Tuesday, January 31, 2006 

MLB Hot Stove Report


In this day and age, the offseason for major league baseball clubs is as interesting as the regular season. Noobsports ranks the comings and goings of the hot stove season. Offseason Report Cards for the AL and NL will be published later this week.

Best Offseason, AL:
Toronto Blue Jays. Well, we might as well start off with a tough one right away. The White Sox had a heck of a winter, but the Blue Jays have improved too much to be denied. The Jays added A.J. Burnett and B.J. Ryan to the pitching staff initially (get it?) and then traded for Lyle Overbay and Troy Glaus to shore up the lineup. The offseason also gave ace Roy Halladay time to heal, meaning that finally the Red Sox and Yankees aren't the only contenders for the AL East crown in 2006. Adding free agent catcher Bengie Molina would be the icing on the cake.

Worst Offseason, AL:
Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim. The Angels lost pitchers Jarrod Washburn and Paul Byrd, as well as catcher Bengie Molina from their 2005 AL West winning team. JC Romero is a decent pickup, but GM Bill Stoneman has to be worried about whether or not they have enough starting pitching or enough bats. However, this ranking has more to do with what the other teams in the division did with their offseasons. The A's and Rangers got tougher, meaning the Angels couldn't afford to be passive this winter.

Best Offseason, NL:
New York Mets. Sure, the Mets spent an obscene amount of money this offseason and that probably isn't fair to teams outside of New York and Boston. However, the blame for competitive imbalance falls to commisioner Bud Selig and not to Mets GM Omar Minaya. Minaya signed free agent Billy Wagner to a 4 year, $43 million contract and took advantage of the Marlins' situation to add Carlos Delgado and Paul LoDuca in seperate deals. Plus, the Mets added the versatile Xavier Nady and the ageless Julio Franco to an offensive mix already featuring Carlos Beltran, Cliff Floyd, Jose Reyes, and David Wright. This team still lacks pitching, but its hard to argue that they haven't improved themselves more than any other NL team.

Worst Offseason, NL:
Chicago Cubs. The Cubs added more seats to Wrigley Field, raised ticket prices, and then lowered the payroll. Jim Hendry missed on Rafael Furcal, overpaid for Jacque Jones to replace Jeromy Burnitz (what's the difference?), and refused to part with Carlos Zambrano to acquire Miguel Tejada. Juan Pierre is a nice player, but his average dropped to .276 last year. Chicago also signed relief pitchers Bobby Howry and Scott Eyre to 3 year deals. Both pitchers are coming off very good years, but I question the wisdom of signing any middle reliever to a 3 year deal. Haven't the Cubs been burned by enough relievers in years past? The offense, especially in the outfield, is lacking and the pitching is injury prone.

Best Free Agent Signing:
Paul Konereko, Chicago White Sox. After the World Series, I really thought that Konerko would walk to the Angels, Orioles, or Red Sox, teams who seemed more willing to spend more money than Chicago. In reality, Konerko had no intention of leaving the South Side. Kenny Williams let the Baltimore Orioles set his market value, then offered him a deal just under that at 5 years and $60 million.

Worst Free Agent Signing:
Jarrod Washburn, Seattle Mariners. Washburn is a good lefty with playoff experience and he is coming off a good season (8-8, 3.20 ERA) but the Mariners severely overpaid him, giving him 4 years and $37.5 million. The southpaw is 31 years of age and has had elbow problems in the past. The deal makes no sense for a club that will not contend next year.

Most Underrated Free Agent Signing:
Preston Wilson, Houston Astros. In a year where spending was once again out of control, Wilson's signing was surprisingly modest ($4.5 million). Preston can still hit and the Astros badly need him.

Best New Manager:
Jim Tracy, Pittsburgh Pirates. The Dodgers will regret not keeping Tracy as their manager. His players love him and he has already been drawing rave reviews from the Pirates about his personal approach.

Best Trade:
Lyle Overbay to the Toronto Blue Jays. This trade gets the nod because it helps both teams involved. Toronto gets doubles machine Overbay (34 in 2005) while the Brewers clear out room for Prince Fielder. The big man is set to follow in his father's footsteps (Cecil, of course). My first of many predictions for this season is a 25 homer rookie campaign for Prince. He should be fun to watch for years to come.

-NJV

 

T.O. - Where you at?


Terrell Owens coming out to Colorado and playing with the Denver Broncos?

According to espn.com, Broncos Coach Mike Shanahan sat down with T.O has B.O. and discussed the possibility of him coming to the Mile High City.

"If somebody handles himself the right way they could come into the organization, but they're going to have to live by the standards we practice," Shanahan said. This obviously means shit, since Shanahan also drafted Maurice Clarett (From THE Ohio State University) in the 4th round this year. Yo Maurice, where YOU at?

I actually think this would be a good fit for the Broncos. Their top receiver last year was Rod Smith, who I'm pretty sure was around during the Great Depression. Ashley Lelie has proven to be a deep threat, but he dropped a lot of balls this year and was an overall dissapointment.

At QB for the Broncos is the Snake, who we know likes to hoist the ball downfield. Having a premier wide receiver like Terrell Owens might be exactly what the Broncos need to push them over the hump. This year, they entered the playoffs as the AFC's #2 seed, and went undefeated at home until having their shit pushed in by the Steelers in the AFC championship game.

Their running game is already on point, with the two headed monster of Tatum Bell and Mike Anderson, plus the Great Dayne backing them up. Their line is solid, their defense is excellent, and they found a way to keep Jake the Snake from throwing 20 interceptions this year. I really think having T.O. would force teams to respect their passing game more, which would open up their already potent running game.

What about all the baggage that Terrell carries with him? Well, that's an obvious gamble. You're risking him turning into a super-douche again and ruining the team chemistry. However, Denver is a mature team with a lot of veteran leadership, and I don't think the guys on the team would let him get out of control. Having said that, I would certainly love another debacle involving T.O., and would root for a complete disaster if he came out here. Plus the thought of seeing T.O. rolling with K-Mart and Melo at a swank LoDo night club makes me giddy.

Yo T.O., where you at? (please come to the Mile High City).

-SEL

Monday, January 30, 2006 

I'm 23 now, but will I live to see 24?


[Editors Note: TBaz is a college friend of both SEL and NJV, and is writing exclusively for Noobsports.com. We find his humor to be unique and extraordinarily funny, and we hope you do too]

Greetings 24 fans!! Seeing as there were over 35 million viewers watching the premier of season 5 I figured there is somewhat of an audience on the subject. I would like to think of myself as a 24 expert, as I’m sure most of us do who watch it routinely. I would like to add my two cents to the mix to make your watching experience more satisfactory. I do not claim to be a writing expert, nor do I think my opinion is more valid than yours…well maybe I do, but I’m willing to listen and change my stance as long as you back it up with some sort of factual information.

I will give just a little information on why I qualify as a 24 expert. I think my interest in crime and justice started when I was in fourth grade and began reading the Hardy Boys by Frank Dixon. I would spend countless hours hanging out with Frank and Joe Hardy solving crimes in water towers and on pirate ships. I also read Encyclopedia Brown, who was a boy genius that would solve crimes for 25 cents. Great concept. For those not familiar with the Encyclopedia Brown books, they were like brainteasers, at the end of each caper you had the chance to figure out how Encyclopedia would solve the crime, and if you couldn’t solve it, the answer was in the back of the book. This is where it all started. Fast forward to present day and my two of my favorite authors for a quick read are Jonny Grisham and Danny Brown. I have read all of their books. What it boils down to is me liking justice and some good ol’ fashioned trickery. I graduated college with a B.A. communication degree with an emphasis on video. So I do look at 24 in a variety of ways ranging from plotline and continuity to lighting and composition. Enough about me, this was to shed light on my psyche.

What are the ingredients in 24 that make it such a great recipe? There are certain rules that Jon Cassar follows whether he does them on purpose or doesn’t. The two that I will explain in this article are poor lighting, and the word “Now!”
Poor Lighting.

I laugh so hard every time there are scenes inside C.T.U. It is so poorly lit I don’t know how they do any work. I’m sure that it is helpful for them to see their monitors, but I can see my monitor fine in a well-lit room. Just think if at your place of work it was that dark all the time, it would be really ridiculous. It’s perfect for people to sneak around in the shadows and lurk. So if you were working at C.T.U. not only would you have to worry about all the people around you telling the boss that you can’t perform your job correctly, you would have to worry about holding on to your pencil because if you dropped it you’re not going to find it. If they actually lit the place up well they would find so many things on the ground. Jack would probably find 6 guns that he thought he lost.

“Now!”

This has to be my favorite phrase in 24. It has got to be the most used word in 24. It puts a smile on my face every time I hear it. Especially when Jack says hisses/growls it. I have a theory on why this word gets used so much. I envision a conversation that Jon Cassar had with someone when he was originally writing 24.

Jon Cassar: “You know what I hate about action movies and action tv shows?”
Writer Guy: “No, what?”
Jon Cassar: “I hate stupid one liners, I hate nicknames, and I hate witty euphuisms!!!”
Writer Guy: “Oh…well what are your thoughts on this line. Jack says ‘I need the schematics pronto!!!’”
Jon Cassar: “I hate it. Try something different.”
Writer Guy: “ Jacks says ‘ I need the schematics ASAP!!!’ “
Jon Cassar: “Stupid. Try something different.”
Writer Guy: “ Jack says ‘ I need the schematics now!?! ‘ “
Jon Cassar: “Perfect.”

