It's been said that MLS is the first "Internet Sport".
Most of us know the difficulties and frustrations of trying to follow professional soccer through their local media outlets, whose coverage was, and often still is, weak and spotty at best.
Most major dailies in league cities find it hard to justify devoting very much space to a "minor" sport with a modest fan base. Coverage of the local NFL team sells papers. They traditionally consider coverage of MLS to be sort of a public service.
But in a piece of serendipity for which the guys at MLS HQ in New York ought to get down on their knees and thank whomever they thank for these things (Hey, I'm nothing if not ecumenical) the interweb came into common usage right about the same time that MLS was founded.
It's been an integral - even essential - facet of being an MLS fan, a fact which the league somewhat belatedly acknowledged when they brought all the team websites in house and farmed them out to a contractor who proceeded to homogenize, distill and otherwise suck any sign of life out of them.
(And that was before the recent "redesign", which further reduced mlsnet.com to an incomprehensible, cluttered-up, barely usable mess)
But with "fan sites" sprouting up like marijuana farms in Tennessee, most of us bypass both the conventional media and MLS' version of Pravda in favor of a collection of sites, many of which are surprisingly good, which do a much better job of covering what's really going on than you can get anyplace else.
Not that they're all as good as Buzz Carrick's 3RD DEGREE which in most cases is more "official" and certainly more interesting than anything the league's pet coder farm has ever produced, but many of them are surprisingly well done.
Which brings us to the curious case of RSLFM a surprisingly professional fan site for Real Salt Lake.
It's always been somewhat controversial due to it's often cynical and derisive attitude towards the team it purports to follow. (Personally, as a Crew fan, I'd just like to say "You think you're bitter? HAH! Try being a Crew fan for 13 years and THEN we'll talk bitter; you Newbies know NOTHING of pain and anguish and depression! NOTHING, I say! HAHAHAHAHA!...what? time for my meds again already?)
However that may be, a curious thing happened earlier this week: it disappeared. As you probably know I'm not exactly a "tech-saavy" guy, but I believe the term is "hacked". Purportedly, someone , somehow - you guys can explain it to me - got "administrative privileges" (I guess that means they came up with a password, right?) from Google and tore the thing down.
The founder and, well, general factotum, of the site is bewitched, bothered and bewildered by all of this. She's been flim flammed. Hornswoggled. Bamboozled. Run amok. Having lost, as she says, all of the site contents, including graphics, she's considering throwing in the towel.
Well as a wise man once said: "Illegitime Non Carborundum". Which I'm assured probably means "Don't let the bastards grind you down". RSLFM was one of the best fansites around, dark and cynical though it could sometimes be. It would be a real shame to lose it.