Wednesday, July 16, 2008

The Dawg Days of Summer

I noticed earlier today that, apparently the last time I had a sports opinion worth writing about must have been May 5th, just after the Dallas Stars made it to the western conference finals... A buddy ridiculed me the other day by saying, "Bagger, where are all your hot sports opinions these days?"

Which got me wondering, where did they go exactly? And then I remembered, it's the dawg days of summer and what have I missed?

The Dallas Stars lost in the Western Conference Finals to the Detroit Red Wings, not what you hope for, but a nice season nevertheless.

The Dallas Mavericks did..... nothing..... it's apparently what they are best at.

The Texas Rangers were simply deplorable until they discovered they actually had some offensive talent hidden in their farm system and Josh Hamilton decided to start sticking his bat up the asses of all the pitchers in the American League. But just when they started giving us hope by finally adding numbers to the win column and getting over .500, we all remembered, that the best offense in the world can't mask the fact that you still can't pitch. AND THE RANGERS CAN'T. Don't get me wrong, I think Rangers GM Jon Daniels has done a fine job acquiring some great talent this year. I mean, we had 4 players who deserved to be playing in the All Star game. Not only that, but he's found some great young talent too. All this, and they're still 9.5 games being the Angels for 1st place in the West and not realistically in Wild Card contention either. How is that possible? Because as much as I genuinely like the talent on this team, there is a bad fundamental philosophy that unless changed, will keep the Rangers perrinnially at home come October. GOOD PITCHING ALWAYS TRUMPS GOOD HITTING. Now, no one is a bigger Josh Hamilton fan than I am. In fact, as far as Dallas sports figures, it might be: Tony Romo, Marion Barber III, Brenden Morrow, and Josh Hamilton (ok, I like Dirk Nowitzki too but I'm leaving him off the list to make a point). But have you seen the movement that Edinson Volquez has on his pitches? Have you seen his ERA this year? It's a philosophical problem with the Rangers. Its a problem that Jon Daniels has in thinking that there is ANYTHING more important in baseball than pitching. There isn't. And until he realizes that, we're all gonna be watching nothing but football in October, and the summers will drag on with nothing much worthwhile to say about anything.

And what else happened? Tiger Woods did his best Willis Reed and had the 18th hole of his life at the US Open... twice... There was a pretty great tennis match between Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal at Wimbeldon.

Chad Johnson brought the circus to town that was much ado about nothing. Brett Farve apparently developed alzheimers in his old age and forgot he ALREADY RETIRED.

And... that's just about it....

And you wonder why hot sports opinions have been sparce in baggerville this summer... It's just the Dawg Days of Summer. Hell, even Tony Kornheiser and Michael Wilbon are taking time off PTI, Tony Reali took a week off to get married, The Ticket has who ever the hell they can sub in for all their hosts who are vacationing....

But that's all about to be forgotten, sports fans....

Dallas Cowboys training camp starts Friday, July 25th at 1:30pm.

Unlike the Mark Cuban and the Dallas Mavericks, this off season Jerry Jones tighten his death grip on the rest of the NFL with the resigning of Flosell Adams, Terrell Owens, Marion Barber III, Ken Hamiln, Terrance Newman, and the acquisition of Adam Jones and Zach Thomas. And then there was the draft....

Oh, did I mention that HBO is covering this year's training camp?

Get those foam fingers washed and your TVs dusted and your fantasy draft scheduled. As one Cowboy great said, "Get'cha popcorn ready... cause it's gonna be a show..."

Monday, May 5, 2008


There officially is hockey once again in the city of Dallas, Texas as the Stars return to the Western Conference Finals for the first time since 2000.

Marty Turco sets franchise record with 61 saves as Brenden Morrow's goal in the 4th overtime period pushes the Dallas Stars past the San Jose Sharks 2-1 and into the Western Conference Finals.

My thoughts on the game:

  • Seriously, how many wide open opportunities was Joel Lundqvist going to just blow in regulation? Its a good thing the Brenden Morrow decided in the 4th overtime that he wasn't going to lose tonight because if the Stars had lost, the film of regulation hockey would not have been kind to Lundqvist.
  • Is Brenden Morrow a beast or what? Seriously, after his 19 hits in this game, a word to the wise- Brenden, make sure you get your hands on some clean urine. Especially after Morrow ended Milan Michalek's night early with a bone jarring hit at the end of the 3rd period. How sick was that? Morrow played like a man possessed- possessed with the determination that he was not going to lose- not this game, not this night. So, happy 40th birthday, Brenden. You just became a man.
  • 61 saves? ARE YOU KIDDING ME? Now, I don't exactly know what happened on Ryane Clowe's shot in the 3rd period during which, Marty looked distracted. You gotta make that save. But I'm not gonna dwell on the negative.
  • Is there any doubt that, in the Stanley Cup Playoffs, your goalie's play determines how far you advance? And after Ryane Clowe's 3rd period goal, Marty Turco said, no more. Not here. Not on me. Not tonight. Let there be no misunderstanding, the reason the Stars won was because in 4 overtime periods, Marty Turco decided he was just not going to be beaten.

So bring on Detroit. And while we're at it, could someone go convince Brenden Morrow and Marion Barber to give basketball a shot? I know a team that just recently lifted their shorts over their hind-quarters and ran for the off season with their tail between their legs as quickly as they could.