At this point I would like to inform you of a game that I invented that is to be played when viewing 24. It is very simple and very rewarding. When 24 goes to commercial break the last thing you see is the clock counting up. In order to win this game you must correctly guess the exact time the clock will come back on at. So for example if the last time you see is 12:42 then a good guess would be 17:02. You only truly win the game when you guess it exactly, however if your guess falls in run time of the clock you should feel good about it. In our apartment my roommate and I have made it a rule that if either of us guess’s correctly a shot of an adult beverage shall be consumed. As of right now I have 4 correct guess’s in season’s 1-4. Next week I think I will debate who would make a better father David Palmer or Jack Bauer.

Top Seven Reasons why Jack Bauer would be a great friend and agent for T.O.

(1) They both hate authority and being told to do anything. They gripe to each other about authority and how they don't need anyone to do their job.

(2) They both catch things really well. T.O. catches footballs Jack Bauer catches terrorists. Close enough.

(3) They both tell it as it is. T.O. calls out his quarterback and Bauer calls out everyone.

(4) Jack Bauer would torture any GM into giving T.O. the contract he wanted.

(5) If you remember the New Conference Drew Rosenhaus had and he kept saying next question, Jack would have handled it differently. Jack would have shot the first reporter who asked a stupid question and then told the rest of the reports that if they didn't write an article in favor of T.O. he would kill their children.

(6) T.O. wears Under Armor and Jack wears Body Armor, so they both wear armor which they think is really neat.

(7) I have heard from an inside source that T.O. and Jack have partied together before. T.O. refers to Jack as J.B., and when Jack gets loaded he runs around with his gun and tells people to do stupid things; if they refuse Jack shoots his gun in the air and says "Turn down the Bauer lose for an hour!!"

-TBaz

 

A Case of the Mondays


Recapping the important events of the weekend...

-Lebron James scored 44 points against the Phoenix Suns on Sunday and had at least one addition to the highlight reel of his short career. In a sequence that is already being overhyped, Lebron swatted a layup by Leandro "Captain" Barbosa and then ran the length of the court to throw one down. Strong and smooth, LBJ also hit threes and runners with ease. It's truly amazing this guy is just 21 years of age. If he was a Cuban baseball player, we would be speculating that he doctored his birth certificate and was actually closer to 30. Anyway, the show was quite impressive, but was overshadowed by the fact that King James was wearing full length tights, made (in)famous earlier this year by Kobe Bryant.

- Flip Saunders has the easiest coaching job in sports, excluding manager of any baseball team. After a 102-93 victory over the Lakers Sunday, his Pistons team is so good, it will be a HUGE upset if they don't win the NBA championship. During television timeouts, he must be hard pressed to find things to talk about. "Keep up the good work, guys. OK, let's do that play where Rip runs around in a big circle with everyone setting picks for him. If that isn't there, Tayshaun, you just post up whoever is guarding you. If we don't make the shot Ben, just throw the ball off the glass, maybe we will get a lucky bounce and it will go in. 'Sheed, leave Darko alone, he's not a toy. Can you believe they pay me $5 million a year to do this??? OK, take the next 4 minutes to discuss amongst yourselves." The Pistons already had Larry Brown's defensive teaching permanently burned into their memories, so all Flip had to do was open up the offense just a bit to get on the players' good side. Sometimes, less is more.

- The Detroit Lions named Donnie Henderson defensive coordinator. Henderson, who filled the same position with the New York Jets for the past 2 years, is supposedly just as fiery and intense as new head coach Rod Marinelli. Let's hope the two coaches never disagree, for fear it might get ugly ("I said Cover 2! Donnie, you're out of your element! That's it, push-up contest!!!"). Henderson seems well qualified and has experience coaching with Marinelli in the college ranks. In fact, Marinelli was also an assistant coach at Utah State while Henderson played defensive back at the school.

For Henderson's offensive counterpart, the Lions have had discussions with Mike Martz, former head coach of the St. Louis Rams. Martz, who just removed himself as a possibility for the Oakland Raiders head coaching vacany, will supposedly have an answer for the team Monday. Hiring Martz would have to be interpreted as good news for the Lions since he has been labeled as an offensive genius. It would also be quite a coup for Marinelli, who initially had trouble filling his staff. Mad Mike would first need to decide if he can salvage Joey Harrington and then devise ways to best use the rest of Detroit's considerable young talent.

So why would Martz take a coordinator job? Well, I'm not so sure that he will, but if he does it will be because he believes he can fix the offense right away, and turn that success into a new head coaching gig quickly. Also, Martz can't stay away from the game; after being forced to take a break from the Rams because of health issues, he tried calling Ram assistants during a game to offer advice on which plays to run. Too bad that even Martz can't make Mike Williams faster or get Charles Rogers to put down his bong.

In other Detroit coaching news, Steve Mariucci said that he would take "a long time off" from coaching football, presumably to spend the $10 million still owed to him over the next 2 years. Mooch would not comment about reports that he recently bought a quaint, little bungalow in Saugatuck with Tom Izzo.

- Tiger Woods came back and won the Buick Invitational Sunday, outlasting Hamish "Mulligan" McGregor and Dominic "the Don" Donatello in a playoff. I wonder if it is possible for the PGA to cater its first event of the season to Tiger any more than it already does. Woods had won the event three times previously, has played the course frequently since he was a child, and the event is sponsored by Buick (a company which also sponsors Tiger) just to make sure he shows up every year. It is almost as if they want him to win, or that he's good for ratings or something. Sarcasm aside, it worked out beautifully for the PGA when, as scripted, Tiger got hot and charged from behind to steal the win. At 30, Woods has at least 15 more prime years of golf left in him. For most golf fans, this means at least 15 more years of half-hearted interest in PGA events followed by lengthy naps, only ending just in time to see Tiger try on a jacket or shake hands with the competition.

- Mike Piazza joined the San Diego Padres, signing a one year, $2 million contract. The 2005 National League West champs will let him catch 90-100 games in 2006, with Piazza also playing some first base and DH-ing during interleague play. I actually like this signing; Piazza would have led the team in homers last year with 19 in 398 at bats. However, I do question why the Padres chose to get even older this offseason. Currently, the Padres are counting on Piazza (37), Vinny Castilla (38), Ryan Klesko (34), Woody Williams (39), Dave Roberts (33), Brian Giles (35), Chan Ho Park (32), Mike Cameron (33), Trevor Hoffman (38), Doug Brocail (38), Doug Mirabelli (38), Eric Young (38), and Shawn Estes (32) to be regular contributors in 2006. Dorothy, Blanche, Rose, and Sophia round out the bullpen. Sadly, the Padres might still be the favorites to win the division.

- Predictably, the unstoppable Roger Federer beat Marco "Bombs Over" Baghdatis in the finals of the Australian Open. He has now won 7 of the past 11 major events and is beating down the competition like Samir and Michael Bolton did the copy machine. Meanwhile, Baghdatis went home to girlfriend Camille Nevieve, made an offering to Jeff Garcia (the patron saint of athletes with disproportionately hot girlfriends), and immediately forgot about the loss.

- The Winter X-Games are in full swing. This is the only sporting event where you will see an athlete use the phrase "sacked up" in an interview as moto rider Jeremy Stenberg did on Sunday night. Apparently, X-Games athletes reach their peak physical and mental condition at around age 16, which actually does lead to good entertainment. If you can stand constant pop-punk intros and the obligatory Mountain Dew commercial during every break, we recommend the Snocross and the Slopestyle events.

-NJV

Sunday, January 29, 2006 

Sunday, Sunday, Sunday!


This week, Noobsports.com had nearly 1,200 unique visitors... up from last week. We believe this is due, in large part, to the love that our friends over at Deadspin threw us by linking to us. If you've never been to their website, check it out... easily the best sports website on the internet.

A look behind
... happenings in the previous week

- The Steelers crushed the Broncos while the Seahawks THROTTLED the Panthers.

- Kobe poured in 81 pts against the Raptors... Nate proceeded to move the Kobe poster from on his wall beside his desk, to on the ceiling right above his bed.

- Barry Bonds was our inaugural "Noob of the Week," and we had a guest review of MVP '06 NCAA Baseball.

- Ron Ron and Coco both gave us fits about not being traded... by weeks end, they both had new homes.

- Michigan beat the dogshit out of MSU... apparently much to the chagrin of many noobsports.com readers. Mgoblue.com also beat the badgers badgers badgers to make it the first time they have consecutively beat ranked opponents since 1994.

- The plans for the Bode Miller Experiment were laid out, and the fans seem excited.

- The Palestinians held a democratic election and elected... Hamas! That's great, now they are run by an organization whose main tenants are (1) we hate Jews, (2) we don't recognize the State of Israel, and (3) we despise anything from the western world. I only see good things coming out of this.

A look ahead
... what to expect in the upcoming week

- Bode part II, the actual carrying out of the experiment. It was going to be done today, but 15 inches of fresh powder and a couple brodies from Boulder (ER Goltz and Tommy the Gun) prevented the experiment from taking place. Estimated new date - Wednesday.

