Tuesday, February 28, 2006 

Roger Clemens: Still a Badass


I always knew Roger Clemens was a tough guy, but this is ridiculous. In case you missed it: yesterday, while throwing to Astros minor-leaguers to prepare for the upcoming World Baseball Classic, Clemens faced his 19 year old son Koby. Koby proceeded to jack the first pitch he saw over the fence.

Koby's reaction? Pride? Joy? Happiness? Wrong. "I kinda stood there," said Koby, "and was afraid he thought I was showing him up."

Now Clemens reacted like any proud parent would after their son hit his first home run of spring training: next at-bat he threw at Koby's head! "This is nothing new," said the senior Clemens. "I knocked him down and drilled him in father-son games." Holy shit! Talk about tough love. Could you imagine growing up in that family? Instead of you and dad going to the park and playing a friendly game of catch, he's throwing 93 mph GAS at you, brushing you off the plate if you make any contact.

"It's the expected," said Koby. "This is how I've been brought up." Wow. I always thought my old man was a hardass when he would yell at me during basketball games, tell me I needed to work on my footskills more for soccer, or make me hit the weights (which obviously helped). But he never brought a 93 mph heater into my grill if I hit a baseball off of him (and believe me, Big Steve certainly CAN bring 93 mph heat). Talk about tough love.

"He was like, 'Sorry about that pitch inside. I was trying to change the view of the ball for you a little bit,'" said Koby, a third baseman who was drafted by Houston last summer. Trying to change the view of the ball?! He was trying to decapitate you son. Unbelievable. After reading about Clemens' most recent tough guy activities, it got me to thinking... and I've come up with a conclusion:

Roger Clemens is a badass of Chuck Norris proportions!

Think about it, they're both good old boys from Texas, they're both two of the most dominant male athletes in the last 50 years, and they both keep kicking ass into their 40's. One is Walker Texas Ranger, the other one could very likely be playing for the Texas Rangers.

But, who is more of a badass? To break it down, we must compare facts about Chuck Norris and Roger Clemens :

(facts about Chuck Norris taken from "The Top 100 Facts About Chuck Norris")

On letting people know who's the boss
Norris - Raped Tony Danza and Bruce Springsteen simultaneously just to make them aware that Chuck Norris is the boss.
Clemens - Threw at his sons head after he hit a jack off him during a spring traking game.
Advantage - Norris

On donations
Norris - frequently donates blood to the Red Cross. Just never his own.
Clemens - the Roger Clemens Foundation, dedicated entirely to helping children.
Advantage - Clemens.

Impressive Numbers
Norris - counted to infinity. Twice.
Clemens - 4,502 strikeouts, 3.12 career ERA, 341 wins and 118 complete games.
Advantage - Clemens.

Relationship with President Bush
Norris - contrary to popular belief, George Bush is a great speaker and rarely misprounces words. He appears incompetent because he knows Chuck Norris is watching.
Clemens - Gets frequent calls from both Bush the president, and Bush the ex-president. According to Michael Wilbon, "he'd come to the White House often enough that he'd become friends with members of the Secret Service, with soldiers."
Advantage - Norris (mainly because Bush is a huge douche)

Selling Out
Norris - sold his soul to the devil for his rugged good looks and unparalleled martial arts ability. Shortly after the transaction was finalized, Chuck rounhouse kicked the devil in teh face and took his soul back.
Clemens - sold his soul to the devil when he left the Red Sox and went to Toronto to win 2 Cy Youngs, and followed that up by going to the Red Sox rivals the Yankees, where he won 1 more Cy Young and 2 world championships (please forgive me if that sounded too much like Simmons).
Advantage - Norris

Offseason Workout
Norris - Total gym fitness and weight loss machine.
Clemens - Grinding his arm through a garbage can filled with rice, over and over.
Advantage - Clemens

Dealing with Children
Norris - frequently signs up for beginner karate classes, just so he can "accidentally" beat the shit out of little kids.
Clemens - again, throws fastballs at little kids heads if they hit a home run off of him.
Advantage - Norris

Putting substances into their bodies
Norris - to prove it isn't that big of a deal to beat cancer, Chuck Norris smoked 15 cartons of cigarettes a day for 2 years and aquired 7 different kinds of cancer only to rid them from his body by flexing for 30 minutes.
Clemens: Most likely on The Juice.
Advantage - Norris

So there you have it. Winner, AND STILL champion: Chuck Norris! A 5-3 unanimous decision over the rocket. However, the rocket did put up a good fight, and is still a badass... even if he has to make himself feel like more of a man by throwing fastballs at his teenage sons head.

-SEL

Monday, February 27, 2006 

Coming Strong with Phil (2/27)


[Editors Note: Phil is SEL's little brother, and is writing exclusively for Noobsports.com. He is very opinionated, and can do an outstanding impression of a "Bulldog" when he's had enough to drink.]

I have two words for you: Jason McElwain. For those of you unfamiliar with the story, let me fill you in. Jason is a 17-year-old autistic student at Greece Athena High School in Rochester, NY. After getting cut from the team, Jason became the team manager. For the division title game, the coach decided to let J-MAC suit up instead of wearing a shirt and tie as manager. The coach had no intention to put J-MAC into the game. After the team went up by double digits, the fans began chanting for Jason. With four minutes remaining, Jason checked into his first high school basketball game ever. After missing his first two shots, Jason proceeded to drop 20 points. Yeah, 20 points. He rained 6 consecutive threes and hit a long jumper (which was a three but his foot was on the line). Feel good story of the year? Absolutely. After the game J-MAC said, "I was really hotter than a pistol!" My only problem? The coach said for the next game Jason will be back on the bench with his shirt and tie. After a T-Mac-esque performance I would have J-MAC on the bench in case the team needed I don’t know, say 60 points in a quarter. What’s J-MAC doing after high school? “I'll go on to college and I'll try to hoop there". I am surely pulling for you J-MAC! [Editors Note: We linked to this story yesterday. To see the news coverage of it, click here]

Ricky Williams failed yet another drug test. Unbelievable. Ricky, what’s going on big guy? Don’t you owe the Dolphins well over 9 figures? Can you not stay out of trouble for a few years? After you pay your debts off, you can burn all the tree you want, but until then you have to stay clean bud. I have a real hard time comprehending why this should be so hard. This is what Ricky’s mom Sandy Williams had to say about it all: "He's so particular about what he puts in his body now. I'll bet my life he's not smoking marijuana.” Really? Your life? I might bet a 40 or a loosey, but your life? That seems a little extreme. Given Slick Rick’s track record, I just wouldn’t be all that shocked to hear he was burning tree again. I’ve heard that it may not be marijuana that he tested for but I still can’t understand why Ricky is failing drug tests. Ricky, drugs are bad mmmkay.

The Lions are also bad. That’s not even my opinion; it’s an actual fact. They are just plain terrible. So bad that I stopped watching them on Sundays because it made my day (and week) that much worse. Ask my friends. So, this off-season I decided that I would only occasionally read about what is going on because I have no doubt that Millen is messing something up (probably even right now as I type this column). I try not to get to excited or upset about it. However, the other day I was reading and I read that Mike Martz wants to keep Joey Harrington because he thinks he can succeed. Uhh Mike, please pass what ever it is that you’re smoking over here because it seems that you have tied on a very strong buzz. My guess: Hash. In any case, it must be good because you have to be really fucked up to go off and say something so wrong. Your evaluation of Joseph Harrison is so far from reasonable that I just pray to the heavens you said that purely out of sports political correctness (I suppose you can’t just walk into a new city and say my blind, 6 year old daughter with two fingers who’s in a wheel chair can lead a football team better than Harrington).

So it appears that Sammy and Barry are slowly leaving baseball. Sosa, unwilling to take less than a million per, may not even be coming back for one more season. Bonds sounds like he will only play one, maybe two more, which will not be enough time to break the record. The way I see it? They both recognized that they have cheated the game of baseball with things like corked bats and steroids. Now there are plenty of readers out there that will read this and give the old “well Bonds never tested for steroids so he is not guilty”. Then why wouldn’t he ever take a drug test to prove doubters? Look, Phil Mickelson has never tested positive for jelly filled doughnuts, but I can assure you that he dabbles frequently. Bond’s head to body ratio is equivalent to that of a bobble head. To say that he has been juicing is an understatement. Both Bonds and Sosa have enough respect for the game to fade away slowly, but neither has the nads to admit why they are doing it.

