It is one of the oldest tricks in the Public Relations handbook. Got some news that you prefer it not be scrutinized as much? Release it when you think the news cycle won't pay attention. Friday afternoon at 4:45 ET seems to be a popular choice among politicians. In the age of the 24-hour news cycle, nothing quells a story like a weekend.
"why is this list being released now?"
That was my first thought last night as I was driving back from Houston. After pulling over to check my twitter feed (as I routinely do when I am on the highway - don't tweet and drive), I noticed that FEMEXFUT had released their list of expats for next weeks' Hex opener at home against the Reggae Boyz.
It was after midnight. Not the normal time to release a list of players.
Sure enough, the names were there, except for one. Well, two. Ajaccio's Memo Ochoa was not on the list because his wife is set to deliver their son around the same time. The other, of course, was Carlos Vela.
In this age of the Twitter, though, there is no nadir in a news cycle, though. And this morning, the distinguished members of the Mexican sports press were as excited as your local weatherman during a thunderstorm. That brown paper bag you'll see on the set of the separate Sports Screamers panels won't be an accident. They'll be there to keep the pundits from hyperventilating.
This is what they live for: a chance to tear apart a soccer player. And one that plays in Europe? More so. Especially by those who pretend to have some level of access and been saying for a month that Vela's return to the National Team was imminent.
While these guys will spend the next two weeks crucifying Vela with extreme prejudice, Chepo and his players will continue the process they started a couple of years ago, without Vela, incidentally. Without Vela, Mexico has won every official match they have played: The 2011 Gold Cup and the first round of qualifiers - 12 wins, 0 losses.
Without Vela, Mexico won an Olympic Gold Medal.
Without Mexico, Vela has consolidated himself as Real Sociedad's best player as they inch ever closer to one of those coveted European spots. Just last week they were the first team to defeat Barcelona in league play this season.
They have gotten along without each other just fine, it seems
Would it be nice to have Vela in the fold for the national team? Of course it would? In the not so recent past, a denial from a player of his caliber would have been an unqualified disaster. Players like Vela don't grow on trees, which is especially true in Mexico - at least historically. Lately, though, Mexico has produced a good number of difference makers that have no problem playing for Chepo or their national team and the results speak for themselves.
For now, Vela won't be one of them. Time will tell if either suffers from the absence.