Really Stupid Stuff

Really Stupid Commentary, Part I

So because I'm apparently completely inept with a computer - I keep telling everyone, but they don't believe me - I spent the day unable to log on to BigSoccer.

So instead, in between dealing with the contractor who showed up at the house 1) with an incredibly hot mid-20's female "helper" in the tightest pants I've ever seen in my life and 2) stinking of booze, I looked at some other soccer websites.

Unfortunately, I therefore ran across two of the dumbest pieces I have read in months, the BigSoccer "MLS General" forum notwithstanding.

The first was THIS FRIGHTENINGLY CLUELESS POST that purported to list the "TOP 10 PHILLY COACHING CANDIDATES".

In case you run into Nick Sakiewicz in the next few days, here are the guys you apparently need to metion:

10: Cobi Jones. No, really. Cobi Freakin Jones. Now I know that, after playing the primary role in getting Sigi Schmid fired in LA he was briefly an assistant coach before - even more briefly - serving as "interim coach" while Tim Leiweke worked out the financial details with Bruce Arena.

But no matter - his "passion" will make him a terrific coach, and please forget about the fact that when he was running the Gals he showed up late, left early and generally acted like he didn't give any more of a crap than Ruud did.

9: Claudio Reyna. He has a "high soccer IQ". Literally no coaching experience, but a High Soccer IQ. Perfect.

8: Peter Vermes: Wow. A real live, legitimate candidate. Not that I completely understand why but every time a job comes open everyone begs Vermes to take it. (Supposedly he was even Seattle's first choice). Sooner or later he probably will.

7: Earnie Stewart. Forget his total lack of coaching experience. Forget that he's Dutch and has a great job - that likely pays very well - with NAC Breda. He has "an astounding 101 caps." Good enough for me.

6: Thomas Rongen. I have not the strength.

5: Mike Sorber. Might really need more than a couple years as second assistant to Bob Bradley, but at least it's not totally silly.

4: Paul Mariner. At last, someone I might acually want to hire. Sooner or later someone will. Of course, we've been saying that fr what seems like a decade or more.

3: John Harkes. Yeah, he sat next to Arena for a short spell. After all, Bruce was only there in NY for a year. But who cares. He's a "legend" and thus is a quality head coaching candidate.

2: Peter Nowak. Except that Nowak left a head coaching job - a damned good one - to work with Bradley at the USMNT. Why on Earth would he come back? Homesickness?

1: Dave Sarachen. See #6 above.

The author, apparently operating on the theory that he hadn't sufficiently embarrassed himself, then came up with a second group, consisting of:

John Spencer
Eric Wynalda
Tab Ramos
Tony Meola
Joe-Max Moore
Ray Hudson
Colin Clarke
Fernando Clavijo

Now I'm not sure why Spencer wasn't in the first group instead of, say, Cobi Jones or Thomas Rongen, but no matter; his inclusion here means that this list isn't ENTIRELY ridiculous. Ditto Colin Clarke.

But almost.

Wynalda? Ramos? Meola? Joe-Max? FERNANDO CLAVIJO?????

Some people just can't be allowed near a keyboard.

Really Stupid Commentary, Part II

Normally, despite my general lack of regard for Goal.com, Kyle McCarthy is someone worth reading. Sure I've had my differences with him - and despite what way too many BS posters seem to think, differences of opinion are perfectly acceptable in a civilized society - but he's generally thoughtful and well spoken.

So I was quite literally stunned when I read THIS UTTERLY SILLY PIECE OF NONSENSE and found myself hoping that someone else had stolen his login and was attempting to make it look like he's taken up hallucinogens.

McCarthy says that when he saw Shawn Mitchell's Columbus Dispatch report on the appeal of Gino Padula's red card "the first thought that popped into (his) head" was "is this what the winless Columbus Crew should be worrying about right now?"

Well, as it happens, barely a week goes by without one team or another filing an appeal over a red card suspension, and that's all Columbus is doing here. There's no reason I can think of why they shouldn't. Does that mean they're "worrying about the wrong thing" or is it simply that they're going about business as usual?