Finally, as I watched sports center the other day I saw one of the more shocking claims I think I’ve ever seen. Stephen A. Smith said “The Miami Heat are the reason there will not be a Pistons-Spurs repeat in the NBA finals”. Apparently the Heat’s win over the pistons on the 12th of February fueled such a statement. Look, Miami was playing at home, Dwayne Wade had arguably his best game ever, Shaq diesel put up 30+ (something that very rarely occurs anymore), the Pistons played poorly, and the Heat won by two points. Two. Stephen, quite frankly, your show sucks ass. You are employed for the same reason Bill Walton is; you say the most outlandish shit and people get a kick out of watching you publicly embarrass your reputation. You are looking at the best Pistons starting five to ever step on the court. The Heat will be lucky to win a game, much less the whole series. My suggestion? Go take Brian Collin’s job at Ball state. Stephen A. passes to the man and boom goes the dynamite.

 

Sunday, Sunday.... Monday! (2/27)


Yet another excellent week in the books at Noob Sports. Readership continues to climb, and we (once again) would like to thank all the fans for spreading the information via word of mouth. It's very rewarding for us to hear that people like the site, and that they heard about it from their friends. Plus, you should all pick up the newest "Newsweek", as we get a shoutout on page 14 in their "Blog Watch" section.

A Look Behind


-SEL caught a bad case of the itis. Footballitis that is. Part I. Part II.

- NJV was living large at the Pistons vs. Bulls game. Nothing like playing drinking games at a professional sporting event.

- The 5th of 6 MLB Offseason Report Cards were completed. The NL Cental.

A Look Ahead

- Noobsports 2.0 is still being worked on. Right now, we're in the stage of finding the best freelance web designer to help us out. Exciting.

- Our 2nd Noob Sports football mock draft will come out sometime this week.

- We will finish our sixth and final MLB Offseason Report Card.

- 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.

- Stealing a laptop computer is funny, but stealing a professors laptop? Now that's crossing the line. I would be scared SHITLESS if I was the culprit and sitting in this profs class.

- You might have already seen this, but if you haven't, you absolutely need to check it out. It's the story of Jason McElway, an autistic high school kid that gets into his first basketball game (and lights it up). Honestly, you couldn't come up with a better script for a movie than what actually happens here.

- Two of our favorite things in the world combine into one: Michael Jackson and Midgets!

Finally, reader Marshall G. from Midtown put it best this week:
Davis sent me an email a couple weeks ago regarding the site and I have been getting to work early to check in on it everyday since. Nothing better than a cup of coffee, a chew, and some noobsports.
Those are normally the connections I make with Noob Sports as well... coffee and chew.


A Case of the Mondays Recapping the important events of the weekend...

- The #4 Connecticut Huskies beat #2 Villanova 89-75 on Sunday, avenging a loss to the Wildcats earlier this month in Philadelphia. 'Nova couldn't keep up with the Huskies' scoring pace (54.5 FG% to 33.8%) and was beat on the glass (36-34). The Huskies also went 8 of 13 from behind the arc, while the Wildcats went 9 for 30. Hilton Armstrong had 8 of UConn's 11 blocks, and Pat Forde believes the win highlighted why UConn should be the favorite to win the national title.

In the Big 10, Michigan St. lost to Indiana 78-71 in Mike Davis' final home game on Sunday and Michigan lost to Ohio St. 64-54 on Saturday. Illinois was able to bounce back from their loss to Michigan earlier in the week to beat Iowa 71-59. The Big 10 conference is brutally deep this year and deserves to place a lot of teams in the tourney. These teams have been beating the snot out of each other this year, with most games decided by the home court advantage.

- In our first unnecessary and under achieving NFL mock draft, we outlined the possibility of the Texans trading down in the draft and targeting tackle D'Brickashaw Ferguson. Sunday, Houston GM Charlie Casserly confirmed that his team is involved in ongoing discussions with other teams involving the first overall pick. Its still likely that the Texans will take Reggie Bush, but my sweet Brick would be their top priority if the team moves down a few slots in the draft.

- The Winter Olympics finally ended. The United States finished second with 25 total medals, behind the Germans' 29 and just ahead of Canada's 24. Fairly disappointing; thanks Bode.

Hopefully, NBC learned its lesson about tape delayed sporting events. Numerous times during the Games, I found myself checking sports websites at work in the afternoon as they ran the results for competitions that would be on the air that night. Needless to say, I wasn't racing home to watch Bode when I already knew he was going to blow it again. Dick Ebersol, get this fixed before the next Olympics or quit crying about your low ratings, you noob. Of course we shouldn't be too surprised that Ebersol is behind the curve. This is the guy who once called high definition TV a gimmick.

-The Noob Sports Family

Sunday, February 26, 2006 

SEL Has Footballitis (Part II)


Continuied from Thursday... Click Here to read Part I.

MIDFIELDERS:

I think this is where The Bruce is going to have to make the toughest decisions. If we play out of a traditional 4-4-2, we're going to have two central midfielders, and two outside midfielders. Really, the only position that is solidified is Demarcus Beasley (DMB) at outside left mid. His form for PSV Eindhoven has been excellent, and he is one of the fastest players on the planet. His left foot is golden, and his ability to take on defenders 1 on 1, his ability to put a good service into the box, and his ability to finish make him the surest thing for the USA. Landon Donovan is going to be on the field, but I think that discussion trends towards "where will he best suit us?"

The other three positions (center mid, center mid, right mid) are where it gets REALLY interesting. Names that are going to be thrown around are Reyna, Donovan, O'Brien, Dempsey, Mastroeni, and Ralston... plus a few more. If Captain America (Claudio Reyna... not Matt Seitz) is healthy, he will be in the center of the field for us. A veteran, Reyna is the best American player from his generation, yet he can still certainly play and be one of the best players on the pitch. If he is healthy, he undoubtedly will don the #10 jersey and the captains armband.

John O'Brien. The former Ajax standout and current ADO Den Haag player is, in my humble opinion, easily the best soccer player on the U.S. Men's team. Unfortunately, he is more injury prone than Vince Carter and Ken Griffey Jr. combined. When O'Brien is healthy, he makes more things happen than anybody else on our team. He is more creative, has better vision, and better playmaking ability than any single other player... and it's not even close. Many of us should remember his goal against Portugal, and really his fine play throughout Japan/Korea '02. Please get healthy J.O.B., we need you.

One thing I think we might consider trying would be to move Landon Donovan to right-mid. Chelsea has just done this with their all-star Steven Gerrard, and they've had great results. It will give Donovan more room to be creative, and take some of the pressure off of him that will certainly be applied by the American media (kind of), and the pressure of him having to prove himself in Germany (since his first stint there was such a disaster). If we're rolling 4 deep in the midfield, I would LOVE to see DMB left, Landon (and his power alleys) right, with J.O.B. and Captain America in the middle. If we roll 5 deep, throw Clint Dempsey into the mix, and we have a bigtime, almost world-class midfield.

FORWARDS:

It looks like we'll be running with two up top. The obvious choice is Brian McBride... he's experienced, he is an animal in the air, he can hold the ball well, and he can (on occasion) finish. When McHead is playing well, we always have a chance to score.

Besides McHead, the peoples choice has to be Eddie Johnson. Eddie burst onto the scene scoring a goal in his first game for the USMNT, and followed that by scoring a hat-trick against Panama (in 17 minutes). He's shown he can finish, but he's still VERY young and untested. He hasn't gone up against some of the best defenders in the world, plus he's coming off a year long turf toe injury that finally appears healed. Questions about his health, and about how he'll perform under pressure linger, but I'd still love to see him.

The recent solid play of Taylor Twellman have him pretty much guaranteed a spot on the team of 23 heading to Germany. He's been able to score bunches in the MLS, but has finished poorly in international competitions. Josh Wolff is also an option, though I'm not as high on him.

Don't Tread

This is interesting. Clint Dempsey made a soccer rap video. Take a look at that and tell me what you think. Personally, I'm not a big rap fan, so I can't really comment on the music... but I've been told it's not bad. The video itself is interesting as well. Clint Dempsey is from Nacadoches, TX, and was raised in a very poor area and grew up in a trailor park. So from that viewpoint, there is some legitimacy in the video. Again, I'd like to know what other people think... maybe it's just Nike trying to market their product to a different demographic.

So Says This American Game

This might also be Nike trying to push their products down their throat, but it's cool nonetheless. It sounds like a poem the D-Shark would read, something you would hear on Def Poetry Jam. It's called "So says this American Game". I think it's awesome, and it has me more excited for the World Cup and the future of American soccer.

-SEL

Saturday, February 25, 2006 

Living Large at Pistons vs. Bulls


It's all who you know, and fortunately I have a friend who works for the Detroit Pistons. That same friend, Paul, was generous enough to spot me one of his comped tickets for Friday night's game in Chicago. Comfortably seated in a luxury suite at the United Center, I watched as the 'Stons beat the Chicago Bulls 95-87.

