18 again

Here's a fun game for you. Who is Jere Longman referring to in this sentence? I'd provide a link to Longman's New York Times article, but the answer is given in the link. Also whited out the club name, but if you're stuck, you can at least give that hint.

Another hint - it's nice to see that the New York Times still wakes up every morning and says to itself, "How can we insult Dan's intelligence today?"

Speaking of Mainstream Media - so, Ian Plenderleith on When Saturday Comes interprets the new Washington Freedom ad as a shot at DC United, Kevin Payne, and MLS. Not so, says WPS. Instead, it was a shot at a bigger target - Dan Snyder, the NFL, and the Washington Racist Nicknames.

The ad in question is here. I'm on the other side of the continent, but from here it looks like much more of a shot at Snyder than Payne and MLS.

But does that invalidate Plenderleith's point, that MLS has no business restricting access to those who are critical? We're not discussing whether they can - of course, they have the right to. The issue is whether they should.

I think you pretty much have to go case by case. I won't embarrass the leagues and teams that have given me a press pass, but the Galaxy never have, and the USSF has stopped. I interpret that as "Ah, I see you are familiar with my work." I could also interpret it as the Galaxy and USSF saying, "You have a readership volume roughly equivalent to opening the window and shouting," which, while damaging to my fragile ego, is an equally valid reason to make me pay to get into games.

This could be another callback to Jamie Trecker, who has the readership to warrant a press pass, at least. I don't know if MLS also bars Trecker, but if they do...he's Jamie Trecker. He's perfectly capable of lambasting American soccer from a paid seat, or his couch.

Anyway, this was Ian's main point:

Well...geez. I think it varies team to team. AEG is the Kremlin, sure, and the Rapids are following that example. The Fire aren't nearly as open as they were in the Peter Wilt days, and the various New York ownerships have been alienating their fanbase since day one.

But I don't think you can say that about Seattle, or Houston, or San Jose, or even Toronto. Certainly not getting the vibe that Philadelphia and Portland are going to be run like the Stasi. Fine, all those teams are still in the honeymoon phase.

There is still a Supporters Summit, the Commissioner still addresses it. And there's a difference between engaging critics, and giving in to them. Parity is a painful example, I suppose, but you can't say that MLS hasn't answered the question. They like parity, they like playoffs, the team with the best record isn't always the champion, and that simply is not an issue in North American sports, including North American soccer. (Note the correct use of "North American.")

While scoring is down in MLS this year, that's almost singlehandedly down to the Galaxy hiring professional athletes to play defense. SOMEWHAT less facetiously, Evan writing to Bruce at Du Nord should have shot down any criticism along this line weeks ago, by actually looking up stats at RSSSF:

So the criticism of MLS seems once again to go back to it not being as popular as the Premiership. Gotta think they've noticed, but who knows, maybe not?

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Line break for no reason. So I'm reading a thread about newspaper comics at a comedy website, and someone posts a link to this handy guide for what The Youth of Today Believe. Now, some of you out there may be the Youth of Today, but I happen to be older than God's grandfather, so some of these hit me as really harbingers of the Generation Gap.

There are a couple of items missing from that list, as far as we are concerned. "The United States has always qualified for the World Cup" is the top of the list, followed by "There has always been a Women's World Cup" and "Diego Maradona has always had drug problems." But while those are jarring now, imagine what a similar list will look like in five years, when we will be faced with adults who have never known a time without Major League Soccer.

Just struck me as interesting, is all.