The Comic and The Commish: Cooling Out Coffeetown

Being unable to make it to Seattle on Friday has more benefits than just the serene knowledge that someone flying standby out of Cleveland got a good break, one of them being that I watched the Supporters' Summit.

I went to one once. It was nice. But I've never gone since, and I've always felt guilty about it. If you're right there anyway, it seems like your civic duty, sort of like voting only with Sam Pierron handing out the stickers.


Photo: Andy Mead, YCJ/BigSoccer

The Commissioner gives the same song and dance he gives everyone about everything, people in the audience toss out softball questions about ridiculous minutia, single table and promotion/relegation and then everybody goes for beers.

Me, I've always chosen to go straight for the last part. Saves so much time, I've found.

But yesterday, stuck at home with my foot elevated and my mood depressed, I couldn't come up with a good excuse not to watch the Don and Drew Show, and I have to say:

Those guys ought to take it on the road. Their act deserves to be ranked with all the great showbiz partnerships, like Martin and Lewis, Penn and Teller or Sacco and Vanzetti.

Well OK, maybe not the last two. There are no innocent victims in MLS.

What did they say? Nothing really. Don's kind of sorry that he started out applauding all the streamer tossing in Toronto, since he now deplores it. He isn't any happier about football lines than you and I are. "Quality of play" means something different to whoever's talking about it. Stadium security around the league doesn't "get" the fan culture. He's filled with "glee" over the henry handball, since it makes the point that it's not just HIS officials who blow calls.

And, yes, Drew Carey doesn't believe Seattle will ever finish low enough that relegation would be an issue. (This is called hubris, in case you were looking for a definition).

And of course some mouthbreathing jerk had to start in lecturing The Don about promotion/relegation, as if it was the first time he'd ever heard the notion.

But it wasn't so much the questions or the answers as it was Drew Carey turning it into a network caliber TV show without breaking a sweat. Damn, the guy is good.

Case in point: The Don talked about "feeling the presence" of MLS in most stadiums now, using Qwest as an example of a dual use facility that features the soccer team in signage and the like. He contrasted this with Giants Stadium and - gasp - Gillette - where MLS is ignored. This tied in with an earlier comment about "football lines" which also seemed directed towards Foxboro.

For Garber, that was way, way out there. It was stunning.

But for some guy in the audience, that wasn't far enough. His question, if memory serves, was "Would you please tell that cheapass twat Bob Kraft to get with the program?".

It's the kind of question that's the reason they prefer written questions, making ignoring the unanswerable ones simply a matter of finding a trash can.

But rather than let The Don provide the usual embarassed fumbling and evasion (does anyone really expect Garber to say "Yeah, boy, that Kraft's a piece of frikkin work, isn't he?"), Carey is on his feet, doing 20 seconds of schtick on the Patriots and telling the camera how much he hates Tom Brady but thinks his girlfreind is hot.

Then he sits back down and someone asks another question.

It was so slick, so smooth, so perfectly handled that you almost didn't notice what happened.

For his own part, Carey has some ideas and isn't shy about them, and much of what he has to say centers - surprisingly, on the fact that he's "an owner", that he "likes money", that he's suspicious of plans for setting aside seats for visitors out of fear that they won't all get sold, he isn't particularly upset that RSL fans might as well be in the parking lot tonight and that if worse comes to worse he figures the Sounders will just buy some season tickets for Vancouver and Portland so they can have a traveling contingent that won't have to go begging.

Overall, it was a terrific show. If Don seemed to have something to say Carey would let him ramble. If he seemed to be working too hard at coming up with an answer, Carey would either provide a jibe or a joke or an aside, let Garber catch his breath and then go looking for another question.

Regardless of the situation, I love seeing a pro at work, and watching Drew Carey yesterday was to marvel at the effortless way he owned the stage while making Garber the focus and engaging the audience.

Now unfortunately, as is always the case, nobody asked anything that would have made Garber work, like asking him to explain how adding one team a year for a decade is "slow, controlled growth", and since he himself had ruled questions about "the union" basically off limits, all that was left was show biz.

And Don has to be trying to figure out how to never have to get up there again without Carey at his side.