Thursday, March 09, 2006

My response to Todd's post


I know.

All I can say is that at least it wasn't my team (whose name I still to this day think could use some tweaking).
This whole thing is about 3 things: money, money, and money.
The amazing thing to me is that New York's fans seem to actually like that this went down. They seem more than happy to have a completely laughable identity if it means getting their own stadium (something that looks like this would admittedly be 5000% better than the freakin' Meadowlands: ) and an ownership group that appears to be more committed to winning. (To say that this franchise has been unsuccessful in the league's first 10 years in an understatement.)

What might be most amazing is that this is only barely the most bizarre name change in the league in the past week. Check out this story from the Houston Chronicle.

Goodbye 1836, hello Houston Dynamo
Copyright 2006 Houston Chronicle
For a moment this morning, Houston’s Major League Soccer franchise was again nameless, just as it had been for more than a month after relocating from San Jose, Calif., in mid-December.
This time, though, there was a quick fix.
The franchise officially gave its 1836 name the boot. It will build its brand around the name Dynamo, instead.
That’s right. Not Dynamos, as in the short-lived USL semi-professional team that roamed the pitch at Butler Stadium briefly in 1984. It’s Dynamo, as in full of energy, a tribute to the city’s ties to the oil, gas and other energy industries.
“Dynamo is a word to describe someone who never fatigues, never gives up,” franchise president Oliver Luck said. “The new name is symbolic of Houston as an energetic, hard-working, risk-taking kind of town.”
The name change was announced during a no-frills press conference at the Houston Museum of Natural Science. Fittingly, it was held at the Weiss Energy Hall.
The nixing of 1836 was expected after the name was deemed offensive by some in the Hispanic community shortly after its unveiling Jan. 25.
The team and league have maintained 1836 was meant to honor the year Houston was founded. However, 1836 was also the year Texas fought for and gained independence from Mexico. Some Hispanics, including many of Mexican-American descent, found the name offensive.
In addition to the local ties and the energy theme, Dynamo was picked because of its traditional feel, something MLS has been moving toward in recent years with names such as Chivas USA and Real Salt Lake entering its landscape. The name is popular in Eastern Europe, with teams such as Dynamo Moscow (Russia) and Dynamo Kiev (Ukraine) among the most popular on the continent.
The word dynamo, an earlier term for generator and short for dynamoelectric machine, is well-known universally.
“We believe a parallel can be drawn to the two major communities in Houston: English speakers and Spanish speakers,” Luck said. Together (these communities) will create electricity at games unlike any other in MLS.”
Houston Dynamo open their inaugural season April 2 against the Colorado Rapids at Robertson Stadium.

Actually, from what I read, it was overly PC local politicians and not the actual Mexican-American community that made the name change happen.
Anyway, this all means that this franchise has in the past 7 years won 2 championships, had the league's best and most marketable player, been located in 2 cities, and had 4, count 'em, 4 nicknames.

Now is probably the time to also point out to those who don’t follow the league that one year ago the league introduced an expansion team named Club Deportivo Chivas USA. It’s pretty much the exact replica of a very popular Mexican team named, you guessed it, Club Deportivo Chivas. I kid you not, the last thing the team decided was which city they were going to call home. It looked like it was going to be Houston but they ended up sharing the Home Depot Center with the LA Galaxy. Oh, and they almost made it a rule that you had to be Hispanic to play on the team. Again, NOT KIDDING.

I admit that this all seems pretty pathetic for a professional sports league that's trying to at least create the guise of legitimacy. But I gotta say this - as I've told non-soccer fans like Todd time and again, you gotta LOVE following this league because absolutely anything can happen at any time. It’s absolute chaos.
Teams relocating - check
Teams contracted - check
Teams changing names - check
The league changing player acquisition rules all the time (and I mean ALL the time) - check
Weighted lotteries for random players seemingly once a month - check
Division realignment - check
The playoff format altered pretty much every year - check
Incorporating OT in the regular season - check
Getting rid of regular season OT - check
Doing the opposite of the NHL and getting rid of the shootout - check
The Crew finding excruciatingly novel ways to break my heart every single fall - check
Okay, I got a little off track there at the end.

Now to thank you for reading that much about soccer, I reward you with this Simpsons-related clip. It’s not perfect, but some of the attention to detail is pretty cool.

Oh, and I do now agree that Michigan is right on the bubble, and if I had to choose, I’d say no longer in. My mistake calling them a lock.


At 11:26 PM, March 09, 2006, Blogger Jack Fu said...

RE: the New York Jolt Colas
Who gives a shit.

RE: The Houston Dynamo
I can't hear that without thinking of "The Running Man."

RE: The MLS in general
That league is so weird I that I can't believe Todd doesn't pay attention to it for that reason alone.

RE: The Simpsons live-action video
That was funny.

At 11:46 PM, March 09, 2006, Blogger Jack Fu said...

Forgot about...

RE: Michigan
Yooge loss. Yooge. I think they're probably out now, meaning the Big Ten probably gets six teams in. That's balls. As uber-blogger Brian at MGoBlog said:

"This probably excises Michigan from the tourney. They played a paper soft non-conference schedule. They're 18-10 against a crap schedule, finished the year 2-7, and just lost to a team that couldn't find its ass with both hands in the halfcourt."

Ouch. But sadly, yeah.


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