The good times began shortly after 7, when as I'm loitering near the Michael Jordan statue outside Gate 4, I can't help but over-hear the first big news of the night from a Bulls' employee: MJ is in the building. He built this stadium and his presence can still electrify the place. 15 minutes later, we ride the elevator up to the penthouse level and see that the walls are adorned with framed photos of Air Jordan's best moments. The pictures remind me of Jumpman 23's new commercial which features young ballers reenacting MJ's famous plays. I'm not a Jordan fan by any stretch of the imagination, but the ad is absolutely stellar. My only complaint is that during the reenactment of Jordan hitting a jumper over Byron Russell, the teenage psuedo MJ doesn't completely chuck the teenage pseudo Russell to the ground.

While dodging several enormous rolling dessert trays, we notice the hundreds of Pistons jerseys walking into the game. The Detroit delegation is strong and loud and always thinks it's clever when one of their rank decided to start the next "Deee-troit Basketball!" chant. From the opening tip, the 'Stons fans were almost as loud as those of the hometown Bulls. They even continue to yell "'Sheeeeed!" throughout the game while Rasheed Wallace struggles from the floor (1-13), proving that Detroit fans have embraced him more than I ever thought possible while he was in Portland. Their rowdiness helps balance out the general lack of noise coming from the penthouse level. Apparently, rich people are too sweet to clap.

During the first quarter, a few things become apparent. First off, the Pistons are twice as good as the Bulls. The 'Stons are getting good looks every time down the floor while the Bulls offense sputters. Despite Ben Gordon scoring 12 points, Detroit ends the quarter up comfortably, 25-18. On the "Flip" side, Detroit's coach and players also whine incessantly. After the game, Chicago coach Scott Skiles would say "they literally complain about every call all night long. They are having a great year doing it. I'm not sure what that says." What it says is that the Pistons cry to the refs nearly as much as Vlade Divac used to.

Secondly, I like this Bulls team. I was even mocked during the game for claiming that the Bulls would keep it close because they're "scrappy." Gordon, Luol Deng, and Kirk Hinrich form the core while Tyson Chandler, Andres Nocioni, and Chris Duhon are quality role players. Skiles is an underrated coach; the Bulls were terrible before he was hired. All this team lacks is a dominant post player, someone like Elton Brand. Trading Brand to get younger was very questionable at the time and is even more so now. If he were still in the Windy City, this team would be a top 3 team in the Eastern Conference. Alas, Chicago's best scoring option down low is currently Othella Harrington. Without a post game, the offense is a lot of dribbling and shooting by Hinrich and Gordon.

Of course, I also notice that watching a game from a suite is certainly a different experience than watching from the cheap seats I'm accustomed to. Obviously, its much more comfortable than squeezing next to your typical oversized Chicago sports fan. It's nice not having to worry about rubbing elbows with someone trying to devour their Polish Sausage. There are also less obvious perks: you have a closet for coats, tables for drinks and food, less crowded bathrooms, and some semblance of quiet and privacy. If you're a baller, you can also be waited on hand and foot for roughly the cost of the mid-level exception.

There is one more distinct advantage to watching a game from a luxury box: the opportunity to play drinking games. During the second half, my friends and I decided to re-live our glory days of playing Flippy Cup in dark basements during college. Luxury Box Flippy Cup can be played against the shot clock, preferably on a possession after a timeout or a free throw. The 16 oz. plastic cups in which the United Center serves its Miller products are nearly regulation size and worked perfectly. The snooty types who frequent the penthouse level might find it a bit immature, but the experience of acing a flip while Ben Gordon swishes a jumper in the same building is highly recommended.

Perhaps the highlight of the night also occurs during the second half: the United Center cameras show an extended close up of Michael Jordan. The entire arena stands and rows of people turn in their seats to face the luxury box of his Airness and give him the loudest ovation of the night. He is wearing a Kangol hat and a cellphone wrapped around his ear, as mentioned in Bill Simmons' recent All Star article. MJ just smiles and holds his pose, but his presence has elevated the game experience for everyone in the house and he knows it. He owns this stadium and this city, after all.

However, MJ's presence doesn't help the Bulls tonight. Their "scrappiness" allows them to get close, but the Pistons lock in down the stretch to close out the game. If Ben Gordon doesn't get hot late, Chicago struggles to win close games. In a couple years, assuming that the Bulls are able to sign or trade for another impact player (Paul Pierce?), this rivalry could be something special once again. The teams and coaches don't like each other and they might find themselves facing off in the first round of this year's playoffs.

Overall, the luxury experience at United Center was a terrific change of pace (although the Zenith TVs in the boxes needed to be upgraded to flat panel plasmas, let's be serious). Being able to mingle amongst a group of friends during the game is fantastic; I can understand why corporations spend hundreds of thousands on these suites to schmooze their clients. The only drawback is the feeling of being slightly removed from the game itself. During my last trip to the UC for this season's opener, I felt more a part of the game and its atmosphere while in the cheap seats. Perhaps comfort and luxury are worth hundreds of thousands to some, but feeling like a true fan in the nosebleed section might be priceless.

Just kidding, I'll take the penthouse. What am I, a communist?

-NJV

Friday, February 24, 2006 

Noobie, Noobie, Noob (2/24)


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

Noob of the Week:
Illinois governor Rod Blagojevich granted Comedy Central's "The Daily Show" an interview this week, without knowing that the show was a comedy. At one point, the confused governor had to ask an off-camera aide "is he teasing me, or is that legit?"

Noob Sports Trade of the Week:
The Cavaliers dealt Mike Wilks for Ronald "Flip" Murray. Murray, averaging 9.9 ppg this season, will step in at shooting guard for the injured Larry Hughes, who is out for the remainder of the regular season. Flip is certainly no All Star, but we're shocked that the Sonics accepted Mike Wilks as fair compensation for him. The 26 year old Wilks was not drafted coming out of Rice and averaged only 6.8 minutes per game this year, unable to crack a PG rotation of Eric Snow and Damon Jones. Plus, the Sonics had addressed their need for a backup PG with the addition of Earl Watson from Denver. How did GM Rick Sund not at least get a pick thrown in the deal?

Noob Sports Petition of the Week:
Hoth for the 2014 Winter Olympic Games, courtesy of our friends at the Wade Blogs.

Noob Sports Career Change of the Week:
Jim Tressel

Noob Sports Summit of the Week:
The First Annual Atrocious GM Summit. The NBA's All Star Game and trading deadline have brought the best out in the Sports Guy.

Noob Sports Gambling Lock of the Week:
Shane Mosley over Fernando Vargas by decision, 7-5 odds.

Noob Sports Inspirational Story of the Week:
From loyal reader Kristin W., the story of a high school wrestler who is using sports to help cope with the loss of his parents. Hey, its not all fun and games around here...

-The Noob Sports Family

Thursday, February 23, 2006 

SEL Has Footballitis (Part I)


First of all, I'd like to start off with an apology. I apologize to everybody (namely myself) who has expected a soccer article out of me, since it is 1) inarguably the greatest sport in the history of the world (maybe second best, behind slamball), and 2) it's by far the sport which I'm most passionate about. Completely unnacceptable.

Okay, apologies over. On to SEL's footballitis thoughts:

Chelsea vs. Barcelona

First off, that red card given go Del Horno was bullshit. Yes he came in too hot, but Messi left his feet and jumped into him... both of them went down injured. It should have either been a yellow card to each of them, or nothing to each of them. CERTAINLY not a straight up red to Del Horno. This put Chelsea at 10 men for the final 60 minutes of play, and even though they went up 1-0, they couldn't hold off the fierce Barcelona attack and lost 2-1.

There was a bigger story here besides the shocker red card and Barca breaking Chelsea's 49 game home winning streak: Leonel Messi. This kid can BALL. He is Argentinian by birth, and plays his club soccer at Barcelona. He is currently 18 years old, and was EASILY the best player on the pitch Wednesday afternoon.

People have said that he's the next football savior for Argentina, the next Maradona. Well, Maradona himself has been quoted to say that not only is Messi the new Maradona, but he's already better now, at age 18, than Maradona ever was. Further proof? Ronaldinho (reigning world footballer of the year, and by most accounts the best player on earth right now), in an interview with 4-4-2 magazine, said "...it is ludicrous to call me the best in the world. I'm not even the best in Barça." This is coming from the best player in the world. Talking about an 18 year old kid on his team. Messi is flat out the truth, and should be a superstar at this summers World Cup (plus he has a pretty good Mullet working in his favor).

US Men's National Team

The U.S. has moved up to 6th in the world, trailing only Brazil, Czech Republic, Holland, Argentina, and France (and tied with Mexico and Spain). That means we're ranked ahead of perennial soccer powers England, Portugal, Italy, and Germany. That's pretty boss.

Bruce Arena (The Bruce) has the squad looking in fine form. In our last 3 games, we have pistol whipped Norway (5-0), dominated Japan (3-2... score didn't indicate the domination), and destroyed Guatamala (4-0). It should probably be noted that all 3 of these games were played on U.S. soil, and also that we were basically using our J.V. team (almost exclusively MLS players).

