25 January 2008

Ultimately the Outrage I Find Can Not Sustain Itself

I am not without pettiness. Part of me reads the story of the falling-out between Christian Gomez and D.C. United, and I want to be incensed at Christian for not showing enough loyalty to come back at the terms United offered. The terms offered were decent -- $300K to $350K per year in cap space. Gomez wanted $500K a year which meant $400K in cap space. You can look at that and say "Hey, that's a difference of only $100K under the cap at most, why not? He has earned it, and the money above the cap is fairly nominal for a Designated Player." But, of course, it would have meant abandoning the opportunity of pursuing another Designated Player, and United judged the opportunity cost as too high. In which case you're thinking "Hey, it's few hundred thousand to stay, why can't he come down, work with us here?"

I am sure there are those in their heart of hearts who will feel betrayed by this. Then they will point to Christian's performance, wonder if he ever really could handle the full MLS Season, wonder aloud about his willingness to learn English, and question if he was ever really part of the culture at D.C. United. These people should, of course, be hit in the head with a two-by-four. Christian Gomez is the player who is single-most responsible for bringing home three trophies: Two Supporter's Shields and one MLS Cup. He's the link among the three successful (as in silverware winning) campaigns between 2004 and 2007. He may not have communicated in the locker-room, but he communicated plenty on the field. As for the English thing, I offer you the following joke:

Q: What's the difference between Christan Gomez and Alexi Lalas speaking English?

A: You can at least translate Christian Gomez sensibly.

So ultimately there was a difference of opinion, and Christian wants to go. Fine. He will be missed. If there is a sadness, it is that Christian will not play enough in a United uniform to truly become one of the great legends of United, a Marco Etcheverry, a Jaime Moreno. Instead he'll be one tier down in that list of great players who spent some time here, but didn't define the organization by their presence (John Harkes, Raul Diaz Arce, Eddie Pope). A Great, not a Legend.

So, no, I can harbor no ill-will with Christian Gomez as for how things ended, no can I get outraged at the front office for not keeping him. There is such a thing as a no-fault divorce, and now both have grown in different directions, apart from each other. It is sad, but short of signing Right Back Hayley Mills and Left Back Hayley Mills, I think reconciliation is unlikely. That's the way it goes sometimes. It's sad, very sad, but it isn't worth outrage. We'll wait for the final word before saying good-bye, but we are waiting.

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5 Comments:

At 25 January, 2008 11:32, Anonymous bdr said...

Well said.

I'm surprised I'm not more churned about this, and while even I have a limit to how churned I can get, I suspect that I'm emotionally gearing up for such a different version of this year's United from last year's that Gomez leaving is not as explosive as it would be if the team wasn't being heavily reconstructed.

 
At 25 January, 2008 11:56, Anonymous Mickey said...

I'll second bdr. In addition to the sensible reasons outlined above, I was increasingly suspicious of Gomez's intentions last year as the negotiations carried on. From what I understand, DCU's offer has been the same since they initially started negotiations in early 2007 - while Gomez seems to have been shopping, shopping, shopping around for better offers.

 
At 25 January, 2008 12:10, Blogger Good Governor said...

I'm not sure I quite agree. To me this attitude is more and more why professional sports in general turn me off. There is no longer player/team loyalty in professional leagues. Granted there are several factors to this, but for me, I feel like one of the reasons I fell in love with Soccer was that DC United felt like a DC team.

Obviously the individual desires and needs will always come first, and I can't fault Gomez for that. But to leave DC for another MLS team, or some other lower tear leauge overseas to me just seems really really foolish. It does in a way feel like he is turning back on all his accomplishments here in a way.

Obviously, this is pretty much common practice in professional sports where owners and players have loyalty to the bottom line (be it revenue, records or championships) and less to the fans that come out to drink heavily, yell loudly, stand in the rain and cheer a team on to a 0-0 draw against a lesser apponet.

Part of the poetry of DC United is leaving, and I can't help but feel a little betrayal about it.

 
At 25 January, 2008 16:24, Blogger Catherine-Lucia said...

This. Sucks.

To an outsider, it's perfectly normal, this is how things go, his requirements were ridiculous, blah blah blah. But to me and many other DC fans, it's like...plays without Shakespeare...or Brazil without Ronaldinho or Kaka.

AHHHHHHHHHHH

 
At 25 January, 2008 23:13, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I dunno about Pope, I'd put him in the top tier of United greats. I mean, he was with us from the early days.

 

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