on defense but are unable to land a "can't miss" prospect despite picking in the top 10.


Round 2, Pick #40:
Daniel Bullocks (S, Nebraska)

- The Positives:
Bullocks fits the Marinelli mold for defensive players: a big hitter with speed. At 6'1 and 212 lbs with a 4.38 forty yard dash time, Bullocks is able to play either free safety or strong safety. Initially, new defensive coordinator Donnie Henderson will play the Cornhusker at free safety. Shares many strengths with first rounder Ernie Sims (speed, hitting, leadership and intensity); hopefully this will help Marinelli establish an identity for his young defense. Will stop the run and impressed at the Senior Bowl. The ESPN Draft Mag compares Bullocks to Michael Lewis of the Eagles.

(Randomness: I like Mel Kiper Jr. as much as the next guy, but every time Chris Berman throws it over to him he begins his analysis with the phrase "I think you talk about." For example, he might say something like "I think you talk about a linebacker who can play sideline to sideline." No Mel, I think you talk about a linebacker who plays sideline to sideline; in fact, I have video evidence to prove it. It's a bit off-putting when Mel keeps trying to guess what I'm talking about.)

- The Negatives:
The Lions were outmaneuvered by the Eagles and Falcons in the second round. Both teams moved up to select DB Jimmy Williams and OT Winston Justice immediately in front of the Lions. Both players were sliding after receiving first round grades and would have competed for a starting role in Detroit immediately. Jimmy Williams would have been a perfect fit in Motown, and its hard to believe that the Lions wouldn't have been better off giving up a mid-round pick or 2 to land Williams instead of Bullocks.

While he should be a starter within a couple years, it seems that Bullocks' ceiling is not very high. Scouts question whether or not he has the tools to be an elite pass defender.

- The Judgement:
Seems to be a safe pick who should be a solid contributor but doesn't figure to make any Pro Bowls.


Round 3, Pick #74
Brian Calhoun (RB, Wisconsin)

- The Positives:
Calhoun is a former track star who had 1636 rushing yards, 571 receiving yards, and 24 total touchdowns in 2005. Having watched him in the Big Ten, where he was highly effective, I liked how he ran with a bit of style and personality. His receiving skills mean that he will eventually serve as a third down back, where he should be a great complement to Kevin Jones. Calhoun also can return kicks and might be able to play some slot receiver as well. He provides valuable depth behind Jones and KR Eddie Drummond. Mike Martz has another weapon in his arsenal.

- The Negatives:
Kevin Jones is set as the feature back in Detroit with Shawn Bryson and Artose Pinner previously next on the depth chart. If I remember correctly, Pinner was a Mariucci pick so this might be a sign that 'Tose is on his way out. Pinner hasn't impressed in the NFL and doesn't fit Martz's offense well. There aren't enough roster spots for everyone.

The Lions have a lot of holes so upgrading at RB might have been a bit of a luxury. The Lions still need an OT, OG, LB, CB, and possibly DT and are without their 4th round pick.

-The Judgement:
I really like this pick. Martz will find ways to get Calhoun the ball and he's a threat to take it to the house on any touch. Offensive line depth is a must on Day 2.



Thursday, April 27, 2006 

Thank You Gatorade

You've probably seen all of Nike's "Joga Bonita" commercials on TV, which are outstanding. Yesterday I saw the new Gatorade commercial, and it sent chills down my spine. From the raucous Central American crowds that are almost breaking down the Yanks locker room, to the "take me out to the ballgame" song, I think this is awesome. Admittedly, I am a huge US Soccer fanatic, but even if you're not this might get you pumped up for the world cup:

Also, for the record, Nate hasn't had functioning internet at his house for the last 2 days. Tell him to pay them bills!

Wednesday, April 26, 2006 

Nash-ville Star, Season 2

Reports say Nash earns the NBA MVP award. That's pretty interesting dude. I can't think of anybody else off the top of my head that deserved it more... besides Kobe, Bron Bron, Dirk, and Chauncey.

I need a couple of days for this to set in for me to write more about the subject, but this just does not seem right to me. The reason Nash won last year is because there were no other quality candidates. This year, there are many.

You can't make the statistics argument, because both Kobe's and LeBron's stats this year were SIGNIFICANTLY better than Nash's.

If you try to make the "well it's a most VALUABLE player" award, and the player has to be most valuable for their team... I just don't buy that. Yes Nash was valuable to the Suns, but would Chauncey Billups have had different results running point for the Suns? Probably, but I wouldn't see them being much worse.

I would also go as far to say that Kobe was much more valuable for the Lakers, Dirk was much more valuable for the Mavericks, and James was much more valuable for the Cavs, than Nash was for the Suns. Take any of those 3 players away from their teams, and their garbage. The Lakeshow are nothing (I mean NOTHING) without Kobe, the Cavs blow without Lee-bron, and the Mavericks aren't nearly as good without ze German. I think that's where Chauncey loses out in the MVP argument, because take him away, and the 'Stones are still a very good team. Take Nash away? I still think the Suns are a very good team.

Like I said, I need a few days to think about this (or to see if the early reports are correct, the MVP isn't announced for a few weeks so this could all be worthless blathering) and let it set in. However, Wikipedia already has him listed as MVP, and they're NEVER wrong.

So, I guess congratulations are in order for the former college soccer all-American (true story). Congratulations Steve Nash on your back-to-back NBA MVP awards. The only other players to accomplish this feat are: Bill Russell, Wilt Chamberlain, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Moses Malone, Larry Bird, Magic Johnson, Michael Jordan, and Tim Duncan. You can now add Steve John Nash to that list.... wow.

