Sunday, July 22, 2007

Why soccer might succeed this time

No, not Mr. Posh Spice, although I watched a game involving an MLS team for the first time, while texting a friend the entire time. He's part of the reason.

But soccer has a chance because the other 3 major leagues are all having serious problems. Baseball's owners and commisioners can't explain why they let steroids go unchecked, thus compromising the integrity of the game. Fortunately, Barry Bonds is making sure that even the good headlines bring bad news.

Speaking of Bad Newz- the NFL players are are embarrasing the league, (boat cruise strippers, Vegas strippers, illegal weapons, drunk driving, Whizzinators, Dog fighting with executions, and the Bengals). It's easy to "get tough" with Pacman Jones, Tank Johnson, and Chris Henry. But now that it's the highest paid player in the sport, getting tough is getting tough to do. Can someone tell me why this is bigger news than wife beating and killing people while drunk? (because this is the first time it made the news, I know. I'm just anti wife beating and anti drunk driving. My public service announcement is over. Thank you)

And the NBA now has a gambling saga with a twist- a referee has been implicated. After last year's NBA Finals when Dwyane Wade shot more free throws than the Mavericks, I assumed the refs were under duress to make the series close. But to have outside people (like the mob) influencing the officials? And everyone's reaction was, "I bet it's (insert referee's name here)."

Heck, even wrestling is having a major crisis (complete with an all-to-real tragedy).

The last time a major sport lost a major chunk of fan base due to its own stupidity was in 1994 with the baseball players' strike. A lot of fans (including me) boycotted baseball. And just at that moment, Andre Agassi and Pete Sampras began to dominate tennis and captivate the media. Meanwhile, Tony Hawk and Dave Mirra started getting famous for their X-Games X-ploits. It took baseball 3-4 years (and a lot of roided up players) to catch up. Meanwhile, I still watch tennis occasionally.

Please note hockey has made 2 of those mistakes. A coach and Wayne Gretzky's wife have been implicated in a gambling ring. And the sport took a year off to discuss union issues, thus losing pretty much every American fan. Here's my advice to the NHL- INCREASE SCORING and fighting.

So for the first time, soccer has a legitimate chance to become mainstream. It's main competition is busy damaging itself as we speak. All they have to do is play well, which Beckham's LA Galaxy squad did not do against the Chelsea side. Cuahetemoc Blanco is coming from Mexico. We have Canada's best player in Houston (DeRosario). They have until Labor Day weekend (FOOTBALL- American football) to keep my attention. Will MLS become the next NASCAR or XFL?

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