I'm not going to pretend to understand the constructs and statistical-type-data (I believe that's the engineeringl term for it) that became all the rage in Major League Baseball after Oakland's GM Billy Beane threw a box full of numbers into a computer (stop me if I get too technical) and the thing spit out the names of players who could be had for a song who would in turn rack up better numbers than the entire roster of the HGH-besotted New York Yankees.
Or something. Guys like our own "scaryice" are masters of what it all means. Go ask him.
What is of interest is that Beane is apparently TRYING TO ADAPT THE SAME PRINCIPLES to soccer.
Apparently he's become "fascinated" by soccer lately - which makes him one of us - and "has talked to several Premier League officials, among other soccer bigwigs" about getting involved in the game.
I suppose it's too much to hope for that a few of those "other soccer bigwigs" are connected to MLS. Most of those guys are too busy calling around the Pacific Rim trying to find someplace where they can make some dough off of David Beckham to bother with petty issues like talent evaluation.
Nevertheless, it's an interesting idea. Unlike other sports, soccer has been notoriously resistant to the picklocks of number-crunchers; there's so much that goes on away from the ball and so many ways to influence play without putting foot to sphere that most attempts to quantify play have come up woefully short.
If Beane can come up with a method to measure what has heretofore been seen as unmeasureable, he could make an enormous contribution to the game.
So as long as we're on the subject of small electronic boxes that go "whirrr" and "click" and then freeze up and stare at me, maybe some BigSoccer stud gamer (can you use "stud" and "gamer" in the same sentence?) can be coaxed off of their couch and into the EA SPORTS PLAYSTATION BEST VIRTUAL SOCCER PLAYER IN NORTH AMERICA qualifier this weekend in Los Angeles.
As Ronaldinho says in the announcement: "The FIFA Interactive World Cup is where true world champions are crowned”. Of course we know he doesn't really mean it, but it's nice they were able to come up with a suitable quote anyway.
Somebody get out there and make us proud that we collectively waste a couple billion man hours a year on soccer websites. It's your duty.