Party like it's 1998

Might as well pile on. Better never than late, after all.

Tim Howard clarified his comments, according to Major League Soccer Soccer.

Pipe down, Tim. If Guadaloupe had been up there to get their medals, the ceremony would have been in French. If Grenada had been up there, it would have been in Grenade. If Canada had been up there, we would have heard how it's time for Don Garber to stop being a caretaker commissioner and take off the training wheels. There's a perfectly reasonable explanation why the trophy presentation was in Spanish, Tim - you let in four ********ing goals. Hold onto the lead, and the ceremony could have been in Gaelic for all the US team would have cared.

I hope to heaven Tim isn't actually speaking for the team, because "soccer player" is a pretty dumb career choice for someone who dislikes medal ceremonies in Spanish.

I should have made a bigger deal out of this in my notes, but weren't any of you noobs at the 1998 final in the LA Coliseum? The 1998 final made the Rose Bowl on Saturday look like a Pat Buchanan book-signing. (EDITED because I effed up. *sigh*) There were thousands of American fans at the Rose Bowl - I should know, almost all of us were walking out before the 90th minute.

Yeah, US fans were outnumbered. You became an American soccer fan because you wanted to be popular?

And nearly every US fan I saw had clean clothes. One guy had a foam rubber Captain America suit on, poor guy. But that thing should have looked like Lindsay Lohan's bathroom floor.

You could actually hear the US anthem. Only a minority of Mexico fans booed it. They banned plastic horns at the door. If the US supporter sections thought they were bombarded - well, believe me, it was a light shower compared to the 1998 hailstorm. Hopefully thirteen years from now, the next time the US plays Mexico in a Los Angeles final, US fans will sit at the top of the stadium, with no one at their backs.

No, you're not as close to the action. You joined a supporters section to get a better view of the game?

Now, I realize that to some of you, I sound like Frank McCourt trying to downplay what happened to Bryan Stow. So let's break down the blog entry that's pretty much encapsulated the US complaints.

So, out of 93,000 people, every single one of them was there to watch the game, and not stab or shoot an American fan. Good to know.

Well, being stabbed takes just a second, like being shot or throwing a bottle or waving a flag in someone's face. I suppose someone getting killed is theoretically possible.

But how long before someone is raped? Well, gosh. I'm sure there was at least ONE rapist in the crowd, percentage-wise. Or hey, maybe a rapist ticket agency bought up a section.

So we've got motive, but opportunity. See, the thing about crowds, is, the main basic thing about your basic crowd, is that they tend to have a lot of people. Hence the term "crowd." I'm not going to say it's impossible to rape someone before, during or after a Rose Bowl sellout without someone noticing, because frankly it's been AGES since I raped anyone and I'm rusty on the logistics. But it's pretty darned unlikely.

Which leaves us with the premise that you have x amount of rapists among Mexico fans, and x to the fifth power of Mexico fans who are cool with rape. A fanbase that degraded could probably smuggle a knife or two into a metal-detector free stadium. As it was, they meekly surrendered their plastic horns.

So no, Russell, it's never going to happen.

There's one more problem I have with that little aside, apart from whether it's cool to talk about the specter of dusky minorities lusting after our white women.

If you're going to complain about sh*t that happened, don't complain about sh*t that didn't happen, and definitely don't complain about sh*t that won't happen.

No, Russell, they weren't. I would have remembered walking by at least ONE dead and dismembered body Saturday night. I did see plenty of outnumbered, helpless US fans who managed to make it in and out alive.

Yes, you have every right to be upset about having a glass bottle launched at you. So focus on that. Yes, you have every right to complain about being groped. No one should have bottles thrown at them. That's a serious issue and it should be addressed. No one should have debris thrown at them, either. Those are security matters, not racial matters. Right, Vancouver?

Hell, allowing this sort of behavior makes it harder on Mexico fans, too. Every time you see some message board El Tri Elijah Wood boast that soccer isn't for families, tell him to look at his own fans, because the Rose Bowl was loaded with families.

That won't last, though, if eventually, the only US fans who will go to Mexico games are those who are prepared/looking for trouble. That will drive out the families for sure, but probably won't impact the number or percentage of supporters.

And maybe your idea of a good time is a stadium 70% naco and 30% junior Minuteman, but personally that's way at the bottom of my Sh*t I Need to Deal With list.

"You here for the game?"
"No, I'm here to DEFEND OUR WOMEN!"
"Cool. So, Bornstein, what a plank, huh?"

What Russell and other US fans are asking for is no different from what any fan anywhere deserves. (No, not going in through the handicapped entrance when the lines are too long.) It used to be worse, because events used to be organized by real fly-by-night jackholes, and the powers that be assumed that soccer fans deserve whatever they get. It's a miracle someone wasn't killed back in the 90's.

But they weren't. And as far as I can tell, no one was even hospitalized Saturday night. Pretending Mexico fans are the Reavers from "Firefly" is not helpful. If they were, Russell and his friends would be in the ward next to Bryan Stow, and I'd have been a little red puddle in a blue raincoat back in 1998.

So why do they act like that? Because they're drunk, and they're in a crowd, and they think they can get away with it. In other words, they're sports fans. (Or rock fans, or hip hop fans, or country music fans, or any number of people in a big event with alcohol to excess.) We can be boring and try to bring politics into it, but that won't make it a political issue, and we can't vote people into supporting the home team.

But don't misunderstand. Bill and Russell and everyone else is absolutely right - the issue is more security, and a better experience for fans. Period. Or as they say in Spanish, menstruación.

(EDIT - also don't misunderstand. The last thing I'm doing is calling Bill a racist. He's got every right to ask the question. When guys in green and/or black act out like this, it reflects on the larger fan base. I disagree with Bill's conclusion, because I think the problem falls entirely within sporting rivalries gone wrong, and the solutions lie entirely within venue and event security. But if Bill wants to call out the larger fanbase for turning a blind eye to the actions of its (forgive the term) minority, then it's pretty hard to argue with that, and him making that point doesn't make him a racist in the slightest.)