- Uhh, I don't believe in jinxes or anything, but there's something fairly crazy going on with what we write on Noob Sports and the adverse affect it has on Detroit Sports teams. Any ideas how we should change this? Should we just stop writing positive stories about our favorite teams? Should we stop mentioning them by name? Help us out here... if the, uh, basketball team that plays in Detroit loses tonight, something is very, very wrong with what we write on here.

- Maybe it's just me, but I find this to be really, really funny.

Tuesday, April 25, 2006 

Noobie, Noobie, Noob (4/25)

Noob of the Week:
It's less than a week before the NFL draft and Brett Favre still hasn't notified the Packers as to whether or not he will retire. Sure, he's a future Hall of Famer and he's earned some slack, but Favre's attitude irks us a bit. The Packers aren't going to cut him and have no option but to wait him out until his new deadline of July 27, unless they want to risk mutiny amongst their fans, and he knows it. He's really hindering his franchise, but his retirement indecision isn't the reason we are awarding him Noob of the Week honors. Last week, Favre piped in his 2 cents on the impasse between the Tennessee Titans and Steve McNair. McNair is locked out of the Titan facilities until his contract has been renegotiated, and Favre voiced his support for his fellow QB. Is Favre right that McNair deserves better? Absolutely, but contract disputes are part of every day life in the NFL and Rule #1 among players is that you NEVER get involved with other people's money or contracts.

In McNair's case, Favre is at least trying to help a fellow player. Last summer, Favre threw a teammate under the bus. Javon Walker was coming off of a breakout season and threatened to hold out for a contract extension. Of course, Favre weighed in on Walker's holdout. He called out Walker and ruined any chance he had at public support for an extension. Guess what? Javon was injured catching a wounded duck Favre tossed in the first game of the Packer's regular season (against the Lions). He did not play another game in 2005 and is now demanding a trade out of Green Bay, presumably because he can't stand Favre. (Am I just bitter because Javon's injury crippled my fantasy football team last year? Definitely.) Favre earns Noob of the Week for not being able to keep his nose out of other people's business or his name out of the headlines. Grow up, noob.

Noob Sports Question of the Week:
Last Friday, I called my buddy, and world's biggest Cubs fan, Derek to discuss the state of the Cubs after Derek Lee's injury. After tossing around cheap trade targets like Matt Stairs, Dougie Baseball, Hee Seop Choi, and Carlos Pena, the conversation turned to the Cubs pitching staff. When I asked if Greg Maddux's then 3-0 start was for real, he said "I think if he took off his shirt, he would have more illegal substances on his body than Eddie Harris from 'Major League.'" Sure enough, during Sunday's start against the St. Louis on Sunday, the home plate umpire came out to the mound and checked the ball not once, but TWICE, at the request of Jim Edmonds and other Cardinals. While the ump didn't find anything unusual about the ball and Maddux went on to win his fourth game of the season, the fact remains that Maddux has some sick movement on his pitches right now. As usual, Maddux has been pitching to contact but his cut fastball is darting off the plate in such a drastic way that we can't help but wonder. So the question of the week remains: is Greg Maddux scuffing or "loading up" the baseball?

Noob Sports Wine of the Week:
If you are in the mood for a good laugh, look no further than this article on athletes and their wines by DJ Gallo. An excerpt: "Michael Vick's wine would be captured with this: 'One of the most anticipated wines in recent memory when it hit the market in 2001, it has often failed to live up to expectations. Rumors claim its troubles stem from being tainted by diseased Mexican grapes. The next Vick vintage is said to be even worse.'"

Noob Sports NFL Draft Sleeper of the Week:
Kalamazoo native Greg Jennings is rising quickly up the draft board. The 5'11 wide receiver from Western Michigan caught 98 balls for 1,259 yards and 14 TDs in 2005 and might find himself selected on Day 1. He had 3 consecutive thousand yard seasons and is currently ranked behind only Chad Jackson, Santonio Holmes, and Sinorice Moss by guru Mel Kiper Jr. at his position. The scouting reports say that he is a competitor with good route running skills but that he is not a true home-run threat. MAC players have enjoyed success in the NFL recently so look for him to be taken as high as Round 2.

Noob Sports Announcement of the Week:
The Noob Sports family is really enjoying fantasy baseball this year and would like to heed the suggestion of our readers to feature a "Fantasy Baseball Mailbag." Obviously, for this to work we need your help. If you have questions about players, potential trades, or anything related to fantasy baseball please email your fantasy questions to Thanks, noobs.


Monday, April 24, 2006 

Detroit Sports Report

Detroit Tigers - Yesterday (Sunday), we saw a matchup of two of the games brightest young pitching stars: Felix Hernandez and Justin Verlander. King Felix threw a great game (only 1 earned run and 9 K's in 7 innings), but couldn't stick with Verlander. Said Curtis Granderson of Verlander: "I'm glad Verlander is on our team so I don't have to face him.... he looks like he has an edge in this game -- and he's only 20 years old." I didn't have a chance to see the game (apparently nobody in Detroit did either, as their new TV deal blows goats), but it sounds like J.V. was bringing it. He hit 101 on the radar gun in the first inning, and 100 MPH a couple other times.

Detroit went on to win the game 6-4, with "Only the Lord saves more than" Todd Jones picking up his second save on the year. The Tigs improve to 12-7, a record that, if you asked any Tigers fan before the season, they would love to see. They're also 10-2 on the road, their best road record to start a season since 1984... I ain't sayin, but I'm just sayin.

Detroit Red Wings - Since nobody cares about hockey anymore, we'll do our best to fill you in. The Wings have been given the #1 Seed in the West, and match up against the Edmonton Oilers in the first round.

A pushover right? Wrong. Of the 5 games the Wings and Oilers have played this year, 4 have gone to OT. That's what happened in the first game, with the Wings prevailing in overtime.

