Cohiba Doug

Oh Portland.

We had such high hopes for you. We keep hearing how into the whole soccer thing you are and how tuned in to MLS your city is and on and on and, well doggone it we just couldn't be happier.

One thing though: when a reporter from your biggest news outlet does an interview with the Commissioner of the league, it would be nice if you could AT LEAST GET HIS FRIKKIN NAME RIGHT.

THIS STORY moved onto The Oregonian website a little after 8 last night and you'll notice that it was "updated" not quite two hours later.

You'll see why by looking at the url in the little window at the top of the linked page: the original headline said "Commissioner Doug Garber....".

And no, it was not just another idiot headline writer mistake; he was referred to as "Doug" twice more in the body of the article.

Now is this a big deal? Not at all, really, but after reading the caliber of the interview questions one gets the feeling that while excitement may be running high out there, the knowledge/intellect curve may be a bit behind.

Q. How excited is the league about Portland joining MLS next year?

"Well George, let me put it this way: Mrs. Garber has had to move out of the house what with the big old stiffy I'm carrying around 24/7. She needed some rest. Seriously, getting Porttown into the league has been our biggest and fondest dream for a decade. We just have to keep pinching ourselves because we still can't believe it's actually going to happen."

Q. Will MLS take advantage of the rivalry that exists between the three Northwest teams?

"What the hell are you driving at? "Take advantage" in what way? You mean, like, schedule regular season games between the three teams a couple times a year, or are you looking for full page ads in the Selma Alabama Kluxer?

It may shock you to learn, John, that we have a number of other clubs, like New York and DC and Houston and Chicago and places like that who aren't going to be holding "Vancouver vs. Portland" parties at the local watering hole"

Q. Considering the two new clubs are located in the west, will there some be some realignment in the league conferences and will Portland, Seattle and Vancouver remain in the Western Conference?

"No, we figured it made more sense for the teams farthest west to get placed in the eastern Conference. Do you see a problem with that?

It's a little early to be drunk, isn't it Mel?"

Q. What are the chances the Portland could host an MLS All-Star game or MLS Cup in the future?

"Well Bob, we played the last MLS Cup on artificial grass and, to be honest, it really blew. So yeah, we're really looking forward to having another league championship that's a largely unwatchable insult to the game."

Q. How do you counter the criticism that MLS is a sort of a retirement home for aging international stars?

"Jesus on Melba Toast, Karl, we sign three or four foreign players over 30, which works out to about .0068 % of the league and I have to listen to clowns like you wanking on about a "retirement home"? Bite me."

OK, so maybe Dan could have done that better. Nobody does "the fake interview answers" like DL. But he's sleeping right now. Sue me.

In any case, the last question is my favorite because Dougs' actual answer is better than anything I could dream up, to wit:

Are you concerned the league is expanding too quickly?

"We see the expansion as slow and steady growth, not rapid growth. This is the way we prefer to grow the league, with slow and consistent growth."

Really Don? You think adding one team a year for a decade is "slow growth"? See, that's odd because the rest of us think it's been a breakneck, pedal-to-the-medal grab for fat checks from anyone who has the bank balance to write one.

Tell me this: how many cities with a deep pocket owner and a suitable building have you ever - EVER - turned down because you wanted to keep growth "slow"?

In other words, give me an example - just one would be fine - of how your "slow and steady growth" philosophy has manifested itself in actual management decisions.

Or, if you'd prefer, tell us what league in the history of the universe has ever expanded faster than MLS has over the last ten years.

Don't get me wrong here; I'm absolutely pleased as punch that The Oregonian is covering the Timbers and MLS. Applause, applause.

But if they could maybe find someone who a) can take the time to, you know, learn his interviewees' name and b) can come up with halfway intelligent questions, then we'll all try to get Commissioner Dan into not just blowing smoke up their tookus.