Friday, March 31, 2006 

Go Drink Some Tea Whore


[Editors Note: This is taken from www.collegehumor.com. We found it to be so funny, that we would post it here so you can all see it. The second paragraph (that the male writes) just SLAYS us. Pictures have been added by the editor to make the story better. Enjoy]

Remember the book 'Men are from Mars, Women are from Venus?' Well, here's a prime example offered by an English professor at Penn.

"Today we will experiment with a new form called the tandem story.

The process is simple. Each person will pair off with the person sitting to his or her immediate right. One of you will then write the first paragraph of a short story. The partner will read the first paragraph and then add another paragraph to the story. The first person will then add a third paragraph, and so on back and forth. Remember to re-read what has been written each time in order to keep the story coherent. There is to be absolutely NO talking and anything you wish to say must be written on the paper. The story is over when both agree a conclusion has been reached."

The following was actually turned in by two of my English students:

Rebecca -last name deleted, and Gary - last name deleted.

--------------------------------------------------------------

STORY:

(First paragraph by Rebecca)

At first, Laurie couldn't decide which kind of tea she wanted. The chamomile, which used to be her favorite for lazy evenings at home, now reminded her too much of Carl, who once said, in happier times, that he liked chamomile.
But she felt she must now, at all costs, keep her mind off Carl. His possessiveness was suffocating, and if she thought about him too much her asthma started acting up again. So chamomile was out of the question.

------------------------------------------------------

(Second paragraph by Gary)

Meanwhile, Advance Sergeant Carl Harris, leader of the attack squadron now in orbit over Skylon 4, had more important things to think about than the neuroses of an air-headed asthmatic bimbo named Laurie with whom he had spent one sweaty night over a year ago. "A.S. Harris to Geostation 17, he said into his transgalactic communicator. "Polar orbit established. No sign of resistance so far..." But before he could sign off, a bluish particle beam flashed out of nowhere and blasted a hole through his ship's cargo bay. The jolt from the direct hit sent him flying out of his seat and across the cockpit.

----------------------------------------------------------

(Rebecca)

He bumped his head and died almost immediately but not before he felt one last pang of regret for psychically brutalizing the one woman who had ever had feelings for him. Soon afterwards, Earth stopped its pointless hostilities towards the peaceful farmers of Skylon 4. "Congress Passes Law Permanently Abolishing War and Space Travel," Laurie read in her newspaper one morning. The news simultaneously excited her and bored her. She stared out the window, dreaming of her youth, when the days had passed unhurriedly and carefree, with no newspapers to read, no television to distract her from her sense of innocent wonder at all the beautiful things around her.
"Why must one lose one^s innocence to become a woman?" she pondered wistfully.

---------------------------------------------------------

(Gary)

Little did she know, but she had less than 10 seconds to live.
Thousands of miles above the city, the Anu'udrian mothership launched the first of its lithium fusion missiles. The dim-witted wimpy peaceniks who pushed the Unilateral Aerospace Disarmament Treaty through the congress had left Earth a defenseless target for the hostile alien empires who were determined to destroy the human race. Within two hours after the passage of the treaty the Anu'udrian ships were on course for Earth, carrying enough firepower to pulverize the entire planet. With no one to stop them, they swiftly initiated their diabolical plan. The lithium fusion missile entered the atmosphere unimpeded. The President, in his top-secret Mobile submarine headquarters on the ocean floor off the coast of Guam, felt the inconceivably massive explosion, which vaporized poor, stupid, Laurie and 85 million other Americans. The President slammed his fist on the conference table.
"We can't allow this! I'm going to veto that treaty! Let's blow 'em out of the sky!"

----------------------------------------------------------

(Rebecca)

This is absurd. I refuse to continue this mockery of literature. My writing partner is a violent, chauvinistic semi-literate adolescent.

----------------------------------------------------------

(Gary)

Yeah? Well, you're a self-centered tedious neurotic whose attempts at writing are the literary equivalent of Valium. "Oh shall I have chamomile tea? Or shall I have some other sort of F*CKING TEA??? Oh no, I'm such an air headed bimbo who reads too many Danielle Steele novels."

----------------------------------------------------------

(Rebecca)

Asshole.

----------------------------------------------------------

(Gary)

Bitch.

----------------------------------------------------------

(Rebecca)

Wanker.

----------------------------------------------------------

(Gary)

Slut.

---------------------------------------------------------

(Rebecca)

Get fucked.

----------------------------------------------------------

(Gary)

Eat shit.

--------------------------------------------------------

(Rebecca)

FUCK YOU - YOU NEANDERTHAL!!!

----------------------------------------------------------

(Gary)

Go drink some tea - whore.

**********************************************

(Teacher)

A+ - I really liked this one.

Thursday, March 30, 2006 

An Optimist's Look at the Detroit Tigers

5 reasons to believe that the Detroit Tigers could have their first winning season since 1993.

1. Justin Verlander and Joel Zumaya both made the team and throw a legit 100 mph. Probable multiple Cy Young winner Verlander, the second overall pick in the 2004 draft and Baseball America's top pitching prospect in all of baseball, won the competition for the fifth spot in the lineup this spring while Zumaya, Baseball America's 12th ranked pitching prospect in all of baseball, will start the season in the bullpen.

Probable multiple Cy Young winner Verlander has grabbed most of the headlines but Zumaya has scouts raving too. According to ESPN's Jayson Stark, some baseball execs have called him the best young arm they've seen while backup catcher Vance Wilson claims that catching his triple digit heater is "like catching a shot put." Zumaya might be groomed as closer, although he has been a starter throughout his entire professional career.

If these two young studs are truly ready for the bigs, the Tiger pitching staff is deep and will attack hitters in a variety of ways. Imagine facing soft throwing lefties Mike Maroth or Kenny Rogers for 6 innings then having the flame-throwing Zumaya and Fernando Rodney come in for an inning each in front of "Only the Lord Saves More Than" Todd Jones? That's a tough adjustment for hitters to make. If probable multiple Cy Young winner Verlander falters in the rotation, Roman Colon is nastier than Big Pun ("you nasty, twin-- I don't care").

2. Jim Leyland knows what he's doing. Detroit fans should notice an immediate difference in the attitude of their ballclub. Leyland called out his team a couple weeks back for being "too nice" and lacking emotion or character. Hmmm... wonder if that attitude reflects Alan Trammell at all? (No offense Tram, we love you and you kinda got screwed but we gotta move on.)

In between cigarettes, Leyland also assembled a coaching staff featuring crowd favorites Lloyd McClendon and Andy Van Slyke. I also like his decisions regarding Nook Logan and Roman Colon. Leyland was openly enamored with Logan's speed initially but rightfully will give Curtis Granderson the job after Nook showed once again that he can't really do anything well aside from running around (and play Halo 2). Marcus Thames deserved to make the team based on his performance for the Mudhens the last couple seasons. Hopefully, Leyland will find him enough at bats so that he can settle into a nice groove. Colon pitches better as a starter and therefore Leyland wisely sent him down to Toledo to continue his development. Leyland's lineup seems a bit off (Pudge batting third, Guillen seventh, and Shelton eighth) but that can be tweaked as needed.

3. Jeremy Bonderman and Curtis Granderson are going to be around for a long time. Bondermania is ready for a breakout season in his fourth year while Granderson leaves spring training as a starter for the first time. Both have won over the new coaching staff and Tigers fans have a lot to be excited about.

Granderson batted .379 with 5 homers, 11 RBI, 7 steals and 12 walks in spring training and just had his 25th birthday a couple weeks ago. The former UIC Flame is a sleeper in fantasy drafts because he has all the tools. Bonderman is just 23 and while Tiger fans are well acquainted with him, they shouldn't forget that he could easily have made the All Star team in 2005. With a fresh arm after getting shut down late in '05, Bondermania is an easy pick to win 15 games.

4. The AL Central is not as strong as you think. I'm not sure if I've read more stories about the White Sox re-loading for another championship run or about how promising Cleveland's future is. Digging a bit deeper, both teams are flawed and certainly not invincible.

The Pale Hose have some serious bullpen issues with Hermanson injured. Neil Cotts and Bad Bobby Jenks could be lights out but have had troubles in spring training and the rest of the 'pen is nothing special. The White Sox will also start a rookie centerfielder and an aging DH coming off a serious injury. Plus, Jon Garland and Jose Contreras will come back to Earth a bit, Freddy Garcia was only throwing 86 mph yesterday, Joe Crede and Juan Uribe are not as good as their postseasons, and Brandon McCarthy has been getting knocked around this spring like an aging Evander Holyfield.

Cleveland played a bit over their heads last fall when they put a huge scare into Chicago. Since then, they've lost Coco Crisp, Kevin Millwood, Bobby Howry and Scott Elarton and were unable to upgrade at closer. Don't get me wrong: the Indians are still making all the right moves, it's just that they might not be ready to win the division in 2006.

