Ha ha, yes, De Rosario to New York, ho ho, how amusing. That's the best we could come up with this year? How about Giorgio Chinaglia being named to replace Agoos, while we're at it?
Come on. I mean, at least be remotely plausible. With the kind of pressure Toronto is under to win and win now, they send a hometown hero to a division rival for a couple of prospects and a draft pick? And with De Rosario's history of pouting when teammates are paid more than he is, only Los Angeles would be a worse choice than the Red Bulls. Like we're supposed to think just because Aron Winter is Dutch, he's going to make panic moves like Ruud Gullit.
Well, I don't even need to check this out at Major League Soccer Soccer to know this is bunk. Yeah, I know, how ironic would it be if the most exciting Canadian player in MLS history (Onstad's probably the best, if you feel like starting a keeper v. field player argument) to be chased out of his hometown in disgrace, and sent to the franchise that has been very much an elephant's graveyard.
And yes, it would be amusing if De Rosario joined Pope, Balboa, Agoos, Dooley, Diallo, Diego Serna, and I don't even want to know who else I'm forgetting in the ongoing parade of MLS stars who arrive in New Jersey to see their careers end ingloriously. Jaime Moreno was the only one to survive it, and he had to leave town to do so. Well, and Alexi Lalas, but it took him two teams and a retirement to recover.
You think they don't know that in Harrison? "We can really contend this year...but we need to get older. And we need a less stable locker room, with more divisive rancor. Who's out there for us?"
I'm sure Toronto fans are as annoyed with this prank as I am - I'd check for myself, but TFC fans don't really have much of an Internet presence.
I know, it's not easy mixing soccer and comedy - too often, you end up with "sodomy." (I *know* I've done that joke before, don't bother complaining.) But we should really leave the laughs to the professionals.
Those words of wisdom are of course from the great soccer comic Grant Wahl. Wahl took advantage of April Fool's Day to reveal that his candidacy was a joke all along.
At first, I agreed with Bill, when he eviscerated Wahl for being Dr. John, the Ego Tripper. But Wahl's devotion to the bit was worthy of Andy Kaufman and Sacha Baron Cohen.
That is awe-inspiring. He went all the way to Europe to sell this, and got as many nominations as you and I did. The stony insistence on seriousness, despite objective reality, makes this a real comic delight.
The whole premise was hilarious. It's as if Bob Woodward heard about Watergate, and announced in the Washington Post he was going to run for President. To get the message out about Nixon's corruption. Because otherwise Bob Woodward wouldn't have had that platform, you see.
And then there was Wahl's campaign commercial with the American Outlaws in Las Vegas.
By the way, it was awesome of the American Outlaws to play along, wasn't it? Think about it:
"Wow! Here we are in Vegas. One of the most exciting, decadent, pleasure-filled cities in the world. What should we do? See a show? Hit the tables? Maybe, since most of us are single men in our twenties, go to an establishment where ladies disrobe? Hell, no! We're gonna hang out with Grant Wahl, because he's running for President of FIFA!"
AND, there are professional signs printed. Which are freaking sponsored! If a serious candidate had his candidacy sponsored by Coca-Cola, it would be a worldwide scandal. So Wahl ups the ante, by having the soft drink in question be something no one has ever seen, tasted, or heard of.
All while insisting he was serious. All while answering none of the concerns Bill put forward. I used to say the best comedy was unintentional comedy. But now I know better.
Who can forget when Abraham Lincoln announced his candidacy, with his legendary "I Am Not Kidding" speech?
So this Very Serious Candidate spends two pages of a four page article about a shadowy mystery man who offers Wahl - and we, the audience - access to either the insane workings of FIFA, or the insane workings of a schizophrenic's head, or both. And the payoff?
I know, right? I mean, what are you, a reporter or something?
Although I for one would have been amazed to see the reaction of actual soccer professionals. Keep in mind these were men who either sincerely devote their lives to the daily running of international soccer, or who sincerely devote their lives to keeping their beaks nice and wet with sips from the River Corruption.
And here's Grant Wahl, armed with his Princeton degree, his apparent inexperience and/or disinterest in actually organizing a soccer tournament of any kind, and his promise to WikiLeaks the place!
"Hi! I'm the guy who wrote 'The Beckham Experiment.' Perhaps you've seen my two Twitter posts per day. Would you care to risk the profitability of your nation's federation and your own personal livelihood for the sake of my protest campaign?"
Anyway, I'm sure Bill will be along to apologize for taking Wahl's candidacy seriously. But I wanted to salute Wahl for the great risk he took, and the amazing skill he showed, in creating the character of a naive reformer who becomes a shallow, gullible publicity hound. But at least at the end, he learns a valuable lesson:
Shame. I was looking forward to seeing the genuine problems people have with Sunil Gulati and the USSF overshadowed and exploited by a joke candidacy.
But, we'll always have Paris.