River Deep, Mountain High

I don't GET the Colorado Rapids sometimes.

Their current roster seems built to not only survive, but dominate, in the Thrasymachean world of MLS. Not many teams have guys who can dominate the middle like Mastroeni and Larentowicz, not many teams (if any) have a forward corps as diverse and dangerous as Casey and Cummings, and - well, okay, everybody these days has a dominating goalkeeper, but Pickens doesn't hurt, unless it's stoppage time in a Rocky Mountain Cup game.

And yet they're still only the second best soccer team in the history of Commerce City.

Part of it is summed up with this recent duNord lament:
Welcome to being a Denver sports team not called the Broncos. The media attention will come after the Rapids become popular and successful, not before.

The Rapids aren't the only MLS team that faces this, though. The Seahawks are still pretty popular, and the Sounders have managed to co-exist with them.

And the "Yeah, but the Sonics left, opening a gap in the Seattle market" doesn't seem that persuasive to me. Maybe it's coincidence, but those other Denver sports teams that can't get much play when the Broncos are in business? All but the Rockies are owned by one guy. Hmm.

It's tempting to quote one of the finest American statesmen, and dismiss Stan Kroenke by saying a fish rots from the head first. But it's harder than Jeff Stryker to find an MLS owner whose top priority is their MLS team. Faux Schmid seized on Andrew Hauptman investing in the Fire seemingly on a whim. Dallas and Columbus fans fight over who is ignored more by Hunt Sports Group.

But it's weird that no one calls out Phil "Howard Hughes" Anschutz for being an absentee owner, while Kroenke is on the receiving end of blasts like this:

This is of course the same Dave Checketts who repeatedly threatened to change the team nickname to Real St. Louis.

It would be interesting to see what, if anything changes, if Colorado gets by the Crew and goes on to win the Cup. Yes, I know, hilarious - oh, by the way, the Rapids are in the exact same playoff spot that Salt Lake was last year, including the first round match against Columbus. Would a Rapids championship encourage Kroenke to care - or just encourage him to see his management as benign neglect?

Still, it could be worse - the Rapids could be Chivas USA. Stephen Hamilton said this to Scott French last week:

Hamilton was speaking of Martin Vasquez, whom he fired three days later.

And today we learn that Shawn Hunter is resigning to spend more time with Preki's family. I'm linking to Scott French again not out of laziness (for a change), but for this tidbit:

You know, usually ownership stakes aren't so much "surrendered" as "sold." Surrendering is something you do if you're holding a sixteen and the dealer is showing an ace, or if you're wearing gray at Appomattox Courthouse. Perhaps it was just Scott's poor choice of words. Certainly, there must be some way to adequately convey what Hunter was able to do for the presence of Chivas USA in the Los Angeles sports landscape.

You know the story of how the guy with no shoes got over his self-pity. Well, shoeless Rapids fans can just look at Chivas USA, whose feet have long since been torn off and mangled by rabid ducks.