5. Owner Mike "Hairpuck" Ilitch has promised to spend money at the trading deadline if the team is still competitive. Ilitch hasn't done much to win over the hearts of Tiger fans, but in fairness to him, he hasn't owned a contending baseball team. Alright, enough of defending him; Ilitch has been a terrible baseball owner. However, if he is willing to spend to bring a couple stars in when the Motor City Kitties prove to be close to contention, some of his past transgressions will be forgiven.

-NJV

Wednesday, March 29, 2006 

NIT Dynasty


In early February, back before college basketball turned to madness, back when there was some sense in the world and people thought the Big 10 and Big East were by far the best two conferences in college basketball, I was relaxing on the couch in Crested Butte and I caught a college game day. These were the days when the on-air personalities would ask questions like "how many teams from the Big 10 and Big East will make the final 4? Will they take up all 4 spots, or will there be an upset and they'll only have 3?"

Anyway, as has been the trend for ESPN and it's shows, they've gone away from reporting sports news and the games in favor of made up discussions and arguments. Whatever will cause friction on the show, upset people watching at home, or whoever can make the boldest and most outlandish claims apparently makes for better television than reporting what is actually happening.

Well, I caught an episode of "College Gameday", and their question was "who is the sleeper team to make the final 4?" Watching from home, my answer was George Mason, but everybody laughed at me. When Digger Phelps came around, he said that his sleeper team for the final 4 was the University of Michigan. Hell yes Digger! Besides the fact that they haven't made the big dance for the last 8 years, and they have the most apathetic coach in the history of sports, Digger and his tie-lighter picked them to finish in the final four.

Well, Mr. Phelps, you're an idiot, Michigan didn't even make the big...

Wait, what? Michigan is in the final 4 of the NIT? Oh Digger you sly dog. They didn't specify WHICH final 4 they were asking about, so you gave them an honest answer and turned out to be correct. An idiot savant.

That's right folks, Mgoblue.com/mbball rolled into the final 4 of the NIT tournament and promptly dismantled Old Dominion, beating them by 23 points in the Garden. After the game, I was thinking about rescinding my application that I had already sent in to Old Dominions grad. school, and was on the verge of doing it, until Nate reminded me that probable Cy Young winner Justin Verlander attended school there. And the slate is wiped clean.

Anyway, Meechigan is now in the finals and plays South Carolina for the championship. I love that Tommy Amaker has come in and made Michigan an NIT Dynasty. They won the NIT 2 years ago, last year they made it to the final 4 of the pre-season NIT, and they're in the finals of the NIT again this year. Just excellent work overall Mr. Amaker. Now if you could just get them to play hard during the end of the season and in the Big 10 tournament next year, maybe you can make it to the big dance and not fight for the title of who is the 66th best team in the country.

Oh yeah, South Carolina, if you recall, won the NIT last year, and are sure to defend their title with passion. This years matchup puts the '04 winner against the '05 winner, in a battle that will finally settle the long-time argument: Who is king of the NIT... Dave Odom or Tommy Amaker?

-SEL

Tuesday, March 28, 2006 

Remembering San Diego


As you may or may not know, Team Noob Sports and our good friends Bar-None and T-Necks took a trip out to San Diego for the semifinals and finals of the WBC. We had planned on updating the site every day or so, but that ended up not happening. We were having too good of a time, too much fun, laughing too hard, drinking too much, and generally making fools of ourselves all over the Gaslamp District and surroung areas. Below you'll find our thoughts on the events that took place over those glorious 4 days in March. Even though this is a week late, we still hope you get a kick out of it:

- Petco Park is a first class facility. The park itself is beautiful and is located in the heart of the Gaslamp Quarter, which is undergoing a lot of construction as new condos, apartments, and shops are being built. There are so many cranes involved in this process that it was openly speculated that there might actually be a crane factory beyond the outfield walls.

- Inside the stadium, the Jumbotron and screens are all crystal clear and the sight lines are much better than average. The seats are spacious, padded, and angled toward home plate. There also several unique features at Petco: the outfield features a wiffleball field, a beach, a "grassy knoll," and a "book depository." SEL wanted to take batting practice on the wiffs field, but apparently it's for kids only and it's a chick pitching the balls underhanded. Unfortunate, as it certainly would have been a display of power the likes of which Petco has never seen.

- In game 1, Cuba upset the Domicans 3-1. The game was also really, really cold. Bar-none was so cold that he had to go spend $55 on a WBC sweatshirt (which, admittedly, looked very sharp). We were all stunned at the level of excitement during the game, as whistles and drums and horns could be heard all over the stadium.

- It was exciting to see all the major league stars on the Domican team. At one point, there was about a billion dollars worth of baseball players stretching together in the outfield. Bartolo Colon and David Ortiz bothed looked bigger in real life, and that's saying something. Seeing those two led to a number of "who would win in an eating contest?" jokes. We kept imagining Colon and Papi sitting in the dugout, each trying to put down a monstrous burrito and chili dog as fast as they could. Great times. (For the record: Papi would win the eating contest, Colon the drinking contest)

- In about the 3rd inning, the Cubans brought in a pitcher by the name of Lazo. His warmup was the most half-assed thing any of us had ever seen as he lollipopped every one of his pitches, and this led to the inevetable "Lazy" nickname. Well, Lazy is awesome. The Dominicans couldn't TOUCH him. His throwing motion still looked very relaxed, but the speed gun said he was bringing 93 MPH heat.

- A gem by Bar-None: Dominican Adrian Beltre can't make a tough play at the hot corner, the diehard Mariner fans sitting in front of us look dismayed, and Team Barwick screams "He would have made the play if it was a contract year!!!" The crowd is generally amused but the Mariner fans clearly aren't impressed and cast their first of many disapproving glances.

- We had planned on going to the NCAA bball game being played at Cox Arena, but the Cuba/Domican game took about 7 hours to complete. Those plans were scratched, and were replaced by us psyching up for the night cap by playing drinking games. In between there was also a Dan Shaughnessy sighting... although we didn't realize that it was the Boston sportswriter until after he passed us. Turns out, it would be a preview of things to come.

- On our way to the stadium for the Korea/Japan game, we were wondering whether or not the crowd would be anything close to the Dominican/Cuba game. We've seen the Hispanic countries rally around their national teams before but we weren't sure what to expect in the night cap. We feared the game between Korea and Japan might not have as much electricity and energy as the first game. Plus there was a significant lack of star power in this game, especially when compared to the Dominican team. Ichiro was the only real big name (besides Choi... obviously much bigger than Ichiro). Thankfully, our fears were put to rest when we approached the stadium, and we saw...

- HOLY SHIT! It was total bedlam. The Korean supporters were nothing short of phenomenal. Outside the stadium, there were thousands of Koreans dancing and singing and chanting and everything you can imagine. One of the Koreans even had a sign that said "Ichiro, cover yo mouth like u got SARS!!!" How awesome is that?

- The stadium was more electric than words can describe. From the opening pitch, the supporters were yelling, screaming, cheering, and flat out going wild for every pitch and every play. Every pitch had the opportunity to put the crowd into a frenzy. The Korean supporters were officially vocal, as they booed Ichiro very loudly every at bat, and went wild for anything the Koreans did well. Throughout the game (pretty much 10 times an inning), they started a chant that went "Dae Han Min Guk!!! (bum bum, ba bum bum!)." It means: "One Republic of Korea". We decided to join in, going crazy and chanting "Hey, Harindo!!! (bum bum, ba bum bum!)." Give us a break, we were drunk and don't speak fluent Korean. The Korean supporters loved that we were with them, as an elderly Korean man sitting behind us offered SEL some "KOREA" thundersticks (and his daughter) to show his gratitude.

- Fortunately, Bar-None wins over the family sitting next to us by strategically presenting the kid with a t-shirt he caught. Now, they don't seem to mind that we keep crawling over them on every beer run and instead just roll their eyes and smile. We also realize that married people rarely speak to one another, a fact that is proven time and time again over the weekend.

- There was about a 45 minute rain delay in the 7th inning of the Korea/Japan game, and about 1/2 the people left. Obviously not the diehards. The cheers were just as loud with the stadium half full, and it was unbelievable to be there and witness it first hand. Team Japan ended up winning 6-0, and after the teams had shaken hands, the crowd burst into one final, boistorous "Dae, Han Min Guk!!!". Team Korea came out of the dugout and started bowing to the fans, and the fans went crazy, growing even louder with the chant. This was almost surreal, and certainly sent chills up and down all of our spines.

- None of us really remember our day off, Sunday. All any of us can recall is that it involved copious amounts of Caguama. For those of you who aren't familiar with the beer, think of a week old Ice House with a hint of lime. Basically, it tastes like turtle piss. Our day started off by Bar-None waking up, rolling out of bed, brushing his teeth, and promptly shotgunning a warm Caguama, to our collective dismay. As disgusting as it was, it got us fired up. Unfortunately, the other liquor in the hotel room was Old Crow Whiskey. The only things any of us can remember from the afternoon were a store called "Boating and Barwick," some water, a little hacky-sack, tossing ideas around with the Research & Development department, Bar-None yelling "Me love you long time" to a woman passing us by, and T-Necks chasing after a young child. Other than that, we're pretty sure nothing else happened. At least that's what our memory tells us.

