Friday, January 12, 2007

Welcome to America

There are two types of World Football fans. Those who think David Beckham is a genius with his ability to score big goals in big games, and those who think he is amongst the most over-rated players in the history of the sport.

I am in the first group. Once upon a time, I made a journey to London to see him play (and to see other stuff). It was amazing how good he was, and that day he scored 2 goals and dominated the game. Here is the summary: Manchester United 5, West Ham 3 3/16/2002. I happily fell in to the trap of thinking he was all that and a bag of chips because he was.

And now he will play in Frisco twice a year? Wow.

I honestly have no clue what this will do to the MLS business model. I also have no clue if any of you are more likely to get to Pizza Hut Park now that he has signed in America for a mere $250 million. But, if you are asking me if my sports pants are happy, I must respond with an affirmative.
LA Times Column on what lies ahead

Arguably the world's most famous athlete is coming to work in Los Angeles, but there's something you should know.

David Beckham is not joining the Galaxy as an athlete, but as an advertising campaign.

He is coming as soccer swag, a walking Super Bowl commercial, a big-haired billboard.

His job here is not to win, but to give his sport one last chance to work in the biggest place where it doesn't.

His success will be defined not by corner kicks, but by converts.

"Soccer in America is the biggest-played sport up to a certain age," Beckham said in a televised message. "That's where I want to take it to another level. Potentially it can go higher than anyone can probably believe in America."

Translated, it's his job to round up those baggy-shorted runts clogging up your park and herd them over to his park.

That's all fine and good, but this has been tried here before, remember? A big star showed up to sell a secondary sport, and it worked for a while, but once that star disappeared, so did the sport.

Guy by the name of Gretzky.

Beckham's job is to be greater than the Great One.

No wonder he is being paid roughly $50 million a year for five years, miracles being worth at least much.

"Right now, the move means a ton; I've never seen ESPN this excited about soccer in my life," said Sigi Schmid, coach of Major League Soccer's Columbus Crew and former coach of the Galaxy. "But the real test will be down the road, in how it can help elevate our league and our sport."

Here's hoping Beckham at least does better than in his last two jobs; he was cut by England's national team and benched by Real Madrid.

Meanwhile, FC Dallas looks to get in the fun

Edgar Davids is another big name midfielder who could be playing football in the United States soon.

On the day David Beckham confirmed he would be joining MLS side LA Galaxy, FC Dallas boss Steve Morrow admitted his interest in Tottenham's 33-year-old former Dutch international midfielder.

Ex-Arsenal midfielder Morrow said: 'We are actually in negotiations with Edgar Davids - we've been speaking for a couple of weeks.

'We were excited to hear about his availability, so we spoke to his agents and have been told he is available.'

Morrow took over as manager of the Western Conference side last month, after playing 44 games for the side in 2002-03.

And he added on BBC London 94.9: 'It appears Tottenham are willing to listen to offers.

'It's the transfer window in the United States now - and if a deal is going to happen it has to be done before the end of the month.'

Can this work in the MLS? Seems crazy, but I am willing to keep an open mind and find out.

The Mickaroo filets Roy Williams

So what about Roy?

Yeah, him, Roy Williams, the team's franchise strong safety fast turning into an enigma after five seasons in this league.

You know, the Pro Bowl safety who certainly did not perform this 2006 season like a guy earning an all-expenses-paid trip to Hawaii compliments of his peers and fans.
The same safety who led the Cowboys in interceptions on one hand, but also might have led them in blown coverages on the other.

The guy Cowboys owner Jerry Jones guaranteed $11.1 million this summer by extending his expiring contract through the 2010 season, handing him $5.5 million then and promising the remaining $5.5 million in March.

By all rights, the guy who should have been one of this team's leaders, both on the field and in the locker room, but who prefers to fade into the woodwork in either environment and has little to decreasingly no interaction with what seems to be a loyal fan base through its media intermediaries.

That guy.
Where is that guy the Cowboys spent an eighth pick in the draft on in 2002? The guy who had a career-high 127 tackles that season, along with a career-high seven behind the line of scrimmage?

Where is that guy who would have regularly appeared on ESPN's favorite Monday night segment of "Jacked Up," he being the one doing the jacking up?

Why did this four-time Pro Bowler not have a Pro Bowl impact on this team this year? Talk about Terrell Owens, come on.

Look, I know he had five interceptions this season, and another one in the playoffs. But sometimes interceptions don't tell the whole story, because if they did, then you would argue to me Williams is better in coverage than Terence Newman, who finished the regular season with only one interception.

