Galaxy Unretire Michael Stephens' Number


(EDIT - ugh. A number of factual errors, pointed out by Roger Allaway in comments below.  In the words of Alejandro Bedoya, my bad.)

No, YOU had a long, uninteresting draft blog post of the Galaxy's injuries forcing them to write off the 2016 season that you finally junked when you heard about Landon coming back.

As you have undoubtedly heard, Landon Donovan has come out of retirement to save the Galaxy.  Kind of like the Stainless Steel Rat.  Like all of my fellow short-suffering Galaxy fans, I'm thrilled beyond words to be able to see him play for us again. 

(Rule of thumb: when Nigel de Jong was going ambo-jitsu on innocent bystanders in the midst of ugly losses? The Galaxy were "they."  All this can be found in my master's thesis, "Sports Franchise Health Expressed In Plural Pronouns," now playing off-Broadway.)

But I'm worried that Donovan's return to the Galaxy will not be successful, and they will end up taking a step back as a result.  (See?  He hasn't even flopped yet, and it's back to "they."  I've been following this team for twenty years, folks.  I can hop on and off bandwagons better than Glenn Miller.)  I think we can all think of famous unretirements that went sour. 

Look no further than Cleveland.  Re-elected to the Presidency in 1892 after a four year gap, led the country straight into a depression, replaced on the ticket by his ideological opposite in William Jennings Bryan.  The Democrats didn't regain the White House until 1912.  But I'm sure you read about that comparison on Bleacher Report already. 

 Landon told Facebook Dot Com (hm, that joke isn't as funny as Major League Soccer Soccer Dot Com) that he returned because it looked as if the Galaxy were far upstream a certain dark brown creek:

Two weeks ago, I was working as an analyst on the LA Galaxy vs. Vancouver Whitecaps match and during that game, the Galaxy suffered injuries to three players: Jelle Van Damme, Steven Gerrard and Gyasi Zardes. Over the next few days, Nigel De Jong was transferred to Galatasaray and news broke that Gyasi would be out for the rest of the season. Since my retirement, I have remained in close contact with many of the staff and players on the Galaxy. I spoke with some of them that week and they jokingly asked if I was ready to make a return to the field to help fill some of the void left by the injuries and departures. I reminded them that I haven’t played a meaningful soccer game in almost two years and I certainly couldn’t fill the holes left by those players.

Over the ensuing days, I began to think about their inquiries and it struck me that perhaps this is something I should consider. I care so deeply about the Galaxy organization, and I believe I could help in a small way to aid the team in its quest for a 6th MLS championship. Further, the opportunity to have my son Talon on the field with me after a game was a feeling that I would never be able to replicate.

This warmed the sub-cockles of my heart (cf. Denis Leary), because - well, this is petty.  But neither his Facebook account header nor his Twitter account header mention the Galaxy.  It was all about the US national teams and Swansea.  And I pretty much thought, that's fine, he certainly owes us nothing, we were part of the grind that drove him to retire early, with our constant demand for more and more success. 

But love is in action, not words.  The Galaxy needed him, and Landon responded.  Whether or not he stinks up Carson is beside the point.  He still holds us in his heart.  (And back to "us," seamlessly.  I should teach seminars on this.)

The other, even more irrelevant thought I had was "Wow, this really does Steve Cherundolo a favor."  Which might not even be true - I have no idea whether Steve Cherundolo cares about being inducted into the Soccer Hall of Fame.

The 2014 retirement year already had Kristine Lilly and Carlos Bocanegra in the same class.  If Lilly isn't a unanimous pick, it's because of institutional sexism on our part as Hall voters.  Bocanegra was captain for two World Cups - he won't be unanimous, but I think he'll squeak in. 

But there is a maximum number of players the Hall can induct in a year (assuming they wouldn't have taken pity on the 2014 class), and Cherundolo would have been squeezed out if both Donovan and Lilly were on the same ballot.  Now he and Bocanegra don't have to fight over quite as many voters. 

If Landon does call it quitsies for reals this year, in fact, he might - MIGHT - share a class with Hope Solo.  Plan your trip to Frisco accordingly.


The other big story of the week was Megan Rapinoe.  Here's what I think about the national anthem.

Oh, look, it's my Anti-Muse, bursting through a cloud of brimstone with a flaming sword hissing "Not one damn word."  I'll go see what she wants.