- Monday was the big day, the final between Japan and Cuba. Capitalism vs. Communism. The game didn't start until 6 PM, so we spent the first part of the day visiting Hotel Del Coronado. To get to Coronado Island and the hotel, you must cross the massive Coronado Bridge and several other streets named after our favorite conquistador. Our cab driver smelled strongly of gin, reminisced about his time in the military, and mentioned his fear of the police on the island several times, probably because he had outstanding warrants. After dropping us off, he thought hard about scamming an extra $20 from NJV. The hotel was gorgeous, the beach was really nice, and the fruity drinks were outstanding. Also present were a couple nice pieces of "road beef."

- We made sure we got to the stadium early and found our favorite bar that we've ever seen inside any stadium. Nobody ever goes there, and it's tucked away in a back nook of the park... but it's OUTSTANDING. The beer prices are cheaper there than anywhere else in the park, and it has a beautiful view overlooking the bay of San Diego. Plus, the bartender looked strikingly similar to Ronaldinho (and she was a chick). Just to let you know how our night was going at this point, the bartender said "wow, you guys are really slowing down, I've only seen you 4 times since the game started." It was the 3rd inning at this point.

- Our seats were located on the Toyota Terrace, the middle section of the stadium. Coincidentally, the press box was located between the bar and our seats. The first time we walked by the press box, Bar-None opened the door and yelled into there: "Hey Shaughnessy!", which gave us a little laugh. Subsequently, every time after that he was a little drunker, and started yelling more things. "Hey Shaughnessy, I hate you!!!" and "Hey Shaughnessy, you owe me 10 large!!!". Needless to say things progressed until security glared at him every time he walked by. Absolutely hilarious.

- After the game we went out and partied with Ronaldinho. She was obviously unimpressed as SEL and T-Necks were trying to play Hack running down the street at full speed, through throngs of people. We ended up at a Tequila bar, which was a great decision. Apparently we went to a number of other bars, but none of us remember any of it. All we remember is at approximately 3 AM we ended up at a pizza place way out of the way, and it started downpouring. After 20 minutes trying to hail a cab (about 3 cars passed in the 20 minutes, and we legitimately thought about stealing one), one of the employees of the pizza place told us cabs never go by there, and told us we were only 8 blocks from our hotel. We ended up sprinting home, full-speed, to the lovely Hotel St. James, where the night ended.

- All in all, it was a fantastic trip. 4 days were filled with non-stop laughter. It was great to see each other again, and even better to see that although we all live in 4 different parts of the country (D.C., Ann Arbor, Chicago, Boulder), none of us had changed one bit. There were many inside jokes brought up again, and many fresh new ones to add to our arsenal. We got to experience some of the great eateries and drinkeries of San Diego, including: Star Bar, Whiskey Girl, the Oceanaire (first class, by the way), Hooters, Pandar, Ciro's... and many more. A pact was made by the four of us that as long as we're all alive and physically able, we're going to attend every single one of the WBC's, as this was a definite 10 out of 10 performance. We'll be back in 2009.

-The Noob Sports Family (pictured right... with our new second family, all Koreans. Dae Han Min Guk!!!)

Monday, March 27, 2006 

Unnecessary Mock Draft III


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

1. Houston Texans - Reggie Bush (RB USC) - The Texans are locked in on Reggie, barring an overwhelming offer. That scenario doesn't seem likely because no team appears to be in a position to make such a deal. The Packers, 49ers and Jets would love to have Reggie but have too many holes to make a trade including multiple picks. Domanick Davis has done a solid job for Houston, but complementing him with the electricity of Reggie will ideally take the pressure off David Carr and open things up for Andre "Ice Cold" Johnson. Perhaps GM Charlie Casserly has forgotten that everything starts up front: their O-line is still terrible.

2. New Orleans Saints - Mario Williams (DE, NC St.) - By signing Drew Brees and his injured shoulder to a 6 year deal, the Saints have basically put the #2 pick on the trading block. Any team hoping to jump in front of the Titans for Matt Leinart will have to make their move here. If they don't make a deal, the Saints will choose between Williams and D'Brickashaw Ferguson, with the Brick being the safer of the two players. However, Williams' stock has risen as his workouts and measurements have proven he is the prototypical defensive end.

3. Tennessee Titans - Matt Leinart (QB, USC) - The Titans would be thrilled with my sweet Brick as well, but reuniting Leinart with former coordinator Norm Chow is too tempting. I predict big things from Leinart in the league; there is nothing not to like about him. The Saints' loss is the Music City's gain.

4. New York Jets - D’Brickashaw Ferguson (OT, Virginia) - Have I mentioned how much we love D'Brickashaw? With Leinart and Williams off the board, the Brick is a no brainer for the Jets.

5. Green Bay Packers - A.J. Hawk (OLB, Ohio St.) - A.J. is an impact player, something the Pack desperately needs. Aside from KGB, Green Bay has no playmakers on the defensive side of the ball and no leaders. Apple Jack fills both needs.

6. San Francisco 49ers - Michael Huff (DB, Texas) - Huff is Mike Nolan's type of physical player and he is also versatile, playing corner or safety. The Niners will also think hard about Vernon Davis who would give Alex Smith a much needed offensive weapon. By the way, trading Brandon Lloyd to Washington for a couple middle round picks makes no sense. The man made highlight reel catches for a terrible team last year with a reasonable salary, yet his value is only third and fourth rounders?

7. Oakland Raiders - Vince Young (QB, Texas) - Al Davis will jump all over Vinny's athleticism if he falls this far and it's a good risk at #7. I'd say there is about a 50/50 chance he ends up as a bust, but what if his game translates to the next level? I know the Wonderlic score is a legit concern, but Dan Marino and Brett Favre weren't exactly scholars either. VY is a good fit for the Silver & Black.

8. Buffalo Bills - Haloti Ngata (DT, Oregon) - Ngata goes to the Bills in every mock draft. And just like the Bills, this pick is boring. I still stand by my initial assessment: Vernon Davis should be their primary target. I also still firmly believe that defensive tackles do not belong in the top 10 picks so let's move on.

9. Detroit Lions - Vernon Davis (TE, Maryland) - I have a hunch Davis won't be available for the Lions, but he is the only offensive player worth their consideration. Davis is a specimen: 6'3, 254 lbs and a sub-4.4 forty time. Other options for the third incarnation of the M&M boys are Huff and Jimmy Williams.

10. Arizona Cardinals - Jimmy Williams (CB, Virginia Tech) - Dennis Green may be tempted by Jay Cutler here, but he is also a sucker for immediate gratification. Williams would pair with Antrel Rolle to give the Cards arguably the two best CBs from each of the past 2 drafts. Williams is very big and very cocky and should be an interesting player to follow.

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

-NJV

Saturday, March 25, 2006 

Literary Society Correspondence


[Editor’s Note: Known mainly for his prowess as King of the Internet, Todd Neckers is a graduate of Hope College and currently a law student at the University of Michigan. At Hope he was a member of the most dynamic beer die tandem (pictured right) since his Grandfather, Carlyle Neckers (class of 1935) who played the game using shots of moonshine instead of beer due to restrictions on alcohol sales resulting from The Great Depression.]

If you had $50,000, an MLB press pass, and 10 months to devote exclusively to running a single, AL-only rotisserie fantasy baseball team, how would you fair?

That is the question Sam Walker sets out to answer in Fantasyland. Mind you he had never played fantasy baseball and joined the most prestigious and intense roto league on the planet: Tout Wars. Normally reserved for the most experienced players, Walker describes joining Tout Wars as being “like trying to learn cello by joining the London Philharmonic.” His opponents included an MBA, 3 lawyers, a Hollywood screenwriter, a pair of computer engineers, a participant with a master’s in Victorian literature, and fantasy writers from USA Today and Sports Illustrated. Some of them have even dabbled in front office jobs for big league teams.

Walker sets out by hiring a player scout and a NASA employee to help with statistics. His goal was to tie together the best of both worlds: old school scouts concerned with ‘make up’ and ‘tools’ – in order to give him insights that the fantasy geeks couldn’t get while pouring over the Bill James Handbook (or the books/magazines they produce to make a living), and an engineer to design and implement complicated projection algorithms similar to those utilized by his opponents (with about 60% accuracy, traditionally). From there he toured all 14 AL spring training sites in order to garner information that the other participants (known as “Touts”) would not have access to.