Game 2 was yesterday, with the puck dropping at 11 AM Mountain time. I had spent the night in Denver Saturday night, and woke up at my friends' place on Sunday morning, quite hungover. This problem was solved quickly, and after a morning "attitude adjustment" and a trip to Jamba Juice, everything in the world was right again. We got back just in time to see the Wings play.

Dwyane Roloson stood on his head for the Oilers, making 33 saves and holding the Wings to only 2 goals, when they easily could have scored 5 or more. The Oilers evened up the series with a 4-2 victory, making this now a best of 5 series. Stevie Y almost scored the goal of the playoffs, beating a couple of Oilers and getting the puck on his backhand while falling, only to see his shot nick the post.

However, there was a pretty crazy series of events, at least as far as we were concerned. With Detroit leading 2-1 midway through the 2nd period, my buddy Gruberville got up to "take the Browns to the superbowl," if you will. During that time, me and my buddy El Corro were laying on the couch in the living room, and witnessed the Wings give up 2 goals within a minute of one another. Gruberville finished up his business, and returned to the living room no less than 2 minutes after he left, and looked at the scoreboard and just calmly said ".... what?". Our only response was "yeah", and he finished off our monosyllabic conversation with "oh." We then watched the rest of the game, as the Wings couldn't find the net.

It's not time to worry yet Wings fans, this was just a bump on the road to the Stanley Cup.

Detroit Pistons
- My hero, Bill Simmons, has repeatedly tried to jinx the Pistons this year. Every NBA column he writes he mentions how crazy it is that none of the Pistons "Big 5" have gotten injured.

Well, his jinx almost worked Sunday, with NBA 3 point percentage champ Richard Hamilton going down with a sprained ankle. As Pistons nation held it's collective breath, the news turned out not to be nearly as bad as the announcers made it out to be. The X-rays came back negative, and Rip should be fine for Wednesdays game. Flip Saunders said that if the game was close (which it wasn't), that Hamilton would have been fine to re-enter the game.

The stones won the game 92-74, led by the boogeyman, Rasheed Wallace, with 22 points. 4 players scored in double figures, and the Pistons showed why they are still the best defensive team in the league, holding the Bucks to 35.6 percent. THE Ohio State University grad Michael Redd led the Bucks in sucking with a 4-15 performance.

[For the Record, when Nate says he chooses the "Marathon over the Madness", he is speaking for himself, not for both of us. The problem with writing for a website with two equally opinionated writers, is that sometimes the readers mix up our views. Personally, I agree with the comments people made that Nate "clearly likes men," and he's a "homo." I think March Madness is 5X more exciting than the NBA playoffs. I still enjoy the NBA playoffs, especially when them 'stones are playing, but it doesn't hold a candle to March Madness.]


Sunday, April 23, 2006 

Random Observations - Lakers vs. Suns Game 1

Openly biased thoughts about Sunday's action in Phoenix...

- The most obvious conclusion to be made from Game 1: Tim Thomas is motivated entirely by money. Thomas, who went 8-9 from the field for 22 points and also snagged 15 boards, had a great postseason once before and it resulted in a maximum dollar contract (6 years, $67 million). It just so happens that the Villanova product will be a free agent this summer (by the way, he left for the NBA after his freshman season). Is this coincidence or could Thomas be a complete dog who only lives up to his potential with dollars on the line? Let's put it this way: the Bulls, who have needed big men all year, sent Thomas home because he was out of shape and didn't give full effort in practice. On Sunday, the announcers stated he was "having the game of his life," as he posted up and hit 3's like he was Dirk Nowitzki. If Phoenix doesn't re-sign Thomas, the team who does sign him this offseason will undoubtedly be disappointed when he resumes dogging it next fall.

- Luke Walton, Smush Parker, and Kwame Brown played excellent games, combining for 48 points. Kobe was less assertive than usual throughout this game and these guys thrived. However, the Laker bench only contributed 11 total points while Phoenix reserve Leandro Barbosa chipped in 15 points alone. With Chris Mihm hurt, Phil Jackson might be better off sending in assistant coach Kurt Rambis than scrubs like Devean George and Jim Jackson. This looks to be a close series and the Lakers might lose this series because their bench is that shocking.

- Tom Petty is the new minstrel of the NBA playoffs. Deadspin is skeptical, but anything is better than Rob Thomas or the Black Eyed Peas. Still, there is a 99% chance that "Running Down a Dream" will be forever ruined for all of us by June. Does anyone know how the NBA arranges these theme songs? Is Tom Petty getting paid or does he just hope to benefit from the exposure?

- Steve Nash is not fun to look at from close range. From a safe distance, he's great to watch dribble and run around, but stay away from his interviews where they pull in tight on his mug. He looks like he doesn't have enough skin to cover his skull. That shit is pulled taut.

- The first time the "American Inventor" commercial ran I kept waiting for the punch line. The over-the-top dramatics made me honestly think it was one of those Geico commercials where the newly wed couple wins their dream house, except its too small. "American Inventor" is a real show??? Who watches this crap?

- With 6 minutes left in the game, the Phoenix fans started chanting "Kobe Sucks!" Kobe responded by immediately taking his man to the rack for a lay-up. He scored 10 points in the final minutes but did not get the call after being raked across the face by Thomas. If you watched the game, you saw the bump develop on his head so we all know that the refs clearly missed this one. Instead of being bitter, I am going to point out that the Tigers swept the Mariners today behind Justin Verlander's 7 innings. Nice work fellas.

- After Steve Nash canned a 3 with a minute left to put the Suns up 6 points, Hubie Brown chirped "in your face!" Thanks for rubbing it in Hubie, don't you have a coaching job to quit? The Lakers lose 107-102, but have shown that they might be able to hang with Steve Nash and Co. If not, and the Lakers are going to get eliminated in Round 1, at least it will be to a team that is enjoyable to watch (except during interviews).


