David Beckham was on "Sesame Street" this morning. My daughter saw him, and started crying.
What a bright, perceptive, intelligent little girl I have. Me and Tim Leiweke should listen to her more often. Turns out Ben Olsen was right to beat the crap out of Dawson for wearing that douchebag's jersey.
Now, let's get one thing straight. If you think I'm just going to go off on some poisonous, semi-literate rant calling into question Beckham's desire, class, integrity and honor - boy, have you come to the right place. My only mission right now is to make Nick Green look like Simon Fuller.
But let's get the comparisons out of the way first.
Pele came to New York, won a championship, toured the nation, and saw his mission through. The NASL didn't last, but nobody blames him. Pele retired a New York Cosmo, and earned his spot in Oneonta. Why, he even played on artificial turf.
Unlike David Beckham.
Landon Donovan came to Los Angeles, won a championship, led his team in goals and assists - and for some pretty bad teams. Donovan from minute one said it was his intention to transfer to Europe, and would repeat it to literally anyone who would listen.
Unlike David Beckham.
What really gets me - one of the things that get me - one of the many things that get me is who has been proven right. All the bottom-feeders in the gutter European sports press, all the knee-jerk MLS haters like Steven Cohen - they've been proven spectacularly right. What I mistook for competitive pride, they correctly saw as cynical hucksterism.
Me? Like a fool, I took him at his word. They haven't yet scrubbed his official blog entry from December where he said this:
But I have every confidence some intern is on the case as we speak.
I'm assuming MLSnet is on the case, too. From July 2007:
God, this one just looks comedic now:
It's an interesting argument over whether "liar" or "quitter" would be a better word to describe Beckham. But I'm not here to argue. I say use both.
If the FA let this creature take the all-time England cap record, they will regret it, sooner or later.
As for what the Galaxy do now - keeping in mind I've been quite vocal about letting Landon go (FREE LANDON!), I now recommend that Phil Anschutz follow the lead of Pharaoh: bring Beckham back in a bottle, or bring him back in chains.
He said he wanted to grow the game in this country. Whether he does it by playing or by fixing the turf at the Home Depot Center after the X-Games, that's what he is being paid to do, and that's what he will do.
Speaking of turf - oh, he'll play in Toronto. He'll play in New England. He'll play in Seattle. Have Salt Lake move back to Rice-Eccles for a game. Have the Quakes move to Candlestick Park for a night game.
And personal appearances? Oh, forget those cute little filmed practices in sweet little islands. Shake hands with fans in Bell Gardens and Pacoima. Send him to East Palo Alto and Red Hook and, I dunno, some mosquito preserve off the Hudson Bay. Play exhibition games in Fairbanks, Alaska, to kick off seventy-two hours and forty-five seconds before every England game.
Leg hurts? So? Sign autographs. Shake hands. SMILE. Tell everyone how wonderful the Galaxy and MLS is, and what a privilege it is to be alive in America for it. You owe us two more years of lies. Make them good.
You know, there's a little song I like to hum to myself when things like this happen. I think we can all learn from it:
You f*******ed up!
You really ********ed up!
You ********ed up, you sloppy little ****!
You dicked me over, but now you'll pay!
You ********ed up!
Thank you, Ween.
Well, so much for catharsis.
Of course AEG and MLS will sell the creep now. On the one hand, Beckham trying to force the issue lowers the prices, in theory. On the other hand, well, now AEG has to put a price on their public image, upon which David Beckham just sneezed all over. They could have sold him last week without looking bad. But they can't simply cut their losses - they have responsibilities to their own sponsors.
I almost feel bad for Herbalife. Adidas might be fine with Beckham moving from one of their teams to another...although the ultimate goal to wear the national team shirt of a Nike subsidiary might rankle. But AC Milan is sponsored by an Amway company. For the past two years, Beckham was wearing a Herbalife shirt. But he might as well now have been wearing a CHOOSE LIFE shirt, for all the relevance that now has.
In fact, a good rule of thumb for all this is, as far as American soccer is concerned - Pele:Beatles::Beckham:Frankie Goes To Hollywood.
Yes, MLS will survive - it's in a much more stable position than the NASL ever was. Seattle, Toronto, Philadelphia - they won't need him to sell tickets. And the novelty has worn off elsewhere. It makes the Galaxy look bad, but they looked pretty bad the past couple of years. Any LA season ticket holder who was only buying season tickets to see David Beckham was (a) gonna stop pretty soon anyhow, and/or (b) is such a sucker or glutton for punishment that they'll just buy tickets to see the next fad. Maybe LA will sign a trained seal or something.
But in the words of Norm Macdonald, what really hurts is the lack of respect.* The Galaxy and MLS are going to have to live off the people who already liked the league in the green and gold days - minus a financial crisis. Lots of people liked the Galaxy - they were leading MLS in attendance before Beckham - but the prices were slightly more reasonable. I'm not anticipating any AEG cutbacks in pricing, so I'd anticipate empty seats for every MLS team in the HDC this year. (This year's goal: outdraw the Sol.)
And if the people who already liked MLS were enough to live on...well, the league wouldn't keep pulling stunts like Beckham and Freddy Adu. The fan base must expand.
The good news is, there's a World Cup next year. The US not stinking up the other hemisphere would help a great deal. Some homegrown stars would be ideal. Except on the 11th, it looks like the MLS contingent of the US starting lineup will be able to fit into one shirt. Two, maybe.
That's a different post, though.
MLS has survived flameouts from Jorge Campos, Branco, Lothar Matthaeus, Luis Hernandez, Hong Myung-Bo, Khodadad Azizi, Denilson - this too will pass. And, unlike Beckham, pass accurately.
But what does it say when Cuauhtemoc Blanco shows more class, more integrity, AND more respect for Major League Soccer than David Beckham?
It says I should listen to my baby, instead of being one, and turn the page. Fine.
I still want Marsch and Serioux to have another shot at him, though. If at first you don't succeed....
*Oh, wait. The lack of respect, according to Norm, was second. A distant second.