Publicity Hounds

I was all set to write about the first of what is usually many coach firings in the MFL. Yes, it's true. Chelis is gone, the master motivator/martyr will no longer be at the helm of Estudiantes Tecos. Yawn.

But then I remembered, it's Estudiantes Tecos. A team that barely has a fan base in their home-base of Guadalajara, much less the annals of bigsoccer (except, of course, for TecosGirl - you are missed). Why waste valuable front page space on that team. It is a team so badly run, it is amazing they have been able to last this long in the top flight. We can't forget, though, that they did beat America at the Azteca this year. And someone, and I am not naming names, pegged them as a liguilla darkhorse this year.

Regardless of how good or bad Tecos is, it's all about the publicity. They love to get it, both good and bad, but they don't deserve it. So it ends here.

What of publicity on the international level? Mexico and the US meet yet again. And on the morn of the next installment, I thought it might be interesting to examine it on both sides.

What would you rather have?

Mexican players' every move is watched by the electronic eye. It was easy to ascertain what time Mexico left for the airport, what they ate on their layover in Dallas, what time they arrived in Philadelphia, where they are staying (the Ritz), and when and where the practice session would be. Of course, with all this publicity all the seedy underbellies also are brought to light.

When girls in mini skirts and high heels enter a conference room at a hotel where players are staying, it is considered the mother of all pachangas. How dare the players have the nerve to have a get together, safely ensconced in a hotel, in one of the most dangerous cities in the country after their national team duties had ended? The nerve. The media firestorm was out of control and henceforth, players involved were branded as fiesteros.

Last summer in South Africa, Mexican paparazzi camped outside Mexico's hotel, looking for something, anything to snap. They got a shot of Cuauh taking a drag on a cigarette. Cue the faux outrage.

Tim Howard's ridiculous language rant after the Gold cup was discredited... but a lot of writers who originally framed the rant as a story never bothered to do so. For whatever reason, some didn't think it appropriate to change the narrative, and all it did was add fuel to the ugly anti-immigrant sentiment that is so prevalent today in the US.

It is an interesting contrast. 95% of the Mexican media is hell-bent on destroying the Mexican National team by any means necessary. Call it jealousy, envy, whatever it is. They see the Televisa and TV Azteca get all sorts of access, and they are left with scraps: official public appearances, the mixed zone, etc. If you can't report, why not make it up? Not to mention the fact that the players' personal lives have also become fair game because, well, it sells.

From what I have seen, the US soccer media is hell-bent on hoping and praying that somehow, some way, soccer is elevated from fringe sport, to a full-fledged member of American mainstream sport. So they champion the sport, and more so the US team because, frankly, if not them, then who? Jim Rome?

We get a lot of sunshine pumping from the US press, sometimes to a fault. Unless, of course, it involves one Jonathan Bornstein. In any other country, losing a cup final by two after being up by two to the bitter rival would in all likelihood be met with a call for the National Team to step down, if he hadn't already done so. To be fair, there was a little of that, but not as much as the puff pieces on how well Freddy Adu played. And as for Bradley the Elder, the Gold Cup did seal his fate, but not until Klinsi finally said "ja" a month later. How many saw that coming?

I know, apples and oranges on the media coverage because one country is covering what is by far its most popular sport, and the other is not. But it doesn't mean that I want to know the contents of a trash can in players' hotel rooms, just like I would prefer that coverage not be sugar-coated in order to find a broader audience.

As far as this column is concerned, I can promise you one thing: I'll try to keep the Tecos news to a minimum.