Who Knew?

So yesterday they held the breathlessly anticipated "Who Gets What and Who Goes First" process, for which the overworked wordsmiths at MLS HQ coined the term "Expansion Priority Draft".

There is apparently no truth to the rumor that they selected that particular term because "Divvying Up A Bunch of Pointless Crap" didn't quite strike the note they were shooting for.

(And apparently someone already has a copyright on "Wake Me When It's Over")

The main thing it got was, as they surely intended, a little splash of ink in the two expansion cities as part of their respective PR campaigns, and more power to them.

But surely everyone trusts Dan Courtemanche enough to hold a coin toss over the phone, heads Vancouver gets the Superdraft pick and Portland gets the top expansion pick along with the top allocation ranking and thanks for playing "Dialing for Benchwarmers".

As it was, since they were trying to make some buzzworthy noise to get the attention of the slugs who man the shiny new Soccer Desks in the two lucky towns, the boys at HQ figured they had to come up with a list consisting of more than two or three items or else calling it a "draft" would look pretty lame.

Yet somehow "lame" seems like just the word.

My favorite was the "Discovery Ranking", which was awarded to Portland, which sounds exciting until you read the fine print and "discover" that what they got was the 17th place on the list while Vancouver has to settle for being #18.

And that leaves aside the question: "Discovery ranking? What the hell is the Discovery ranking?"

Other coveted positions were determined as well, such as the critical "Designated Player Ranking", won by Portland, which means that if both teams try to sign the same DP on the same day the Caps are out of luck.

I'm glad they've cleared that up.

They also invented a "USSF D 2 Player Ranking" priority which says that if both clubs request the same second division player "on the opening day", well, in that case it's Portland who'll cry themselves to sleep that night.

Ditto the waiver (or "re-entry") draft which, as I recall, has historically produced virtually no useful players at all. Most years, no more than one or two guys get picked up or, as was the case in 2009, not a single player is selected.

Vancouver won that one, giving them the 17th pick while Portland will have to make do somehow with being 18th although they can console themselves with the fact that the positions are reversed in the "Lottery Rankings", meaning that the next time some kid signs a GenA contract after the Superdraft, both teams will have fewer little balls with their names on them in the bowl than the MLS Cup winner.

If they were looking for door prizes they should have gone for oil change coupons or free dinners at Western Sizzlin.

You know, something of actual value.

No one has ever accused me of being politically correct, the main reason being that I'm not. I was under the impression that the whole "Sticks and stones can break my bones..." deal was what we all were supposed to have learned when we were, like, six or so. Besides, there are so many real, desperate and urgent battles that need fighting in this world that I have a very hard time ginning up much enthusiasm for fighting the fake, phony-baloney ones.

So it's hard to say why it is exactly that
MAJOR LEAGUE SOCCER REFERRING TO AMERICAN PLAYERS AS "GRINGOS"
stikes something of a sour note with me.

Perhaps MLS World Headquarters would be kind enough to provide the rest of us out here in the Soccersphere with the style book which lists the slang terms which are acceptible to use when referring to Mexican players. As it is I've searched their splendid new website, which is the envy of Elementary School web designers everywhere, in vain for similar descriptors for, say, Nery Castillo or Rafa Márquez.

What's next? Are they going to fill us in on how the Red Bulls' new Frog is working out better than that tired old Kraut the Metrostars brought in years ago?

And that leaves aside the fact that not many people on either side of the border would use the word "Gringo" when talking about Sammy Ochoa, a guy who was born in Morelia which, unless there's been some kind of 21st century Gadsden Purchase that I'm unaware of, is still located in Mexico.

Let's be clear here; I'm not saying that I'm offended, because I'm not. I couldn't care less.

I'm just suggesting that it might be a good idea for the league to steer clear of this kind of thing.