It's a bird, it's a plane! It's SoccerScribe. If it weren't for him, we would all be slaves to the Legion of Doom.
The boys over at MLS HQ were smiling the other night. I was a bit more somber (exasperated, actually, but that doesn't start with an "s".)
MLS folk were happy because Tony Kornheiser and Michael Wilbon had discussed Freddy Adu on Wednesday on their ESPN talk show, Pardon the Interruption, also known as PTI.
I was less enthused because Tony Kornheiser and Michael Wilbon had discussed Freddy Adu on Wednesday on their ESPN talk show, Pardon the Interruption, also known as PTI. MLS liked having Freddy as a topic of discussion on PTI. It's a symbol to them that MLS is becoming a little more mainstream. Maybe.
If nonsensical discussion counts for mainstream, then I guess MLS has arrived. I don't watch PTI, or haven't watched for a long time, because I came to the conclusion that listening/watching Kornheiser and Wilbon is about as useful as going to my local pub for a discussion on nuclear fusion.They're not complete idiots, but they're near complete.
I only paid attention Wednesday because a colleague was watching as I walked out of work, and I caught a glimpse of "Adu" in their "rundown."Freddy, all 16 years of him, wants to play more. Show me a non-regular that doesn't. He said so publicly on Tuesday of last week, and added that he might look for another team once the off-season hits. Personally, I think Freddy is becoming a brat. But teenagers are like that. I've seen worse brats, and much older than Freddy. Maybe Rich Motzkin should catch a red-eye from Los Angeles and have a chat with his young padawan. I've watched Freddy, in person and on TV, and yeah, there are times when you nod your head. There are also times when you wonder where he's disappeared to. I haven't heard one knowledgeable soccer person/fan in the past two years say: "Ya know, Nowak's an idiot for not playing Freddy more."Maybe that's because Nowak has taken a team that missed the playoffs three times in the four years before his arrival and took it to the title in his first season, and has the third-best record in the league this season.
But predictably, Kornheiser and Wilbon sided with Adu. They expressed essentially the same point last year when Adu didn't start D.C. United's home opener, nor a lot of other early games.Their point then, and now, was not that Adu was a better player than others starting in front of him, but that "the fans", "the people" wanted to see Adu, and that MLS is so hard up for spectators, they should play him. D.C. United management, or MLS itself, should order Peter Nowak to play Adu.
This from one guy (Kornheiser) who, my D.C. sources tell me, has NEVER shown up at a game (at least in the press box), and another (Wilbon) who hasn't been to a game in "at least 3-4 years." I guess they TiVo the games on their Direct Kick package! Wilbon tried to make an argument that came down to: Adu isn't that bad. Gee, that's inspiring.Nobody said he was bad, but as Nick Rimando pointed out in at least one account that I read - and I mentioned above - he's inconsistent.Wilbon compounded his idiocy by ranting in a subsequent Washington Post column that MLS "played" Adu and that the league committed fraud by touting Freddy as some great savior and then not showcasing him as such. This must be the same kind of fraud that the Washington Post perpetrates by saying it will publish informed opinion and reasoned commentary and then publishes Wilbon's rubbish.
Kornheiser prattled on saying something to the effect that "this was about marketing," and "MLS is never going to expand beyond its core fans" unless it did something like play Adu. I remember those kind of arguments in 1996, which led to the oh-so-popular countdown clock and who could ever forget, shootouts! Thankfully, one of the first acts of Don Garber after he took over in 1999 was to ban both, realizing that the shootout and countdown clock weren't attracting all that many new fans and were in fact alienating the old ones _ a lot of them. Now, we (Nowak, D.C. United, MLS, soccer fans) are supposed to take advice from these two, one guy who hasn't shown up to watch Freddy - who's played in 55 of 62 games over the past two years including 30 starts - since he showed up, and the other who has NEVER covered a game!!!!If they wanted to make an argument that Freddy is better than Moreno or Gomez or even Quaranta or Walker, maybe I would be less critical. I wouldn't agree with them, but I'd hear them out.
Their argument really is that MLS, i.e. soccer, must be a circus side show, the bearded lady, the dog-faced boy, the two-headed man, to gain attention. It's not an under-the-big-tent act, like the NFL, MLB, NBA, etc. and never will be.This is the thought process that pervades the over-45 set. As Agent J said: "Hey! Old guys."Wake up. Besides being old, you're not very bright. Do you mind getting out of the way? Down in front.It's not a side show to us: the 15,000 or so who show up at every game every week. And we're not going to become one just to satisfy your infantile attention span.
The boys over at MLS were happy because of the attention. I can understand that, because the younger set also watches PTI (proving the adage of youth being wasted on the young!) But while it may increase exposure, I'm dubious as to how many seeds are falling on fertile ground. MLS is happy with their name in the discussion. I guess I'm looking for an educated discussion, and I should know better than to look for it from guys like Kornheiser and Wilbon, or in places like ESPN.