- Official Noobsports.com superbowl drinking game. To put things in perspective, we played this last year and only one person that played was able to make it to work the next day. And he said that it was "the most miserable day of my life." Great times. Guaranteed.

- The rest of the sports news, plus our opinions on what's going on in the world.


As always, we reward our fans on Sunday with some of the best and the brightest the information superhighway has to offer.

-SNL has been an absolute shocker lately, but this is actually pretty funny: It's the chronic! (what!?) cles of Narnia.

- This is what you get when you cross a bunch of dumb hick Texans with too much liquor: Bottle won't break.

- So here's the story. I've heard that Zinedine Zidane has been known to stay after practice, and hit a dead ball from the 18... and hit it off the crossbar and have it come back to him. He does it 5 times in a row, then leaves practice. Hundreds of thousands of people have witnissed this. I have also heard, that Ronaldinho does a similar thing... but does it without the ball hitting the ground. That's right, he volleys it out of the air and it smokes the crossbar. I came across this video... and if it's real, than this guy is fucking AMAZING. I wouldn't be surprised if this was a similar video to one of those Michael Vick or LeBron James powerade commercials, where they make it look real. Nonetheless, it's absolutely sick. Ronaldinho is the best soccer player on the planet.

I think the best way to sum up Noobsports.com so far was expressed to me in an AIM conversation with the G.O.D. Here is what transpired: (Screennames have been changed to protect the innocent)

G.O.D.: dude, this is awesome
SEL: agree
G.O.D: i'm so pumped its ridiculous
G.O.D: you've given me something to live for.

...That's right folks, Noobsports.com is the reason why people get up in the morning, and the best thing they have going on in their lives. Let's keep it that way.

-The Noobsports Family

Saturday, January 28, 2006 

The Bode Miller Experiment (Part I)

(To see the results of the Bode Miller Experiment, CLICK HERE)

Bode Miller is a stud. In '05 he became the first American to win skiing's overall World Cup title in 22 years. What does that mean? Simply put, he is the best ski racer on the planet. Bode also likes to have a good time. Even before his recent "60 Minutes" interview, Bode has talked about how cool it is that he gets paid to ski, that he gets paid to visit some of the coolest towns in the world, and that he can party while doing it. To be fair... who wouldn't want to live the life that Bode lives? We'd all love to be Bode Miller. To get paid over a million dollars a year to kick ass at skiing, party all the time, and (presumably) pull loads of tail would be most guys' dream come true.

Unfortunately, Bode has a big yap. He claims that he "hates the media." But instead of shying away from them, he gets himself in hot water by making stupid comments. Most recently, Bode made news by claiming athletes like Barry Bonds and Lance Armstrong "knowlingly cheat" (AKA take steroids). You already know our thoughts on Barry Bonds, and there certainly have been many rumors flying around about Lance Armstrong, but that's just not something you say, especially with the Winter Olympics coming in a month.

Earlier this month (January 8th, to be exact) Bode Miller appeared on "60 Minutes" in a segment titled "Bode Miller on Skiing Drunk." CBS's Bob Simon was asking Bode about partying while at ski races, namely Saturday nights. Bode responded: "There's been times when I've been in really tough shape at the top of the course." He also added: "If you ever tried to ski when you're wasted, it's not easy." Awesome.

Now, those of you who have been on ski trips with me (Breckenridge, Park City, and Steamboat come to mind) already know this, but skiing drunk can also occasionally be fun. I'm sure there are more than a handful of readers out there who have needed a toddie to help work off the hangover from the night before, needed a swig of Hot Damn 100 proof to warm you up on a cold day, or needed a quick pull of Rumpelminze to stop the headache and help you get down the hill. These are facts. I've done it before, and I'm sure many of you have.

However, there was something in Bode's interview that got the wheels turning in my head: When he said "If you ever tried to ski when you're wasted, it's not easy." I can say that I've been skiing while drinking, maybe even a little tipsy, but never when I was "wasted." The only way to see what this would be like is to test it out.

According to Science Buddies, there are 7 steps to the scientific method: (1) State the question (2) research the topic (3) State the hypothesis (4) Test your hypothesis (5) Analyze the results(6) Draw the conclusion (7) Report your results and conclusion. Fair enough. To see if Bode's statements about skiing wasted are correct, we might as well conduct a solid scientific experiment. Without further adieu, Noobsports.com presents:

The Bode Miller Experiment

(1) State the Question:

- Is skiing wasted hard?

(2) Research the Topic:

- Although we couldn't find any solid research on the subject, we assume that skiing "wasted" is more difficult than skiing sober. There are a number of deaths from skiing that are alcohol related, so we can assume that it is more difficult. Also, if you've ever had more than 1 drink, you understand that the more alcohol you consume, the slower your reaction time becomes, and your gross motor skills are severly reduced. Both reaction time and the coordination of gross motor skills would probably be considered essential to skiing.

(3) State the Hypothesis:

- We hypothesize that skiing wasted is, in fact, hard (but not THAT hard).

(4) Test Your Hypothesis:

- In order to test our hypothesis that skiing wasted is difficult, we must set up an experiment. A proper experiment needs a materials list, a procedure, and then a test with a control group and an experimental group where we change the independant variable. In this case, the independant variable will be "drunkenness."

Materials List:
1 - Test subject (In this case, SEL)
1 - Mountain (Crested Butte Mountain Resort, Crested Butte, Colorado)
1 - Set of skis (Line Mavericks, 180 CM)
6 - Alcoholic beverages (For the purposes of this experiment, we will consider 1 alcoholic beverage either: 1 shot of liquor, 12 OZ beer, or 1 glass of wine. Since SEL doesn't pee while sitting down, there will be no wine consumed).
1 - Stopwatch
1 - Digital Camera

Procedure:
The test subject shall take three runs: (1) A run down some "extreme" terrain, (2) A timed run down groomed slopes, and (3) A run through trees and moguls, at the end attempting a 360. After completing these three runs, the test subject shall consume 6 drinks in the span of 2 hours. These drinks can come in the form of shots, beers, or wine. At a height of 9,500 ft, a test subject weighing 155 lbs will have a blood alcohol content of approximately 0.2; enough to be considered "double the legal limit." The test subject will then head back out to the mountain and attempt the first three runs again. Data will be recorded, both subjectively and objectively, and the results will be presented.

Here, in greater detail, are the 3 runs that the test subject will be skiing:

The first run will be down a slope called "The Headwall." The Headwall is a double-black diamond run (for you skier Noobs, that means very difficult and extreme), but one of the milder double blacks on the mountain. It's also only accessible by a T-bar, which could be an adventure in it's own right. Anyway, The Headwall is a very steep run (about 40 degrees), with many rocks and boulders... however there are no cliffs and no trees, so it's probably considered the least dangerous double-black run on the mountain to ski while wasted. That way, if a fall occurs, it will be a 100 foot cartwheel that probably won't kill the test subject; but many bones will be broken.

Assuming the subject survives The Headwall, the next run will be a timed run. This will take the subject from the top of the Paradise bowl to the bottom of East river. The entire run is on groomed trails, all of them blue squares (which for you skier Noob's, that means intermediate). Although there will be no immediate danger to the test subject, there will be many other skiers on these runs, and the chances of the test subject plowing into one of them at high speeds while drunk is strong to quite strong. This run has the highest probability of producing a lawsuit.









The final run will be a run on East River called "Double Top." It's a black diamond run that starts off in the trees, and turns into a nice long mogul field. This run has the highest probability of producing a "Sonny Bono" moment. (Let the record show that I HATE skiing moguls, and I think that they're a horrible waste of time and space on a ski mountain. However, they are a part of skiing, and they take a considerable amount of skill, so a mogul run is necessary for the experiment). Also, at the end of the mogul field, there is a cat walk with a jump on it. The test subject will try a helicopter (360) off of it.






If you'd like to see where these 3 runs fall on a trail map of Crested Butte, click the image below:


Alright, now that we've got steps 1-4 out of the way, we can't go any further without actually performing the test. Hopefully, if things work out the way they're planned, the test will be conducted on Sunday, the 29th of January. If this is the case, results will be published on Monday.

If you have any suggestions for what the test subject (SEL) should drink during this experiment, please leave a comment, or email us at noobsports@gmail.com. All drink nominations will be given equal consideration, but the final judgment will be left up to the Noobsports family.

[Editors note: SEL is a very experienced skier. He has been skiing since he could walk, and has successfully ski'd some of North America's and Europe's best and toughest terrain. On a scale of 1-100, 1 being a total noob and 100 being World Class, SEL is probably a 92. The Noobsports family doesn't encourage drinking and skiing (at least not yet), so please don't try this on your own. However, if you don't listen to our advice and do try this on your own, please email us and tell us all about it at noobsports@gmail.com. Thank you.]

Friday, January 27, 2006 

Noobie, Noobie, Noob...


We just have to share the hotness sometimes (Fridays, actually).