Secondly, I seriously doubt that any of the players - you know, the guys who play the games - are even remotely involved in the complaint. Ditto the coaching staff, yet McCarthy apparently thinks the team is skipping practices and team meetings this week so they can write letters to various league and Federation officials. Or something.

The fact is that the GM and Technical Director sat down in an office on Monday and faxed a letter to New York.Might have taken 45 minutes. I feel reasonably confident that the team - which practices 15 miles away - wasn't in the room.

I have it on good authority that the team trained today at the Obetz practice facility and looked for all the world like they were working on, you know, soccer stuff. If anyone out there was "worrying about" the Marrufo/Cootiemac kerfuffle or "ignoring the on-field problems" they kept it well hidden.

(And Kyle, buddy, watch the syntax: Blanco's "number ten kit" is not "much maligned". In fact, I have never in my life heard anyone say a single mean thing about it)

McCarthy then says that his "second thought" was whether anyone should be surprised that Blanco works the refs, a "thought" which, I'm sorry to say, is totally irrelevant.

Blanco isn't the issue. Marrufo is. Nobody has asked the league to look into Blanco's actions, Kyle. Nobody.

Look at it this way: there's probably no rule against a player signing his shirt and giving it to a referee. There is most definitely a rule against the referee accepting it.

See the difference?

I was still hanging in there though, trying to give him the benefit of the doubt, until I got to this:

I don't see much wrong with what Blanco did here. The Chicago Tribune apparently agrees, citing sources that say Blanco isn't expected to face discipline for his actions

Let me respond this way:

1) HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA

2) I'm sorry, I was just AHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA

3) OK, gotta get a grip here.

4) As far as I can tell, the editorial board and/or the publisher of the Chicago Tribune have yet to take a position on this issue. In fact, I'd be mildly surprised if they even know about it. Thus, to say that the Trib has taken a position or that they agree with Kyle McCarthy's opinion is, well, simply ridiculous.

5) The person who wrote that line was LUIS ARROYAVE, a fine, well-respected blogger. He made no claim as to the veracity of the item, but rather chose to simply pass it along. How you get from there to "the Chicago Tribune agrees with me" is anyone's guess.

(BTW did you see that highlighted bit there? That's called a "link" Kyle. I know Goal.com doesn't believe in them, preferring to just lift stuff from everybody else and act like it's original work, but a lot of us out here in blog land think giving credit where it's due is the right thing to do. Go figure.)

6) Let me put this as plainly as possible: NOBODY IS ACCUSING BLANCO OF ANY WRONGDOING. THE LEAGUE IS NOT "LOOKING INTO" DISCIPLINING BLANCO. THIS IS ABOUT THE REFEREE, NOT THE PLAYER. HELLO???

In short, the entire "second thought" part of the piece, centering on how Blanco shouldn't be punished, is totally irrelevant. Unless they're also launching an investigation into shameless diving, what would they punish him for? Being really really ugly?

McCarthy's "third thought" has something to do with the Crew "venting some frustration" and "blah, blah, blah" and attempting to keep their starting left back from having to sit out a game.

I'm not sure where that it amounts to "venting"exactly, but they are most assuredly trying to get the suspension lifted.

When a team asks the league to lift a suspension then, well, then what they want is to have a suspension lifted. Stop me if I'm going too fast here. The fact that McCarthy seems to feel that this is a shocking revelation is just strange.

McCarthy seems to be under the impression that this is a complaint about a referee that is, secretly, a thinly veiled attempt to get a player reinstated.

In actuality, of course, it's an attempt to get a player reinstated that contains some observations about the referee.

Unfortunately he's not done yet: McCarthy informs us that There are two reasons this story cropped up so conveniently:, but you know automatically that one of them isn't "the incident in question happened on Saturday, the Crew sent a letter on Monday and on Tuesday someone found out about it."

Nothing of the sort.

Instead, this is a 1) "a public relations exercise". intended to 2) "sway" MLS by "undercutting Marrufo" and 3) "wiping Padula's suspension".

Well, one out of three ain't bad. In fact, however, this has nothing to do with "public relations" as MLS doesn't make these decisions based on opinion polls. If they did we'd be in our tenth year of promotion and relegation and Los Angeles would currently be playing in USL1.