Personally, I like The Bruce's strategy here. He knows our players overseas can ball (Beasley, Onyewu, Keller, Reyna, McBride, et. al), so he's giving some of our bubble players a shot to make the team. We can only take 23 to Germany this summer, so this is a great chance for The Bruce to find out who the last slots are going to go to. He is also naming the team more than a month in advance of the deadline... presumably to give the 23 players the most time to practice, to gel, and to get ready to take on "The Group of Death." (Czech Republic, USA, Italy, and Ghana).

Here is a breakdown of my thoughts concerning our different positions for this summers World Cup (Keepers and Defenders today, Midfielders and Forwards tomorrow):

KEEPERS:

Casey Keller has the #1 slot on lockdown. The Borussia Moenchengladbach keeper has been in fine club form, and is one of the top 5 international goalies in the world. There is no doubt that old balls should be between the pipes for the U.S. (and that's not gay slang for anything). The discussion comes down to 2 things: how many keepers should we bring (2 or 3), and who should they be?

Personally, I think we should bring 3 keepers. If 1 keeper goes down, you don't have an insurance policy. So if the backup goes down as well (which isn't out of the realm of possibility), you have to put a field player in net. Bad times.

The argument then becomes: who are the 2? By most accounts, people are saying Tim Howard (Manchester United) and Kevin Hartman (Los Angeles Galaxy). Personally, I think Hartman should be the #2 in line. He has had great club success, has been playing every game, and is coming into the World Cup full of confidence. I'm a little leery of Howard. Yes he trains and plays with one of the best clubs in the world (United), but he isn't seeing constant first team action. He'll see a game every now and then, or a half every now and then. I'm just not confident in his ability to step onto the worlds biggest stage and perform like Keller will. Plus he has Tourette's syndrome

DEFENDERS:

3 things to discuss - Oguchi Onyewu, Eddie Pope, and Todd Dunivant.

Oguchi Onyewu is a stud. "The Gooch" represents the future of American soccer: bigger, faster, stronger, smarter, and more skillful. The man is a beast (about 6'4", 220), and has the frame of a middle linebacker, not a central defender. Because of his size, he wins everything in the air (just ask Mexico), and wins many challenges on the ground. He is a good communicator and organizer, and will be the backbone of our defense. The only worries about him are his tendency to pick up red cards (at least at Standard Liege). The Gooch makes us much more dangerous on set pieces because of his size and ability to get a head on the ball and put it on net. Look for him to be a star at the World Cup this summer.

Eddie Pope has no business even being in the discussion for making our MNT, but he is. He's old, slow, and bad. He gets beat easily on the ground, he loses his mark often, and can't distribute the ball. The only positives are that he is a veteran, and he is fast. Sweet. Look, Eddie Johnson is TERRIBLE, and his season at Real Salt Lake can only be described as "awful"... and that's being generous. He had a great career, but it's time to let him go, and he shouldn't even be given second thought for making the USMNT (but he will be). I've been a Pope hater for a long time (if you've ever watched a game with me you know this), and I feel that at this point in his career, he's a discgrace to the #23. I also feel that right now I'm a better soccer player than he is, and I'm dead serious.

The Guatamala game didn't really test him, but the game against Japan did... and Todd Dunivant rose to the occasion. The two big question marks about our national team this year are left back, and right mid. Dunivant looked very solid against Japan defensively, and he looked especially dangerous getting forward. He's left-footed, and he led to the U.S.'s first 2 goals against Japan. One was a long ball from about midfield right onto Taylor Twellman's head, the other was a nice pass into Clint Dempsey. I'd like to see him face some stiffer competition (Jamaica?) before the World Cup, but I like what I've seen so far. If the Bruce decides to put him in at left back, I feel good about his decision and think that the unsung Dunivant will do a bang-up job.

(Part II of SEL has Footballitis will run tomorrow, starting off with a discussion of the USMNT midfielders and forwards)

-SEL

 

More Hotness: Noob Sports appears in Newsweek


Noob Sports and Bode Miller Experiment are discussed in the February 27 edition of Newsweek, which is on newsstands now. We appear on page 14 under the heading Blog Watch, "a mainstream-media look at what's hot (and what's not) in the ever-widening world of weblogs." You can also view the mention by following this link.

Newsweek is a pretty big deal. You can find the magazine in every grocery checkout line or bookstore across America, but we suggest stealing it from your dentist's office. Of course, that damn Shaun White bumped us again, this time from the cover, but it's still pretty hype. Plus, we didn't have to shoot any of our friends in the face to make the magazine (although we certainly would).

-The Noob Sports Family

Wednesday, February 22, 2006 

NL Central Offseason Report Cards


The NL Central is the fifth of the six MLB divisions to be graded by Noobsports.

Chicago Cubs
Additions: OF Juan Pierre, OF Jacque Jones, OF/INF John Mabry, RP Scott Eyre, RP Bobby Howry, SP Wade Miller, OF Marquis Grissom, P Jason Simontacci, re-signed INF Neifi Perez, re-signed SP Glendon Rusch
Subtractions: OF Corey Patterson, OF Jeromy Burnitz, OF Todd Hollandsworth, SS Nomar Garciaparra, P Sergio Mitre, RP Mike Remlinger

Awarding "Worst Offseason, NL" to the Cubs has drawn some ire from fans on the North Side of Chicago (hey, boosters!!!). Here is the rationale behind the decision: there isn't a single move that the Cubs made that could be classified as "above average," aside from the low-risk addition of Wade Miller. They overpaid Howry, Eyre, and Jones and while Pierre is a much needed lead off hitter, the Marlins gave away Delgado and LoDuca for less. Baseball America even goes so far to say that the package the Cubs gave up might have been the best return the Marlins got in an offseason full of salary dumps. Throw in Tribune Co.'s antics (the raised ticket prices, the new bleacher seats, and the lowered payroll) and you have yourself a fairly embarassing offseason. I am not claiming that any of the additions weren't upgrades, but Nothing has changed in Wrigleyville: Kerry Wood and Mark Prior have to have huge years for the Cubs to compete.

(Note: I was willing to give GM Jim Hendry a free pass for signing Marquis Grissom, but now rumors have surfaced that the Cubs are interested in Juan Gonzalez. There are few athletes who I despise as much as Igor, but I have to give him some credit for getting himself in "the best condition of [his] life." If I was him, my life would be in absolute shambles after turning down a guaranteed $148 million or so from the Tigers at the height of MLB's spending spree. Think Ron Burgundy after he gets fired from the Channel 4 News Team, except with violent tendencies. Milk was a baaaad choice. The thought of accepting a minor league deal would probably drive me to buy a flamethrower and pull an Ugueth Urbina on the agent who advised me not to take Detroit's money.)

Offseason Grade: C-

Cincinnatti Reds
Additions: SP Dave Williams, RP Grant Balfour, RP Chris Hammond, 2b/OF Tony Womack, INF Frank Menechino, re-signed INF Rich Aurilia
Subtractions: 1b Sean Casey, 2b D'Angelo Jimenez, SP Ramon Ortiz

Trading Sean Casey and his bloated salary for a much needed starter was commendable, but the Reds should have gone much further. The Cincinnatti lineup is actually pretty good but the pitching staff is so bad that Eric Milton (8-15, 6.47) is currently listed as the third starter on the depth chart. Without any blue chip pitching prospects ready to make an impact, the Reds need to deal off their veteran stars, starting with Ken Griffey Jr. Griffey won NL Comeback Player of the Year award in 2005 and has value around the league. If the Reds are willing to eat most of his salary, Junior should net the team a couple top prospects. Adam Dunn is probably Cincinnatti's most valuable chip and he is young enough that the team will be reluctant to part with him. However, if the Reds can get a breath-taking offer at the trade deadline, they have no choice but to take it and begin a complete rebuilding project.

Offseason Grade: C-

Houston Astros
Additions: OF Preston Wilson, re-signed C Brad Ausmus, re-signed 1b/3b Mike Lamb, re-signed RP Russ Springer, re-signed INF Orlando Palmeiro
Subtractions: INF Jose Vizcaino, RP Scott Strickland

After going to the World Series, the Astros made only one significant pickup, might have lost their best player, and tried to force the face of the franchise into retirement. The good? Preston Wilson's signing brings some power to a below average lineup but he is far from flawless. He strikes out constantly and struggles to hit for average. Still, the 'Stros were wise to invest just $4.5 million to bring his home run swing to Minute Maid Park.

The bad? The future of Roger Clemens is still uncertain, except that he can not pitch for Houston until May 1 after the team declined to offer him arbitration. It is hard to fault the club for doing so, as he would have made well upwards of $20 million through the arbitration process. Clemens anchoring the rotation is absolutely necessary if the 'Stros want to have any chance at going deep into the postseason again. The Rocket could retire or sign with another team such as the Rangers, so his return to Houston is far from a sure thing.