Saturday, April 22, 2006 

Reader Appreciation

The Noob Sports family would like to offer a token of our appreciation to our loyal readers. Our roots grow out of Michigan and therefore much of our readership lives in the Great Lake State and roots for the Detroit Pistons. If you meet this criteria and would like to attend a Piston playoff game, we've got your hookup. A college buddy of ours, Paul, now works for the Pistons and has offered his connections to readers of Noob Sports. He has access to a limited number of tickets for Game 2 against the Milwaukee Bucks, tipping off on Wednesday April 26 at 7:30 PM EST. The game is sold out, so if you are interested in purchasing tickets at face value, feel free to give Paul a call at (248) 374-4076 or email us at and we will contact him on your behalf. If you're lucky, he will even tell you the story of how he cock-blocked TNT sideline reporter Craig Sager last year after Game 6 of the Eastern Conference Finals.

We can't say it enough: thanks for reading.

-The Noob Sports Family


Best Western

Previewing Round 1 of the NBA Western Conference Finals...

(1) San Antonio Spurs vs. (8) Sacramento Kings - In addition to the Kings, the Maloof brothers own a Las Vegas casino and love to gamble. Their latest gamble has paid off handsomely in the form of the Tru Warier. Ron Artest's defensive presence helped the Kings rally from a disappointing start but it won't be enough to top the Spurs in a 7 game series. While we fully expect Mike Bibby to have a couple 25 point games, the Kings have no answer for Tim Duncan. Congratulations are in order for Shareef Abdur Rahim who makes the playoffs for the first time in his 10 year career.
The Pick: Spurs in 6

(2) Phoenix Suns vs. (7) Los Angeles Lakers - It's impossible not to admire what Steve Nash has done for Phoenix in the last 2 seasons. It would be crazy not to mention Shawn Marion in any discussion about the most well rounded players in the NBA. Boris Diaw came to Phoenix in the Joe Johnson deal (along with 2 first round picks) and might have improved more than any player in the league. The coaching style of Mike D'Antoni can't be praised enough, and the job he has done this year without Joe Johnson and Amare Stoudamire is especially impressive. Guess what? Kobe Bryant doesn't give a shit.
The Pick: Lakers in 7

(3) Denver Nuggets vs. (6) Los Angeles Clippers - Despite the seeding, the Clippers are the better team. They even tanked a regular season game so that they could avoid the Mavericks and face Denver, who they beat 3 out of 4 times during the regular season. Elton Brand is now a dominant player and he is surrounded by effective role players (Cassell, Kaman, Mobley, Livingston, Radmanovic). Mike Dunleavy will need a healthy Corey Maggette make Carmelo Anthony work harder than he wants to. This is 'Melo's chance to show the world that he is a superstar and premier clutch player, but it won't happen. If the Clips can limit the Denver fast break, look for another Los Angeles upset.
The Pick: Clippers in 6

(4) Dallas Mavericks vs. (5) Memphis Grizzlies - Would you bet on a team that starts Chucky Atkins and Jake Tsakalidis? Me neither. Dallas is the heavy, heavy favorite in this matchup and should cruise to the second round. Having said that, it will be interesting to see if Pau Gasol can carry over the aggresiveness he has shown this year into the postseason. If he does, and Shane Battier can slow Dirk Nowitzki, the Grizz have a chance to make the series closer than I expect it will be.
The Pick: Mavericks in 5


Thursday, April 20, 2006 

Choosing the Marathon over the Madness

Finally, the NBA Playoffs are upon us. Before we preview the first round, let's get something out of the way right now: if given a choice between the NBA playoffs and March Madness, I take the NBA and its not even a tough decision. I know this is probably not a popular choice and that's fine, but I guess that I just don't like the college game much. I could live a very happy life and never watch a game like the UCLA-Memphis travesty again. The shot clock is too long, there isn't enough run-and-gunning, most players can't create, there's way too much Billy Packer, and Michigan sucks. It's a bad formula.

However, the tournament format is obviously more fan friendly than the marathon that is the NBA playoffs. The games start this weekend and won't end until June. On the other hand, the NBA playoffs offer a faster paced game featuring some seriously entertaining characters: 'Sheed, Kobe and Phil, Shaq, Eva Longoria, Tru Warier, Mason, Steve Nash, Jack Nicholson, Dirk, David Stern, King James, and everyone's favorite: Bill Walton.

Eastern Conference

(1) Detroit Pistons vs. (8) Milwaukee Bucks - Shouldn't the Pistons and Spurs just get a first round bye? The 'Stons took the first 3 games of the regular season series against the Bucks before rolling over on April 17 when the game didn't matter. Detroit shouldn't have much trouble here, even if Michael Redd gets hot. Said Rip: "We've been waiting to get to the playoffs since the last game of last season. So now to get the opportunity to play, we're all excited." I would not want to be a Milwaukee fan right now.
The Pick: 'Stons in 4

(2) Miami Heat vs. (7) Chicago Bulls - The Bulls won 12 of their final 14 games to finish at 41-41 and avoid the lottery. The Noob Sports family believes in coach Scott Skiles, but his team, while scrappy, doesn't have the talent to put too much of a scare into Shaq and Dwyane Wade. D Wade comes home to Chicago where he attended H.L. Richards High School in Oak Lawn. In fact, one of my favorite high school memories is watching him throw down a couple thunderdunks against A.A. Stagg, my old stomping grounds. Now, that game has been immortalized forever by Wade's new Converse commercial (you know, the "fall seven times, get up eight" business). The second fall he takes is in my old high school gym and he is being dropped by an old high school buddy of mine. Anyway, the Bulls play harder than any other team so they might steal a couple games, but the Heat will ultimately prevail.
The Pick: Heat in 6