Noobsports Coach of the Week:
Dickey Nutt of Arkansas State


Noobsports Name Change of the Week:
Andy Kwok of Chicago, from Fuk King Kwok, for obvious reasons



Noobsports Rhyme of the Week:
"Its da ice man Paul Wall
I got my mouth lookin' somethin' like a disco ball
I got da diamonds and da ice all hand set
I might cause a cold front if I take a deep breath
My teeth gleaming like I'm chewin on aluminum foil
Smilin' showin' off my diamonds sippin' on some potent oil
I put my money where my mouth is and bought a grill
20 carrots, 30 stacks let em know I'm so fo real
My motivation is from 30 pointers V VS the furniture
My mouth piece simply symbolize success
I got da wrist wear and neck wear dats captivatin'
But it's my smile dat's got these on-lookers spectatin'
My mouth piece simply certified, a total package
Open up my mouth and you see mo' carrots than a salad
My teeth are mind blowin' givin' everybody chillz
Call me George Foreman cuz im sellin everybody grillz."
- Paul Wall, "Grillz" w/ Nelly

Noobsports Question for Discussion of the Week:
Why is Jack Bauer constantly whispering?


Noobsports Outfit of the Week, Dress Category:
Maria Sharapova

Noobsports Outfit of the Week, Shorts Category:
Daniela Hantuchova

Noobsports Girlfriend of the Week:
Camille Nevieve (Marco Baghdatis)


Noobsports Hoss of the Week:
Billy Beane, GM of the Oakland A's. After signing Frank Thomas to an inexpensive deal and trading for Milton Bradley in exchange for next to nothing, the Oakland offense might be dangerous enough to support the stellar pitching staff.

Noobsports AWOL Celebrity of the Week:
Norm MacDonald

Noobsports 35-5 Record to Begin A Season of the Week:
Detroit Tigers, 1984 (sorry 'Stons)

Noobsports Gambling Lock of the Night:
Minnesota Timberwolves +5.5 at Houston Rockets

-The Noobsports Family

Thursday, January 26, 2006 

Ricky Don't Lose that Flight Number (And Other NBA Happenings)


The NBA season is starting to get interesting.

The Ron Artest deal might have started a domino effect, as another big deal was announced Thursday night. The Boston Celtics will receive Wally Szczerbiak, Michael Olowakandi, Dwayne Jones, and a conditional first round pick while Ricky Davis, Mark Blount, Marcus Banks, Justin Reed, and two conditional second round picks are headed to the Minnesota Timberwolves.

First off, let me be honest: Tyree Ricardo Davis IV is a Noobsports favorite. You've gotta love a guy who throws down 360 degree dunks with regularity, who first dunked in a game as 6-foot tall 8th grader, who jumped almost completely over Steve Nash during one thunderdunk, and who once missed a shot at his own basket on purpose at the end of a blowout victory while attempting to complete a triple-double. However, two memories from his days in Cleveland stand out above and beyond even those great moments. On a fast break, Tyree tomahawked, was fouled, and turned to the TV camera and loudly screamed "OH, SHIT!!!" several times. It was absolutely perfect, almost as if he were as amazed by his athletic gifts as the crowd was. But perhaps his greatest moment came during a timeout when Davis told then-teammate Tyrone Hill that he looked like a shark (funny because it's true). Plus, the man is a fourth generation Tyree, which is pretty outstanding.

Having said that, the critics of Davis' game have a point. He can play thoughtless basketball and he admits that he "can get caught up sometimes, in (his) own world." Despite good scoring totals, he has been traded several times and has never played winning basketball at the NBA level. Still, the Boston Celtics were able to net a 20 point per game scorer, an expiring contract, and a first round pick in exchange for him. So which team does the trade favor: Boston or Minnesota?

Everyone knows Tyree is dynamic and that Wally can shoot, so let's go to the stats. This season Tyree IV is averaging 19.7 points, 5.3 assists, and 4.7 rebounds in 41.7 minutes per game while Wally World averages 20.1 points, 2.8 assists, and 4.8 rebounds in 39.0 minutes. Both players are enjoying very good years and the stats do not drastically favor either player. And while Mark Blount might be able to score a bit, the other players in the deal are secondary and I won't waste any of your time examining them.

This trade slightly favors the Timberwolves for a couple of a reasons. First off, Danny Ainge has now made the Celtics the worst defensive team in the NBA, outside of Seattle. Wally is a complete liability on defense; he ranks somewhere between Toni Kukoc and Cedric Ceballos. Plus, Szczerbiak's contract is a monster, larger even than that of Mark Blount, and Tyree IV is far more durable. However, the main reason I like this deal is that I expect the trade to please Kevin Garnett. He never got along with Sczcerbiak and has been rumored to be unhappy in Minny. Tyree Ricardo Davis IV's energy and defense might prove to be contagious, as long as the Big Ticket is on board. As Kevin McHale said Thursday night, "Chemistry's a strange thing. When you've got it, everybody plays a little better. When you don't have it, everybody plays a little worse." True enough. Because of KG's attitude alone, this trade was a worthy gamble for the 'Wolves.

(By the way, why is it that NBA owners find former NBA players to be the best candidates to run their franchises? There are cases where this works out, with Jerry West, Larry Bird and Joe Dumars as prime examples, but what business do Danny Ainge, Kevin McHale, Elgin Baylor, Isaiah Thomas, and Kobe Bryant have running a pro team? Pro baseball and football teams rarely have former players in the front office. Are NBA players typically smarter than other pro athletes? Is it a ploy by David Stern to keep NBA legends around the game???)

Former Hawks Finding Their Way
- The backcourt of the 2003-2004 St. Joseph's team that made it to the Elite 8 is now finding success in the NBA. Jameer Nelson and Delonte West were selected in the first round of the 2004 NBA draft, 20th and 24th respectively, and both are now contributing as second year players. Over the last month West has put up 14.1 points, 4.9 rebounds, and 4.8 assists while starting at the point for Boston. Fantasy basketball players love that he is shooting 52% from the field, 84.5% from the line, and 42.9% from three-point land on the year. In Disney World, Nelson emerged as an important part of the Magic's future before spraining his foot on January 21. Over the past month Nelson checks in with 20.7 points, 6.7 assists, and 1.7 steals per game while shooting an impressive 51.7% from the field. If Jameer makes it back quickly from his injury, I should be well on my way to a fantasy basketball title.

Pacers Lose O'Neal
-Jermaine O'Neal will be out at least 8 weeks after he tore his left groin. Although the injury will probably not require surgery, it is a huge blow for Indiana. At a time when they should be invigorated by the addition of Peja Stojakovic, the Pacers are once again reeling. There is no truth to the rumor that Rick Carlisle was found wandering the streets of Indianapolis with an empty bottle of Cisco Red, wondering aloud if he would ever be able to coach a team at full strength.

-NJV

Wednesday, January 25, 2006 

Hail To The Victors!


You can officially welcome the University of Michigan Men's Basketball team back to the collegiate basketball scene. The Wolverines beat the Spartans 72-67, for just the 2nd time in the last 14 meetings. The win, at Crisler Arena, bumped Michigan's record to an impressive 14-3 (4-2 in the Big 10), while Michigan State drops to 15-5 (3-3 in the Big 10).

This is a huge win for the Wolverines, and it comes on the heels of a 71-55 victory at Minnesota; their first win at Williams Arena since 1993. The win over the Spartans is also their first win over a ranked team in over 2 years, when they beat Iowa 65-63 on Jan 5, 2004.

Daniel Horton led the charge to choke out the Spartans with 23 points on offense, and played suffocating defense. Chris Hunter added 13 points off the bench, all of them coming in the second half.

State opened up a 28-15 point lead in the first half, and looked like they were going to cruise to another victory over Michigan. The Wolverines came roaring back to take a 48-45 lead on a Hunter 3-pointer, a lead which they would never relinquish.

The turning point came with about 12 minutes left in the 2nd half, when Paul Davis had an open look at a 3, and airballed it. Being psychology weak, Davis couldn't handle the fans and went inside a shell, doing nothing for the rest of the game.

Another key moment was when State had a breakaway, and Maurice Ager threw down a nasty alley-oop. As he was celebrating, my boy Brent Petway, AKA "Air Georgia" took offense to this, and responded by throwing a forearm shiver to Agers nose. Luckily, no technical foul was called, and Ager was humbled by a much bigger, much sweeter Petway.

With 22 seconds to play, Sparty found themselves down by 3 with a chance to tie. Davis had a good look - and preditably bricked - but the rebound came back to him. He dished it to Maurice Ager, who canned a 3, however Izzo had called a timeout while the ball was in his hands, and the basket didn't count. Michigan sank 2 free throws to ice the game.

Noobsports reader J-Strick from Grand Rapids puts it best: "bomp, bomp, bomp-bomp-bomp, another loss for M-S-UUUUUUUUU."

This is great news for University of Michigan basketball fans, as it's been a pretty rough go as of late. Amaker came in and was supposed to be the savior of a program in turmoil. Known for being an excellent recruiter and a great coach, he has been dissapointing to say the least. After not seeing results for a few years, he got Mgoblue.com/mbball back into the pseudo-spotlight by winning the NIT and becoming the 66th best team in the country in 2004. Last year hopes were high as Michigan had a strong returning core, but the loss of Bernard "I'm one of the ugliest men alive" Robinson JR. was too much to handle, as they failed to even make the NIT.

This year, people didn't know what to think... we had our entire team back minus J. C. Mathis and Hayes Grooms, obviously two outstanding players. Optimists like myself thought we had a good chance to compete, maybe sneak into the big dance, while the majority felt that we would be lucky to finish above .500. Not too many people predicted that we would be 14-3 through the first 17 games of the season and looking sharp.

