(I've been reading the Providence Journal sports page since the days of finger paints and my first phonics book. Over the years, Bill Reynolds became the first columnist I purposely read on a regular basis. The guy was like my journalistic version of Roger Clemens, pre-steroids. Anyway, every Saturday, Bill has a column titled "FOR WHAT IT'S WORTH," which is essentially a collection of thoughts about the sports world. They say that imitation is the highest form of flattery, so this feature is a journalistic shout out to one of my favorite columnists. Enjoy!)
NOT FOR NOTHING, BUT…*
(*Didn't take long for that asterisk. The phrase "Not for nothing, but..." is a regularly-used preface among Rhode Islanders before stating one's opinion. Example: "Not for nothing, but those jeans make her look fat." Of course, you could just as easily say "those jeans make her look fat." You don't need the preamble. Not for nothing, but it's a completely useless phrase.)
*The David Beckham Saga continues to drag along, and with the days dwindling until his loan to AC Milan expires on March 9th, it will only get hairier.
One day, it’s Silvio Berlusconi announcing that he will do whatever it takes to keep his rented celebrity midfielder in Milan. The next day, it’s Tim Leiweke saying he won’t let the midfielder go without just compensation (see: $16 million). The day after that, Becks tells the press that he is awaiting “good news” on the “switch.”
Meanwhile, Beckham’s actual club – the Galaxy – continues to train without the very same superstar that has supposedly pledged his allegiance to MLS, the Galaxy, and American soccer.
But let’s be clear: David Beckam is no longer a footballer who happens to be a celebrity. Rather, he is a celebrity that happens to be a footballer, and this AC Milan transfer saga is just another example to support this.
*By the way, you have to be beyond naïve to actually believe that Becks was going to quietly return the Gals on March 9th.
*Sigi Schmid is going to make Seattle a darn good club within two years.
*Conversely, Columbus – Schmid’s former employer and current defending MLS champs – will have their fans wondering why they didn’t make a better effort to keep their two-time MLS Cup winning manager.
*Line of the Week comes from Galaxy president Tim Leiweke: “We look forward to seeing David back in camp.” In the same vein, I look forward to dating Megan Fox.
*The only thing that could make the Beckham Saga even more convoluted is adding super agent Scott Boras to the mix.
*Which, by the way, would also make it that much more interesting, and give MLS some much needed ink in the national papers.
*Don Garber’s Beckham Saga deadline last Friday was a joke, and an unfunny one at that.
*Quiz of the Week: In American soccer lore, two different goals have been coined with the “the shot heard ‘round the world” tag. Name goal scorers, and the matches in which they were scored.
*The same Dane Richards that was left unprotected in the 2007 expansion draft just signed a multi-year deal with the Red Bulls.
*The New England Revolution is one of three MLS clubs currently without a shirt sponsor. Colorado and Kansas City are the others.
*From the Captain Obvious Files: Jimmy Conrad needs to write a book.
*Amid a horrid global economy, MLS had better cool its heels on expansion before the league’s finances resembles those of the post-Pele NASL.
*Not to mention its talent pool.
*The MLS preseason sure lacks the majesty and magic of baseball’s spring training, now doesn't it?
*Jeff Bradley has an excellent feature on Hull City in this week’s edition of ESPN the Magazine.
*Should Becks actually get his wish and stay in Milan beyond March, does ESPN Soccernet’s “Beckham Watch” become obsolete?
*Toronto FC did better than Bernie Madoff this winter, essentially stealing Dwayne DeRosario from Houston.
*But then again, do balanced trades actually exist in MLS? Or are they just figments of our imaginations?
*Quiz answer: Joe Gaetjens goal against England in the 1950 World Cup, and Paul Caligiuri’s goal against Trinidad and Tobago in the1989 World Cup Qualifier that sent the U.S. to the World Cup for the first time in 40 years.
*The L.A. Galaxy managerial position is about as enviable as the managing position for the New York Yankees.
*The Earthquakes will surprise a lot of people this year.
*Don’t look now, but First Kick 2009 is only 24 days away.
*And no, ESPN, or its ABC family of networks, hasn’t begun promoting it.
*Speaking of promotion, no one at MLS or the networks seems to have a single clue about promoting the sport.
*The American Hockey League team here in Providence promotes itself better than a lot of MLS clubs.
*The Revolution held its very first tryouts for their new Revs Girls cheerleading squad, which sounds a lot like the Revolution Song Girls idea I pitched back in 2007.
*No, David Beckham is NOT up for Best Actor at tonight’s Academy Awards.
*If the soccer gods have a sense of humor, Mickey Rourke will play David Beckham in the film adaptation of Becks’ autobiography, “Beckham: Both Feet on the Ground.”
*Did I mention it’s less than a month ‘til First Kick? Bring it on!