This guy should be all about tackles, yet he had but 86 this year, fourth on the team - and behind a cornerback for goodness sakes (Anthony Henry). He had only two tackles for losses, one forced fumble and one quarterback pressure. And don't tell me they didn't blitz him enough. They did, but when they did, he didn't get there.
Hey, in that Philadelphia game, the one at Texas Stadium on Christmas Day, by golly the official play-by-play crew credited him with one tackle. One! Although, he did end up with two more after the coaches' tape review. To me, that's an invisible performance.

That wasn't just an aberration, either. He finished the Carolina game with one "assisted" tackle. Arizona with one tackle. Seattle with three.

Wow. Who would have thunk that would show up on!

The Stars continue to circle the drain

The Stars aren't a bad hockey team, just a really boring one.

The best team in the Western Conference was in town Thursday, and the energy in American Airlines Center was the kind that a tangle with the Florida Panthers deserves.

Only two teams play games that produce fewer goals than Stars games this season. One is Vancouver, which exchanged the borderline criminal excitement of Todd Bertuzzi for the steady goaltending glove of All-Star starter Roberto Luongo.

The other is New Jersey, which has been boring its way to Stanley Cups for a decade now, its fan base stretching all the way from Jersey Turnpike Exit 16W to Hoboken.
I'm not suggesting that all high-scoring games are great, all 2-1 contests disasters. It's just that a team that has always featured entertaining players – yes, even during the trapping years of Ken Hitchcock – doesn't generate much buzz around town these days.

Let's face it. Their All-Star probably is going to be Philippe Boucher. He's a very sound player who ranks in the top 10 among defensemen in scoring. Dallas is blessed to have him.

But I don't know how many fans file into AAC each night saying, "Can't wait to see Boucher." Guessing it's not a lot.

"The timing's not real good for having an All-Star game in this city," said Modano, who is at least two weeks away from returning from his hip injury. "It's a shame because we had some guys get off to really good starts. It would have been great to have three or four guys in the game.

"Bad luck on that."

Even at 36, Modano's speed makes for a good show. Eric Lindros is no replacement. The once great center is on pace for 10 goals, and that's despite being healthier than he has been in recent seasons.

The one really good thing the Stars do is win shootouts, which can be exciting in January and which are as meaningful for the playoffs as having the best No. 5 starting pitcher.

Hockey isn't falling off the map in Dallas as it has in some major markets. But there hasn't been a time where there was a greater disparity between the Stars and their co-tenant.

On December 28th, in this space I wondered the following question:

Wonder if Doug Armstrong has plans to help out the team before it is too late with a nice trade?

It is January 12th, and I would like to ask the same question. Because it is my estimation that if they do not do something pretty substantial, I don’t think they will be in the playoffs. They just are in a gun fight with a squirt gun right now, and just getting Modano back may not be enough.

I think it will require a bold stroke. Or, they may need a goaltender who can carry them. Just kidding.

Finally, Chris Webber is interested in everyone who has a chance to win a ring so that he may piggyback some jewelry

Chris Webber has listed the Mavericks as one of the teams he's interested in joining, his management group confirmed Thursday. The former All-Star power forward is a free agent after Philadelphia bought out the final two years of his contract.

The Mavs are exploring the possibility of adding Webber to their already-deep roster, but the lack of available playing time presents an obstacle in signing the 14-year veteran.

The other teams on Webber's wish list -- hometown Detroit, Miami, San Antonio and the Los Angeles Lakers -- also offer the same ring-chasing allure. His agency, Goodwin Sports Management, expects Webber to make a decision in the next few days.

Edgar Davids Highlight Film

Bowling for Soup – my Ipod’s most played recently. Gay?

Peyton Outtakes


steve said...

no one cares about some washed up spare. and the only reason any one has ever heard of the guy is because his name was the title of some stupid movie

Just Sayin' said...

Mickey Spagnola doesn't tie his shoes without permission. He is a powerdown of the highest order. I do give ticket hosts credit for fighting through him.

Beckham signing is huge for MLS. That being said I could care less about watching it on TV much less going to see it in person.

Jake said...

Mickey = Spare

Bowling for Soup, sorry Bob = Gay

Soccer's pretty gay too but anyone that calls Manchester ManU = Gay. Might as well say man love.

Give Fab-5 Webber a 1-year, $1 million deal...see if he's about winning or money, wait, don't.

Cap It said...

Personally, I don't see how a tier 3 league (and lets face it, that's what MLS is in this country), can justify spending TOP tier 1 (MLB, NBA, NFL) money on one player. The dollars don't add up.

You go setting that kind of precedent, where other players expect the same kind of compensation, and you run out of money in a hurry.

No way MLS has any sort of sponsorship to justify this.

Looks like another case of 'if you spend it, they will come'. Problem is, the spending is now. The return won't be for some time, if ever.

I'm a fan of the EPL, and other Euro leagues, but not to the extent that I switch to it if there's a NFL or Mavs game on at the same time. Let alone an MLS match.

