Just a quick break from "All sour grapes, all the time" World Cup bid coverage for a second. If Bill was disappointed by the re-entry draft fizzle, I was devastated.
Was it my imagination, or was this supposed to be a big deal? Or, in the words of St. Frank Zappa, a kind of deal at all?
I should know better - so many expansion drafts in the past have had big name players, almost all of whom were snubbed in favor of cheap role players.
But I couldn't help myself. It all started so beautifully - the Galaxy dumped Kovalenko and Kirovski! Yay! Is it too soon to sneer again about what a great locker room guy Dema Kovalenko allegedly is? Well, he must be, he's been in so many different ones.
And the names that were available! Look at all those stars! So what if they've lost a step or two. If we've learned nothing from the Colorado Rapids, it's that a team of hard-nosed, experienced MLS veterans can turn a bad team into a good parade very quickly.
And the personalities! I'd longed for the possibility of either Conrad, Hejduk or Cunningham playing for the Galaxy - and here were all three! Available! Out of contract! And who knows, we could bring in Adrian Serioux in to annoy Beckham!
The only problem I saw was fighting off the other teams. The Galaxy won the damned Shield! They'd have just about the last pick! What if all the players I wanted were taken by then?
Well, I didn't have to worry about that, at least.
"So, Coach, who will you get to shore up the midfield? Or will you try to get a scoring threat off the bench? And what about all those veteran defenders - you can't be too deep or too experienced in the back line these days. Who are you hoping to get? Who's on the list?"
"Well, Dan, there are a lot of guys there, but right now I'd have to say our first choice would be nobody."
I suppose the intelligent way to look at what happened on December 8 - a day that will live next to infamy. Only two teams even attempted to improve themselves, and those two did it as cheaply as possible.
The other sixteen teams - knowing that 2011 will be the biggest test of the American talent pool probably since the original ASL went out of business - all of which need help, most of which could use a lot, two of which are literally USL teams who now have money to spend - sixteen teams all, independently of the other, decided that, taking into account "many other factors to weigh when determining a player’s worth: age, skill, position, character, upside, contract length, playoff experience, marketing value, future value (perhaps as an assistant coach or some such thing)", thirty-three out of thirty-five of those guys could go suck rocks. It's not even worth keeping them away from rivals.
And this thing has been structured so that the snubbed players get to crawl back to their original teams, with their leverage and bargaining position at a nadir. I'm sure that will be a fun week of phone calls. "My God, you were right," the players are presumably supposed to say, "it is a big scary world out there, and you really are the only ones who want me. I'll play for whatever price you name. Just don't make me leave you ever again."
We'll see if anyone does cave this week. Otherwise, we'll certainly see players picked next week. They'll be offered five figure deals, but at least they'll be picked.
By the way, thanks again for signing that new CBA! I'm gonna go way, way out on a limb and speculate there's not an anti-collusion provision anywhere in this deal.
So, what do you think MLS will have first - free agency, or promotion and relegation? It's a tossup right now.