Back in the beginning, I used to tell people that Major League Soccer was the first "internet sport".
By that I simply meant that instead of sitting around bemoaning the fact that the sports editors of Americas' Daily Dead Tree media weren't willing to give them the time of day, let alone a couple of inches of their precious page space every now and then, MLS should bypass that entire class of troglodyte jock sniffers ("The Braves just traded for a backup utility infielder? Great. We can cut that sillyass MLS Cup report to make some room on page one.") and use this terrific new tool that lets you speak directly to your audience without having to beg some Aqua-Velva drenched Johnny Unitas fan for some attention.
Eventually of course they came up with a website that, while a bit cluttered and clumsy to navigate, had pretty much everything you wanted readily available. One hesitates to describe the thing as "user-friendly" but at the least it was a place to go for live scores, game previews, history, schedules, etc.
Little did me know that those were the good old days.
For the past few months MLS has been busily hiring layers and layers of people, starting with some slickster from Microsoft and continuing on through what is by now a cast of thousands, programmers, bloggers, writers, tech guys (and gals, I guess), editors, assistant editors and the normal component of MLS toadies who fetch coffee and suck up to everybody all day.
Hell, they even hired Greg Lalas, thus proving that in America today any idiot can find work if he really applies himself.
And so with great fanfare and obviously outrageous expense, the league has struggled mightily and brought forth the biggest pile of dog turds in the history of the internet, a useless, clunky, non-intuitive, information-free collection of pages which seem to consist of a) vast tracts of gray b) photos with juvenile headlines that link you to game previews which have no usable information and game summaries that tell you nothing about the game, along with videos that don't work or only work a little and a "Gametracker" feature with an incredibly exotic graphic display showing a huge green pitch and little uniforms with names on them but whose content consists of a) moronic "user comments" on the left and b) the worst game descriptions ever conceived.
Here's a sample of a Gametracker from yesterday:
46:42 Card Issued D.C. United Santino Quaranta
45:46 Foul Kansas City Wizards Jack Jewsbury
42:39 Foul Kansas City Wizards Josh Wolff
36:52 Foul Kansas City Wizards Matt Besler
34:33 Goal Kansas City Wizards Davy Arnaud
32:43 Foul Kansas City Wizards Matt Besler
32:28 Substitution D.C. United Clyde Simms
27:50 Shot Kansas City Wizards Josh Wolff
27:16 Card Issued D.C. United Kurt Morsink
Why it's almost like being there.
(Note to whatever halfwit is being paid actual money to type this drivel: shockingly, when you note a "substitution", two players are normally involved.)
There were some glitches and bugs, of course, like blacking out DC when the game wasn't on local TV. Credit where credit is due, they fixed that before the first half was over.
They also cut the Columbus/Toronto video at 75 minutes, thereby chopping away half the goals, but again, that's probably a matter of tweaking some things.
But where are the live scores? Why does it still say that Seattle/Philadelphia is tied at 0-0?
If the site is still in Beta, OK. I mean, nobody launches that way any more but if you want, go ahead.
But the old site, mlsnet.com, has apparently been utterly abandoned; as of this morning the most recent scores were from CCL games ten days ago and apparently Jeff Cunningham scored 17 goals yesterday to lead the league and set one hell of a record.
Meanwhile, all the old cool stuff, like the Quickkicks videos and such? They've vanished down the money hole where the MLS "Solve American Unemployment Plan" that Don Garber has launched to run this worthless dung heap is busily holding meetings or something.
They're sure not doing anything worthwhile.
It's not that there are some bugs to iron out. It's that it's poorly planned, poorly designed and seems to want to be the Tiger Beat of Professional soccer: long on flash and dash, painfully short on usable content.
The league is in the very best of hands.