(3) New Jersey Nets vs. (6) Indiana Pacers - Will Vince Carter be able to carry his success over to the postseason? Something tells me that Rick Carlisle will have an answer for Vinsanity. Peja and Jermaine O'Neal need to turn in straight cash perfomances, but an upset might be in the works here. If not, this might be the last time you see Jermaine in a Pacers uniform, as the team has hinted that it might be willing to deal him. By the way, Scot Pollard is easily my least favorite player in the NBA so I do hope that Vince teabags him on the way to a particularly violent dunk.
The Pick: Pacers in 7

(4) Cleveland Cavaliers vs. (5) Washington Wizards - King James, welcome to the playoffs. Will his ankle be 100%? It had better be, as Gilbert Arenas appears to be very determined and Caron Butler has quietly taken his game up a notch. Cleveland will need scoring from Zydrunas Ilgauskas, solid defense from Larry Hughes (who will be playing against his former team), and something off the bench from Sideshow Bob-alike Anderson Varejao and company. If they get it, they'll win a close one.
The Pick: Cavaliers in 7

Up next, the Western Conference.


Wednesday, April 19, 2006 

Happy 4/20

Let me be the first to wish you a very merry 20th of April. I hope this day treats you well, and is filled with relaxation, peaceful feelings, slices of pizza, some good reggae music, and maybe a showing or two of Super Troopers and Half Baked.

Living in Boulder, I'm well aware of the festivities that come along with this day. Every year students (and community members) hold a pro-marijuana rally at Farrand Field at 4:20 in the afternoon. The heat usually does little to stop it, noting that there are too many people, and they're not being overly disruptive.

For your enjoyment, here is one of my favorite articles written about my fair town. It was written a little under a year ago by Wayne Laugeson, a writer for the Boulder Weekly. Enjoy:



They don't smoke marijuana in Muskogee, but we smoke it by the bushel in Boulder. And here's a statistic anyone can believe: Boulder County ranks second in the nation for per capita pot smoking, falling in just behind Boston.

Who, with a straight face, can challenge the high believability factor of this new statistic? If anything, the survey's in error for ranking us second rather than first. Yet, here's what the lead paragraph in the Rocky Mountain News said:

"Boulder County showed the second-highest rate of marijuana use in a federal report that left some local officials scratching their heads Thursday."

They scratched their heads? We have hydroponics stores that thrive, and it's not so people can grow tomatoes in the basement. We have citizens getting wealthy blowing glass pipes and crafting colorful bongs. We have unemployed hippies in million-dollar homes equipped with grow lights—people who scratch their heads when asked: "So what do you do for a living?"

We're a pot-smoking party town, and the only shame is in ranking second rather than first.

The report by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration shows that 10.33 percent of Boulder County respondents admitted to pot use in the past month. Boston was at 12.16 percent. Locations with the least pot smoking are likely suspects: Northwest Iowa, at 2.28 percent; northeast Iowa, at 2.53 percent; southeast Texas, at 2.59 percent; and central Iowa at 2.63 percent. The Muskogee area came in just below average, with 3.46 percent of respondents admitting to recent marijuana use.

If Boulder Mayor Mark Ruzzin really scratched his head in response to the drug report, he did so skillfully. He told News reporter Berny Morson that the city and the University of Colorado probably have a better idea of actual drug use in our community than the feds do. It was a comment that allowed readers to believe that the federal report may be wrong, whether ranking us high or low.

I asked the mayor if he truly questioned the validity of the report.

"My real point was that between Boulder County, CU and the school district we have a pretty good sense of what's going on in terms of alcohol and drug abuse," Mayor Ruzzin said.

I told him that despite my frequent criticism of Boulder, it's an enviable place that attracts visitors and new residents from all over the world. I said property values and prosperity are high, our streets are clean and we're not overrun with crime.

"If Boston and Boulder—two very well-educated, enviable locations—are number one and two, then perhaps this survey tells us that pot isn't so bad," I argued.

"I wouldn't disagree with you at all," Mayor Ruzzin said. "We're not likely to form a task force or a committee to address the marijuana issue."

I called former Mayor Paul Danish, who moved to Boulder in 1960 and spearheaded our slow-growth and open-space initiatives. I told Danish, who's also a former county commissioner, that local officials reportedly "scratched their heads" upon hearing that Boulder ranks second in pot smoking.

"Give me a break," Danish said. "We're number two because we try harder."

"Do you have a history of using marijuana?" I asked.

"I have smoked marijuana, and I've smoked enough of it that I can comment intelligently about it, and that's as far as I care to go on that subject."

Danish has a long history of fighting an intelligent and articulate battle against the drug war. I told him that perhaps this new government survey will be a good thing in his efforts, as some of the most productive and enviable places on earth seem to have the highest percentage of pot smoking.

"Yes, we're number two, and we seem to be producing a lot of wealth in this community by our own creativity," Danish said. "If you drive on the east side of 47th street and knock on any door, you'll see the 21st century being invented. That's not bad for a town that's number two in marijuana use. It makes you wonder: How would we be doing if we weren't high on pot? Probably not as well."

In early June, just before the first-ever pot ranking was released, USA Today pointed out that Boulder-Longmont took first place on another list: We're the most educated metro area in the United States, with 52.4 percent of the population holding at least a bachelor's degree. Danish said knowledge and education may go hand-in-hand with our high number of pot smokers.

"We're a very tolerant, highly educated community, and it's a fairly widely held understanding in Boulder that the most dangerous thing about marijuana is the fact you might get arrested for it," Danish said.

"We know that 10 percent of those who use alcohol are clinically addicted, but the government has spent 60 years arguing the question of whether it's even possible to get addicted to marijuana," Danish said. "If we ask the question 'which drug is likely to lead to violent behavior?' we know that alcohol wins the gold medal. We know that alcohol figures into at least half the violent crime in this country, and more if you look only at the domestic-violence statistics. So why are we having this argument?"