Michigan has done a good job taking care of business this year, especially against teams they should beat. Their only three losses come to respectable teams, all of whom are ranked in the top 25 (UCLA (17), Indiana (13), and Illinois (8)).

I have to say that I'm proud of the way the Maize and Blue are playing, and Amaker seems to have his act together. Michigan is finally getting some love from the national media as well. Yesterday, during halftime of the Kentucky/Auburn game, Digger Phelps picked Michigan as his sleeper team to make it to the Final 4. That may have been a kiss of death, but it shows that Michigan is getting respect. Regardless, it's nice to see Michigan Hoop back on the map.

-SEL

 

Let's Fake a Deal


Delay is preferable to error, at least according to some noobie named Thomas Jefferson. What T-Jeff failed to mention is that there is also nothing quite as frustrating as delay, especially in the world of sports. Tuesday was especially frustrating for the fans: two long awaited trades were reported to be agreed upon, only to be killed or even worse, delayed. The Ron Artest saga continues and Coco Crisp is not yet playing center field for the Boston Red Sox.

Let's start with the Tru Warier himself, Ron Artest. When Artest initially requested a trade about 112 days ago, the first rumor to fly was a straight up deal for Peja Stojakovic (in fact, that rumor began circulating in the summer). The deal made sense, since Peja played the same position and offered close to equal value in return. Instead, Larry Bird and Donnie Walsh played the waiting game and explored deals for Corey Maggette, Lamar Odom, Troy Murphy, and others but could not find a suitable offer. Months went by and less progress was made in finding Artest a home than in negotiations between Israel and Palestine. The wait itself was, and is, truly infuriating.

Tuesday, we were told that the wait was over. Multiple sources reported that Artest had been traded to Sacramento and adopted by the Maloof brothers. I wish that it was an exaggeration to say that relief rushed through my body. As an NBA fan, the Artest situation had loomed over the league like Tony Soprano over New Jersey. Finally, we could just focus on basketball: potential All Stars, playoff races, and Kobe's feats of strength. Plus, my fantasy basketball team now had a stud small forward back in the lineup. Unfortunately, my joy lasted all of a half an hour; Artest apparently didn't wish to play in Sac-town and the Kings had pulled out of the deal.

My mental health aside, the Pacers are really hurting their team by not pulling the trigger on some type of deal as soon as possible. The team is not playing well, needs reinforcements, and might be as distracted by this ordeal as I am. Even if the Peja deal doesn't work out, the team has options: perhaps Josh Howard from the Mavericks, Mike Dunleavy and Mickael Pietrus from Golden State, an injured Corey Maggette from the Clippers, or a deal offering cap space or draft picks from a team like the Lakers or Nuggets. Artest is a cancer in Indiana and the Basketball Jesus must let him go for whatever he can get, ASAP. In this case, even T-Jeff would agree that delaying Artest's departure would be the Tru error.

Another deal that has been rumored since before the NFL playoffs began is Coco Crisp heading to the Saux (please insert Michael Wilbon's exaggerated Boston accent here). The latest incarnation of the trade has top third base prospect Andy Marte, relief pitcher Guillermo Mota, and young catcher Kelly Shoppach being shipped to Cleveland for Crisp, reliever David Riske, and retread backstop Josh Bard. This proposed deal is on hold after the Indians examined Mota's right shoulder and had reservations (pun intended).

Even if Mota's shoulder looks like a pulled pork sandwich, Cleveland GM Mark Shapiro would be foolish to not find a way to make this deal work. Andy Marte is considered one of the best prospects in all of baseball, and he plays a position where the Indians have no long term solution. Aaron Boone is signed only through this season, and he didn't exactly put up Silver Slugger numbers last year (.243, 16 homers, 60 RBI). Of course, Coco Crisp is a very nice player that Cleveland will miss in 2006; he hit .300 with 16 homers and 42 doubles last year, as well as playing very good defense for a low salary. To be honest though, Cleveland is still a year away from really hitting its stride and should add Marte to a young offensive core of Grady Sizemore, Jhonny Peralta, Victor Martinez, Travis Hafner and first base prospect Ryan Garko. The other parts of the deal favor the Indians as well; Shoppach is a big upgrade over Bard and Riske is definitely not irreplaceable, especially with either Mota or Manny Delcarmen involved in the deal.

The Indians and Pacers are in drastically different situations: the Indians have no urgent need to complete a deal while the Pacers are desperately trying to convince other teams that they are in that same position of strength. What both teams should realize soon is that their choices have already been made for them: the Indians have found a deal too good to refuse and the Pacers simply have to take the best offer on the table. Here's hoping that the posturing by both teams ends shortly, replacing the delay with action.

-NJV

Tuesday, January 24, 2006 

Noob of the Week



Welcome to the first installment of "Noob of the week". This weeks winner is a long-time noob in my book, and quite frankly, I can't stand him. I hate Barry Bonds almost as much as my dad does... and I'm fairly certain my old man would take a swing at Barry if he saw him on the street.

Bonds started off hot, by saying:
"I am going to speak with Felipe, because at this point in my career it doesn't work for me to be second bat."
Doesn't work for you to bat second? How does a second bat to the back of your knee sound? Does that work for you, Barry?

That in itself is enough to win "noob of the week" honors, but Bonds took it a step further. He insulted America.

Here at Noobsports, we love America. We LOVE it. Furthermore, we're traveling all the way across this great land to San Diego to show support for our fellow countrymen who are going to be playing their hearts out for the good ole red, white, and blue. I was ready to put my anti-Bonds sentiment aside and root for him, if he was going to help bring us the World Baseball Classic title. So what does Barry do? He decides that he's too good for America, that he isn't going to play for team USA, and that he's going to focus his efforts on playing for the Giants.

To add insult to injury, I just found out his full name is "Barry Lamar Bonds". I think we should start calling him "Lamar" on a full-time basis, naming him after the limp-wristed javelin thrower from "Revenge of the Nerds."

So congratulations, Lamar, due to your egocentric personality and "me before team" philosophy, coupled with the fact that you obviously hate America, you've earned the inaugural "Noob of the Week" award. You douchebag.

Honorable mention:

- Jake Plummer and Jake Delhomme: you may have to check the stats, but I think the Jakes were a combined 8-45 with 9 interceptions on Sunday.

- Andy Roddick: skipped the Masters Cup in November to give himself extra weeks to peak for the Australian open. Then loses to a guy named Marcus Baghdati of Cyprus in the 4th round. Wow.

- Jim Haslett: couldn't get the Lions head coaching job so now he's the St. Louis Rams' defensive coordinator. I'm sure that's going to work out great for all parties involved.

- Kobe Bryant: after all of Nate's pole-polishing you'd think that Kobe was a good guy. Let's not forget that KB8 should be in prison playing on concrete and trying to avoid getting shanked; not playing in the NBA. Yes, 81 is impressive, but Kobe is still a terrible person... and a total noob.

-SEL

Monday, January 23, 2006 

Game Review: MVP 06 NCAA Baseball

[Editors note: this article is written by "The Davis", exclusive to Noobsports.com. The Davis is a long time friend / gambling buddy / sports agent of the SEL. He is an ex-collegiate baseball player, wiffleball league commissioner, and website designer. His impressive resume, coupled with a 16 hour session of playing this game right out of the box, more than qualifies him to write an expert review.]

For the first time since RBI Baseball on the original NES, gamers will hear the ping of the aluminum bat, only this time it’s authentic. EA Sports debuted its new MVP 06 NCAA Baseball game January 19; probably more as a last resort than anything else after losing its agreement with Major League Baseball, but college baseball fans everywhere have been eagerly awaiting its arrival. The game features 128 Division 1 teams from 14 conferences, with 19 authentic college stadiums and 10 generic parks. ESPN’s Mike Patrick and Kyle Peterson are your commentators and you can even get real live scores from ESPN.com’s bottom line when you play with the Online Everywhere feature.

Gameplay
The gameplay is just about flawless. The new pitching angle in one-player mode gives you the same feel as you would watching a game on TV. The hot and cold zones disappear after the first pitch of every at-bat, making it a little tougher to pluck away at the blue zones when you’re pitching. Another cool feature is that the catcher actually throws the ball back between pitches and if the hitter fouls one straight back, the umpire jumps out to throw the pitcher a new pearl. The load and fire batting system – similar to the golf swing in Tiger Woods – takes some getting used to, but is a definite upgrade. When you hit, you choose between a contact swing or a power swing and actually have to read whether the ball will be on the inside or outside part of the plate when you decide to “fire”. The new right analog throwing meter is neither an upgrade nor downgrade, but has a minor drawback in that the right analog is still the button used to make a diving or jumping play, so it is difficult not to throw to the wrong base after you make a diving play away from the base. After you do make a diving play, the Rawlings logo flashes on the screen and Peterson analyzes the replay of the “Rawlings web gem”. Gun a guy out at the plate and the replay will come up as the Pontiac Game Changing Performance.

Dynasty Mode
Everyone’s favorite feature in NCAA football has to be Dynasty Mode and NCAA Baseball is no different. Take your team from mid-February through June in a 60 game regular season and conference tournament with the hopes of getting a bid in the 64 team NCAA tourney with a chance to make it to Rosenblatt Stadium in Omaha for the College World Series. As your team improves, you have a chance to get deals from companies like Rawlings, Nike, Easton, TPX, Louisville Slugger, and Majestic.