The book takes you along Walker’s journey from total noob to self-proclaimed fantasy genius and back again. Walker does a phenomenal job getting readers to feel like co-owners of his team (the “Streetwalkers”). You’ll watch him bombard opponents with trade offers, eventually leading to the elation of fleecing an opponent in one deal, only to watch him peddle away stars for peanuts and have huge moves blow up in his face.

The heart of the book is experiencing firsthand every fantasy player’s dream: 10 months devoted to nothing but your squad, with a staff to aid you, a newspaper to bankroll you and a press pass to give you personal access to your players for prodding, encouragement and even sharing the occasional beer (seriously). The book does drag a bit during the middle of the season, but this could merely the depth of Walker’s writing – any baseball fan or player knows that 162 games is a very long season – and in this book you experience that long season personally. This small short-coming is more than made up for by a wonderful history of the development of fantasy baseball and poignant anecdotes on topics ranging from a Florida minister who picks up tips for his roto team from the minor league umpires in his congregation to the story of a man saved from the 9/11 attacks by breaking from his daily routine (which would have left him trapped in a WTC elevator during the attacks) to trade for Magglio Ordonez. He has drafted Mags in the first round of every draft since.

This is the best baseball book since Moneyball, and unlike Michael Lewis’ masterpiece, Walker’s book will actually help your fantasy team (I still have a hard time not drafting Mark Teahen – a demi-god in Moneyball, but worthless in fantasy – in my fantasy leagues). From SABRMetric types to those of you who prefer the traditional ‘tools’ scouting method, this book is a can’t miss prospect, and at 344 pages, unlike Prince Fielder (at least according to Billy Beane), it is not too fat to make it in the major leagues.

Cheers.

(This review was brought to you by the letter D (in olde English script) and the number 1984.)

Friday, March 24, 2006 

Important Announcement


At the request of many of our fans, and on the heels of our successful March Madness tournament, the Noob Sports family proudly presents:

The first ever Noob Sports fantasy baseball league!!!

So go to Walmart and buy your broke-ass draft guide, it won't help you anyway.

Here's the skinny: it will cost $50/team to enter. Payouts will be determined by number of teams. We're setting the maximum number of teams at 16. It is a traditional 5X5 rotisserie league (R, HR, SB, RBI, AVG... W, S, K, ERA, WHIP). The draft takes place this coming TUESDAY at 10 PM EST (8 PM Mountain). Team availability is limited and interested parties should email us at noobsports@gmail.com as soon as possible. If you get accepted, we will send you an email with league number and password, and you'll then be informed about how to pay and who to pay.

Your email should include your fantasy baseball resume, as well as any reasons we should pick you to join such a prestigious league. Hilarious team names will receive bonus points (Hans Brix United is already taken). Thanks.

(And even though you're pretty much locks to get invited, Volk Face and Titty Bar still have to write us emails).

-Noob Sports Family

Thursday, March 23, 2006 

What's Your Fantasy? (3/23)


The fantasy discussion continues...

- Who are the top 3 fantasy rookies?

Todd:
1. The Florida Marlins - Jeremy Hermida, Josh Willingham, Mike Jacobs and Jason Vargas. All 4 of these players will have value for your fantasy team this year to varying degrees. Hermida is a great keeper prospect and could be a 20/20 guy as a rookie. Willingham has the talent to lead all catchers in home runs. Jacobs' value is dependant on his PT - which could come at first or possibly catcher (with Willingham moving to left field) - if he gains cather eligibility, his value could skyrocket. Vargas will be the #2 starter this year behind the D-Train and will look to build off his solid debut last fall.

[Editor's note: If you want to see a funny joke, check out the official Marlins team depth chart.]

2. Justin Verlander / Joel Zumaya - Both of these guys should be staples in the Tigers rotation for a long time, and with Bondermania in front of them, we could be talking playoffs (playoffs!) in the near future. Zumaya won't help the fantasy team this year, but keep your eye on him for the future. Verlander's debut last fall was less than spectacular, but with a fastball topping out at 100mph, many see him as the top pitching prospect in the game.

3. Francisco Liriano - No pitching prospect has more potential than the Twins' Liriano. Unfortunately he is blocked in the rotation by the shocking Kyle Lohse and fellow rookie Scott Baker (who has the inside track for the 5th spot in the rotation). All Liriano needs is a chance and he will show what he can do. Before you know it this guy is going to be Johan Santana Jr.

And the top rookies who will can contribute on your squad this year:
1. Prince Fielder
2. Ryan Zimmerman
3. Delmon Young - if he gets the chance to play

Derek:
1. Prince Fielder - The Brewers thought so much of him they shipped off Lyle Overbay, and with good reason. Prince's power drawfs Overbays, and has been tearing through the minors since hitting .390 in rookie ball. He should blast 25 easy.

2. Francisco Liriano- Underrated part of the AJ Pierzynski deal in '03, the converted outfielder has a blazing 98 mph fastball and according to Baseball America, has better overrall stuff than Santana. Hed be No.1 on my list if I knew the Twins wouldn't baby him like they did Johan.

3. Jeremy Hermida- Think about it. He tore apart the minors. He had a sizzling September debut. And now, Hermida could give you 500 ab's, and that should net you a 20-20 man who will hit .300, and with a bonus .360 OBP for leagues who care.

NJV:
1. Prince Fielder - The Prince's reign could begin with 30 homers in 2006. If you find that your team is lacking power in the middle of your draft, bow down to the Prince.

2. Conor Jackson - In all honesty, the pick here should be Hermida but we needed to mix it up a bit. Jackson will battle Tony Clark for playing time, but the D-Backs won't be pushing for a playoff spot in 2006. It is time to see how Jackson fares against major league pitching so that the team can determine if he is part of their long term future. Jackson was a career .330 hitter in the minors and has hit .432 with 9 BB's this spring. Teammate Stephen Drew is a stud who might end up getting a lot of playing time this year as well, having only to beat out Craig Counsell at shortstop.

3. Matt Cain - The San Francisco starter pitched 46.1 innings in 2005, going 2-1 with a 2.33 ERA and 30 K's but retains his rookie eligibility. AT&T Park is a pitcher's park under any name and he should be the fourth starter for the Giants. Keep an eye on him in deep leagues and see if Cain is Abel to help your squad.

- Who are the top 5 starting pitchers in fantasy?

Todd:
1. Johan Santana. Don't be afraid to draft him 3rd overall, he's that good.

2. Roy Halladay. Just what the doc ordered - his numbers from last year are stifling (2.41 ERA, 0.96 WHIP - both better than Santana) - unfortunately he didn't even throw 150 innings due to injury. He will challenge Santana for the AL Cy Young this year - wins should be high with an improved lineup, but his ERA and WHIP will go up due to a suspect defense behind him.

3. Ben Sheets. Still young and his best days are in front of him. He is 3rd only if he can stay healthy, probably the biggest injury risk in my top 5.

4. Randy Johnson. Big Unit is still a stud, even in his advancing age. Look for the 3.7 ERA to dip back down closer to 3. He can still strikeout 200 and with that lineup helping him out, he could push 20 wins.

5. Pedro Martinez. The 2006 NY Mets season is resting on the big toe of Pedro Martinez. If he is healthy, they can topple the Braves NL East dynasty. If not (or if his shoulder continues to bother him as it has all spring), the Mets thin rotation will be their downfall. Look for his numbers to be even better than last year if healthy. However, I'm guessing he'll miss up to a month of the year with injuries, draft at your own risk.

Derek:
1. Johan Santana- The best, and no publication would disagree.

2. Roy Oswalt- Although he's starting to give up more hits, hes a 20 game winner the last 2 years, and has an above average K rate. Skeptics will point to almost 480 inning the last two years, not including two deep postseason runs.

3. Pedro Martinez- The toe injury suffered late in the 2005 season is a concern, but that he improved his ERA by a full run coming from the AL makes him a second round pick. The K's will always be there, and hes still only 34. If your still not convinced, listen to his career comparables according to Baseball Prospectus: Tom Seaver, Bob Gibson, and Mike Mussina.

4. Chris Carpenter- Just one more injury-free year Chris. Last year he threw over 260 innings(!) but arguably, they were the best 260 innings in baseball. Big time K's and a fabulous ERA suggest he'll win another 16-20 games in '06.

5. Rich Harden- Do you like to roll the dice? More pontential lies here than any other pitcher, and he gives you production at all 5 categories. Besides, he's just plain fun to watch. A gamble in the fourth round would be ideal.

NJV:
1. Johan Santana - Should top this list for years to come. Santana needs only one thing to complete his resume: a stellar nickname. This guy is going to be dominating for the next decade, so it's time to give him a lovable nickname befitting his stature, something on par with the Rocket or the Big Unit. Please feel free to submit your suggestions (perhaps one that isn't a phallic symbol like those of Clemens and Johnson).

2. Roy Oswalt - I was mocked for taking Oswalt 17th overall in a recent draft, but I don't regret it one bit. There ain't nothing wrong with consistency and he is my pre-season pick for the NL Cy Young. Why does this guy remain under the radar?

