03 April 2007

Cliches about Journeys and Single Steps and Associated Kerfluffle

PRET? ALLEZ!: First, Oscar put up our match preview last night, and it is the essential document for getting you ready for tonight. Honestly, I have no idea if United will fair well or poorly tonight (so much will depend on how well Chivas can finish their chances) but I do know that I am excited for this match.

URBAN - RELEASE THE MOOSE SO THE MOOSE CAN BE... WELL, YOU KNOW: Bill Urban tips Justin Moose as a 2006 draft pick who can make a difference. He calls Moose a "combative bundle of midfield energy" which almost sounds like a doting parent talking about a precocious toddler. That seems about right to me.

FRED IS FRED: Dan Loney with what I am now declaring is the definitive take on the "FRED" uniform situation. Personally, I liked the entire "you earn the right to have the first name on the jersey" concept advanced previously by Kevin Payne, and the idea of standards and all, but hey, there's something to be said for cultural sensitivity.

CURSING THE DARKNESS: One of the nice things about the expanding soccersphere is that it gives more chance for me to dissent from other opinions. David over at The Offside: Chivas USA savages Garber's announced changes to the league competition structure. You should read his article, but I do want to take issue with some of it. I'm not afraid to attack the league and its decisions from time to time, but in this situation I think David's got it wrong. He writes:

There is no mention within these new initiatives to increase the player’s wages or accept a Player’s union. Rather the effort is used to hire new scouts for South America and create “world-wide” databases. If you cannot pay your own players and help cultivate the talent within your own country, how do you expect to “scout” for international talent? How do you expect to keep your own players?

First, there is a player's union, which has a Collective Bargaining Agreement in place. Steve Goff has a pretty good breakdown on what it says for the 2007 season. So essentially the players have negotiated what they feel is fair until 2010. Now, this deal can be amended (and indeed probably will be since there's a playoff bonus, and if there are fewer playoff teams then the union probably can demand that the playoff bonus be either increased or distributed as if eight teams made the playoffs instead of six.) The point is, while I agree that MLS salaries for home-grown talent, especially developmental contracts, are disgustingly low, it is what the union has negotiated for. That's how collective bargaining works. As Goff points out, this current deal is an improvement, despite some of the low rates. David's big issue (so far, and I am awaiting part 2 of this series) is that players aren't paid well enough. I agree! But the league and the union made that agreement, and it isn't something Garber can dictate. Now, the other thing at work here is that while the CBA has set minimums, the league sets the cap, and market forces may cause an increase in the cap if developmental players consistently jump to Europe (or, say, Puerto Rico). In that case, it's in the league's interest to go ahead and make money available for more players without waiting for the union to renegotiate.

As for David's conculusion:

The “Game First” initiatives are no more than just a band-aid and are issues that should have been addressed years ago.
Maybe, but for three years I've head a lot about how MLS couldn't find its ass with a map and a flashlight. They're wrong. Over the past two years, MLS has been consistently making moves in the right direction. Sure, there's no single table (but when there are 16 teams I'll bet we see one). Sure, even with only six playoff spots the regular season could still be more meaningful. But the fact is that almost every major change approved by the league over the past two years for competition has been in the correct direction. Yes, more can be done, but I say right now: I am more optimistic about the future of MLS, and the way the league is led, every day. Yes, there are some supreme idiots out there making some decisions, but overall the trend is very positive. We are only a few years from the Florida Contraction, when MLS seemed on the verge of disintegration. We are now in a place where we can be cautiously optimistic about a quality, long-term future for this league. There's more to be said on this, but that's enough for now.

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9 Comments:

At 03 April, 2007 09:33, Anonymous Rick in Ashburn said...

I don't think there are fewer playoff teams, it is just the structure that has changed.

Instead of the top four tems from each conference making the playoffs, the top two from each conference make it plus four wildcards.

 
At 03 April, 2007 09:54, Blogger Kinney said...

Rick: You are right. MLS just phrased it wierd and a some people read into it what they wanted and ran with it, thus confusing D.

 
At 03 April, 2007 09:59, Blogger D said...

Ooops, my bad. Totally my bad.

 
At 03 April, 2007 09:59, Blogger D said...

Um... I blame painkillers. Yeah, that's the ticket.

 
At 03 April, 2007 11:54, Anonymous Bill Urban said...

Fabulous...

He calls Moose a "combative bundle of midfield energy" which almost sounds like a doting parent talking about a precocious toddler.

If Moose reads the DCenters, he'll be looking to send me back to hospital...

 
At 03 April, 2007 12:18, Blogger D said...

He'd have to be able to reach you first :) He's fast, but small, so you might be able just to pull the old "Big Brother stiff arm to the forehead" routine...

 
At 03 April, 2007 14:00, Anonymous Inkoate said...

"Pret? Allez!" huh? Is D a fencer?

 
At 03 April, 2007 15:05, Blogger D said...

Inkoate: And here I thought that was my private joke that no one would get. Yes, at one time (back before I turned 20) I was a USFA C or D rated epee fencer who nearly took his directors exam (before it became the "referee"'s exam). I don't remember if I got my C or not. I think I did. I know I had my D. After (shock!) spraining my ankle multiple times (yes, the same one I just sprained again) I gave it up at the age of 18.

 
At 03 April, 2007 16:06, Anonymous Inkoate said...

I fenced in high school, was also a D in foil. I went on to fence in college for a little while, but I switched to saber and never really fenced in open competitions, just varsity vs. other schools, so I didn't get a rating in saber.

 

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