So say we all! If by we, you mean, Sports Business Journal.
That's not just soccer, gang. That's all of sports. Tim Leiweke. The best sports executive in America. (The agonized howling from LA Kings fans will be something to behold.) And, unless you're some kind of childish fanboy who cares about wins and losses, he's so incredibly deserving of that honor that it's pointless to argue in favor of anyone else.
Or unless you've painted your house orange, and you genuinely think it's for his great job in building the Houston Dynamo dynasty. If that's the case, in the words of Buzz Lightyear, you're a sad, strange man, and you have my pity.
MLS won Sports League of the Year, as well, and it isn't because of the Houston Dynamo-nasty*, neither. The fact that Leiweke won ahead of Garber tells me that SBJ realized as well as you or I that this recent success is because MLS became DBS. AEG, and presumably Leiweke, also brought Blanco to the league, and based on bootleg jerseys, Cootie is the only other guy in the league. But if Blanco was the Rolling Stones, Beckham was the Beatles...if the Beatles had blew out their voices on Ed Sullivan and needed the rest of 1964 to rehab. (Anyone want to extend this analogy? Landon can be the Beach Boys, Brian McBride can be Elvis. Maybe not.)
It's things like this that obscure how far the league actually has to go. Despite the massive publicity, the league's attendance is still being driven by a few thousand star-struck glitterati celebutantes from Toronto and a bunch of pushy, insular, overly-emotional anti-Americans from Los Angeles. Okay, following attendance is an inexact science in a year when the Quakes and the Wizards are playing in parks designed by the architectural firm of Arthur "Two Sheds" Jackson. Television ratings aren't any kinder...although the ads are trying to sell me cars, paint and sporting goods now, instead of impotence cures and vocational school training.
Jersey sales, largely driven by Beckham, Blanco and bootlegs (the league gets a piece of those flimsy pieces of crap peddled on the Santa Monica promenade, right?), are pretty much what has put the league within the purview of the SBJ. If the NASL had the wit to sell Pele, Cruyff and Rongen jerseys back in the 70's, the American soccer landscape would look very different. Not blaming Woosnam, Toye, and etc.** - jersey sales were strictly for kids back then, and no one realized the potential market for "authentics" and "replicas." The secret to success?
So, despite what we've read over the past year about the lack of talent and the poor showings from many of the league's marquee players and the so-so games - many of which were depressingly accurate - the league is pretty much the most successful kickyball league ever seen in lands north of El Paso. But, in the words of Winston Wolf, we should avoid congratulating ourselves too quickly.*** American soccer's miracle years would still be unqualified disasters in baseball and football.
*Should I even bother to try to coin "Dynamo-nasty" as short for "Dynamo dynasty"? I shouldn't, right? I should just go back and erase that, and this footnote, shouldn't I? You're right. You're always right. Yes, dear.
**I'm making a grammatical joke here. I'm expanding my audience beyond simply soccer. How am I doing so far?
***From the G-rated, 15 minute version of "Pulp Fiction"
That's right. Timing.