3. Chris Carpenter - Carpenter has tossed 16 shutout innings this spring, proving that his Cy Young in '05 was no fluke. If healthy, Carpenter will pile up wins and innings. A nice strategy would be to deal Carpenter after he gets off to a hot start, but before Tony LaRussa works him to death.

4. Jake Peavy - The only thing lacking here is wins (13-7 , 2.88 ERA, 1.04 WHIP, 216 K's). Playing in spacious and beautiful Petco Park with an improved outfield defense only solidifies the 24 year old's spot on this list.

5. Roy Halladay - Halladay broke my heart when he broke his leg last summer, ruining a ridiculous season (12-4, 2.41 ERA, .96 WHIP) and my chances at the title in one of my leagues. He should be fully recovered in 2006 with a fresh arm. Carlos Zambrano, Randy Johnson, and Rich Harden are just outside my top 5.

Wednesday, March 22, 2006 

Update

Hey everyone,

Once again, we're coming with apologies for lack of posts.

As soon as we have time, Nate and I will give highlights from the WBC.

In the meantime, we're working our asses off on Noob Sports 2.0. A lot of the basic design is down, and it looks OUTSTANDING. Still a lot of bugs and stuff to work though, which is what we're doing with our freelance guy who is helping us. This is taking a lot longer than I thought it would, so we'd appreciate it if you would bear with us.

As far as some people who were dissapointed by the lack of live updates from the WBC, sorry. Here is our stance: We were out there as fans of the game, and with good friends from college... not out there to give live reports. We paid a lot of money for the plane tickets, the tickets to the games, for the hotel, and all the food and drink we had there. From a personal standpoint, I was there with Nate (who I haven't seen in 6 months), with Todd (who I haven't seen in 6 months), and Barwick (who I haven't seen since graduation). These are some of my best friends. I wasn't going to spend what little time we had sitting on a laptop in a hotel room and updating so our readers could read what we were doing.. I was spending time catching up with these guys, seeing what's going on in their lives, and enjoying their company.

I hope those of you who were dissapointed accept my apology. I won't speak on behalf of Nate, but I know he feels the same way (as far as not wasting time writing posts, rather spending it with good friends).

We'll give you guys highlights from the trip shortly...

-SEL

Sunday, March 19, 2006 

WBC Update

More updates to come... for now, we're not really in the correct state of mind to update the site properly.

Just know this: Korea is fucking AWESOME. They have easily, without a doubt, totally for sure, the best baseball fans in the world. Best non-soccer sporting event any of us have ever been to. And that includes games 3 and 4 of the 2004 world series (where the Red Sox won their first championship in 86 years). WBC is fantastic.

Cheers.

- Noob Sports Family

Saturday, March 18, 2006 

On the docket...

Today's agenda:

12:00 - Dominicana vs. Cuba, WBC semifinals

2:30 - Illinois vs. Washington, NCAA tourney

7:00 - Korea vs. Japan, WBC semifinals

Keep it locked...

 

The First of Many...

Inappropriate jokes made by Bar-none within minutes of his arrival...

4. "Looks like he finally kicked the Puckett."

3. "Poor bastard got kicked to the Kirby."

2. "He never saw it coming--because he had glaucoma."

1. "Kirby was a great baseball player--he had a really nice stroke."

Friday, March 17, 2006 

Welcome to San Diego!


Welcome to rainy San Diego. SEL, NJV, and T-Necks are here, anxiously awaiting the arrival of Bar-none, who missed his flight out of DC this morning. As you can probably guess, he was too hungover to catch his flight. His alarm went off at 6:30 Am (D.C. time), and his roommate asked him "Ryan, are you going to get up?" His reply: "What the fuck do you think.... no!!!"

Anyway, the beer is flowing like the salmon of Capistrano in the hotel room, and we're about to head out into the Gaslamp Quarter. The streets are paved with green astroturf, there are live Irish punk bands playing everywhere, and the beer and whiskey are being drank like its St. Patty's Day, imagine that. Nate is swearing uncontrollably (he only refers to San Diego as "FUCKING San Diego"), and the March madness is, well, mad.

In our first real time update, Bar-none has arrived. After a 4 hour drunken layover in Minneapolis, he is nursing his second hangover of the day. Immediately, we go about the business of updating his bracket: "Man, I watched some of these games, but I was so drunk I don't remember."

The first order of business is drawing teams for each of us to root for, with the USA now eliminated. Drinking penalties and rewards will be assessed based upon the results. Bar-none drops this gem: "Man, if I get stuck with fucking Cuba I'm killing myself... seriously, I'm not going to the games," basically giving himself the kiss of death.

The results of the Noob Sports WBC draft:
Bar-none: Cuba (OUTSTANDING!!!)
NJV: Dominican Republic
SEL: Japan
T-Necks: Korea

Shortly afterward, we decide that we're going to make a huge poster that says "Herro Hans Brix" for the Korea game. Chances are strong that we're going to get kicked out.

Clearly, the weekend has started off on an outstanding note. Keep it locked for more live updates...

-The Noob Sports Family

Thursday, March 16, 2006 

SEL Rambles Again


- The good news: I'm flying to San Diego tomorrow morning. The bad news: team USA was just knocked out of the WBC. I was speaking on the phone this evening with my buddy T-Necks (who is already out in San Diego), and we expressed our mutual dissapointment that we won't be able to root for team USA. During the phone call, we had this conversation:

Me: "I want a team to root for. I'll start rooting for Korea. I think on the way to the airport tomorrow I'll stop and pick up a Korean flag!"
T-Necks: "You might as well pick up a Taliban flag."

So there that is.

- Roger Clemens might have just thrown his last game. Greatest pitcher of the last 20 years, and still a badass. Honestly though, I don't think I'll miss him that much. He's a bit of a prick, obviously only cares about the money and fame, and I just don't like his outlook on life.

- USA soccer is ranked 5th in the world. In a time where American national teams are down (think USA Baseball, USA Basketball, USA Hockey), wouldn't it be something if our best national sports team was soccer? It certainly doesn't appear to be out of the realm os possibility.

- March Madness. March fucking Madness. I LOVE this time of year. The CBS music, the announcers, the atmosphere, the buzzer beaters, the joy, the tears... it's awesome. Probably the best 4 sports days of the year. Plus, it turns even the most lame supporters into complete fanatics. My buddy Loomis was over at my house today, and his wife called. Now, his wife is probably the most mild-mannered, well-behaved, and overall nicest person I know. What does she say during their conversation? "Why is Nevada losing to Montana!?!", "I can't believe Oklahoma lost!?!", and "How doesn't Marqueete beat Alabama, they're the higher seed!!". Gotta love the madness.

- After jobbing George Washington by giving them a #8 seed, the tournament committee said they put them so low because of the injury to Pops Mensah-Bonsu. Well, it turns out he's okay. Not only is he okay, but I also come to find out that his full name is "Nana Papa Yaw Mensah-Bonsu." Now THAT, my friends, is a hoss name. In case you were wondering, "Mensah-Bonsu" means "whale killer", and one of his ancestors killed a whale with only a spear. And "Nana" means "King." My man is "KING OF THE WHALE KILLERS". Probably the sweetest name of all-time. That makes me feel a little bit better about picking them to beat Duke and make it to the final 4, especially after they had to go to overtime to win today.

- By the way, Nate hasn't had the chance to write much lately. He has been really sick with the stomach flu for about the last week, hence the lack of NJV. Don't worry, he's feeling better now, and is out in L.A. and will be meeting up with me in San Diego tomorrow.

- Stay tuned for Noob Sports reports live from the World Baseball Classic semi-finals and finals (without America). We plan on posting whenever we take a break the baseball, the basketball, and the March Madness. Until then, don't get caught with crack.... like Randy Moss's agent.

-SEL

 

What's Your Fantasy? (3/16)


The fantasy discussion continues...

- Who are your 3 favorite sleepers?

Todd: 1. Matt Holliday - playing in Coors boosts any fantasy player's value, and I forsee a breakout year from Holliday. His 2nd half numbers from last year are unbelieveable and with a full season from Todd Helton added to the Colorado lineup, Holliday should absolutely rake.

2. Jason Schmidt - I'm predicting Schmidt to be back to his old self this year, rebounding from last year's injury-riddled campaign. Look for his Ks to approach 200 and his ERA to be right around 3.10.

3. Carlos Guillen - Tigers fans will be ecstatic if Guillen can play 140+ games this year, and if he does, look for him to approach a top 5 ranking among fantasy shortstops.

Derek: 1. Carlos Beltran - Remember it took D Lee a year to get used to his new big city surroundings, expect Beltran to be healthier (more SBs) and happier in his second year in NYC. He's 28 this year, right in the middle of his prime. Take him in the third or fourth round, and get a 30-30 player that was taken top 5 a year ago.