The new pot report was intended to send shock waves through the communities that top the list, causing mayors and health directors to form committees and throw money at the problem. It'll backfire, because the top 10 comprise a who's who of America's most literate, functional and productive places.

But we do need a task force, Mayor Ruzzin. The task? How to beat Boston in 2006


Who's The Cat In The Hat?

[Editors Note: Occasionally we have guest writers on Noob Sports. Today, we have our good buddy known as "Isaac Lawrence", who currently resides in Chicago and is tired of hearing the Cubs referred to as the Cubbies. He is also a writer for Fire Luis Pujols, a hilarious Tigers based website that has articles ranging from "Understanding the Detroit Tigers By Comparing Them To Girls You Knew In College," to "Osama Bin Laden's Diary". FLP is a very entertaining website, and you all should check it out. Plus, this article was written for FLP, and we're reprinting it with permission of the author.]

An analysis of what it means to wear the following varieties of Tigers hats:

Tigers Home: A baseball purist. Most likely still records his own personal FLP hat1.jpgstatistics during a game instead of using the electronic scoreboard that has been successfully performing the same task since 1982. Also likely to collect manager’s lineup cards, a hobby that stretches far into his youth. Baseball is indubitably this guy’s favorite sport.

Favorite Music: Phil Collins, The Moody Blues, Journey, and Ragtime.

p.s. It was Boston’s equivalent to this fan that I was happy for when they won the World Series, not the Ben Affleck’s and melodramatic drunken college students.

Tigers Away: A true sports fan and a true Detroit fan, though this guy’s FLP hat2.jpgprimary allegiance is most likely to the Lions or the Pistons, rather than the Tigers.

Favorite Music: Linkin Park, 50 Cent, and Metallica.

Tigers Faded Home or Away: This individual is eagerly anticipating the day when FLPhat3.jpgAbercrombie or American Eagle will begin outfitting the MLB instead of the prehistoric fashion dinosaur that is Russell Athletics. As a matter of fact the only thing in this person’s wardrobe that isn’t from Abercrombie & Fitch and American Eagle (which they affectionately refer to as Abers and AE) is this Detroit Tigers hat. This individual also likes to obsessively talk about how much they love their favorite hat and how they “Just can’t replace it no matter how much it gets worn in.” In reality, this individual tied the hat to a rope and dragged it outside his Ford Explorer through Bloomfield Hills or Troy to enhance the worn in look. (This guy is also likely to have a pair of ‘Lucky Boxers’ that he has only gotten lucky in with a chick that weighted about 2 bills and was so drunk she vomited minutes after hooking up.)

Favorite Music: Anything off of those OC Mix albums, thinking he is discovering super-underground-indie-rock no one else knows of.

p.s. This person often makes pretentious jokes about how the Real OC is Oakland County.

p.p.s. I can’t wait until this guy’s Daddy loses his job at GM or Ford in a couple months and above mentioned fan has to move to—don’t say it, it’s to awful—Lapeer

[Editors Note: This is the hat that SEL wears every day. SEL also owns a total of zero articles of clothing from Abercrombie or American Eagle. Take that for what you will]

Tigers Black on Black, On African American: The Black on Black cap states, FLP hat 8.jpg“Yeah I like watching the Tigers, and I also like watching you get your ass handed to you by me and my friends for looking at us the wrong way!”

Favorite Music: Three Six Mafia, T.I., and Mix Tapes from the streets.

Tigers Black on Black, On Caucasian: The Black on Black cap means that this particular Caucasian secretly grew up liking rap music but pretended amongst his all-white friends that he gave a damn about Sister Hazel, the Crash Test Dummies, and the Spin Doctors. Also, highly probable that this individual used to rap uncontrollably to himself in the mirror. When confronted by his parents he would tell them he was just moving so rapidly because he was ummmm..checking for dandruff. At this point in his life his dual identities and inner conflicts have left him delusional. He also loves the color Carolina Blue.

Favorite Music: Eminem, Kid Rock, and the Insane Clown Posse (ICP).

Tigers White on White: This dude, by wearing white on white is proclaiming FLP hat 6.jpghis love for the Tigers, but more importantly, proclaiming his love for the ladies. This guy has never had a serious male friend since the 5th Grade when he ditched his guy friends to play double dutch with Meredith Jones and her friends on the black top next to the four square courts. Since the 5th grade he has had a rotating carousel of “Best Friends” which simply translates to hot girl he’s trying to hook up with, but who is preoccupied with a better looking, older guy who actually has real things to say instead of agreeing with her every word.

Favorite Music: Puff Daddy, R. Kelly, Ne-Yo, Reuben Stoddard, John Mayer and the Dave Matthews Band, whom he refers to as Dave and John, as if they were personal friends, who, if it were true, would be the only male personal friends he has.

p.s. This is my least favorite guy.

Tigers Different Color Hat (e.g. Red or Royal Blue): This guy was the first kid at your FLP hat 5.jpghigh school to tell you about Limp Bizkit, and, admitting that Faith was a decent enough song, you didn’t give a damn then and you don’t now. This individual started rocking the goatee two years before he or anyone else could actually grow anything respectable. He constantly talks about how all music out now sucks and longs for the good ol’ days of rock, which to him were a mere 5 to 7 years ago; if Guns N’ Roses ever come out with Chinese Democracy, he will liken it to the Resurrection.

Favorite Music: Limp Bizkit, Korn, POD, GnR, and the Deadsies.

