While We're All Waiting for New York

You'll recall that there was a small kerfuffle a few weeks back when speculation was rife that Guillermo Barros-Schelotto wouldn't be coming back to the Crew because they were shamelessly lowballing the guy on his contract.

This tale - which gets repeated every single year - always fits nicely into a lot of peoples' neat little conception that a) Hunt Sports is a bunch of miserly bastards and b) Schelotto clearly hates living in an isolated backwater like Columbus Ohio - who wouldn't? - where cows roam the neighborhoods, hay wagons routinely clog up downtown traffic and diddling your sister is the sport of choice.

In between clucking and tsk-tsk-ing about the painful imbecility and self-evident short-sightedness of Columbus' management in letting a player of Schelottos' caliber walk away, fans of several different teams openly speculated on the odds of their side snagging the Argentine maestro de foot.

What everyone somehow missed is that this has always been the scenario with Schelotto, every single year he's been here:

1) His agent calls up the Crew and tells them GBS wants eleventy-seven bazillion dollars for playing another year.

2) The Crew says "OK, if you want to be ridiculous, so will we" and comes back with an offer of twenty bucks a month and all the bratwurst he can eat.

3) Schelotto tells a reporter for some obscure Argentine paper that he's talking to Gymnasia, his original club, about finishing his career there.

4) US bloggers breathlessly report that Schelotto is leaving Columbus.

5) Schelotto and the Crew come to an agreement that pays pretty much the same as he's been making ever since he got here and the guy comes back for another year.

It's been going on exactly the same way for three years now. Absolutely nothing has changed.

The only actual news this year is that a) El Mellizo is apparently very close to getting his green card and b) his listed salary will be a total fabrication. Taken together, it means that Columbus will have a legendary Argentine soccer god running their offense and not only will he not count as a DP but soon he won't even count as a foreign player.

The Crew has done their share of dumb things over the years, but their handling of Guille hasn't been one of them.

Starting in about 24 hours, the internet will begin spewing forth the obligatory "MLS Draft Report Card" piece from every soccer blogger, journo and deranged key pounder across the fruited plain.

Of course we're all aware that every single one of them, regardless of the source, will be utterly worthless. We know this not because there are so many stupid people writing soccer stuff but because in the end the teams themselves, laden as they are with coaches, scouts, technical directors and all of their personal contacts and super-secret inside information, will also get it wrong.

There's really no point in making one more sad and sorry list of high draft picks who never made a peep in the league and who now toil in either USSF D-2 or USL2 or your local beer league. It's just too painful and in any case there's no sport in making fun of tragedy. These guys have suffered enough.

But if a team staff with a collective 50 or 60 years of experience who've been studying and analyzing the draft candidates for months or even years on end can be - and often are - totally wrong about who will turn out to be a contributor two or three years from now, then how in the hell can some keyboard jockey who has never laid eyes on more than one or two of them possibly provide us with anything like a useful "report card" on what happened?

Which of course doesn't mean we're not going to read them all and do a little happy dance when one writer or another tells us our team done good. Of course we will. We're fans, and we just can't help ourselves.

Finally, MIRROR FOOTBALL HAS A REMARKABLY GOOD IDEA that deserves some serious examination.

They figure that one solution to the burgeoning debt problems of teams like Manchester United and Liverpool would be for them to sell off some assets.

Rather than peddle some players though, they suggest they dig up buyers for a few thousand of their fans.

They specifically mention MLS as a prospective buyer, seeing as how the USA has more than our fair share of front-running, Euro-worshiping gomers that, frankly, are pretty much excess to their basic requirements.

Suppose MLS took a little chunk of that gargantuan pile of expansion cash they're storing in that secret Scrooge McDuck vault under their headquarters and bought up all the ManU fans in the country?

Imagine the surprise on the faces on the Euro snobs when they open up their certified letters from England and discover that they've been sold to, say, the Sounders or the Wizards.

They'll be given ten days to voluntarily turn in the expensive gear they bought on eBay and exchange it for a Galaxy scarf or a Chivas jersey (we'll let them choose).

If they don't start showing up for games MLS will be authorized to send vans around with hired goons to drag them kicking and screaming out of their homes and down to Pizza Hut park, where they'll also be required to spend at least 20 bucks on concession stand food before they're allowed to leave.

I can't wait.