Soccer, mostly, but some other stuff, too

Archive for January, 2009

It Came From The NASL Archives

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More nostalgia, a 1981 match between the Tampa Bay Rowdies and Atlanta Chiefs (again, the full broadcast is available at

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January 31st, 2009 at 11:19 am

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PHX Fail

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Seen on a sign near a convention in downtown Phoenix this afternoon:

Yes, yes I am.

Sometimes I’m not glad I’m in the industry of writing and editing, though.

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January 30th, 2009 at 4:08 pm


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That headline from the Tinley Park, Ill. Southtown Star was just one from newspapers in Illinois and Northwest Indiana announcing the removal from office of Governor Rod Blagojevich. Others after the jump.

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January 30th, 2009 at 1:42 pm

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My Man Steve Holroyd Needs A Better Publicist

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Because he’s not quoted at all in this Philadelphia Inquirer story about the potential name choices for Philadelphia’s new MLS team.

Steve, as you may know, has campaigned for the name “Atoms,” the team of his youth, and, to my way of thinking, a more unique and distinctive, non-Europosing name than the “official” choices on the ballot.

My man Bryan James IS quoted in the first article, as befitting his position leading the Sons of Ben. His personal choice is “Union,” which has some history on its side (not soccer history, mind you, not really) and is less pretentious than “SC” or “AC” or “City” (all of which are varying levels of Europositry).

The team is apparently close to a lease agreement to play in the under-construction stadium in suburban Chester, as well as a finalization of funding for that stadium, and hopes to announce its name sometime in February or March. The name-the-team contest runs for another week, so, while you can’t vote early, vote as often as you can. And vote Atoms. A vote for Atoms is a vote for America. :)

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January 30th, 2009 at 9:44 am

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A Thing Of Beauty

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Yes, it’s in the eye of the beholder and all that. But the New York Daily News is way off the mark, not with its subjectivity, but with its facts in this gallery of sports’ all-time worst uniforms.

Okay, the stripes are a bit much for you? Fine. But saying “Professional soccer struggles to garner attention in the United States thanks in large part to uniforms like the ones worn by the Tampa Bay Rowdies of the NASL” is complete bullshit.

a) They wore those in the 1970s and 1980s, which has nothing to do with why professional “soccer struggles (present tense) to garner attention in the United States” today. It had precious little to do with the struggles then, much less now.

b) The Rowdies actually hardly ever wore the green version, opting for the white version under the Florida sun at home and normally wearing them on the road as well because most home teams wore their colors (the photo above appears to be from a game at Giants Stadium against the Cosmos, who usually wore white at home as well).

c) The Rowdies were actually one of the flagship franchises in the NASL, and are still one of the most recognizable American soccer brands worldwide. In other countries, most soccer fans over a certain age remember or know of the Cosmos, the Rowdies and maybe DC United.

d) Every fashion from the 1970s sucked looking back on it 40 years on.

That kit above is beautiful. I look forward to seeing some version of it return in 2010.

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January 30th, 2009 at 8:25 am

Buy A Big Television And Stay Home, You Freeloaders!

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Just as it did last year when it kept church groups from gathering to watch the Super Bowl on big-screen televisions, the NFL has put the kibosh on a planned gathering here in Phoenix where fans could have gone to the Arizona Science Center and watched the game on an IMAX screen.

“The league bans public exhibitions of its games on TV sets or screens larger than 55 inches because smaller sets limit the audience size,” said the Washington Post story linked above.

Yeah, why would you want to limit the audience size? Isn’t the idea to get as many people to watch your product as possible? And to enjoy it as much as possible? So they feel even more positive about your product?

Maybe it’s not about getting as big an audience as possible, but getting as big a measurable audience as possible. As if NBC is having trouble selling Super Bowl spots. As if any network ever does. And whoever has it next year isn’t going to have more trouble because you got together with 100 friends to watch the game on a 72-inch screen.

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January 29th, 2009 at 10:18 am

The Italian Job

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MLS should really look into signing this David Beckham fellow. He certainly seems to be playing well in Serie A, which I hear is a pretty good league.

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January 29th, 2009 at 9:17 am

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Back In The US, Back In The US…

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US Soccer honcho Sunil Gulati will announce on Monday plans to mount simultaneous bids to host the 2018 and 2022 World Cups (no, we’re not going to host both, they’re going to bid for both and hope to get one).

On the one hand, this is great. We’re obviously going to get one – FIFA made so much money on the 1994 event that it’s incredible to me they haven’t come back. And playing at home can only help our team’s chances of doing well. Plus, it’ll further expose the sport to a lot of Americans who aren’t aware that when it’s played at the highest level, soccer is pretty damn beautiful.

On the other hand, part of the fun of actually attending a World Cup is seeing another country. Our trip in 2006 was the greatest experience ever. But America’s just too big to really follow the US team – you might get lucky and have them play near you, or you might be able to make plans to go to one or two games. And while the foreign fans make for a festive atmosphere, at the end of the day you’re still….in America. You lose that part of it.

It’ll also point out the huge disparity between soccer as it’s played on the world stage and as it’s played in our domestic league (which will have to shut down for the duration, there’s no other way to do it, I don’t think). I’m sure MLS will have made even greater strides by 2018 (by which point it will have been in business longer than the NASL), but it can’t help but suffer by comparison.

It’ll be lots of fun and will push soccer to the front pages and the tops of Americans’ minds for a month, so that will be a positive.

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January 29th, 2009 at 8:37 am

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Mail Enhancement

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Mail delivery may go to five days a week. And not necessarily Monday-through-Friday. [Chicago Tribune]

“A study done by George Mason University last year for the independent Postal Regulatory Commission estimated that going from six-day to five-day delivery would save the post office more than $1.9 billion annually, while a Postal Service study estimated the saving at $3.5 billion.”

Both of those studies were underwritten by the Department Of Numbers We Pulled Out Of Our Asses. (Seriously, how does one study show $1.9 billion in savings and the other nearly 100% more? What are you using, Fibonacci numbers in your calculations?)

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January 28th, 2009 at 2:55 pm

Channel Changers

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The media business is changing (newsflash, I know), and local television news is really going through the ringer.

In Chicago, Phil Rosenthal says WMAQ-TV news staffers are being told to re-apply for new, multi-faceted positions to deliver content to multiple platforms – not just the news at 5 & 10 like in the old days.

‘MAQ isn’t the first station to do this, and they won’t be the last. This is the wave of the future. We’ll see it here in Phoenix before too long, I’m told.

I had to laugh at this, though, from the station’s station manager/vp of news, Frank Whitaker:

“Now if they’re editors and learning to write, are they going to be Hemingways? Probably not. But as long as they can write a basic script, then they’ve met the basic qualifications.”

(I would have laughed at the “It’s not a cost-cutting thing,” too, but I’ve long since learned that a news director is only lying to you if his lips are moving.)

Time was when you actually did have to write to have a job in television news. Obviously, that time has long since passed, given how poorly TV anchors and producers write anymore (especially here in Phoenix). What the hell are these J-schools turning out anymore if it’s not people who can write?

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January 28th, 2009 at 2:49 pm