He shoots, he triple-word scores!

Thu, Apr 8

Mattel announced this week that it plans to release a new version of Scrabble that will allow players to use proper nouns for the first time.

Scrabble purists have reacted negatively to the new rule, and who could blame them, as it's akin to the National League suddenly announcing that it will allow nine designated hitters. But it could be a boondoggle for the world of sports as Scrabble enthusiasts suddenly familiarize themselves with the rich tapestry of athletes' names to gain a competitive advantage.

Here are a few athletes who may suddenly become household names among such fans. Scores are given before any bonuses are applied. All other rules of the game are followed. Let's see your suggestions in the comments below.

Word: Vazquez
Score: 27 (one Z must be a blank)
Sentence: Twenty-seven exceeds the number of Yankees fans who will feel confident when Javier Vazquez takes the mound in the playoffs.

Word: Zydrunas
Score: 21
Sentence: Zydrunas Ilgauskas was the most valuable player on the Wizards in 2010.

Word: Ovechkin
Score: 20
Sentence: Alex Ovechkin plays hockey like someone who hates authority figures plays "Grand Theft Auto."

Word: Jimenez
Score: 25
Sentence: It's hard to tell whether Ubaldo Jimenez is more popular among Scrabble players or his fantasy owners.

Word: Zachary
Score: 24
Sentence: "Zachary" is what his mama would call him every time Zach Randolph got in trouble.

Word: Xavi
Score: 14
Sentence: If you don't know who Xavi is now, you will after this summer's World Cup.

Word: Buchholz
Score: 27
Sentence: The Red Sox once refused to trade Clay Buchholz for Johan Santana, but now he's barely worth more than this Scrabble board.

Word: Plaxico
Score: 18
Sentence: Plaxico Burress currently has a lot of time for board games.

Word: Nowitzki
Score: 24
Sentence: Does anyone else find it strange that Dirk Nowitzki once disappeared for a month in Australia and nobody ever really talks about what happened?

Word: Zidlicky
Score: 27
Sentence: My knowledge of semi-obscure hockey players such as Marek Zidlicky has allowed me to defeat you in Scrabble.