A small drawback is that the schedules are obviously not authentic, since there are only 128 schools to choose from. Look for this to hopefully change in the 2007 version. You have a chance to recruit year round from Baseball America’s Top 100 and decide how to offer your 11.7 NCAA Scholarships, meaning you have some tough decisions to make as you offer your recruits a percentage from 10% to 100% of one full scholarship. After each season, you can choose to hire a new hitting, pitching or fielding coach as well as a new trainer to try to build the best possible coaching staff. Some recruits won’t even consider your program unless you have a “Level 3” pitching coach, etc. Another drawback for the die-hard college baseball fan is the fact that the rosters don’t seem to correlate with the real team’s roster. Every player is represented by a number, but it doesn’t match up with their real-life position and school year. Each roster only holds 25 players while most college teams carry at least 33 and there is even a trade player feature under the roster options, which is just ludicrous.

Features
This year’s game hyped up its Create-a-Ballpark feature with a chance to decide actual field dimensions and wall heights. While it is pretty cool to make your field how you want it, there are literally no stadium options for the park and the only other options you have are 20 backgrounds for your outfield. The Create-a-Player option is on par with MVP 2005 and has plenty of options including a chance to be both a pitcher and a position player.

The Create-a-Team feature I found to be shockingly disappointing to the point where it is almost worthless. I was expecting it to be on par with the NCAA Football series, where you are able to pick a logo, color scheme and plug them into various uniform styles. Not the case in NCAA Baseball. You have 60 different home and away jerseys to choose from and most of them are flat out brutal. Also, another downside was the fact that no team has a 3rd jersey, not only in the Create-a-Team but for the 128 real teams as well.

Overall
Coming in, I was expecting NCAA 06 MVP Baseball to be the best of both worlds from MVP 05 and the NCAA Football Series. This did not turn out to be the case. While the gameplay is probably the best of any baseball game to date, the off-field features were pretty disappointing. Given the fact that this was EA’s first crack at a college baseball game, I expect most if not all of these problems to receive major upgrades for the 2007 game.

Overall Grade – C+

-The Davis

 

Simply Amazing- KB8 Scores 81


"Not even in my dreams..."-Kobe Bryant

Every once in a while, something truly special happens to the sports fan. As a die- hard Kobe Bryant supporter, Sunday night was one of those moments for me. Kobe Bean Bryant scored 81 points on Sunday against the Toronto Raptors, the second highest single game total in NBA history. To be honest, I could not be more proud.

Before you send me your hate email, let me tell you about the long strange trip it has been for me, rooting for the guy everyone else loves to hate. The summer of 1996 was a special one for all Laker fans. Not only did the team sign Shaquille O'Neal as a free agent, but they also acquired the rights to Kobe Bryant, the 13th overall pick in the 1996 draft, for Vlade Divac. Jerry West was building something special, and the kid from Lower Merion High School showed serious upside right away. Unafraid to take big shots or to go after Michael Jordan even as a rookie, he had me at hello.

The years that followed were up and down: he won the dunk contest, was the youngest All Star ever, etc. but was labeled selfish and disliked by many who resented his alleged goal of surpassing Jordan as the game's premier player. Even then, Kobe Bryant was a controversial figure. There never was a middle ground: you either loved him or hated him. Unfortunately, about 99% of the people with whom I talk sports are in the latter group. To me, his talent and drive were almost inspiring, and there was never a doubt that he would be the best player in the NBA at some point in his career. To others, he was a selfish, punk kid who epitomized everything that was wrong with the NBA.

In 2000, the Lakers won the first of 3 championships behind the unstoppable duo of Shaq and Kobe. Those were good times to be a Laker fan. Phil Jackson was on board, Shaq was the most dominant force in the league, and Kobe just kept getting better. The Kobe to Shaq alley-oop against Portland in Game 7 of the 2000 Western Conference Finals was the defining play of their championship run and probably my favorite NBA play ever. Predictably, more and more Kobe haters emerged from the gutters and sewers that those rat bastards call home.

In the summer of 2003, all hell broke lose. Kobe Bryant was arrested for alleged sexual assault in Colorado. I still remember first hearing the news; my heart dropped as I pondered Kobe breaking ankles in the pen for the next 15-20. I was shocked when bumbling district attorney Mark Hurlbert announced that the state of Colorado was officially charging Kobe Bean Bryant. The phone calls poured in as friends and Kobe haters basked in my misery. On the court, the 2003-04 season saw Kobe's scoring average drop from 30 to 24 and the Lakers lost in the playoffs. The 2004 NBA Finals were the low point of my love affair with Kobe. Living in Michigan, I predicted a sweep of the upstart Pistons (which would have happened if Karl Malone were healthy, damn it). Instead, the 'Stons rolled the Lakers in 5 games. The series would have been a sweep if it weren't for some heroics by, you guessed it, Kobe.

The Kobe haters really piled it on in the summer of 2004, as they blamed him for driving away Phil Jackson, trading Shaq, and the death of Princess Di. What many failed to realize is that the Lakers traded the Diesel at precisely the right time. His value was still sky-high and his game was only going downhill as the Big Aristotle aged. Jerry Buss avoided giving the Big Fella a prolific contract extension and the Lakers were finally Kobe's team. Fortunately, the case against Kobe was dismissed. Unfortunately, the Lakers fell out of playoff contention with significant injuries to both Lamar Odom and Kobe.

The 2005-2006 season has unfolded as well as I could hope. Kobe is playing out of his mind, the Lakers should make the playoffs, and Phil Jackson is back. Sunday night's game is already being called the greatest individual game ever seen (sorry Wilt, your 100 points in Hershey didn't make it to video) and Kobe's reputation is slowly being rehabilitated. Scoring 81 points in this day and age is unheard of, and territory that MJ only sniffed at from a distance. It should also be pointed out that the Lakers were trailing the Raptors significantly as late as the third quarter and needed a monstrous effort from Kobe just to win.

When Kobe scored 62 points to Dallas' 61 through 3 quarters, some fans and media unfairly ripped him for coming out of the game, even though it was a blowout. We all wondered just how high Kobe could go. Now, we know. Although I know Kobe bashing will never stop, at least until he wins a championship without Shaq, the MVP trophy he wins this year will look pretty on the mantle.

So Kobe haters, bring on the rapist, adulterer, black mamba, and ball hog jokes, because you know you just can't touch his game right now. He is simply the greatest, and its a lot more fun to enjoy this run than to tear down the character of a man you've never met.

81 points. Unbelievable...

-NJV

Sunday, January 22, 2006 

Game, 'Staches


In what should shape up to be a fairly decent match-up, Super Bowl XL in Detroit will feature the Seattle Seahawks and Pittsburgh Steelers. Both teams rolled on Sunday and won impressively, boring many a fan hoping for "edge of the seat" excitement in the conference championship games. Hopefully, the Super Bowl will prove to be more entertaining and there are already quite a few story lines for the media to over-analyze. The game will feature 2006 NFL MVP Shaun Alexander, aging icon Jerome Bettis returning to his hometown, two of the NFL's best offensive lines, Big Ben Roethlisberger and his ridiculous career winning percentage, two under-rated and aggressive defenses, Lofa Tatupu and Troy Polamalu, Terrible Towels, and of course, two of the game's greatest mustaches.

Incredibly, Bill Cowher led his Steelers to three straight playoff victories on the road. Perhaps even more impressive, those three teams were the 1, 2, and 3 seeds in the AFC (Cincinnatti, Indianapolis, and Denver). As the longest tenured head coach in the league, Cowher's tough love schtick has been working in Pittsburgh for 14 years and he will be making his second Super Bowl appearance. Often in the NFL, it seems that players tire of a coach's approach after a few years but Cowher is still able to connect with his team. Credit has to be given to both Cowher and the Rooney family, who have shown patience and therefore given their franchise great continuity.

On the flipside, the AFC Championship game exposed Bronco QB Jake Plummer. All year, his critics have questioned his ability to win a big game when his team was behind. When he found himself in that situation on Sunday, Plummer choked. Denver had success this year by rolling Plummer out of the pocket, limiting his reads, and simplifying the game for him. I'm no Ron Jaworski, but doesn't that also allow the opposing defense to only cover half the field? Unless the running game gives the Broncos an early lead, defenses can easily force Plummer to make mistakes. He had four turnovers against the Steelers and lost any respect he earned in 2006, at least in the media's eyes. This offseason, pundits will once again constantly question whether or not the Broncos can win big with Plummer under center. This game might be enough to convince Mike Shanahan and the Denver brain trust to go hard after Terrell Owens this offseason.

The Panthers were also exposed on Sunday as a one dimensional team. Already without running backs Deshaun Foster and Stephen Davis, Carolina also lost Nick Goings in the early goings (yeh, I said it) against Seattle. His collision with Tatupu made my head pound just watching it (well it was either that, or just a vicious reminder of a ridiculous Saturday night). Without any semblance of a running game, the Seattle defense contained the Steve Smith show. Perhaps it is also time to give that defense some credit as well. Tatupu is already a game changer in his rookie year; don't forget, a lot of people questioned drafting him in the second round (by the way, I think its officially safe to draft any USC player not named Mike Williams). The secondary is adequate and I like their deep D-line rotation. The difference in the game was Seattle absolutely dominating the line of scrimmage, on both sides of the ball.

