Kaka by Any Other Name

From the Calgary Herald comes an interesting note about those ubiquitous Gilette commercials which feature Tiger Woods, Roger Federer and Thierry Henry demonstrating just how smooth all that money has made their faces.

Or something.

(You may recall that the current campaign replaces one that starred David Beckham, but since he's left the world of real football and headed to LA, they felt the need to retool.)

The Herald reports that IN THE REST OF THE WORLD THERE'S A FOURTH CABALLERO: AC Milan's brilliant Brazilian star Kaka.

Apparently the agency feels that his name has a somewhat unfortunate connotation in the US which might not reflect well on their product. I wish I thought they were wrong about this, but they're probably right.

(Perhaps I should note though that the same article goes on to discuss the "Datsun" Fair Lady as another example of unfortunate branding, which is simply untrue; first because the z32 was made by Nissan not Datsun and second because while it was referred to as the Fair Lady in Japan, the British called it the Zed and in the US it was and is the 300ZX. But I digress. Hey, it's Monday. Sue me.)

Speaking of Beckham (as everyone always is) while, as Dan notes below, his team laid kind of a big egg on Saturday, it's a little unfair - albeit entirely predictable - that the world "footie" press is roasting him alive. THIS HEADLINE IS REPEATED IN DOZENS OF UK PAPERS and while there's no law that headlines have to be entirely accurate - particularly in the UK - "COOKE MAKES MEAL OF BECKS" seems something of a stretch, if for no other reason than the guy doesn't play left back.

You have to admit though that this photo, taken Saturday night as he forlornly waited for someone to swap shirts with, the expression on his face shows a somewhat bewildered, if not shell shocked, superstar. (Or at least those of us who are a) not female and b) not gay will notice the look on his face. I'm not judging here - to each his own)

Which brings you round to one of the unfortunate truths here: Sir David of Brentwood is in an impossible situation. If he and the team do well, everyone will disregard it since it's "only MLS". And when they fare badly, then they'll really jump on the guy.

Fortunately, he has all that lovely money to keep him warm at night. And his name isn't a synonym for doody.

Speaking of Henry Seattle doesn't even have an official team nickname yet but they're already being "linked" as they say to a world class superstar READY TO COME TO MLS "LIKE BECKHAM".

Can't they at least wait until there are actual uniforms and stuff before they start in with this nonsense?

As for Canada the reviews on the great TFC Fan Migration are decidedly mixed.

THIS PIECE FROM THE NATIONAL POST describes the feelings some recently immigrated TFC fans felt as they observed behavior they thought they had left behind when they came to the New World.

That article was a follwup to THE PREVIOUS DAY'S REPORT which describes the somewhat less ambiguous sentiments of Columbus' Finest, who - having decades of experience with Ohio State football game days (and nights) that regularly see mobs of drunks roaming the streets setting things on fire - were more than ready to overlook a lot but who drew the line at TFC fans engaging in dicky-waving directed at the church attendees across the way.

The visitors claim the problem was that the management in Columbus had no earthly idea how to cope with such a magnificent throng of soccer fans. All of you who have attended USA-Mexico games (for which the setup is exactly the same) with twice the number of well-lubricated fans in that exact same lot know that, frankly, that's a pretty weak argument.

Loose zippers and mounds of garbage aside, there were an uncomfortably large number of "incidents" during and after the game which carried the potential for even uglier headlines. Fortunately there were enough cooler heads among both Crew and TFC fans to diffuse most of the uglier incidents before they got out of hand.

To their credit, the Sons of Ben have already begun discussing the potential for this kind of thing and are working on ways to supervise and diffuse them before something happens that sets us all back a decade. Other fan groups would do well to follow suit.

Every team has some fans who watch too many YouTube football riot videos and think it looks like great fun. The rest of us can't leave keeping this kind of impulse under control to stadium security and local police. If you truly want to make a contribution to the growth and success of MLS, that's a good place to start.

PS: I try to keep my personal fandom out of these posts, but I just wanted to note: to those of you who thought that pouring streamers onto Guillermo Barros-Schelotto as he was lining up Corner Kicks was a good way to distract him, I'd just like to point out that the guy played in Argentina for over a decade.

Until he came to Columbus last summer he had probably never taken a corner in his life where he wasn't buried in paper. Frankly, he probably feels odd standing there without it. So thanks for making him feel so at home.