Rapid Response

So our friend and fellow poster Jason Maxwell has a blog that's pretty good.  Although, if you're not an MLS fan or Colorado Rapids supporter, you'll probably get less out of it.  I wonder if his non-soccer friends don't read his blog, either.  Anyway, since Jason is a Rapids fan, and has a blog, he naturally, perhaps inevitably, made a post along the lines of "Season start soon, coach yet?" One of Jason's fellow readers, a fan named Tim Hinchey, called him out.

Perhaps it might be worth your energy to at some point actually investigate your “concerns or claims”  with our club prior to your blogging.  Or perhaps not, clearly you’re call.  Every “fan” has their right to criticize their home club even if completely unsubstantiated or inaccurate.

However, we are not “killing time” on our coach search nor do you have any clue how to run a professional sports organization and any such complications when hire a head coach.  Therefore, if you value actually learning more, give me call as like I did with SI last week, I’m happy to fully and honestly explain our efforts.  If not, I find your blog completely ridiculous and nothing more than your own personal venting tool.

Maxwell responded fairly calmly, and Hinchey elaborated by saying that criticisms of the club in a blog are public and would be addressed accordingly:

If you make personal attacks and criticize me or staff in an ignorant fashion than simply expect my direct response.  I choose not to do this to embarrass you publicly.  Whereas that's how you chose to communicate your points, which is your right.  As evidenced over my entire tenure, I rarely feel compelled to seek out our fan bloggers in any challenging way.  However your comments where totally ridicuolus.  Your email response asking and suggesting whether "I realize" we need a coach is offensive.  I have worked in professional sports for over 20 years and I doubt I would be in my current position if I was so clueless.
Bottom line is that blogs are public.  If I feel any public comments about our club or my staff are offensive I will respond directly to the author.  If the author or fan would like to have a true better understanding of how professional teams actually operate, then as always, I offer my accessibility to educate.

And so forth.

Oh, I probably ought to mention.  Tim Hinchey is the president of the Rapids.

This correspondence became public because Jason's response email was posted in This Very Forum.  By someone other than Jason Maxwell.  Which meant, someone from the Rapids front office.

Colorado fans were pleased and reassured to note that the team president was focusing on matters to help improve the club and build a contender for another MLS Cup.  Well, for a given definition of "pleased" and "reassured."

One theory is that Hinchey had and has inside knowledge, and wouldn't dream of sending such emails if he didn't know that the team would name a head coach that would silence and reverse all criticism.  The fact that all this was initially posted in mid-February, and it is currently no longer February, doesn't necessarily mean that Hinchey won't be completely vindicated.  Maxwell thinks the job will either go to either former LA Galaxy legend Pablo Mastroeni, or to John Metgod, a man I cannot resist calling God Metgod.

Of course, if Hinchey had put as much effort into the coaching search as he did in blasting Jason Maxwell, he probably could have landed Sir Alex.  The season starts Saturday, in case you were wondering.  Mastroeni is scheduled to run the team.  He may do fantastically well...until Beckham hires him to return to Miami, which would serve the Rapids so very right.

I too have a blog, as it happens, but I have the opposite problem as Jason Maxwell.  No one will answer my questions.

We explored opportunities to sell to other groups, but we believe selling the franchise to MLS on an expedited basis is in the best interests of all parties, including the team’s players and its dedicated fans.

This of course was Jorge Vergara's explanation on why he sold Chivas USA a month after registering new team trademarks, three days after saying "at this moment, no" about whether he would sell the team, and the same day Kevin Baxter of the LA Times reported that the sale had been planned for months, and a day before Wilmer Cabrera told Paul Kennedy he wasn't surprised.  So that's why Nelson Rodriguez abruptly resigned, I guess.

That all sounded weird to me.  So I made the terrible mistake of asking Dan Courtemanche, MLS director of communications, a couple of questions:

Do we know why Jorge Vergara changed his mind about selling the team - and did it have anything to do with the Teddy Chronopoulos/Dan Calichman lawsuit that was settled?  And is there a plan to keep the second LA team from cannibalizing fans from the Galaxy?

The responses:

That is a question for Mr. Vergara.  Only he can answer that.

There are millions of soccer fans in Southern California, which is more than enough to support both MLS clubs in the market.

At first I took exception to the idiotic terseness of the first response.  You always know why the seller is selling you something, otherwise you're not doing your due diligence.  Sometimes the answer is "We are in the business of selling motor vehicles at a profit" or "A family of twelve were murdered in the foyer," but you as a buyer always have some idea.

So I responded:

[V]ery well then, why was MLS convinced that it needed to purchase the Chivas USA franchise immediately?  Who called who first with the suggestion to transfer the franchise to league control, when did they call, and what were their stated reasons for suggesting the sale?  If it was Mr. Vergara's idea, did MLS ask his reasons?  If not, why not?

It is now a week later, and the Executive Vice President of Communications has not communicated with me.

I for one am reassured that whenever an owner calls up New York and says "I'm out" tree weeks before Opening Day, the league will simply buy the team back and find a buyer within the year.  I'm sure that's standard operating procedure for all the teams.  Change your mind, it'll be fine!  Take note, Phil Rawlins.

Of course, what I should have been offended by is the idiotic terseness of the second response, about there being millions of fans in LA.  I do realize that the "there are millions of fans just sitting around waiting to throw money at us" is the driving force behind NYCFC.  I also realize that there was no way to respond to the question about the second LA team's business plan without criticizing the business plan of the first MLS LA team.

But what I wish I had said, and will now take the opportunity to say, was this:  There are millions of Chivas fans in Southern California, which is more than enough to support a team.  How did that work out again?