FLP loves where Mr. Lawrence has gone with this, and have made their own offering:

Tigers Multi-Colored and/or graphics/colors on the brim: This hat, most likely FLP hat 10.bmppurchased at Target or Meijer for $6.99 by this guy’s mother because she remembered him making some comment about liking baseball three years ago, belongs to that guy who maintains a cursory interest in sports because other people seem to like sports, and he needs social in-roads. Once a year his father hauls the family out of Wyandotte for a venture into the city, and buys a Tigers Family Four-Pack that includes four upper deck tickets, four hot dogs or pizza slices, four small sodas, two t-shirts, and two orange Foam Fingers for $79. By the third inning this guy begins wandering aimlessly around the stadium, where he pays $3.50 to have his fastball radared at 53 mph.

This guy also liked the Gilligan’s Island Applebee’s commercial that aired during the NCAA basketball tournament.

Favorite Music: Journey, Weird Al Yankovic, Kenny Chesney

Tuesday, April 18, 2006 

SEL's Hodgepodge Stew

- So the Noob Sports fantasy baseball league is underway, and things are going well. Good participation, some good trades, good smack talk... exactly what we expected. We're running the league through Yahoo!, and on Sunday our free "stattracker" demo ended.

For those of you who don't know, "stattracker" is a java based program that gives you live statistics on your fantasy players on all one page, and keeps up with league points live as they happen. I told myself that I wasn't going to waste money on stattracker this season ($9.99), and that I would go to everyday and look at the games individual box scores, and see how my players are doing. I figured I could make it all season...

I couldn't even make it 24 hours. I tried going old school and checking box scores yesterday, but it was impossible. I just don't have the patience to go through every single box score and see how players are doing. In this day of fast food, fast cars, and fast women (especially), I need my fantasy stats fast. So yes, I caved, and now launch stattracker every time I'm on the internet to see how my team is doing. Thanks Yahoo!, you rat bastards.

- More proof that Denver sucks as a sports city: I've been to two Rockies games already. The first one, my buddy got us 4 seats, 5th row right behind home plate. It was the second home game of the year. They were playing the Diamondbacks on a Thursday night... and there had to be less than 3,000 people there. I've seen bigger crowds at a Division III soccer game than there were at this Rockies game... and it was the SECOND home game of the year. The good news however, is that because there was nobody there, you could hear everything... especially since we were so close to the field.

As is normally the case, I was pretty vocal during the game, as was this group of guys behind us. My buddy Gruberville, who I was watching the game with, caught the replay of the game the next day, and said you could hear EVERYTHING we were saying. He said that he could blatantly pick out my voice screaming "Damien Easley, you suck!, hope you're having fun in the desert because we don't want you in Detroit" and "Tony the Tiger? More like Tony the dog". When the Rockies mascot "Dinger" (That looks like the illegimate love child of Barney the dinosaur and a crack-whore Tricerotops, for the record) came down near us, and started talking to some cute girls, the guys behind us started the chant "take her home, take her home, take her home!", which, according to Gruberville, could be clearly heard throughout the telecast. Now that, my friends, is good entertainment.

We caught our second Rockies game on Saturday evening. It was tax day, and my buddy Volk Face and his Fiancee (Mrs. Volk Face) dressed up as Uncle Sam and the Statue of Liberty, respectively. Most people didn't get it, but it was hilarious. The stadium was more packed on this occasion, but still pretty quiet. Again, as is the norm, I found myself getting vocal.

When career .222 hitter Sal Fasano stepped to the plate, we got the unexpected pleasure of seeing his picture on the jumbotron. He had a masterful fu-manchu, and was working what appeared to be a professional mullet. I don't know if he did it as a joke, but it was hilarious.

Anyway, when I see it, I start laughing, and making jokes. One of them, I yell out loud "Sal Fasano... business in the front, party in the back!" It gets a few laughs around me, but here's the best part: This kid, who was sitting right in front of us, who looked and talked strikingly similar to the kids on "Big Daddy", heard me say "party in the back!" and his eyes lit up like it was Christmas... and he just kept repeating "Pawty in the back! Pawty in the back! Pawty in the back!". It was hysterical. Not only that, but his mother also thought it was funny, because she turned around and said "he'll be saying that all night. You need to come up with some new ideas so he can take some new words with him." Uhh, probably not the best idea to have a little kid emulating what I say at a sporting event.

Along the same lines, everytime Aaron Rowand stepped up to the plate and the announcer said "now batting, number whatever, Aaron Rowand" I would repeat "Now batting, probable steroid user, Aaron Rowand!" Apparently steroids seems to be an issue in this country, because a handful of people turned around and scowled at me. I thought it was funny.

- If you're not into the UEFA Champions League yet, now is the time to be converted. For those of you who don't know (which is probably most of you), the Champions League takes the top 4 or 5 teams from about 12 of the top European soccer countries, and they play a World Cup-ish style league to determine who the Champions of Europe are.

Imagine there were 11 countries in the World that had leagues as good as the NBA. At the end of every season, the top 4 NBA teams would enter into groups of 4 teams... with the top 4 teams from these other leagues that are as good as the NBA. In the group stage, all 4 teams play one another twice, home and away. After that is done, the top 2 teams from those groups advance to a March Madness style bracket. At this point, it's not single elimination, rather both teams play one another twice (home and away), and which ever team does better advance.

This is what the Euros do with soccer, and it's widely regarded as the most prestigious tournament in the world that isn't the World Cup.

We've now entered the semi-finals, and today and tomorrow start the first leg. Today we have AC Milan (Italy) taking on Barcelona (Spain), two of the most storied and powerful soccer clubs in the world. This would be like the Pistons taking on the Spurs (if the Spurs were a Mexican team), only the fans are 50X more excited than at an NBA playoff game. Tomorrow we have Arsenal (England) taking on Villareal (Spain) in the other side of the semi-final. Arsenal are another powerhouse (the mavericks maybe), while Villareal are a dark horse that people are rallying behind (think the Toronto Raptors, only if they played in a shitty Canadian league all year round). David vs. Goliath, should be awesome. Both games start at 2:45 EST and can be seen on ESPN2. If you're not a total Noob and are around a television, watch these.