The early line for the Super Bowl has the Steelers as favorites, giving 4 points. While the Steelers faced a more difficult path to XL, the early pick is the Seahawks. It's tough to pick against Big Ben, but I think the Steelers will struggle to run against the Seahawks. Also, the two week break in action benefits Seattle. It will give Darrell Jackson more time to heal up and give Holmgren a chance to come up with blocking schemes for the vaunted Pittsburgh blitzes. Hopefully, he will also use the time to develop a more Super 'stache; Cowher is currently favored in this category as well. At any rate, let's all hope that the game lives up to expectations, unlike Sunday's blowouts.

-NJV

 

A look ahead, a look behind


First of all, we'd like to start off by thanking our fans for helping us through our first week. Noobsports.com was launched Monday, January 16th, and today, seven days later, we've had 763 unique visitors as of 9:30 AM MST. That's AWESOME, and it's about double what we expected. So we'd like to thank you for visiting the site, for helping spread the word, and for sharing it with your friends.
Here at Noobsports, we'd like to say : "Thank You Fans!"
As a reward, we're providing you with these links:

- Courtesy of Charles Schwab, An Awesome Dunk/Swat Mix, featuring some of the nastiest in-your-face dunks and "don't bring that weak shit in my house boy" stuffs you've ever seen. Superb showing by our boy Dikembo Mutombo. Come on Dikembe, wag that big nasty finger!

- Courtesy of reader James Petar, from Clarkston, MI, A Hilarious Fallout Boy Music Video. Definitely worth the time to watch.

- Along the same lines of sweet music videos, here's A Money Rendition of Pearl Jam's "Yellow Ledbetter". It takes a while to get going, but once it does, it's golden. An oldie, but definitely a goodie if you haven't seen it yet.

We encourage you all to keep providing sweet links and ideas to us, by writing us at noobsports@gmail.com. Keep the good stuff coming, and we'll try to do the same. Also, your comments on our articles are always welcome, and if you have any advice as to how to make the site better, or what you'd like to see more/less of, don't hesitate to let us know (especially you sportsfanaticLRB112, whoever you may be).

Enjoy your Sunday of sports watching, as it's a great one. If you turn on ESPN2 right now, a great tennis match between Sharapova and Hantuchova. This could be an entire article in itself, as you're probably familiar with Maria Sharapova, but Daniella Hantuchova definitely gives her a run for the money. In case you were wondering, Hantuchova has a 42 inch inseam (yeah), and probably the nicest ass on the tour. It would be close, but Sharapova probably gets the go ahead because she screams with every shot she hits. Manchester United plays Liverpool in a matchup of two perennial English soccer powers. Oh yeah, there might be a football game or two on this afternoon as well.

What to look forward to in the upcoming week of Noobsports:

* A review of NCAA Baseball '06 by a surprise guest columnist.

* "The Bode Miller Experiment" conducted by SEL. Yes, you can probably guess, it will be just like it sounds... getting hammered and skiing one of Colorado's toughest mountains.

* A review of the weekend sports action, including 4 college hoop shockers, and a recap of football action.

* And much, much more sweet Noobsports.com action for your enjoyment.

Again, thank you fans for making the first week of Noobsports a smashing success, we'll keep providing the articles if you keep visiting.

- The Noobsports Family

Friday, January 20, 2006 

Spare the Rod


If Matt Millen were allowed to write the headlines for the Detroit papers as they introduced new Detroit Lions head coach Rod Marinelli on Friday, he might have come up with something like "Smashmouth," "Talking Tough," or "Ford Tough: Bad-ass GM hires Bad-ass Head Coach." Well, 2 out of 3 ain't bad. Millen had a statement to make by hiring Marinelli: Steve Mariucci was a sissy. Mission accomplished.

Rod Marinelli demonstrates

the controversial Diamond
Cutter tackling technique
The Detroit media ate up Marinelli's drill sergeant
impression and announced to the masses that the
Lions' head man will install discipline, toughness, and accountability. Never mind the fact that he has never been the head coach of a football team. Forget also that he was the Lions third choice behind Russ Grimm and Jim Haslett during a year with few legitimate head coach candidates. And definitely don't remember that the problems with the Detroit Lions go much further than attitude.

Lost in Marinelli's promises of power football and hard work was the fact that the Lions have big time questions all over the roster. The team is thin and plagued by players with character questions. The quarterback position is completely unsettled, the offensive line is embarrassing, the wide receivers and running backs underachieve, and the secondary and linebacker corps can't stay healthy. The only position group that played up to par last year was the defensive line. So what is the first thing that Matt Millen does to shore up this team with so many holes? Hire a career defensive line coach, of course! That experience will surely prove invaluable when trying to improve every other aspect of the team.

Somehow, Millen has temporarily distracted the Detroit media and fans away from the terrible job he is doing with the franchise. He has blamed the Lions' 5-11 record in 2005 on poor coaching and promised that the team will be better under his new coach. Of course, there is little blame to place on the man who hired the previous coaching staff or constructed the roster. With the Marinelli hire, Millen is quietly saying "Talent is not the problem; don't blame me." Unfortunately, the ruse seems to be working thus far.

As for Rod Marinelli himself, there are a couple reasons to be hopeful that he will be a terrific head coach:

- His former players adore him, including Simeon Rice, Warren Sapp, and Derrick Brooks. Said Brooks, "I think Rod, he made me a better player mentally. He really attacked my game in terms of leadership. Every single day, he challenged me to be a better leader."

- NFL coaches and executives from around the NFL have praised him. Indianapolis head coach Tony Dungy said "Rod is a leader, he's a coach's coach, he's one of the best communicators I've ever been around, he's a motivator, and he is a great teacher." He has also been endorsed by Mike Holmgren, Monte Kiffen, and Rich McKay. Chris Mortensen is apparently inspired by him.

And a couple reasons to worry:

- Mike O'Hara writes: "As first press conferences go, Marinelli reminded me of Bobby Ross when he was hired in 1997. Ross believed in hard work and dedication. Marinelli presented that same tone." Yikes. Remind me, how did the Bobby Ross "tone" work out in Detroit? It's hard to believe that NFL athletes will completely buy- in to the military tough guy persona in this day and age. Ross now uses his military background at one of the few places where it might actually work, Army.

- Lynn Henning writes: "He will be tough on the field, reclusive away from it- think of former Iowa coach Hayden Fry- and hostile to any attempts by anyone to analyze him or shed light upon his past life, which he believes is absolutely no one else's business. He will display volcanic ire at media coverage that he believes, with conviction, is out of bounds. Radio talk-show bleating will incense him. Overly aggresive newspaper coverage will be viewed as a personal affront." Hayden Fry??? It reminds me more of Dick Cheney. Hostile? Volcanic ire? There is at least a 50% chance that Rob Parker and Marinelli come to blows in 2006.

So, will the tough-guy act lead to success in Detroit? I have to agree with the rest of the Noobsports family: time will tell on the hiring of Rod Marinelli. The team has some talent and plays in a weak division. He is well liked, and might be able to tap into the seemingly unlimited potential of guys like Roy Williams and Kevin Jones. Unfortunately for him, his grace period will be short. His boss is predicting immediate improvement and the fans are borderline mutinous. Best of luck, Rod.

And the picks...

AFC Championship Game: Steelers +3 1/2. The reasons I'm taking the Steelers? Ben Roethlisberger and Troy Polamalu. After Steve Smith, who else would you rather have on your team right now? Add in the Jake Plummer factor, and I'll take the points.

NFC Championship Game: Panthers +3 1/2. Not one, but two road underdogs??? My good buddy Derek, the man who introduced me to sports gambling, once told me "Only put money on underdogs that you believe can win outright, and then take the points as a bonus." Sound advice and who doesn't think the Panthers have a chance to win? Steve Smith has to be considered unstoppable until someone proves otherwise.

-NJV

Thursday, January 19, 2006 

Rod Marinelli... well at least it's not Jim Haslett

The Lions officially announced the hiring of Tampa Bay Buccaneers defensive line and assistant coach Rod Marinelli. Many Lions fans breathed a collective sigh of relief when they realized it wasn't Jim Haslett, but then realized that they had never heard of this guy.

The good news about Marinelli - apparently he has many traits of Red Foreman from "That 70's Show". Not only does he look like him (pictured above), but he's supposed to be a hardass just like Foreman.

In his press conference, Marinelli said that he wants to "Run the ball. With power. And I want to defend it wtih power." Like communism, this idea looks good on paper... until you realize that the Lions don't have anything that resembles an NFL offensive line. It's kind of hard to have a power running game when you don't have a line. Also, what does this mean for our last 3 first round draft picks (all WR's)? This could mean that my boy C. Rog. is on his way out of town, a devastating revelation for all his boys in Saginaw. The pot-smoking citizens of Detroit are really going to miss their alpha-male.

Marinelli also talked about changing the players' habits, how they work, and how they practice. He also said they will use pads in practice, something the Lions haven't done for the last FIVE YEARS.