The ugly? The Astros have filed an insurance claim on the remaining year of Jeff Bagwell's contract, despite the first basemen's desire to play in 2006. Bagwell has suffered a severe injury to his shoulder and the team hoped that the $15.6 million owed to him this year would be picked up by insurance. Bagwell has promised that he will go to spring training anyway, but there is no doubt that he deserved better treatment.

Offseason Grade: Incomplete


Milwaukee Brewers
Additions: 3b Corey Koskie, SP David Bush, 2b Brent Abernathy, re-signed 3b Jeff Cirillo, re-signed C Chad Moeller, re-signed P Rick Helling
Subtractions: 1b Lyle Overbay, 1b/3b Wes Helms, RP Julio Santana

The Brewers may have had the best offseason of any team in the NL Central. Unfortunately, that's like saying that Emilio Estevez had the best film career by any cast member of "The Breakfast Club". Although he is a good player, it was the right time to trade Overbay, if only because stud slugging prospect Prince Fielder was waiting in the wings. Fielder, Rickie Weeks and J.J. Hardy should all start this year for the Brew Crew and you have to love the sheer talent of that infield. The addition of Koskie (in exchange for nothing) at third should move Bill Hall into a super-utility role. Bush is an intriguing piece for an improving rotation featuring Ben Sheets, Doug Davis, and Chris Capuano who all had ERAs under 4 last season. It is doubtful that Milwaukee can contend in 2006, but I like Prince Fielder so much that I will follow this club from start to finish. I like where this team is headed and GM Doug Melvin is doing a fantastic job.

Offseason Grade: C+

Pittsburgh Pirates
Additions: 1b Sean Casey, RP Damaso Marte, RP Roberto Hernandez, RP Terry Adams, OF Jeromy Burnitz, RP Scott Strickland, 3b Joe Randa
Subtractions: SP Josh Fogg, RP Jose Mesa, INF Rob Mackowiak, SS Alfredo Amezaga, SP Dave Williams, 3b Ty Wigginton

The Pirates replaced Lloyd McClendon with his exact opposite in former Dodger skipper Jim Tracy. The team hopes he will have the opposite effect as well, and so far, so good. The players are raving about Tracy and his staff for their "hands-on" approach while baseball fans will miss McClendon's hilarious outbursts at the umpires. The upgrade at manager helps make up for a very average offseason. The club improved the lineup by trading for Casey and signing Burnitz, but lost Fogg and Williams from the rotation, and replaced Jose Mesa with Roberto Hernandez. These are only stop-gap solutions which will not benefit the club long term. Tracy must hope that both Zach Duke and Oliver Perez can reach their potential and anchor the rotation for years while quiet stud OF Jason Bay continues to mash.

Offseason Grade: C-

St. Louis Cardinals
Additions: OF Juan Encarnacion, RP Braden Looper, OF Larry Bigbie, SP Sidney Ponson, 2b Aaron Miles, 2b Junior Spivey, C Gary Bennett, INF Deivi Cruz, RP Jeff Nelson, RP Ricardo Rincon
Subtractions: 2b Mark Grudzielanek, RP Ray King, OF Larry Walker, OF Reggie Sanders, SP Matt Morris, OF/INF John Mabry, RP Julian Tavarez, C Einar Diaz, OF/INF Abraham Nunez

The Cardinals made only lateral moves this winter. Encarnacion and Bigbie are decent enough players, but they are hardly going to elevate the Cardinals from perennial division winners to perennial World Series champions. Some critics have called Looper's 3 year contract the worst of the offseason but he and Rincon must effectively replace King and Tavarez in the bullpen. Degenerate Ponson might have been worth a shot but not at the cost of keeping prospect Anthony Reyes out of the rotation. Reyes is ready for the bigs despite refusing to bend the bill of his cap, inexplicably following the fashion trend set by my 50 year old father. The biggest question for manager Tony LaRussa is whether or not losing good character players like Sanders and Walker will hurt team chemistry. With third baseman Scott Rolen healthy once again and the NL Central having a terrible winter, the Birds are still the team to beat in the division.

Offseason Grade: C

-NJV

Tuesday, February 21, 2006 

That Damn Shaun White


So I open up my Noob Sports inbox today, and I see an email with the title "You're Getting Bumped for Shaun White...". I proceed to read on, and realize that it's true: Shaun White is replacing me on the Sports Bloggers Live radio show today. I do realize that this is DEVASTATING news to the hundreds (if not hundreds of thousands) of Noob Sports fans out there that were going to tune into the show. That flying tomatoe sonofabitch.

All is not lost though, I will be on the show Thursday afternoon... the show broadcasts at 5 PM EST. More information as the date approaches.

I will give the guy some credit though, he IS the most successful red head in the history of the United States. Homeboy has an olympic gold medal in snowboarding, and more X-games medals (both snowboarding, and skateboarding, by the way) than Antonio Alfonseca has fingers (12).

Regardless, you should still listen to todays show, live at 7 PM EST. Click Here to go to their website and check it out.

Oh yeah, I also threatened Jamie, the host of Sports Bloggers Live, that I would "hunt his ass down and shank him, prison style" if he bumps me off the show again. Seriously.

-SEL

Monday, February 20, 2006 

A Case of the Mondays (2/20)


Recapping the important events of the weekend...

- Lebron James scored 29 points to lead the East to a come from behind victory over the West in the NBA All Star Game Sunday. The Lebrons also contributed to the victory by fouling Tracy McGrady as he attempted a game tying shot with seconds left. Said LBJ, "On his way up I got a piece of his arm and a piece of the ball, which made it short." While his honesty might be refreshing, his game no longer is. King James, the man-child who would revolutionize the game as the second coming of Magic Johnson, is officially a chucker.

Sunday, he jacked up 10 three pointers and he averages 4.8 three point attempts per game in the regular season, hitting at 34.5%. Until yesterday, I believed that he was just hoisting up so many shots (22.9 per game) because he didn't want to pass to Drew Gooden or Damon Jones, which is somewhat understandable. Now, I am concerned that LBJ has learned that it doesn't pay to pass in today's NBA. He can get away with this, as he is a great scorer, but passing was the aspect of his game that made him so appealing and refreshing. Hopefully, LBJ will realize that the association already has a Kobe and put more of an emphasis on using his sick talents to drop dimes.

- Ricky Williams has failed his fourth drug test, according to reports. If true, the violation means that Williams will face a year long suspension, although it might as well be forever. Ricky seemed to have salvaged his career during the 2005 season and teams around the league had started to ask the Dolphins about the running back's availability via trade. In other words, Williams might have been a starter once again in 2006. I'm certainly sympathetic, but he has clearly smoked himself retarded. If he wanted to be a stoner, why did he come back at all? If he wanted to come back and make money, then why risk it for a bong toke?

- Steve Francis continues to be shopped around the league. The Knicks, Nuggets, Timberwolves, and the Sonics have inquired about the PG but the best fit for a deal is with the Lakers. A swap of Lamar Odom, Stanislav Medvedenko, and Aaron McKie for Francis and Hedo Turkoglu works under the cap and makes sense for both teams. The Magic get better value in Odom than the trash the T'Wolves, Knicks, and Nuggets have been offering, as well as significant cap space, the driving force behind most NBA trades. The Lakers get an impact point guard while Turkoglu replaces Odom capably. The Lakers would lose rebounding but would gain lineup flexibility and scoring. So why won't this trade happen before Thursday's deadline? Lakers GM Mitch Kupchek overvalues Odom, even though he hasn't proven the best fit with Kobe, and he won't part with a draft pick. Instead, the Lakers will play it safe and try to get under the cap in the summer of '07, when Chris Bosh becomes a free agent.

- Speedskater Shani Davis became the first black athlete to win a Winter Olympics gold medal. To do so, Davis declined to compete with the U.S. relay team so that he focus on the individual 1000 meter event that he eventually won. Teammate Chad "The Weiner" Hedrick took issue with Davis' decision, as it denied "The Weiner" a chance at winning 5 medals during one Olympic Games. Some critics have asserted that Davis was chosen as a member of the U.S. Team, and therefore should have no choice but to compete in every race available.

Let's take a step back here. First of all, Davis did nothing wrong or uncommon. Pacing yourself is a common (and successful) theme in sports. Roger Clemens doesn't pitch every inning for his team and Jarome Iginla isn't on the ice for every minute of every game. Second of all, the man just broke a fairly large racial barrier and made history. Let's give him the benefit of the doubt on this one. "The Weiner" has got it twisted.

- Due to sickness, Tiger Woods pulled out of the Nissan Open on Saturday after making the cut Friday. Tiger said, "I had a funny feeling in my stomach and then I just knew I was going to explode if I didn't pull out. It was just too risky, and it could have gotten messy. I had to pull out before it was too late or I might regret it for years." His partner for the round would have been John (J.B) Holmes. When asked if he would ever consider pulling out, John Holmes chuckled to himself and asked if there was a "map of Hawaii" involved.