In fact, this story leaking into the media makes it LESS likely that the league will take any action, since doing so now would be a tacit admission that Marrufo is an idiot.

In any case, Kyle, if this is a "public relations exercise" then wouldn't the team have tried to conduct some "public relations"? Instead, they filed the in appeal and porceeded to tell absolutely no one about it. Mitchell caught wind of it and called around until he got a quote from Technical Director Brian Bliss.

If this is your idea of a media blitz, then you're really off the rails.

One reason for this - take notes if you'd like - is that, as John Carver recently illustrated, teams are not allowed to publicly criticize MLS game officials. So launching a "public relations exercise" aimed at discrediting a referee would get the whole front office in seriously deep doo-doo. They're just not that stupid, particularly when it can accomplish absolutely nothing and in any case Hunt Sports positively detests that kind of thing and nobody in their right mind pisses off Clark Hunt.

As for "undercutting" Marrufo, while that sounds suitably painful I can't figure out what it even means. The whole point of filing an appeal over an official's call is that you think the official was wrong. I just don't know how you say that a guy made a mistake and not "undercut" him. Again, one would think that was obvious, but apparently not.

And just to make certain that it looks like he wrote this while intoxicated, McCarthy finishes the discussion by claiming that "if the Crew rested atop the Eastern Conference table right now" that this "incident would probably (have been) swept under the rug"

Because no first place team has ever filed an objection to a suspension. We know this because - um, well no, actually it's complete crapola.

More to the point, isn't this wildly inconsistent? On the one hand, he says the only reason that the Crew mentioned this to the league is because they're in last place, and then turns around and says that if they were in first place they wouldn't have mentioned it.

And teams in between are what? Too lazy and stupid? This must explain why this is the first time in league history that a team has complained to the league about a referee.

What? It's not? Damn. I thought I was starting to get it.

.
Finally, McCarthy tells us that the Crew is just doing this to "patch things over by throwing around wild accusations" "instead of fixing the on-field problems".

That's maybe the single dumbest line in a singularly stupid article. The team reported three undisputed facts to MLS. The league is looking into them.

That hardly constitutes "throwing around wild accusations", Kyle. A "wild accusation" would be "Marrufo and Blanco spent the night together doing ether and peyote and sharing a 12 year old Thai hooker".

On the other hand "Blanco gave Marrufo his shirt after the game" is, well, it's just a fact. And hardly "wild" unless he stuck a bag of weed in it.

As for the claim that Columbus is ignoring "the on-field problems", could you share your source for this? As a Crew fan, I find that very troubling. I was under the impression that the team was out at Obetz trying to fix things and get ready for Saturday. If you have evidence to he contrary, I wish you'd tell me what it is.

Bottom line, this is just something that happens in the course of a season. A player got sent off, the team appealed the decision and in that context mentioned that the referee may have done some inappropriate stuff.

The Crew, like every other team, has both a right and an obligation to pass along their concerns. The league and the Federation are making some inquiries, as is appropriate. In due course they'll make a ruling. It's really no more complicated than that.

What does concern me here is that McCarthy seems blissfully unconcerned about what may have been a serious impropriety. Doesn't he want MLS to look into it, if for no other reason than to assure everyone that nothing out of the ordinary happened? If he gives a crap about the league, I would think he'd be interested in making certain that the truth, as Mulder would say, is out there.

Instead he seems to be demanding that the whole thing be ignored. Move along folks. Nothing to see here.

Will this end up amounting to anything? I seriously doubt it - indeed I'd be shocked - and it's doubtful that even the Crew thinks otherwise. Even if the fix was in - and I'd sure hope Marrufo's price would be higher than one smelly jersey - it would be three kinds of a bitch to prove. Conspiracy always is.

But they have a right to be heard and they availed themselves of it, as any team - whatever their place in the standings - would have done.

Bottom line, Kyle, teams have to stick up for their players. In case you haven't noticed, it's what they do even if - unimaginable though you find it - the team is in last place. The players want to know that the boss has their back. Any team that let this sort of thing go uncommented upon would quickly lose the respect of the team.

How is it that you don't get this?