Now I'm no NFL coach, but doesn't it seem like wearing pads in practice is something a football team should do? This is information I would have liked to have known over the last five years. To quote The Dude from "The Big Lebowski" -
"Look, man, I've got certain information, all right? Certain things have come to light. And, you know, has it ever occurred to you, that, instead of, uh, you know, running around, uh, uh, blaming me, you know, given the nature of all this new shit, you know, I-I-I-I... this could be a-a-a-a lot more, uh, uh, uh, uh, uh, uh, complex, I mean, it's not just, it might not be just such a simple... uh, you know?"
Well, dude, I just got this certain information, and certain things have come to light that I'm not happy about. How the hell do you not wear football pads in football practice? That's like a catcher not wearing a face mask in practice, a soccer player not wearing shinguards, or a member of the Odd Year pull team not wearing one of those ridiculous duct-taped shoulder harness things (huah). The dude minds.

Anyway, I'm not sure how I feel about Marinelli... it's one of those "wait and see" things. I like it better than Haslett, but early indications lead me to believe that Grimm could have been a better candidate. Time well tell if he can coach, or if he'll be the next disaster to grace Motown.

Oh, by the way, not only has Marinelli never been a coach at any level, but he hasn't even been a coordinator. That's great news.

More about the Marinelli hiring from around the web:

* A running diary of the Millen/Marinelli press conference... pretty entertaining. Sweatymen

* A little more information on Marinelli, plus a very funny "Rules For Super Bowl XL Visitors", if you're from Detroit you'll definitely get a kick out of it: Fire Matt Millen

* Deadspin weighs in on the Marinelli hiring, comparing any Millen decision/press conference to a blooper show... pretty accurate. Deadspin

-SEL

Wednesday, January 18, 2006 

A-Rod finally chooses team

"Great choice Alex!"

Not to undercut my partner Nate (sorry Booster), but there is more breaking news out of the A-Rod camp. After weeks and weeks of trying to figure out which team he would play for, Alex Rodriguez has finally made his decision.

"My parents are dominican, but I also have an American passport, so this decision has been especially tough. I've been going back and forth, and I've finally come to a decision... I'm playing for the other team!" said a giddy A-Rod. "For months I've been confused, and I've heard people from both sides telling me that I should play for them, and the pressure has been almost too much to take"

When asked why he chose to play for the other team, A-Rod answered "Well, I listened to my heart, it just feels right. My family, and my friends support my decision."

Alex's friends (pictured above), said that they're delighted with his decision, and that they will stand behind their man no matter what anyone says. (You can read more about A-rod's friends HERE).

* For anybody who missed watching the Nuggets vs. Cav's game, you missed LeBron getting emasculated. After picking off a pass, he dribbled the ball behind his back, and brought it into the lane to do one of his over the top thunderdunks. Apparently, my boy Kenyon Martin took offense to this... and swatted the shit out of him. A foul was called, and LeBron came down glaring at Kenyon; only to realize that K-Mart eats children and would absolutely kill him if he wanted. King James quickly averted his gaze, while Kenyon kept staring at him... it was fantastic. For those of you that ever played NBA Street, you know the sheer fear of taking it into K-Marts house, knowing that he can break you at any moment. LeBron felt that same fear for the first time tonight (although old LeBron did put up a quadruple double in the state championship game, and smooth LeBron thinks there's too much garlic in his sauce).

* Marinelli... updates as more information is learned. I have to say I feel better having him coaching the Lions than a guy named "Man-gina", or whoever just got hired on with the Jets.

* After choking his wife in front of many onlookers outside a Seattle billiards club, Sean Locklear was told he was going to start Sunday. Welcome to the exclusive fraternity known as "Athletes That Strangle" (Alpha Tau Sigma, for those of you keeping up at home), joining esteemed members LaTrell Sprewell and Daniel Horton.

-SEL

 

U.S. A-Rod

Alex Rodriguez has not forgotten when those towers fell. A-Rod and agent Scott Boras both confirmed that he would play for the United States during March's World Baseball Classic. The announcement ended months of speculation about whether A-Rod would play for the U.S. or the Dominican Republic in the WBC, or if he would even play at all.

Both the WBC and Team USA benefit greatly by having A-Rod in the tournament, and we are only left to guess what exactly swayed him to make the final decision. Although I hate to question a guy's patriotism or his desire to be an ambassador for the game, the confusion and flip- flopping force baseball fans to wonder why he chose Team USA. It certainly wasn't the allure of playing for Buck Martinez or the chance to be teammates with Jason Varitek.

My best guess is that commissioner Bud Selig exerted a considerable amount of pressure on him, as one of the game's biggest stars, to compete. Let's not forget that the WBC might very well define Selig's legacy and it would not reflect well on the tourney to have A-Rod sit out. So why does A-Rod care? Well, it's never a bad thing to have the most powerful man in your industry owe you a favor.

The role of Scott Boras in this decision is perhaps even more important. The marketing impact of A-Rod wearing red, white, and blue was surely not lost on the man who negotiated sport's biggest contract (10 years, $252 million). Always business savvy, A-Rod listened to Boras' advice that it was in his best interests to play for the country where he makes his fortune. Rest easy fans; you will still be able to see A-Rod hit baseballs at the moon for Pepsi during every commercial break.

Regardless of his reasons for playing, A-Rod could give the Americans the edge over a stacked Dominican club. The Dominican lineup (featuring Albert "He Called the Shit" Pujols, Big Papi, Man-Ram, Aram-Ram, Vladdy, Miggy, The Fonz Soriano and other colorfully nicknamed sluggers) is still better than that of Team USA, even with A-Rod. However, the strength of Team USA lies with its pitching staff and A-Rod's defection could give the Americans just enough runs to win the tourney. Then again, with strict pitch counts, the WBC could quickly turn into a Slug-fest, which favors the DR (snap and shout-out to our beloved fantasy football ex-commish, Slug). The two teams are very evenly matched in terms of talent and the games should be competitive. Now, if only the Cubans are allowed to play, the WBC could be a huge success.

Love him or hate him, A-Rod's participation does make the WBC a much more intriguing tournament.

P.S. The Noobsports family will be travelling to San Diego for the finals and semi-finals in March, so stay tuned for more WBC coverage.

-NJV

Tuesday, January 17, 2006 

Hugging It Out (and Other NBA Happenings)



* It was a classy move by Shaquille O'Neal to seek out and embrace Kobe Bryant before they faced off Monday night in LA. Most observers would not blame Shaq if he never spoke to Kobe again, but Shaq took the first step towards burying the proverbial hatchet. While he has not been above not-so-subtle digs at Kobe in the past, I have to give Shaq credit here. Now, on to the game...

* Kobe Bean Bryant is the best player in the NBA and everyone knows it, although not all freely admit it. He played a beautiful game (37 points on 13-24 shooting) Monday night while leading the Lakers to victory over the Miami Heat. In fact, the entire Laker team put forth a great effort and held on to get the win. The Lakers had to be pleased with the attitude that the young Andrew Bynum showed in the second quarter. The rookie center got dunked on by Shaquille O’Neal and as he lay on the ground afterword, I honestly felt sorry for him. I half-expected Shaq to teabag him. The last thing I thought would happen was for him to get up, post up Shaq, shake him, and throw down a dunk of his own, which of course he did. Lamar Odom posted a near triple double and Devean George chipped in 17 points. This game was a huge victory for the Lakers; Phil Jackson is worth every penny. The Kobe Haters have been silenced (or at least reduced to making tired and worn-out Colorado and 4 million dollar ring jokes), if only for a day.

* Steve Francis was re-instated by the Magic on Monday from a suspension for conduct detrimental to the team. While Stevie “Now Poisoning My Third” Franchise and his agent hope to stay in Orlando, the team would be wise to trade him, as well as Grant Hill, sooner rather than later. Fortunately, the team was smart enough to learn from the Pacers’ mistake with Ron Artest and will let Francis play; thereby keeping the team’s perceived options and Francis’ value high. Dwight Howard is truly the Franchise now, and while I know Francis has a world of talent and hops to spare, he has demonstrated time and again that he is not a winner. Since the Magic are already playing for next year, I wonder if a deal for the injured Nene Hilario and a first round draft pick would work. The Nuggets are desperate for a shooting guard and would be thrilled to add one with All Star talent. Nene is a restricted free agent in the summer, but the Magic could match any offer and he would fit in perfectly alongside Howard.

* Congratulations to the New Orleans/ Oklahoma City Hornets and coach Byron Scott who beat Charlotte on MLK Day for their 18th win. The win total matches their number for the entire 2004-2005 season. Byron Scott is a fantastic NBA coach who should never have been run out of New Jersey. He has helped David West take a major step forward, and uses a three guard set much of the time to take advantage of PGs Chris Paul (obvious ROY…Atlanta what were you thinking???) and Speedy Claxton. It seems as though Hurricane Katrina had the opposite effect on the Hornets and Saints. Of course, it doesn't hurt that Oklahoma City has shown the Hornets some serious love.

* Rasheed Wallace has proved me wrong this year. I believed his play would begin to slide and his contract would be an albatross within 2 or 3 years. He is still capable of being a game changer on both sides of the floor, something I honestly didn’t think he cared enough to do anymore. He is definitely more comfortable NOT being the man on his team, unlike he was in Portland. Rasheed was so stressed out as the franchise player in the Rose City, he was flipping out on refs and hitting more blunts than three pointers. Now, the Palace crowd absolutely loves him and the pressure to lead his team in scoring is gone. By the way, is anyone else sick of Mason yet???

- NJV

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