- For your viewing pleasure:

Pulp Fiction meets Hockey. Hilarity ensues.

I don't know when this aired, but it's absolutely comedic genius. Robert DeNiro is holding a press conference and reads off a list of terrorist suspects. I have no idea how he keeps a straight face during this.

Monday, April 17, 2006 

Unnecessary Mock Draft IV

Our fourth unnecessary and under-achieving attempt at mocking the NFL Draft (NYC, April 29-30).

1. Houston Texans - Reggie Bush (RB, USC) - Without a doubt, Bush will become the second consecutive first overall pick from Helix High School in San Diego. That has to be some kind of record. Unlike high school teammate Alex Smith, expect Bush to be ready to make an immediate impact.

Bush is so talented that no one is talking about current Texan running back Domanick Davis, who has been very good on a very bad team the last couple years. Houston was wise to hold onto Davis this offseason, as it would have been hard to get a good return in a year where Shaun Alexander and Edgerrin James were free agents. With Eric Moulds now opposite Andre Johnson, new head coach Gary Kubiak is set up to look like a genius.

2. New Orleans Saints - D’Brickashaw Ferguson (OT, Virginia) - My sweet Brick would pair with the Saints' previous first rounder Jammaal Brown to form a supremely talented young tackle duo. The Saints are trying hard to deal this pick to a team in love with Matt Leinart, but haven't been offered near the deal they were hoping. Still, if the Jets decide to leapfrog the Titans for Leinart the Saints would be sitting pretty at 4, probably taking Mario Williams.

3. Tennessee Titans - Matt Leinart (QB, USC) - Speaking of Alex Smith, he should be paying Leinart a percentage of his rookie contract. Leinart's decision to stay at USC earned Smith more money than any agent ever could, as the Trojan would surely have gone first overall in '05. If Leinart is off the board, Tennessee will take my sweet Brick.

4. New York Jets - Vince Young (QB, Texas) - Its difficult to predict where exactly Vince Young will be drafted. Most whispers indicate he will not fall below the Raiders at #7, as owner Al Davis has reportedly developed an infatuation with him. The Jets can't seriously be counting on Patrick Ramsey and Chad Pennington, can they? Mario Williams is another possibility, as is the afore mentioned trade to snag Leinart. The Jets have so many holes that they really can't afford to give up the #29 pick to move up.

5. Green Bay Packers - A.J. Hawk (OLB, Ohio St.) - The first of six potential Buckeye first rounders. The only question about Hawk is whether or not the Packers will give him as big a signing bonus as the Ohio State University did.

6. San Francisco 49ers - Mario Williams (DE, NC St.) - Super Mario would be a steal for Mike Nolan and company. He is a freakish athlete who has been compared to Julius Peppers. Enough said.

7. Oakland Raiders - Michael Huff (DB, Texas) - With their man Vinny off the board, the options for Oakland appear to be Huff, Vernon Davis, Jay Cutler, Brodrick Bunkley, or Haloti Ngata. Huff is the best football player of the bunch, while Davis offers the most upside.

8. Buffalo Bills - Brodrick Bunkley (DT, FSU) - Our earlier mock drafts had Ngata going to the Bills, but Bunkley has ran up draft boards. Davis should be their guy, especially after the loss of Moulds, but all signs point to a DT going in this slot.

9. Detroit Lions - Vernon Davis (TE, Maryland) - If Davis is available and Huff is off the board, the Lions will draft offense in the first round yet again. Davis is the prototypical seam stretching tight end and would benefit from the knowledge of Marcus Pollard. Something tells me that Marinelli and Millen have Huff pegged as their guy, but in this scenario Davis is a great consolation prize.

10. Arizona Cardinals - Jimmy Williams (CB, Virginia Tech) - Some mock drafts have Williams going quite a bit lower, but how can you argue with his size (6'2, 210) at the corner? He's way too cocky and gambles way too much, but he could very well develop into a shut down corner. Dennis Green would love to pair him with Antrel Rolle at corner so that he his safeties can play close to the line of scrimmage and shut down the run. Jay Cutler is another possibility for the Cards.

11. St. Louis Rams - Jay Cutler (QB, Vanderbilt)
12. Cleveland Browns - Ernie Sims (OLB, FSU)
13. Baltimore Ravens - Winston Justice (OT, USC)
14. Philadelphia Eagles - DeAngelo Williams (RB, Memphis)
15. Denver Broncos - Haloti Ngata (DT, Oregon)
16. Miami Dolphins - Chad Jackson (WR, Florida)
17. Minnesota Vikings - Chad Greenway (OLB, Iowa)
18. Dallas Cowboys - Tye Hill (CB, Clemson)
19. San Diego Chargers - Santonio Holmes (WR, Ohio St.)
20. Kansas City Chiefs - Johnathan Joseph (CB, South Carolina)
21. New England Patriots - Kamerion Wimbley (DE, FSU)
22. Denver Broncos - Leonard Pope (TE, Georgia)
23. Tampa Bay Buccaneers - Marcus McNeil (OT, Auburn)
24. Cincinnati Bengals - Ashton "Feelin' On" Youboty (CB, Ohio St.)
25. New York Giants - Antonio Cromartie (CB, FSU)
26. Chicago Bears - Mercedes Lewis (TE, UCLA)
27. Carolina Panthers - LenDale White (RB, USC)
28. Jacksonville Jaguars - Demeco Ryans (OLB, 'Bama)
29. New York Jets - Sinorice Moss (WR, The U.)
30. Indianapolis Colts - Laurence Maroney (RB, Minnesota)
31. Seattle Seahawks - Nick Mangold (C, Ohio St.)
32. Pittsburgh Steelers - Donte Whitner (S, Ohio St.)