The Stars Decline

Why does everyone hate the Galaxy?

Okay, wrong question. Right now they're the Kings, and they want to be the Lakers. This not being basketball territory, I won't bore you with the many ways the Lakers represent Nearly Everything Wrong With Sports (the Clippers representing the remainder), but the Lakers are as detestable as they are successful. The Galaxy aren't quite up to those standards, but God knows they're trying.

(The Kings are a hockey team, by the way. Over forty years, that's since when. I know, right? They have a surprisingly devoted fanbase in a town not famous for suffering long-suffering teams. Chivas USA are the Clippers, but they want to be the Kings.)

No, the question is, why do people not want to work for the Galaxy? It's as if Landon Donovan is the only one who doesn't mind being around us.

Edson Buddle has gone to a team that has been around exactly one year longer than Real Salt Lake. Cobi Jones has gone to that 70's team. David Beckham thought he was Steve McQueen on the motorcycle, but ended up as Gilligan on the raft. Jesus, guys - something we said?

I tend to think that AEG knows what it's doing, and gets what it wants. But even by MLS standards, the Galaxy braintrust is obsessed with the bottom line. When the Galaxy are outbid, it's because they've chosen to be. So what does this week say about their priorities?

Well, the devil never lacks for advocates, but. Buddle will be 30 next year, and his goalscoring totals since 2005 read 9, 6, 5, 15, 5, 17. It's possible that Bruce Arena, not Tim Leiweke, decided that Buddle was due for another five-goal season, and offered a contract on that basis. He didn't score a goal in August, and sure didn't do much in the semifinal against Dallas. Plus, according to Ives doing his day job: much is that? Thanks to Edson's former union, we have a pretty good idea.

Edson Buddle made $188,448 last year from the Galaxy. The Galaxy have shed the salaries of Eddie Lewis ($96,000 base), Dema Kovalenko ($136,500 base), Tristan Bowen ($70,000 base, but $101,363.63 guaranteed last year) and Clint Mathis (dunno what he made last year, but he pulled down $115,000 for Salt Lake in 2009). I also assume they didn't give Berhalter, Kirovski or Hejduk raises. One doubts that they will be spending that much on Angel, either. Not only did enormous corporate entertainment giant AEG have the money for him, the Galaxy legitimately had a ton of space under the, and I hesitate to use the phrase, "salary cap." And they probably wouldn't have even needed to make him an official Designated Player in order to double his salary.

So what the hell, man?

EDIT - oh. According to the Don, the Galaxy did offer Buddle double last year's salary. And Ingolstadt doubled that offer, as Geneva theorized in comments. So we're up to nearly three quarters of a million American, and...God, I hate to be an AEG apologist here, but I understand why they weren't going to use a DP slot on someone who...I'm going to hell for this...doesn't sell that many tickets.

Now, he could if he were marketed properly - he scores beautiful goals, and he's a handsome guy these days. (Maybe he needs the extra cash for his orthodontist, who did a FINE job.)

It's a big loss for the Galaxy, but turns out it isn't the public relations disaster we thought it was. And by "we," I mean me and my tapeworm.

The Cobi defection doesn't hurt the Galaxy on the field, of course, but it's a public relations un-coup, to say the least. At least Edson left for a team that, according to reliable sources, exists. Jones has been the face of the team since before Day One. Losing him to anyone would have been tough.

But let's look at this from AEG's point of view - wow, "devil's advocate" has rarely been more appropriate.

Bill, who by the way I'm getting sick of being right all the time, would occasionally take shots at Cobi and his alleged lack of interest in coaching. And I, seeing him once a week, would shrug off Mr. Archer's attacks on my beloved idol. Here was Cobi, not demanding the spotlight, not big-timing his way into a high-profile coaching gig, not elbowing his way past people who had been there first. He was out there, setting up the cones, humbly doing his job as a second assistant, loyally serving the Galaxy.

And then this happened:

So, as the next step forward in Jones' soccer management career, he will now oversee "any and all players involved in the club's soccer-specific programs" - which as of this morning totals exactly zero players.

And while I'm the last guy to make fun of the idea that this is a world-renowned club - no, seriously, I think all seven billion people on Earth have already mocked them - "new New York Cosmos" sounds like a rejected Futurama joke. I realize it's not easy to field a soccer team anywhere, let alone the United States, let alone New York City. But the point is, these Cosmos are shilling the idea that American soccer should go back to the days of Mick Jagger making out with Henry Kissinger at Studio 54. I have no time for that nonsense, and I pity those who do.

So yeah, Bill, you were right. Cobi has no interest in actually coaching. If Eric Wynalda can go to a club that makes Ingolstadt look like Real Madrid, then Cobi can find eleven guys on a flat grass field somewhere. This announcement affects Cobi's credibility a lot more than the Cosmos.

And frankly, I can't blame AEG for letting Cobi go, if this is what he's willing to settle for. Being an MLS assistant coach is tough, and this gig sounds easy. Everyone wins. Nothing is lost save honor.

Meanwhile, while we're waiting for Beckham to move to Spurs, here's Beckham from last month ruling out a move to Spurs:

Boy, it's almost as if David Beckham tends to say things that aren't true.