- The Noob Sports Family

 

Super Bowl Drinking Game Results


If you didn't know, a few weeks ago we put together an Official Noob Sports Drinking Game. The game was played by many college kids / adults who know how to party / town drunks across the country, and was given rave reviews. When we put the game up, we asked that if people played, that they send us their stories about the game. We got a number of responses, but this one, submitted by Nick W. from Northfield, Minnesota took the cake (plus they had somebody take pictures throughout the entire game... which is fantastic):

Greetings,

I'd like to thank you guys for providing the Super Bowl drinking game. A bunch of us got together last night, battling hangovers from the previous day that were still present, at least in me, upon kickoff, and proceeded to engage in the game.

It started off slowly, but turned into a fantastic time where the five of us playing put down close to 3/4 of a keg. This was partially due to us tweaking one of your rules (we turned the "take a shot" rule into a "slam a beer" rule, partially because the previous night involved copious amounts of shitty liquor such as Karkov Vodka, Windsor Whiskey, and Evan Williams Bourbon and I personally would have puked on the spot if I had to take another shot within 48 hours), but your game accounted for this festive occasion, and for that we are very grateful (though
disappointed in the lack of walrus or Sergeant Slaughter references).

The highlight of the game had to be when Michaels dropped the "Fast Willie" bombshell right before the commerical break after his long TD. That, combined with Randle-El's TD pass on a trick play, really put Team Seahawks (of which I was not a part of) over the top.

Even better, we managed to have a somewhat sober observer take pictures of both teams after every quarter to show how progressively we got more drunk. Really, the pictures don't manage to do the effects of the game justice, but they do provide a solid indicator. I think you'd appreciate images of D3 football players in rural Minnesota getting hammered off your game.

Thanks again for the game,

Nick W.
Five of them put down 3/4 of a barrel playing our game... awesome. I'm also glad to hear that we weren't the only ones dissapointed with the lack of a "walrus" or "Sergeant Slaughter" reference.

Anyway, we promised to post our favorite story, and this was it (apologies for the delay). These guys actually did a really good job of documenting the game with funny stories and photos throughout the game. The entire article (with comments and photos) can be seen here: Carleton College Noobs playing the Noob Sports Super Bowl Drinking Game. I HIGHLY suggest checking it out, as it's very humorous.

-SEL

Sunday, February 19, 2006 

Sunday, Sunday, Sunday! (2/19)


Another fantastic week here at Noob Sports, and frankly, we couldn't be more excited. We celebrated our 1 month aniversary on Thursday, and we feel that we've made remarkable strides in that time. In the first month of operation, we've had 26,350 visits to our site, and over 40,000 page views. We also made ESPN, pretty much a lifetime goal for any diehard sports fan... and we did it in the first month of our existence. Not bad for a couple of Noobs who really don't know what they're doing.

A look behind

- After being out of touch with civilization for about a week, SEL finally got his shit together and returned to the internet in triumphant fashion with his Bode Miller Experiment results. No longer a mountain man, SEL is back in Boulder where he actually has an internet connection that works.

- "Coming Strong With Phil" made it's Noob Sports debut. The fans seem to enjoy.

- D-Generation Nate delivered his fourth of six Offseason Report Cards.

- Busta Rhymes wins the first ever Noob Sports Lifetime Achievement Award.

A look ahead

- Tuesday evening at 7:50 EST, SEL will appear LIVE on the radio show Sports Bloggers Live. An updated link will be put up on Tuesday to instruct the fans where to go to hear this.

- The final two Offseason Report Cards from NJV.

- The results of The Official Noobsports.com Super Bowl Drinking Game, as told by the readers (yeah, we said we'd do this last week but we were busy. Give us a break.).

- 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.

- Quite possibly the single funniest thing on the internet. Apparently this is a real essay written by a real student, with real comments from the teacher. I think this gentleman might have a future as a writer for Noob Sports. (Warning: do NOT get all stoney or drunk and try reading this. It may be too funny for you to handle, and you might start laughing so hard you can't concentrate. Not that we'd know or anything...)

- A-Rod's friends are back!!! You might remember his buddies from our A-Rod chooses A Team article. Well, Lee Hotti and friends have joined us again, this time in video form. Douchebags running wild, commiting, "douchebaggery."

- Hey, original material! A huge thank you to TBaz at Tbaz Productions for throwing it together for us. (unfortunately the quality is a little lacking since we used a digital camera to shoot this). It's a video of SEL's ex-roommate Mr. Egedy, and shows what peer pressure can make you do. The video really doesn't do this story justice. There is a kicker built about 20 feet from the edge of a cornice, then another 15 feet to the landing. All in all, Mr. E probably flew 50 feet long, and dropped 25 feet. My favorite part is listening to the noise he makes in the air, which Mr. E compares to "the sound I would make if I was dying." You have to realize that it took us 20 minutes to talk him into doing this, and we were all convinced that he would be taken away in a meat wagon with at minimum a broken femur. Thankfully, he was unharmed (besides his pride, which took quite a blow from the little bitch noise he makes in the air).

- From reader Jason S. in Denver: Nacho Libre!

Once again we'd like to take this time to thank our readers. We love doing what we're doing, and we'll continue to keep providing the goods as long as you keep reading and spreading the good word. It's great to hear somebody say "I heard about this site through one of my buddies, it's awesome" or "my brother told me about this, I really like it." Honestly, we love that you guys are spreading the word, keep it up.

In other news, SEL has his undies all in a bunch about Noob Sports 2.0. That's right, noobsports.com is going to undergo a makeover in the near future. The content will remain unchanged, but the layout is going to be extremely different. We're taking into account ways we feel that we can improve the site and make it easier to navigate, as well as the immense feedback we've received from readers on ways to improve the site. However, these things take time and money (and SEL's patience), so we don't have an approximate date on when it will be released. We're most likely going to switch from Blogger to Wordpress, change the color scheme, get a logo, and pretty much make it 100X more awesome. That's our vision anyway.

We'll leave this weeks edition of S.,S., Sunday! with a comment from Noob Sports reader Andy B. in Ann Arbor, Mich. This is what Andy had to say (taken from an AIM conversation) about our piece running on Cold Pizza:

Andy B: the fact that I had my dual TVs running to watch it while I played Final Fantasy 2, show's my complete adoration of the site

Cheers mate.

- The Noob Sports Family

Saturday, February 18, 2006 

Noob Sports Lifetime Achievement Award


I watched quite a bit of the Grammies last week and the Recording Academy was handing out "Lifetime Achievement" awards like rocks at the 5 O'clock Free Crack Giveaway. I chuckled about it with a friend at the time but didn't think much of it until the next day. Then, while working for the man, I realized that they seriously did give out a pantsload of these "distinguished" awards. Upon further research, 7 musicians and 4 non-performers were "honored" with Grammy Lifetime Achievement awards or this year. That's ri-gawddamn-diculous. Shouldn't this Grammy be reserved for the absolute elite musicians? Might the standards be a bit low currently? Does the rumor that Gwar is up for the award next year have any substance?

At any rate, since the standards for lifetime achievement awards are so lax, Noob Sports has decided to announce the first ever recipient for our very own Lifetime Achievement Award. Our standards for this award are as follows: 1. potential recipients must have made a somewhat lengthy contribution to a somewhat decent sport, art form, or job, 2. the Noob Sports family must semi-enjoy the individual and his/her work. Now, without further ado, we will present the first ever Noob Sports Lifetime Achievement Award.

And the winner is....

Busta Rhymes!

Rhymes, born Trever Smith Jr., was chosen for his contributions to hip hop throughout the last 15 or so years. The members of the Noob Sports family are casual fans; I even own one of his CDs. The single Put Your Hands Where My Eyes Could See is classic and might be in contention for a spot in my list of top 10 rap songs. The video for the song was inspired by scenes from the movie Coming to America and is kind of boss.

His slightly above average new single Touch It features some nice rhyming and a better bass line than your Zebco. However, the hook is simple and more than a bit annoying. Other modest hits include Woo-Haa! Got You All in Check!, Dangerous, Break Ya Neck, and of course, Light Yo' Ass on Fire. All of these songs are moderately enjoyable, especially in the right atmosphere.


Busta Bus also founded the unexceptional Flipmode Squad, which featured the less talented but amusingly named rapper Spliff Star. Aside from his musical career, Rhymes has appeared in several middling films including 2000's Shaft and Finding Forrester and 2002's Halloween: Resurrection, as well as run-of-the-mill TV shows Cosby and The Steve Harvey Show.

The Noob Sports family is sort of proud to honor Busta Rhymes with its Lifetime Achievement Award for his mediocre impact on our lives. His fairly distinctive flow will probably never be forgotten. It is not inconcievable to say that we might even download a few of his songs, or even buy a used CD, at some point in the future.