2. Ryan Freel - Get a late surprise utility man who is versatile and who swiped 36 bags in a 369 AB season. If he can stay healthy the Reds will get him 500 ABs and he'll reward them with 40+ SBs.

3. Brandon McCarthy - What are the odds all 5 of the overachieving White Sox starters keep overachieving and/or stay healthy? Less than you may think. McCarthy will get his shot, and he has a nasty breaking ball that will allow him to have a high K/9 rate and an ERA under 3.5. Bank on a nice 15-20th round surprise that will get 10+ wins and 150+ K's.

NJV: 1. Curtis Granderson - There has certainly been a lot of talk this spring about Nook Logan and how new manager Jim Leyland plans to use him. In reality, Logan is above average in only one area: speed. Granderson is a five tool prospect who might go 15-15 this year. There is a better chance that President Logan gets re-elected on 24 than Nook Logan steals Granderson's job for the entire season.

2. Aubrey Huff - Sure, he's been around but the D-Rays are hoping to play him at third which boosts his value tremendously. He will hit .275 with 25-30 jacks and close to 100 RBI in a very good Tampa lineup. I snagged him in the 14th round in a recent draft and will play him in the OF until his 3b eligibility kicks in.

3. Erik Bedard - In Leo Mazzone we trust.

- Which 3 players are most likely to be busts?

Todd: 1. Alfonso Soriano - unless he is traded out of Washington to a hitter's park, his days as a 30/30 threat are done. Watch his batting average, I'm predicting it drops into the .250 range.

2. Miguel Tejada - A few years ago it looked like Tejada was ready to take the crown as top fantasy shortstop for years to come. Jeter slowed down, Nomar can't stay on the field and A-Rod moved to third. However, his second half last year was atrocious, and led in part to the O's falling apart down the stretch. At this point, I don't see him as a top 5 fantasy shortstop.

3. Elder statemen: Thome, Pudge, Konerko, Giambi, Javy Lopez, Jorge Posada. If it was 5 years ago, this lineup would be a fantasy owner's dream. These players can all still contribute in your clubhouse, and if they come cheaply, on your fantasy team. But don't waste high draft picks on them.

Derek: 1. Juan Pierre - People will draft Juan Pierre for one reason: he steals bases. While he may hit .300 and may ignite the Cubs' offense, don't be surprised if his stolen base total drops below 40. Todd Walker of Neifi Perez will hit behind him and are decidely fastball and early count hitters. He will also battle a manager who encourages Ramirez and Lee to power his team with the long ball.

2. Jake Peavy - Seems to be a consensus 2nd round pick, but he's only average 3 more starts than Mark Prior in his career so his health still remains in question. In addition, Peavy has pitched through many other nagging injuries which must only further aggravate a herky-jerky elbow torquing motion which will sure land him on the DL.

NJV: 1. Bobby Abreu - The Venezuelan has done nothing since his legendary performance in the Home Run Derby last year in Comerica. He had a terrible second half and failed to impress during the WBC and is now 32 years old. He is probably still a lock for a 20-20 season with a good average, but he is going in the late first or second round in drafts. The Phillies tried to unload him this offseason as well...something just doesn't feel right here.

2. Dontrelle Willis - Owners who take him in the fifth round to anchor their staff will be disappointed. The Marlins will be awful and he will be hard pressed to win 12 games this year. This is one pick I hope is wrong; you can't help but like Dontrelle.

3. Jon Garland - He is simply not as good as his numbers from 2005.

Wednesday, March 15, 2006 

SEL's Ramblings


- Aye, Papi! If you haven't seen it yet, you need to see the highlight of the homerun David Ortiz hit the other day. Not only was it a bomb (it went roughly 750 feet), but we saw one of the best bat flips of all time, this side of the Great Lakes Wiffleball Association. The catcher must have been talking some serious shit, because after Big Papi hit the guts out of the ball, he pimped it; throwing the bat about 8 feet in the air, and turning around and staring the catcher in the face for about 2 seconds, before taking off to jog around the bases. I think it's funny to see the media's reaction to this though. Had this been Bonds pimping a moon shot, the media would have scewered him. Since it's Ortiz, who the media thinks is lovable, little has been made about this, and the little commotion we have heard has been praising him. Probably because he has one of the best spanglish accents on the planet.

- My house just upgraded to Comcast Digital Cable Silver Package... and my God, I've been living in the dark ages. That's the problem when you live with 3 people who don't like sports and couldn't tell the difference between watching a movie on USA and HBO. However, because of our shared love for the Sopranos, it was easy to con them into breaking down and paying the extra for digital cable. The guide and On Demand features alone make it worth it. Not to mention the fact that we now have channel 401... Fox Soccer Channel. In the less than 24 hours since we've gotten the new cable, I've watched Marseilles vs. St. Etienne, Liverpool vs. Arsenal, an hour long highlight show of German soccer, a half hour long highlight show of Japanese soccer, a World Cup 2006 preview, and a world football recap showing the top 10 goals of the last week. Let's just say that my life has been changed, for the better.

- The Lions re-signed Kalimba Edwards to a five-year deal. I like this. They have also signed Shaun King and Jon Kitna to multi-year contracts, giving us the three-headed monster of Harrington, King, and Kitna. Hopefully Mike Martz is the offensive genius that he's made out to be, because those 3 quarterbacks don't really strike fear into the hearts of opposing defenses. To be honest, I would have much rather seen them take a run at Drew Brees.

- Speaking of Drew Brees, the New Orleans Saints just signed Drew Brees (and his mole) to a 6 year, $60 Million dollar contract. I think this is good for the Saints, as Brees has had a monster last two seasons. I always knew he would be good in the NFL, ever since my good buddy Wampies used to rack up 750 yard, 5 touchdown games against me using the Boilermakers in NCAA football 2001 (let the record show that despite his impressive offense, I would still win 90% of the games. Wampies played no defense, and ran the ball a total of 10 times in the 20 or so games we played). This makes the Saints' #2 overall pick interesting this year. They probably don't need Leinert now, so I personally think they should try to trade down and still try to get defensive end Mario Williams. But what do I know?

- Daunte Culpepper to the Dolphins. This is a big gamble for Saban and co., but I think it has the opportunity to work out for them. When Saban coached at LSU, he always had mobile quarterbacks, and had great success with them. Culpepper has been mobile for most of his career, but who knows after his recent knee surgery. All I know is that if Daunte could get a Love Boat Sex Cruise going up in the icy waters of Minnesota, the possibilities are ENDLESS as far as what he can do in Miami. This can only bring good things.

- The new VW commercials on TV are fantastic. They're so bad, so ridiculously over the top, that they're funny. Kind of like the movie "Zoolander." It has this old german guy with a shitty german accent (think the Nihilists in "The Big Lebowski) who asks these posers if they want to "pimp their rides"... which are usually tricked out rice rockets. They then smash the car, and reveal either a Jetta, or a GTI, or something (I don't even know). The Nihilist then goes over in front of the car, kneels down, and says something about Volkswagen, while flashing a sign that is a combination of a backward peace sign, and a "west side" sign. It's outstanding. I'm starting to flash that sign whenever I see a Jetta or a Passat on the road.

- Don't forget to get into our March Madness pool. We already have roughly 50 entries in, and the deadline is Thursday at 11 AM EST. Remember, the top 3 finishers get a sweet prize (to be revealed shortly). It's really easy to sign up, just click the link and follow directions:

http://noobsports.mayhem.sportsline.com/e

Our Group password is: noob

-SEL

Tuesday, March 14, 2006 

Noob Sports March Madness!


We are officially announcing the Noob Sports March Madness tournament! We're running it through CBS.Sportsline, and it should be excellent. Entry is free, and you can enter up to as many as 3 brackets. Standard scoring system (1 pt. for opening round, 2 for 2nd... 32 for picking the winner correct) applies.

We are also giving away prizes to the top 3 finishers. The prizes will be revealed once the tournament has started... let's just say that they're going to be sweet, and definitely worth playing for. So don't wait, fill out your bracket now!

http://noobsports.mayhem.sportsline.com/e

Our Group password is: noob

(Registering should be really easy, if you have any problems email us)

Sunday, March 12, 2006 

What's Your Fantasy? (3/12)

The fantasy baseball discussion continues...

- When is the right time to draft closers?

Todd:
Closer is the riskiest position to draft in fantasy baseball and should not even be considered in the first 5 rounds. If you have some type of man-love for Lidge, Nathan, Rivera or Gagne, a round 6 or 7 is when you should let your brokeback feelings out during the draft and pick up one of these boys.

Derek: Wait until the middle of your draft, as the first rounds should be reserved for more reliable offensive production when someone as risky as even the best closers isn't worth taking. However, if you can get a closer who will get his save opportunities with an 80+ win team in the middle rounds your risk is lessened. Also, each year is filled with waiver wire closer work (think Ryan Dempster) during April and May. Why take the unnecessary risk?

