Why I have a "crap that has nothing to do with anything" category, part MMDCCLXVIII

Whatever I said, I was misquoted.

Weekend woolgathering and housekeeping, I'm afraid. I'll try to throw in a joke or two to make it worthwhile, but unfortunately I've no particular insight in the FA Cup other than "Hm, I thought small teams were going to assert themselves in this tournament as bigger teams focused on Leagues Premier and Champions." Which really isn't worth a separate post, or even spoiler shield. Even though I've effectively spoiled at least two of today's games.

(Oops.)

First - I've tried to clean up the blogroll a little. I need to add a few new ones. I also need to swoop through DuNord's blogroll and rescue some of the orphans, at least until Bruce comes back. (When it comes to blogrolls, Bruce was Abraham Linkin'. Stop me if I've told you that one.)

So - if you have a blog, let me know about it. And if you have a blog, make an update so I know you're serious about it.

This also includes BigSoccer blogs, which I've been meaning to officially add. There's Fighting Talker and Pack and others, but if you think you've been laboring in undeserved obscurity, then throw a brick at me. Violence is the only language I understand.

Seriously, American soccer is right now in a nice area between obsessive underground cult and lowest common denominator blithering, so we're never going to have quite this amount of intelligent, entertaining writing out there before the sport implodes or we're overrun by the likes of Jim Rome and Colin Cowherd hopping onto the bandwagon.

For the moment I'm out of US pictures. Thanks to Jack and Roger from the Soccer Hall of Fame, and commenters who showed me cool stuff or corrected some of my more charming mistakes. I'd be thrilled to see other countries, although England and such are far better documented than the United States. It's amazing how much stuff was out there, and equally amazing how much stuff was totally obscured for decades. The United States National Team - over a century of doing marginally better than India.

The only intelligent point I made on the Fighting Talker podcast, for which, again, I cannot apologize enough, was the complete sea change of the United States making it to five World Cups running, with six (let's face it) a near-certainty. Puny-ass region, sure, but it wasn't as if the region was loaded with talent during our lean centuries. Historically speaking, up until 1990 CONCACAF could be summed up as Mexico and debris. A generation has now seen the United States grow from a bad joke to a pretty good joke.

This kind of consistency has been a godsend. Sports can wax and wane in popularity, of course. When I was a lad, people gave a crap about track and field even in non-Olympic years, and for decades the heavyweight boxing champion was the most famous man in the world. But there is a good deal of inertia in American sports viewing habits, especially compared to other forms of entertainment. It's very, very tough to get sports fans to accept something new, but once it's established, it's also tough to get them to give it up. Baseball has spent the last fifteen years trying to alienate fans every way it could, but more people show up than ever. I realize Bill Simmons said the other day that something on the order of 10 NHL teams could disappear overnight. But on the other end of the spectrum, ten NHL teams or so can withstand a direct missile strike.

MLS is almost to the point where it would survive a real catastrophe, like Phil Anschutz declaring bankruptcy. The US national team is in even better shape, thanks to the World Cup and the ability to draw on patriotic loyalties. We're not the Montreal Canadiens, but we're not the Phoenix Coyotes, either.

Sadly, this means that Cathal Kelly will be writing about soccer's imminent demise for many years to come. Which, in a way, is a form of job security. Or the soccer media's equivalent of the "Left Behind" series.