I hereby offer for your Tuesday perusal A GREAT MOMENT IN STADIUM MANAGEMENT
Would that some MLS outfits would take a hint. Just because Dad, Mom and Susie heard a bad word uttered and wrote you a letter does not mean you need to blanket a couple sections with CSC steroid gorks poised to beat snot out of any fan they observe enjoying himself.
Which complaint, incidentally, extends to the fieldward tossing of streamers.
It's just my opinion, and many people disagree which is fine. My complaint has never been that TFC refused to do much of anything about it but rather that the Commissioner himself endorsed the practice when he saw it in Toronto - he sounded positively delighted, almost giddy over it - but when it happened a few weeks later in Columbus he had a public hissy fit about the insult to the sanctity of the game and issued dire threats to all and sundry if the practice wasn't stomped out like a flaming bag of dog crap on your porch.
Which was, coincidentally, not a "Great Moment in Commissionership". But it's OK. Don gets more right than he does wrong. He's a terrific sit-in-meetings-and-strategerize leader, but when he opens his mouth - not so much.
And I feel very bad to mention Philadelphia, as their management has been very kind and gracious to me personally, from Mr. Sakiewicz on down, but I have admit that it was in their stadium this year that I witnessed the dumbest piece of so-called crowd control I've come across in 14 years of MLS fanhood.
They put the visiting fans - of which they only permitted 102 - in the back row of a corner section. More or less standard.
The first problem is that the section they used was right next to the home supporters section. No potential for ugliness there at all, although hearing them chant at us about how LeBron James abandoned our city ha ha ha only served to call their intelligence into question but no matter.
The real problem was a combination of factors starting with he fact that the rows in front of the visitors have sort of organized themselves into a volunteer welcoming committee who arrive early to spew really moronic comments and then get pissed when you say something back.
Which is, again, entirely fair play except that there is at least one member of that section who posts about how wonderful stadium fights would be and tries to organize same. Unfortunately when I called this person an "idiot" - which I thought was a pretty mild thing to say about an utter douchebag and waste of flesh who should die in fire, the Philly mods got all exercised and demanded that the management have me shot.
In short, they're even bigger idiots than the idiot they objected to me calling an idiot. But no matter.
The real problem ensued when the geniuses who designed crowd management for the game decided to block the exit at the top of the stairs, the one which someone in that section would normally use to get to restrooms, concessions, etc.
So if you wanted a beer or needed to drain the snake,your only option was to walk down to the bottom of the aisle, through 50 rows of drunks trying to impress each other and, presumably, Mr. "Let's Have Some Fights" himself.
Which brings me to a personal apology to the 3 guys who got ejected when my freind Mookie blew a kiss at some guy who was screaming invectives at him as he walked through the crowd - in truth he may also have made an unfortunate comment about Sebastian LeTouxs' sexual orientation - causing at least one of them to launch themselves into the aisle screaming "I'm going to kill you".
To his credit, he tried to tell the cops that nobody had laid a finger on him and despite repeated demands refused to finger anyone. Then he went and got a beer and walked back through the same crowd.
All of which is a long, roundabout way of bringing up the recent kerfuffle among fans of the Sounders and those of our two newest league members, who collectively feel that, due to being the literal nexus of North American soccer, its heartbeat and veritable soul - begging the question: just where the hell were you in 1996? - feel that each of their stadiums needs to reserve 500 tickets for visiting fans when one of the three teams visits another instead of the 100 that MLS requires.
It seems to me that any such arrangement ought to apply either leaguewide or not at all when applicable but since that's not going to happen - although they've given in out in the Pacific Northwest and said policy will apparently obtain - the relative size of the traveling contingent isn't as much of an issue to me as how the stadium management handles it all.
The current policy of contracting with CSC, who in turn hires out-of-season football players and other soccer hating and/or soccer ignorant mooks who see this as a splendid opportunity to show soccer fans what pathetic woosies they truly are.
Crowd control at a soccer match is different from that at, say, a Boise State - Miami of Ohio game. I don't expect an outfit like to CSC know that. They're cheap, stupid rent-a-bicep types whose IQ's seldom hit triple digits.
I do, however, expect people who purport to be professionals operating a top tier soccer league (which is what they'll put on their resumes when they apply for work with the NFL in a few years) to be in control of security arrangements rather than farm the whole thing out to a bunch of mouthbreathing lumps.
If someone with a brain is in charge then 500 visiting lunatics and borderline alcoholics is no problem. If MLS teams continue to foist the whole deal off on day labor then 100 is way, way too many.