Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Four Posts & Two Lengths of Tape

I will admit to never giving mighty mighty Queen's Park Rangers a thought (except to appreciate the oh-so-English radness of the club's name), but this little rundown of the insanity that hangs around Loftus Road definitely inspires a flicker of interest. Sounds like they might be in League One next year—and hey, I don't have a League One club yet.

Friday, October 26, 2007

Rites of Autumn

Some say Major League Soccer lacks tradition. You can't blame that on DC United, however; the club is doing its level best to make blowing great seasons with playoff flame-outs against Chicago an annual ritual.

Robinho: Mythical Hero

Robinho, probably the most elegant player I have ever seen in the flesh—when he has the ball, it's like he's riding a bloody magic carpet to dreamland, nimble as a prancing squirrel on a telephone wire, as Ray Hudson might say—just keeps getting better. From the Press:

"...Robinho, Ronaldinho and other players attended a party that went on for hours and was complete with alcohol, sex and furtive escapes by footballers as they left the nightclub.

Moreover, O Globo said that at one point Robinho - who had been seen dancing with a voluptuous blonde - asked a security guard 'for 40 condoms,' adding that the Real Madrid player left the disco at 5 am.

The 23-year-old Robinho's involvement in similar activities has been documented in the past. In January, Spanish media accused him of turning up to a Real Madrid training session drunk - an allegation that was not denied by the club."

If there are any "kids" reading this, please: Don't try whatever Robinho thought he was going to try unless you've consulted a physician.

Friday, October 19, 2007

Canzano v. Garber

MLS Commisar Don Garber zipped through the City of Roses this week, studying our potential as an expansion city under the enormous hyper-powered magnifying glass he carries with him everywhere he goes. In the course of his travels, he took some time to talk to Oregonian sports columnist John Canzano on his popular sports-talk radio show. You can listen to the resulting awkwardness here.

Sports-talk is not a friendly environment for soccer—I think we all know this. To each their own, etc. I'm proud of "the soccer group" (see two sentences below) for building a sport without the support of the sports media mafia, which deep down just wants to protect its little piece of turf from incursions by subjects it doesn't collectively know much about.

Canzano and his charming cohost treated Garber with a notable lack of country hospitality, repeatedly and insistently referring to his product as "minor league." At one point, "the soccer group" (guess that's us) was referred as "hippie, granola, liberal..." (Ha. There are some skinheads these guys should really meet.) I would like to say that it amazes me that paid-up journalists still spout this stuff in 2007, but then again I work in the business.

On the other hand, there is another issue in play. Major League Soccer and the Timbers ownership group are talking about a possible $20-million, publicly financed retrofit of PGE Park to make it Beckham-worthy. To the extent that Canzano treated that idea with healthy skepticism, I salute him.

Public stadium financing is almost always a ripoff, amounting to a subsidy of some of the least needy people in America. Now, PGE Park is actually city-owned, which might move it into a slightly different category than the outright hand-outs most sports franchises seek; I'm not convinced of that, at least not yet. I would love to see MLS here, but not at any price. Garber and Timbers owner Merritt Paulson should be made to answer some tough questions—maybe even Canzano-esque questions—before they get a dime of tax money.