Running lines and drinking limes

Like you, I'm proud to live in a country where ignorant, worthless loudmouths could never trash an assistant referee purely on the basis of her gender.

Unfortunately, that's because, unlike England, MLS doesn't have female assistant referees running the sidelines, and hasn't since WUSA started.

Well, the US has a women's league still exists - for the moment - let me hit refresh to double check - I mean, the Washington Freedom WPS page has a couple of huge-ass banners and links that go to GoDaddy squatter/spam pages - and the official link seems to go to the WPS page - these seem to be problems - I'm just saying - anyway, WPS still exists - sorry, gotta hit refresh again - okay, as of 5:30 p.m. Pacific, they still exist - congratulations on making it through January - BUT, I don't know how much they're paying.

I have a couple of e-mails out to USSF, and they should be able to tell me whether center line WPS gets more than linesman MLS gigs. I'd be shocked beyond measure if this were so, but hey, it might be. If so, then the whole "MLS ain't got no chicks running no sidelines" deal isn't as big an issue.

Of course, we still have the "MLS ain't got no chicks running the game" issue.

And let's not be dumbchucks about it. The ceiling for being a professional referee, and the qualities associated with that duty are not a bright-line gender divide. Endurance, vision, positioning, knowledge of the rules - those aren't qualities everyone has, by any means. I couldn't do it without Lasik, lap-band, and probably one of those hypnotic lessons they have in "Brave New World." But you can't make the blanket statement that women are incapable of doing the job physically. I'm pre-emptively killing a straw man, and I hope it's generally recognized as a straw man.

Maybe Andy Gray and Richard Keys would disagree, which is why they suck. But an institutional ceiling is worse than a couple of pinhead yap merchants.

I have no segue for this. Pretend I did, will you?

Well, Chivas USA finally is sponsored by a product you can actually buy:

It's a step forward, but how impressed you are by that pretty much depends on how impressed you are by this:

I'm not going to crap on this, because it's better for the league than their roommate's sponsor. Maybe even financially. And maybe we'll find out:

I'm a big believer in the "Chico's Bail Bonds" theory of sponsorship - being sponsored by an embarrassing product isn't worth the extra money. So even if this isn't the most lucrative deal in the league, it's already the best, least embarrassing MLS sponsorship in California.

And you know what, heck, credit to Antonio for not calling up the family before this. Or, perhaps, it was more difficult for Antonio to get this sponsorship before now, to avoid the appearance of nepotism. Grupo Modelo has stockholders to report to, after all. They can't throw money at the kid for no reason. Right?

If I'm making a big deal out of this - and really, I'm not - it's because MLS is making a big deal out of pretending there's no connection at all. That's understandable, but not everyone has as high a tolerance for being shucked and jived as I do. I don't remember anyone pretending the Xbox sponsorship in Seatown was a total coincidence, for example.

The Corona deal is a good sponsorship, and it's good for everyone - just like the Xbox deal. But I'd caution against using it as an argument that proves MLS has the full confidence of the sporting business community.

If only because we have to get rid of Amway and Herbalife and Xango before we can say that with a straight face.