Congratulations, Busta!

-NJV

Friday, February 17, 2006 

Noobie, Noobie, Noob (2/17)


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

Noob of the Week:
The Winter Olympics have provided us with plenty of candidates for Noob of the Week: Johnny Weir blamed his poor performance on Torino's bus schedule, and Australian gold medalist Dale Begg-Smith makes his money by plaguing your computer with pop-up ads. In a close vote, neither of those noobs could take this week's crown from snowboarder Lindsey Jacobellis. Leading by a shade over a country mile, Jacobellis tried throwing an unnecessary backside method grab as she neared the finish line. Needless to say, she took a spill which allowed Tanja Frieden of Switzerland to take the gold. While Jacobellis claims that silver suits her just fine, this is the type of mistake that has the potential to turn someone into a real life Ray Finkel. In 10 years or so, her mother will be making snowboard shaped cookies while Lindsey is in a looney bin throwing knives at pictures of Frieden. What a sports nut, huh?

(Editor's note: Dick Cheney was just too easy...)

Noob Sports Trade of the Week:
Noobsports has uncovered secret transcripts of this week's trade talks between Magic assistant GM Otis Smith and Pistons president Joe Dumars...

Otis Smith: Everyone makes mistakes, even you, Joe. What if we take one of those mistakes off your hands? We'd be willing to offer you a protected first round pick and Kelvin Cato, who is injured and might not play again this year, for your Serbian gangster and Carlos Arroyo.

Joe Dumars: (silence)

Smith: I know it means that you are admitting that your selection of Darko didn't exactly work out, but Cato offers you cap room so that you can re-sign Ben Wallace...

Dumars: (silence)

Smith: And Arroyo only plays 12 minutes per game, and we both know that Lindsey Hunter is going to steal his minutes come playoff time...Joe, are you there?

Dumars: Uhh yeh, I thought you were Mason prank calling me again. So, if I send you Darko, I'll have enough cap space to keep my team together and you'll give me a first rounder? Wait a minute, your team still sucks and is lottery bound for years, right?

Smith: Put it this way, we are going to give Darko significant minutes...

Dumars: Trade accepted.

Smith: It takes a real man to give away an angel.

Noob Sports Breathalyzer of the Week:
Oklahoma St. basketball coach Eddie Sutton "swerved across four lanes of traffic, slammed into the back of another car, then crashed into a tree." When the po-po arrived, he promptly blew a .22 on the Breathalyzer, nearly 3 times the legal limit, and claimed to be Larry Eustachy.

Noob Sports NBA All Star Event of the Week:
Since the NBA can't get Lebron James or Jason "Daddy Rich" Richardson to participate in the slam dunk contest, the best event is the Three Point Shootout. The best shooters in the league still play in this one: Ray Allen, Chauncey Billups, Dirk Nowitzki, and defending champ Quentin Richardson. Strokin', strokin'...

Noob Sports Cold Pizza Download of the Week:
Courtesy of "Todd's Roommate", here is the clip from today's Cold Pizza where they talked about our website (It's a .WMV download of today's clip in very high quality). Contrary to earlier reports, we get 0:47 seconds of airtime, which is so on point.

-The Noob Sports Family

 

The Hotness Continues: Noob Sports Appears on ESPN2's Cold Pizza!


The fast time times at Noob Sports continue. During a segment about sports bloggers on ESPN 2's morning show "Cold Pizza," guest Jamie Mottram conversed about our very own Bode Miller Experiment. The spot included a screen shot and a complete description of the procedures of the Experiment. He even quoted SEL and used the term "yard sale" to describe the results of SEL's drunken attempt at a 360. The episode of Cold Pizza will re-air this morning at 10 AM EST, with Jamie's segment beginning promptly at 11:30 AM EST. Don't miss it!

Mottram is the host of the excellent radio show Sports Bloggers Live on AOL Sports. As mentioned before, the show broadcasts twice a week or so, and it's honestly really, really good. Yesterday they had recent hall of famer Bruce Sutter on the show, and Jamie used the word "taint", which was really funny. You can download the podcast of the show by clicking here (Also, if you listen to that episode and let it load all the way, you can fast forward to the end where they talk about Noobsports. You can hear a guy in the background go "that blog is awesome". But listen to the entire show). We highly suggest listening to the show, because it's straight cash homey. Also, next week Tuesday, SEL is going to be on the show at 7:50 ET (live) to discuss the Bode Miller Experiment.

Also, as promised on ESPN2, Cold Pizza has added us to their links page. We'll quote Ron Burgundy, "We don't know how to put this... but we're kind of a big deal." Forget that, we're straight up Billy Bigtime.

(Watch ESPN2's Cold Pizza, 11:30 EST, and watch Jamie Mottram talk about Sports Blogs and Noob Sports).

-The Noob Sports Family

 

NL East Offseason Report Cards


The NL East is the fourth of the six MLB divisions to be graded by Noobsports.

Atlanta Braves
Additions: SS Edgar Renteria, RP Lance Cormier, RP Oscar Villareal, C Todd Pratt, RP Mike Remlinger
Subtractions: C Johnny Estrada, SS Rafael Furcal, RP Kyle Farnsworth, 1b Julio Franco, 3b Andy Marte

GM John Schuerholz hasn't had his best offseason, although his track record suggests we should just shut up and trust his moves. 14 straight NL East titles should earn you Barry Gibb style respect. However, it is blatantly obvious that the Mets have narrowed the gap between the two clubs. While the Mets added Billy Wagner, the Braves lost hoss Kyle Farnsworth and will hope Chris Reitsma can close. The other members of the 'pen are unproven, making the bullpen the major weakness of this club. The rotation (John Smoltz, Tim Hudson, John Thomson, Jorge Sosa) is solid and the lineup offers a good blend of established stars (the Jones brothers, Andruw and Chipper, and Marcus Giles) and the young (Jeff Francoeur, Ryan Langerhans, Brian McCann). New SS Edgar Renteria is better than he showed in Boston and Schuerholz got the Red Sox to throw in a boatload of scrilla, making him a steal. Even so, Andy Marte might have still been too high a price to pay. Rafael Furcal's price was also too high, and the Braves were wise not to pay it.

Having said all that, the reason I fear that the NL East streak is over is the loss of their pitching coach Leo Mazzone. I know that he's friends with Sam Perlozzo, but Mazzone should never have been allowed to leave Bobby Cox's side. Maybe their incredible run was largely a result of the way they worked together, like the cast of Seinfeld. I'd hate to see the rest of their careers turn out like "Watching Ellie" or "Bob Patterson." Celebrities who reach iconic status should realize that the grass is NEVER greener on the other side.

Offseason Grade: C-

Florida Marlins
Additions: RP Joe Borowski, RP Sergio Mitre, 1b Wes Helms, 2b Pokey Reese, SS Alfredo Amezaga, 1b Mike Jacobs, SS Hanley Ramirez, re-signed PH Lenny Harris, re-signed SP Brian Moehler, C Miguel Olivo
Subtractions: SP A.J. Burnett, SP Josh Beckett. 1b Carlos Delgado, C Paul LoDuca, RP Todd Jones, OF Jeff Conine, 3b Mike Lowell, RP Guillermo Mota, 2b Luis Castillo, OF Juan Encarnacion, OF Juan Pierre, RP Ron Villone, 2b Damion Easley

Florida's offseason is an embarrassing blemish for Major League Baseball. Jeff Loria shedding his entire payroll after not getting a publicly funded stadium reminds me of the type of guy who throws a fit and quits his annual fantasy league when the draft date or league settings aren't to his exact specifications. If someone pulled this type of shenanigan in my fantasy football league, there would be a shit-storm. Yet somehow, Bud Selig allows this to happen twice to the same major league franchise. Shocking.

The Marlins should have gotten better returns in dealing off their high priced stars. Their reluctance to take back any payroll has lowered the level of prospects involved in those deals. Sure, Hanley Ramirez and some of the flame throwing pitchers that they picked up might develop into something special some day. It's just hard to believe that they couldn't have gotten a bit more. Perhaps they should have accepted a package of Nook Logan, Omar Infante, Joel Zumaya, and perhaps another prospect from Detroit in exchange for Josh Beckett. Instead of major league ready prospects, the Marlins have brought in complete noobs. New manager Joe Girardi will have to come up with something more than a ban on facial hair if he wants this team to win 65 games.