World football is so huge in every other part of the world because that is the culture and what the kids grow up wanting to do - there are few alternatives.

In the US&A, there are so many options, and the financial wheels are already in place to support those sports. I just don't see how another sport can be shoehorned into the most elite of levels here.

artfromtex said...

Mickey gets a bad rap. I think he's a nice enough guy and he's pretty down the middle in my book. You gotta figure that when he comes on the Ticket hosts are all fired up about what's wrong. Usually taken things and blowing up to be bigger than they are. Mick comes on and usually just brings things back down to reality. So I guess he comes off as an apologist, when in truth, he's really just being "face-value" honest.

Give the guy a break.....


artfromtex said...

...with the Cowboys.

those three items were needed in my previous post.


Buck's a critic said...

I'd be interested to know how much of the $250 million is salary. I'm thinking probably 25% of it... even that is a ton, obviously.

Davids might be entertaining to watch in Dallas... maybe moreso than Beckham. But he won't keep the forwards healthy.

phil k. said...

I count myself amongst the second group that Bob describes with one caveat: it's not that Becks is overrated so much as it's that his best playing days are over. I suppose if we can live with a dialed-down version of him, then it will be all roses. There is a major reason why Real Madrid didn't have good and get give with him this last year: he didn't perform like the world-class footballer that they expect.

Anyone who thinks that Becks is a current Top 10 or, even Top 15 player in the world is kidding themselves. All-Time, maybe, but not current.

I want to see the business plan that MLS put together in bringing him here. Do they think they're going to put more butts in seats? Maybe when the Galaxy comes to your town, you might go. But the other 'x'-number of nights your home team plays, are you going? No. Unless you're already a die-hard soccer fan, you're not stepping on-board a new sport.

As an Arsenal red-blood, I count Davids as a mortal enemy (former Hotspur) and will lay in front of any tank that tries to bring him to Pizza Hut Park.

BACM said...

Agreed Jake Mickey=Huge Powerdown

As far as Sturm's music taste is concerned. He never claimed to be Music Sturm.

Webber to Piston's

Rock Me

Just Sayin' said...

From Mickey's column on Roy Williams.

"He's can't play linebacker. He can't. You realize he's 6-foot, 229 pounds (listed). How many 6-foot, 230-pound linebackers (I'll give him a pound) you know in the NFL these days?"

Top 6 tacklers in the NFL this year (all linebackers)
Zach Thomas 5'11 228 lbs
DeMeco Ryans 6'2 235 lbs
London Fletcher Baker 5'10 245 lbs
Keith Bullock 6'3 235 lbs
Donnie Edwards 6'2 227 lbs
Cato June 6'0 227 lbs

Average that out and it's pretty close to 6'0, 232 pounds. I'm not necessarily saying he should play linebacker but it isn't as stupid as Mickey would have you think.

Dat Nguyen 5'10 230 lbs
Dexter Coakley 5'11 238 lbs.

Speedy, small linebackers were a good idea prior to Parcells, wonder why Mick changed his mind on that one.

Brandon said...

Abour Brian Custer...

Brian Custer
Custer joins the SNY team having most recently worked at CBS-11 in Dallas for eight years where he served as sports anchor. Prior to that, he worked at the ABC affiliate WSYX-TV for two years, where he served as a sports anchor. Custer began his radio and television career in his hometown of Columbus, Ohio, where he spent a year and a half at 610 WTVN radio. Custer, a life member of Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity and graduate of Hampton University, currently resides in the Tri-State area.

p1dean said...

I agree Just Sayin'...Mick's line should read "He can't play linebacker for Parcells.

That being said...I believe the Cowboys need exactly two players to be more than one and done next year. They need another Demarcus Ware (maybe the next Coordinator will take care of this), and they need a solid Free Safety.

Hey friend and I were at Gatti's Pizza in Denton about 10 years ago and heard noise from the basement. It was Bowling for Soup...there were about 5 people in the audience and we left after about 10 minutes. We laughed for years about what a gay, spare band that was.

p1dean said...

Sorry about the backtoback posts...but I just read this at the Onion...

"Now all of you go to hell," Parcells said, ending the press conference with his trademark frankness and inspiring laughter among reporters. "You mental children should be ashamed of yourself, making a living sucking at the teat of angry overgrown losers like me."

The rest of the article is pretty funny

Rick Bentley said...

Bowling for Soup...the pride of Abilene, Texas I believe.

Jay Callicott said...

Mickey is a spare. He's a nice guy but he is a huge powerdown, and I'm not sure why he has more segments than any other non-ticket host on the Ticket. And it always seems like the ticket hosts are powered-down just as much as the listeners but there seems to be no escape.