Turd of the Week #13

Why can’t the Mickey Mouse’s at Disney bastard child ESPN do the same quality job of producing exciting, entertaining, tense soccer action as they are currently doing for the NHL’s Stanley Cup hockey playoffs?

Colonel Klink Sends Sergeant Schulz to the Eastern Front: Carlos Valderrama’s never-ending spat with Fusion coach Ivo Wortman resulted this week in The Centrifuge, bumbling MLS President Doug Logan, ordering him to Tampa Bay. Pitiful Miami recieved no compensation — not a player, not money, not draft picks, not even one measly ounce of Columbia’s finest. (Mountain Grown Folger’s, what did you think I was talking about?) This is roughly equivalent to UEFA ordering Juventus to send Zidane to bottom-feeding Sampdoria on a free transfer. Confirming his moniker, Logan spun the ethnic cleansing as a ‘reassignment’. No word yet if Clinton will order B-52s to drop smart bombs on MLS headquarters.

“The Bitch is Back”: Was the title of one Elton John’s more rocking songs from back when he actually performed interesting songs instead of being another X-chromosome in some made-for-TV ‘Divas’ special. But as long as we’ve raised the subject, I hear tell Debbie Keller is the subject of an article in Sports Illustratedagreeing Her Petulance deserves to be in the national side. (I don’t read Sports Illustrated — or any other Time-Warner fishwrap — as I prefer my periodical dollars be spent on publications less political in nature, but I accept the Keller report at face value as the source is a confirmed, though misguided, Keller groupie.) Our source continues, “Men athletes can attack their teammates, the fans, their coach and no one talks about team chemistry (except for Sprewell) as long as they produce. We want our women’s team to be sugar and spice and everything nice and be like our little daughters.” It’s not me, but all the coaches who train female teams, who say that team chemistry is especially important on female teams. Apparently this is because of some sort of female empathy-sociability thing. I dunno. I’m just a guy. I don’t pretend to understand the female mind, just soccer. But I have to question the soccer-savvy of a rag that allows its writers to appear in beer commercials with super-models like stone babe Rebecca Romijn. (For a night in her Frederick’s I would also make myself look silly in a national magazine, but what are the odds the baseball geek I saw in the commercial even got a sniff?) If that is Sports Illustrated‘s level of soccer savvy, I suggest they stick to beer commercials and swimsuit issues.

Yes, MLS, We Have Alternatives: In an article that asks the question, “Do groceries and soccer mix?”, the Hawaii Soccer Research Institute reveals that Royal Ahold, a $12 billion international grocery chain, is about to launch a new US pro soccer league. The best part about the new league? Dr. Bob Contiguglia, USSF President, reveals that, ” … they are doing everything right to appeal to the true soccer fan including banning jock rock, using the FIFA clock, and sending shootouts to Tombstone. Straight soccer with lots of club interaction with fan support groups. Finally the ghost of Dick Berg (NASL jock rock promoter) is being laid to rest.”

Second Best Quote of the Week: “It was kind of like ‘What’s the point?’ Then they said three minutes (of injury time) left, and I’m like, ‘Oh, what the hell. I’ll go in there for three minutes and run around, hopefully not mess up or trip on the ball.'” (United States midfielder Tisha Venturini, who came off the bench in injury time to score game-winner in 2-1 decision over China.)

Quote of the Week: “We had 22,000 for our first game, it was a tremendous atmosphere — we had smoke bombs, confetti, painted faces, toilet rolls, it seemed to be a real soccer crowd. But over the following months, security clamped down — you’re not allowed to let off smoke bombs, you’re not allowed to throw confetti, no toilet rolls, you’re not allowed in here if you’re enjoying yourself. We never got 22,000 again.” (Ron Newman, all-time winningest US soccer coach, fired two weeks ago by KC Wizards)

Right now, it would be hard for anyone to enjoy a Wizards game — even if they were allowed to throw nuclear bombs. Ron has to take some of that blame, but he has a point. 22,000 fans showed up for that first Wizards game, not knowing if the Wizards would be good, as they briefly were, or if they would suck, as they do now. Real fans who had been weaned on images of chanting, drum-beating, toilet roll tossing, soccer fans from Italy, England, and elsewhere. But then the Fun Nazis marched in: ‘Ve haff vays of makink du haff fun. Du vill only haff fun im vays da Fun Minister haff approofed.’ Mandatory fun, oh yippee. (What is it about American culture that only allows us to have fun in ways that other people approve of?)

It’s hard to tell who to blame for the attendance fiasco, the Wizards or the kleptocrats in Kansas City government. I don’t possess the names of any of Kansas City’s good burghers, but Doug Newman has previously proven his TotW qualifications, so we’ll pin the blame on him. Doug has what he wants: a ‘family-friendly’ stadium. Shame it is empty.

Doug Newman

Turd of the Week 
2nd Award

Doug’s off the hook this week due to the following late-breaking news:

Bob Gansler appointed head coach in K.C.
Gansler coached the Milwaukee Rampage to the 1997 A-League Title. It was an incredible game (I was there … really) with the Rampage taking a 1-0 lead over the Carlolina Dynamo, only to falter and give up the tying goal in the final minutes. There followed two 15-minute overtimes (not a crapshoot) during which ‘keeper Carmine Isacco made outstanding save after outstanding save while under constant pressure. (I am literally getting goosebumps thinking about it!) The game ended inPKs (not a crapshoot), with the Rampage taking the title 2-1. It was Milwaukee’s first pro sports championship since the Bucks won a basketball title in the early 1970’s. The Rampage mystified supporters by sacking Gansler after a 1998 season in which he led the team to its fifth straight playoff appearance. I’ve also gotten training from Gansler, so I know first hand he is an excellent teacher of the game. He can only help KC get better, whether they have the talent, or any will remaining, is another matter.

So, Doug Newman shouldn’t get too comfortable with his newly discovered common sense: One smart move is more likely a coincidence than a trend.

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