NJV: If you can add a probable 40 save, 100 K closer in the fifth round, feel free to pull the trigger. A closer of that ilk allows you to forget about drafting another relief pitcher until almost 10 rounds later when you can grab a guy like Ryan Dempster. Preferably, grab 2 of these lower ranked closers and hope 1 works out. It is also critical to keep tabs on potential closers available on the waiver wire, probably more so than any other position.

- Philosophically, do you prefer the aging star with decent yet slowly declining production (for example, Brian Giles) or the talented young player who has not yet produced at a high level for an entire season (for example, Jeff Francoeur)?

Todd: Fantasy owners love to read into 2nd half numbers to predict the following season (hence Matt Holliday and Mark Ellis will be breakout stars this year while Miguel Tejada will fall off his fantasy pedastal). This is how people fall in love with the Ryan Howards and Prince Fielders of the fantasy world - they looked great for part of last season - so they should be able to do it again.

Generally you're going to get better production out of the aging veteran who has been there before - the Giles, Delgado, or Kent rather than the Francoeur, Fielder or Weeks. Long-term the latter 3 may be better, but for this year, you want to draft the players who have shown that they can withstand the rigors of a 162 game season (how the ban on greenies will affect play is yet to be seen, but that is an entire different article for the noobsports family to work on).

Derek:
Every decision should be on a case by case basis, but if were speaking in generalities, I'll take the talented young player. The youngster is not proven, and may not have put up big numbers, but ask anyone how they did drafting David Wright last year or Mark Teixeira the year before. Sure there's risk involved, but for every Greinke-like bust, theres a mega drop in production from an aging superstar like Sosa just the same.

NJV: Give me the veteran. In this respect, good management of a fantasy baseball team can be the opposite of good management of a real MLB team. Investing heavily in an aging star is almost always a terrible idea in MLB because the player is unlikely to maintain his value over the years. In non-keeper leagues, you only need your veteran to put up stats this year. Every year, in every fantasy sport, owners get burned by drafting "can't miss" youngsters while productive veterans fall to the late rounds. Take advantage.

-
What type of scoring system do you prefer: head to head, rotisserie, or points?

Todd:
First of all, no matter what fantasy sport you're playing, be it baseball, football, golf, oscars, etc., points is the scoring system for grandmas, animals and those lacking a rudimentary knowledge of the sport they're managing a team for. There is no strategy in points.

With that rant out of the way, I will say that I like rotisserie the best for the following reasons:
You are in constant competition with each individual team. If you are last in stolen bases, but second overall, you are competing with each team in the stolen bases category - regardless of their overall position in the league. You are required to build a well-balanced team with a strategy. You don't have to win every category to win in rotisserie, but you'll be hard pressed to find first place overall if you're in last place in any one category (for all of you owners out there thinking about punting saves or stolen bases).

That being said, I also enjoy head to head: it is exciting each week - and makes fantasy baseball more like fantasy football. Bigger swings can take place - rotisserie baseball is much like the major leagues - by midseason, some teams have no chance of winning. The same cannot be said in head to head because if the matchups fall in your favor, you can make a big swing over the course of a few weeks.

And finally, remember that in the NFL, the rule is 'points is points.' But when it comes to fantasy baseball, points are straight busted.

Derek:
Until MLB goes to a points or rotisserie scoring system in lieu of wins and losses, I'll vote for head-to-head. This is fantasy, and in my fantasy, i want to be a GM of an MLB team (without the 18 hour days of course). A head to head league allows you to play for a matchup, won't eliminate you after three weeks, and induces heated rivalries with fellow know-it-alls.

NJV: For leagues with little annual turnover and high levels of competitiveness, roto is the way to go. It forces you to field a balanced team and formulate a long term strategy. For younger and more casual leagues, perhaps head to head scoring will keep the entire league entertained, even the teams that struggle.

-
Is it ever too early to start trading?

Todd:
The answer is a resounding 'no.' You should always be looking at your roster to see where you can improve. Obviously trading before the season starts is riskier, but at the same time, trading for a player who starts the season on a hot streak can be very detrimental to your team when that player's statistics begin to gravitate back towards the mean.

Derek: No. Never. The minute the draft ends, the trading fun should begin... think of it this way, if you make a move that makes your team slightly better, then wouldn't you like to repeat that as early and as often as possible?

NJV: Nope. After every draft, you will inevitably end up with a couple players who you aren't particularly excited about. Trust your instincts and trade them now before they struggle, the rest of league catches on, and you develop a debilitating hatred for them. If you find a deal you like, pull the trigger as soon as possible.

 

Sunday, Sunday, Sunday! [3/12]


Happy 3/11, a day late. I hope you all took the time to listen to Transistor, From Chaos, Grassroots, Sound System, Evolver, and Don't Tread On Me. 311 was celebrated in Boulder, although not sexy results for everybody. Let's just say that E. Goltz had a "bad trip" when celebrating 3/11, and needed to be kept under adult supervision until he was okay to rejoin society. This is actually a really funny story, if you'd like to hear all of it feel free to email us. Regardless, happy 3/11.

A Look Behind

- SEL told us why Denver sucks... as a sports city.

- Nate, Todd, and Derek pooled their collective fantasy resources for the first part of "What's Your Fantasy."

A Look Ahead

- New Family Guy tonight. New Sopranos tonight. ESPN's "Through The Fire" debuts, the story of Sebastian Telfair.

- The Noob Sports family will be live in San Diego starting Friday, covering the World Baseball Classic semi-finals and finals from Petco Park. We will also cover the St. Patrick's day parties and the tomfoolery that comes along with the first weekend of March Madness.

- Still working on Noobsports 2.0, estimated new site launch date is the 22nd of March. Take it easy, these things take time.

- 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.

- From the Old Style videohunting library: One of our all time favorites. All Your Base Are Belong To Us. True story, I owned this game as a kid growing up, and my little brother T-Lep and I would play it all the time. Even back when we could barely read, we still thought the intro was hilarious; so hilarious that it started an internet phenomenon and the video and techno song that follows the link.

- The Real Life Simpsons... an introduction to the show using real people. This is really cool.

Once again being a Michigan basketball fan is depressing. Once again they didn't make the dance. It's embarassing that during the Michigan/Minnesota game the announcers were talking about how great of a man Tommy Amaker is. He may be a great man, but he's a shitty coach. He can't recruit, and he's a shocker of an in-game coach. No motivation, no passion, no intensity during the Minnesota game. To make matters worse, they quoated UM's AD as saying "Tommy Amaker's job is safe, he will not be fired." Why hasn't somebody started a www.firetommyamaker.com yet?

A little controversy in the WBC. Top of the 8th, bases loaded for Japan, somebody hit a lazy flyball to left field. Randy Winn (who should NOT be on the field) caught it, and threw home, the runner safe... however the USA appealed and threw the ball to 3rd, saying the runner left before the ball was caught. Initially the umpire called him safe, but after Buck Martinez came out and argued, the call was overturned. The announcers said "we could have an international incident." To be fair, I honestly think he should have been ruled safe. But hey, any good news for the USA is good news for this guy. [USA wins 4-3 on a gay-Rod game ending, bases loaded, very weak dribbler up the middle... hey man, I'll take it]

- The Noob Sports Family

Friday, March 10, 2006 

Noobie, Noobie, Noob (3/10)

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

Noobs of the Week:
After losing to Minnesota in the the first round of the Big 10 tournament, the Michigan Wolverines might have blown their chance at being selected for the NCAA tourney. The Wolverines, who were projected to a #12 seed recently by "bracketologist" Joe Lunardi, might be looking at an NIT bid instead after losing 59-55 to a team it trounced twice this year. Michigan has also lost 7 of its last 9 and the media and fans are all over Tommy Amaker. It would be a shame if Daniel Horton never plays in the Dance; UM fans hope that he is rewarded for being a member of to Amaker's first recruiting class. MGoBlog has a great post about the team's chances of joining the March Madness.

Noob Sports "Slap on the Wrist" of the Week:
Ohio State cheats. Everyone knows it, including the NCAA which handed the university probation after using an ineligible player for 3 seasons under former coach Jim O'Brien. The Buckeyes have committed at least 8 infractions, 6 of them by the men's basketball team including boosters paying a woman to "feed, house and support" player Boban Savovic. The woman, who also did the player's homework, sued after boosters failed to pay her the montly allowance she was promised. Of course, Ohio St. boosters also gave money to quarterback Troy Smith and thousands of dollars in free dental work to members of the women's basketball team. O'Brien also admits giving a $6000 "loan" to a 7'3 recruit from Europe. Oh, and don't forget the Maurice Clarett scandal. Plus, we already know that shady Ohio St. players make thousands signing autographs. Imagine what they must be paying Ted Ginn and Greg Oden. Despite the numerous violations, the team will only be given 3 years probation and be forced to wipe out the records of 4 NCAA tournament teams, a light slap on the wrist. By the way, do you think an alum like Scoonie Penn is still on OSU's payroll, just so he keeps his mouth shut about the condo they bought him?