Offseason Grade: D+

New York Mets
Additions: 1b Carlos Delgado, RP Billy Wagner, C Paul LoDuca, OF Xavier Nady, 1b Julio Franco, RP Chad Bradford, SP Yusaku Iriki, RP Jorge Julio , RP Duaner Sanchez, 3b Jose Valentin, CF Endy Chavez
Subtractions: SP Mr. Anna Benson, CF Mike Cameron, C Mike Piazza, RP Braden Looper,1b Doug Mienkiewicz, SP Jae Seo, INF Marlon Anderson, INF Miguel Cairo, RP Danny Graves, 1b Mike Jacobs, RP Roberto Hernandez

Omar Minaya might have gotten a bit out of hand this winter; he gave $43 million dollars to a closer, picked up Delgado's back-loaded contract, and made a few questionable trades. He spent so much money that no one even noticed when he signed 47 year old Julio Franco to a 2 year deal. Perhaps as former GM of the Expos, Minaya still thinks he is spending Canadian dollars and geriatric owner Fred Wilpon just hasn't figured it out yet.

Since Wilpon doesn't seem to mind Minaya throwing around his paper, it's hard to criticize Minaya for overspending because there is no denying that his club is much improved. The GM's best trait is his decisiveness; after offering Benjie Molina a 3 year deal and not getting a prompt response, Minaya worked out a deal for LoDuca instead. He doesn't let himself get hung up for too long on any one acquisition, which means he is never going to leave himself without options. In this manner, Minaya systematically addressed his team's weaknesses. Wagner is a premier closer, Delgado is a premier bat, and I'm fairly sure that Franco is the premier 47 year old in the game today.

Offseason Grade: B+

Philadelphia Phillies
Additions: CF Probable Steroid UserAaron Rowand, RP Tom Gordon, RP Arthur Rhodes, SP Ryan Franklin, SS Alex S. Gonzalez, RP Julio Santana, INF Abraham Nunez, C Sal Fasano
Subtractions: 1b Jim Thome, OF Jason Michaels, RP Billy Wagner, OF Endy Chavez, RP Terry Adams, OF Kenny Lofton, SP Vincente Padilla, C Todd Pratt, OF Michael Tucker

It's almost as if the Phillies are rolled up and ready to smoke, but no one has a lighter. The lineup will mash at Citizens Bank Park once again, but the starting pitching still lacks frontline talent. For this reason, the team has shopped RF Bobby Abreu around the league in hopes of adding any Ace that is not a member of the Ambiguously Gay Duo. So far, no GM has been willing to part with either the pitcher or the cash it would take to bring the 2005 Home Run Derby champ to their city, but don't rule
out a deal sometime before the deadline.

New GM Pat Gillick did make some shrewd additions to his team. Probable steroid user Aaron Rowand is capable of going 20/20 and shipping Thome to the AL means that NL Rookie of the Year Ryan Howard has first base to himself, as he should. Gordon is a solid replacement for Wagner at closer and Arthur Rhodes looked 10 years younger than he actually was while in Cleveland last year. If those 3 players can approach their past success, Philly could win 85-90 games.

Offseason Grade: C+

Washington Nationals
Additions: 2b Alfonso Soriano, 1b Matt Lecroy, SP Ramon Ortiz, OF Michael Tucker, SP Brian Lawrence, INF Marlon Anderson, 2b Damian Jackson, SS Royce Clayton, RP Felix Rodriguez, re-signed RP Mike Stanton
Subtractions: OF Preston Wilson, 1b/OF Brad Wilkerson, RP Hector Carrasco, SP Esteban Loaiza, 3b Vinny Castilla, INF Jamey Carroll, 2b Junior Spivey, OF Termel Sledge

The Nationals are another team that might be looking to deal. As you well know, Soriano is not going to move to the outfield willingly, which means that either he or Jose Vidro are likely to be dealt (unless Vidro's health problems continue). Even if both would-be second basemen are in the lineup, Washington will struggle for offense. That is why Sammy Sosa would actually have been a good risk in this situation, filling in while RF Jose Guillen recovers early in the season. Of course, he rejected their $500,000 offer and may retire.

The rotation needs upgrading behind John Patterson and Livan Hernandez. Here's a freebie: Ramon Ortiz is not the answer. The bullpen will be hard pressed to repeat its 2005 success and though Rodriguez is a decent enough gamble, another arm is needed here as well. LeCroy is a fine addition (17 homer in 304 ABs in '05) and should pick up plenty of at bats once Nick Johnson sustains his annual injury.

Offseason Grade: C-

-NJV

Thursday, February 16, 2006 

The Lumber Yard (2/16)


[Editors Note: Occasionally we like to have guest writers on Noobsports.com. We call this section "The Lumber Yard." Todays Lumber Yard comes from Chuckles K, a physical specimen whose strength is only surpassed by his ability to write and make others laugh. Plus he only has one nut. Seriously.]

America’s Overlooked Winter Olympians

Don’t get me wrong, I love America, I LOVE IT. However, as the 2006 Torino Winter Games have been progressing, I find myself somewhat disappointed when I look at the nightly medal count. I know, we have the most Gold medals so far, but whatever happened to clean sweeps, American domination, and bathtubs full of medals of all elements? Sure, silver and bronze aren’t the best, unless you have so many you’re letting monkey's light cigars with them. So I say, until we have enough gold, silver and bronze to replace the penny with Olympic Medals, we need to refine and perfect the Team that wears the glorious Stars and Stripes. But before we go working our current Olympians to death, we need to scan the Land of the Free for those I like to call “America’s Overlooked Winter Olympians.”

FOX’s Skating with Celebrities has shown that Dave Coulier is the obvious Ice Dancing Choice. Everyone who was anyone in the early 90’s remembers the lovable Uncle Joey, who in the proper uniform could tear it up on the ice. Even in the partner routine, Ranger Joe and his beaver sidekick have a chemistry that is more fluid and connected than a hypodermic needle in Barry Bonds’ right ass cheek.
A close second goes to John Stamos, whose flowing hair and rebellious demeanor create an atmosphere of danger, intrigue, and sexual prowess. Unfortunately the French judge would surely frown on the Stami (consecutively dealt Stamoses) found halfway through the routine.

It’s undeniable that recent news that proven that Dick Cheney would be a dead lock Gold Medal in the Biathlon. Don’t kid yourselves, he most certainly made no mistake on that hunting trip, he hit his intended target with an exact precision. What few realize is that when you fuck with the Republican Party, you get what’s coming to you and in spades. Sometimes the Conservatives manage to slide it under the radar, but when it absolutely needs to be done, real men like Cheney won’t balk when the time comes for justice, even if it involves loading a geriatric with bird shot.

Although I shouldn’t fail to mention, until these more recent events, I was considering Robert Blake for the spot on the Biathlon, but I would be lying if I didn’t say I was nervous about him leaving the rifle at a restaurant.

Now don’t get me wrong, I love Bode Miller just as much as the next heterosexual, but I think it would be only fair to take some pressure off of him, and give him some more quality time with the bottle. Therefore in his absence I would have to recommend Courtney Love to race the Super-G. Why? Because no one on earth can sprint to rock bottom faster. And the best part is, no matter how many times she’s helped back up, she fires herself to the bottom again, which is valuable in case a second run is needed because in the first you perhaps got coked up and convinced your boyfriend to paint the wall with his brain. At least she still smells like teen spirit, if that is teen spirit mixes equal parts cocaine, vomit and the stench of undeniable failure.

The sport of cross country can never be overlooked, and I’m sure that Jennifer “Runaway Bride” Wilbanks would make a great addition to the team, after proving that she can cross our own great country faster than Sammy Sousa can say, well, anything. For those of you who don’t pay attention on incredibly slow news days, you can read about her terribly uninteresting and not newsworthy story here.

Curling, sometimes known as “shuffleboard’s retarded cousin,” may be one of the lesser respected sports, but it should be noted that a Gold is a Gold, and we have the talent. I fear is has been too long overlooked, and Bobby Knight’s time to shine has come. Everyone knows the man for his temper, but it is maintained psychologists (none of whom I’ve consulted) that his rage was merely an outlet for a frustration over an inability to showcase an innate curling ability. Watch the video closely, and you will not be able to deny the genius placement Knight puts on the chair. The only argument for his overthrow is the lack of designated Sweepers to slow the chair to a surefire Gold medal placement. Luckily for Team America, we even have the Sweepers. Due to more recent team “restructuring,” Charlie Batch and Steve Mariucci have developed incredible broom skill, as can be expected when one’s new career involves cleaning the restrooms of Ford Field house.

The last athlete I would like to pick for America’s Torino Olympics “should haves” will compete in one of the staples of the Winter Games themselves. The sport in which any Tom, Dick or French Stewart can excel involves no more athleticism than bus driving does clean urine samples; the luge. Jerry Seinfeld once pointed out that the luge might actually be worth watching if instead of trained Olympians, unwilling pedestrians were forced to ride the course. More than one part of me would love to see that, but I think in the spirit of competitiveness and American Ideal, millionaire heiress Paris Hilton should be the U.S.’s number one pick for the luge, because to succeed in this pseudo-sport, you simply need to be the best at lying on your back and taking it.

- Chuckles K

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