Noob Sports Sandwich of the Week:
Dick Cheney might have a heart attack just reading about the latest food invention of the Gateway Grizzlies, a minor league baseball team in southern Illinois. "Baseball's Best Burger" consists of a hamburger patty with cheese and bacon on a Krispy Kreme Donut bun.

Noob Sports Work Stoppage of the Week:
Fortunately, its not the NFL. Authorities have closed Michael Jackson's Neverland Ranch, after the King of Pop failed to pay workmen's comp insurance or wages for his 69 employees since December. First of all, the fact that Neverland Ranch needs 69 employees caring for it is completely shocking. That's roughly the size of a D III football team working year in and year out just so Jacko can hang out with llamas. Secondly, your life sucks enough if you are working the carousel at Neverland. Plus, you're a noob of epic proportions if you've been showing up for work the last 3 months without being paid while your boss is hiding out in another country. I think it might be more embarrassing than being no hit by the Dutch in the World Baseball Classic...

- The Noob Sports Family

Thursday, March 09, 2006 

What's Your Fantasy?

Spring training and the World Baseball Classic are in full swing, meaning its time to prepare for your fantasy baseball draft. Noob Sports went to the experts and asked them the tough questions that you need answered in order to dominate your league. The guest experts, Todd (aka Noop) and Derek (aka Mitch Richmond), have put in hours upon hours of research this winter and are the most knowledgeable fantasy people we know. The discussion below deals with players who have question marks or fluctuating value. More draft hotness to come in the following days...

- When is the right time to draft Mark Prior?

Todd: Prior is a big time injury risk, averaging just over 150 innings pitched over the last 4 seasons. The talent is obviously there, but because of the injury risk he is only a top ten starting pitcher, and should be drafted after players such as Rich Harden and Felix Hernandez. Overall, he is a 4th or 5th round pick.

Derek: Mark Prior's career numbers suggest that if he's healthy that he'll win twice as many as he loses (41-23) with an ERA around 3.24. By drafting Prior, you get a player with the potential to win 20 games and strikeout 250. So when do you take him? You take him after Johan Santana, Roy Oswalt, and Chris Carpenter during the fourth round, and don't look back when he repeats his 2003 numbers. (Bonus tip: Prior has a great record in April and May, and is a notorious hot starter when he does pitch, and that will inflate his value early. Dump him for a first rouder after he starts the season 4-0.)

NJV: I am as tempted by Prior's talents as anyone, but the shenanigans and secrecy during spring training make me way too nervous about his arm to draft him. When drafting in the early rounds, I try to minimize any and all risk, which enables me to take chances on unproven guys I like in the middle rounds. Prior doesn't fit in with my strategy unless he falls to the 6th round or later.

- Who are the top catchers, after Victor Martinez?

Todd:
Mauer is the clear number 2, due to his ability to contribute in 5 categories. After that catcher is a very murky position. Look for Ramon Hernandez to bounce back from his injuries last year and be more productive than bigger names such as Pudge, Posada and Varitek. For a great sleeper, look to Josh Willingham of Florida. He'll get the starting nod at catcher, but also could play some in left for the Fish.

Derek: How about a .300 hitter projected to hit 20 HRs who could also steal 15 bags? Joe Mauer is an athletic 6'5 with power. I'll take it. Michael Barrett is a power hitter who will hit .280 and drive in 70 if anyone is on base in front of him. He spent the offseason muscling up and who doesn't love a catcher who wants to be an ultimate fighter after baseball? Look out Roy Oswalt... Javy Lopez can still give you 20 homers and Kenji Johjima averaged .300-25-80 in 7 Japanese seasons and is in the prime of his career.

NJV: For some reason, Jason Varitek is falling in drafts this year but don't forget he hit 22 jacks last year. He still plays in a great offense and in my league that uses OBP and SLG instead of average and homers, he is a huge asset (.863, .872, .855 OPS the last 3 years). Let someone else reach for the unproven Mauer and snatch up 'Tek a couple rounds later.

- Is David Wright a legitimate first round pick?

Todd:
In a keeper league, the answer is yes. He has more potential than just about any player in all of baseball. In standard leagues, he should be a late first or early second round pick.

Derek: It's hard to believe, but yes. He's a bit of a gamble since he's put up big numbers exactly once and a lot will depend on where he hits in a solid Mets lineup. He gives you steals and home run power and doesn't have any holes in a nice swing. Will pitchers be able to find a weakness? Probably not.

NJV: Absolutely. The 23 year old hit .306 with 27 homers, 102 RBI and 17 steals last year and needless to say, I'm thrilled to own him in my keeper league. Since these numbers are coming from the hot corner, I would draft D. Wright over guys like D. Lee.

- How risky is Alfonso Soriano?

Todd:
I'm very low on Soriano this year. His home/road splits from last year show that away from the Bandbox in Arlington, he is a very mediocre secondbaseman. He'll still be able to run, but won't get on base as much in Washington. He comes with the official TMNx "Let Someone Else Make This Mistake" certification. (As a side note, Alfonso Soriano is still the most potent Beer Die player in the history of the sport).

Derek: There's huge risk here, as you never know if Soriano will be a disgruntled Nationals outfielder or if he'll be a star 2b with another team. Either way, he's good for 20-20, which merits consideration by the third round. People who take him in the first or second rounds beware, Soriano's numbers were in decline before last year's resurrection in a stacked lineup in Arlington.

NJV: Soriano's average dropped to .268 last year and that's not likely to improve in his new home. However, he still is a threat to steal 30 bags and that's huge. Couple that with his power, and he still might rate as a top 20 pick. My advice if you want to fill second base early is to take Chase Utley instead. A better idea might be to wait until the 10th round or so and grab Rickie Weeks.

 

Today at the Noob


Apologies for the semi-lack of posts lately, the Noob Sports Family has been very busy doing behind the scenes work on the new website. Nate and I have spent a lot of time working with our freelance partner and our new web hosting service to make sure everything is perfect. Everything from layout, to color scheme, to categories, to RSS feeds, to ease of use, to the amount of hosting we need... real interesting stuff. We're not geeks, believe us. So sorry, we'll do our best to be better. In other news:

We lost to Canada yesterday, which is flat-out embarassing. What does that mean for our chances to advance to the second round? Basically, it comes down to this: If Canada beats Mexico on Thursday and Team USA beats South Africa on Friday, the Americans advance to the next round in Anaheim. If Mexico wins 1-0, 2-1 or 2-0, Team USA is eliminated.

Canada plays Mexico at 8 PM today, and we want Canada to win. Go Justin Morneau. Go Adam Stern. Go Eric Cyr.

Or we want Mexico to score 3 runs... that way, if either Meixco or Canada scores, we advance, since the tiebreaker is the fewest runs allowed per inning in competition involving only those three teams (USA, Mexico, Canada). We've allowed 8. That means Canada needs to allow MORE than 2 runs to Mexico, and we're cool. We'd still have to beat South Africa, which is by no means a pushover, but it would be a lot easier knowing that if we win, we're into the second round than if we were playing for nothing.

"Without Gerry Mcnamara, we wouldn't have won 10 fucking games this year!" Thank you coach Boeheim. The fiery coach got a little upset during the press conference whem somebody questioned his senior guards ability. At the end of the game vs. Cincinatti, G-Mac hit a running three pointer with 0.5 seconds left to keep 'Cuse's Big Dance Dreams alive. The best part of this all though was, after Boeheim got all fired up and yelled at the press, they panned over to McNamara, who was sitting there looking all depressed and emo, kind of like Private Pile when he's in the bathroom and has a shotgun. I'd hate to see what he looked like had the 'Cuse lost. Today we've got the Orange taking on the #1 team in the country UConn, where a win would almost certainly secure an invitation to the Big Dance. Hopefully G-Mac and Eric Devendorf (The pride of Bay City Michigan!) can put the team on their back and pull out a victory over the Huskies.

Michigan takes on Minnesota in the first round of Big 10 tournament play today, and they pretty much need to win. Both Mgoblue.com and Sparty have been playing like shit down the stretch, although MSU has no chance of not making the tournament. Had Michigan beat Indiana at home last week, I would have said they were a lock for the dance. However, Horton & co. choked and couldn't put the game away. A win or two in the big 10 tourney should guarantee them a spot in the post season, however if they lose first round today to Minnesota, they run the serious risk of having their bubble popped. Which nobody wants to see. (Game at 2:30 on ESPN2)

So check this shit out: A father in France was just sentenced to 8 years in prison after being convicted of spiking the water bottles of his children's opponents with the drug Temesta, which can cause drowsiness. Apparently his kids opponents were known for feinting, for collapsing on the court, for leaning on the fence... and one kid even died! This father wanted his kid to win so badly, that he KILLED one of his opponents. You can read more about it here. What is this world coming to?

-SEL

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