Sunday, April 27, 2008

Let the season begin...

There's nothing like good draft picks that helps you forget that, despite their game 3 reprieve, the Mavs' season is perhaps the biggest debacle in the NBA this year.

Oh yes, the Stars don't hurt either.

So for those of you are have been following, here are the notable Cowboys off season moves thus far:

  • Let an underachieving RB Julius Jones go to Seattle and spare it up there (The Julius Jones experiment ran its course and just leaves everyone wondering exactly why his first two years in this league were so dynamic and his last two years were so underwhelming-- either way, he needed to go for a lot of reasons).
  • Traded NT Jason Ferguson, NT Remi Ayodele, and TE Anthony Fasano for draft picks (none of which dramatically impact the production of the team).
  • Signed veteran MLB Zach Thomas in free agency ("veteran" is another word for "old" but he can still play productively and they're so deep at that position anyway they're not asking him to shoulder the load, just be a role player-- and at only 1-2 mil a year, it can only make the defense better).
  • Signed CB Adam "Pac-Man" Jones--a top 5 cornerback--at a fire-sale of a price because he can't seem to stay out of trouble (Dallas already has one of the best tandem of corners in the league in Terrance Newman and Anthony Henry, adding Pac-Man Jones should really scare opposing quarterbacks, and adds a big-play threat in their punt return game).
  • Resigned OT Flozsell Adams, and tendered RB Marion Barber and DE Chris Canty for another year (getting a deal done with F. Adams was HUGE-- just ask Tony Romo who doesn't even know Osi Umenyiora suits up when Dallas plays the Giants; M. Barber is a beast who should be a top 5 back in the league this year, and C. Canty's defensive pressure up the middle is EXACTLY what our D-Line needs when DeMarcus Ware gets double teamed with regularity).

Already, Dallas' off season moves look pretty good, right?

Now the draft in order of their being picked:

  • Felix Jones RB (a top 5 RB prospect in the draft, fills the hole at RB that Julius Jones left and adds big-play ability with his speed as complimentary to M. Barber, and should be an effective kickoff returner as well).
  • Mike Jenkins CB (perhaps the best cornerback available in the draft which now makes us 4 deep at that position with players any of whom who could easily be any other team's #1 corner--talk about scary good--this also gives us insurance against Pac Man Jones deciding to get involved in another shooting).
  • Martellus Bennett TE (perhaps the best TE available in the draft, his athletic ability is on par with Antonio Gates and he was underutilized in Texas A&M's run heavy offense which means you know he can block, which should free up Jason Witten into more receiving opportunities).
  • Tashard Choice RB (could be a late-round gem; fills the hole left by RB Tyson Thompson's departure, and should be a very capable 20-25 carry a game RB, should anyone get injured).
  • Orlando Scandrick CB (ok, now my comments on how good and deep the Cowboys are at CB are just getting redundant, and if O. Scandrick is a late-round gem, just get the parade route ready).
  • Erik Walden DE (what if this player turns out to be just slightly capable of rushing the passer? We'd be stocked with 4 solid pass rushing threats? Are you kidding me? Count 'em up, is there a more valuable pass rusher in the league than DeMarcus Ware? Wait, lets not forget how good Greg Ellis is on the other side-- and then there's the very talented 1st round pick from last year's draft, Anthony Spencer-- like I said, PARADE ROUTE- PLAN IT!).

My thoughts on the Adam "Pac Man" Jones trade:

Is there seriously anyone actually objecting to this? Those must be the same people who said they were done with the Cowboys when Jerry Jones picked up Terrell Owens.

How are all of those feet tasting these days?

Is anyone actually naive enough to think that most NFL Players don't visit Strip Clubs with regularity? Strip Clubbing is nearly a right of passage in the NFL. Now, not all NFL players are involved in Strip Club shootings, but Pac Man wasn't even charged with a crime related to that incident. And for only a 4th round pick and a bargain-basement contract? It's a no-brainer, do the deal, hug it out, bitch.

What was that you said? It's gonna be a distraction? More of a distraction than popcorn-boy Owens and YokoRomo? Hardly. In fact, compared to the perpetual circuses surrounding Jerry Jones, Tony Romo, and Terrell Ownes, don't be surprised if Pac Man Jones just fades into the background (like Tank Johnson did). And if he brandishes a gun at Baby Dolls, no big deal. We drafted two CBs-- one of which was probably the best in the draft and should be NFL ready, and basically lost nothing on Pac Man.

So, let me get this straight, the Cowboys won 13 games last year and basically beat everyone in the NFL that was any good except the New England Patriots. They did so with only two capable corners, both of whom were hurt at various points throughout the year, and their 2nd best receiver hurt the entire year, Terry Glenn.

So, all things considered, this is what Dallas Cowboy fans have to look forward to this up coming season:

  • A secondary that is healthy and legitimately 4 deep (means more man-to-man coverage, which means Roy Williams will be in pass coverage less--thank god--which means opportunities for more blitzing and more quarterback pressure).
  • A pass rush that is legitimately 4 deep (means teams will have to do more than just double team DeMarcus Ware, and we all know that QB pressure equals turnovers, especially when your secondary is strong to quite strong, and turnovers equal wins).
  • A healthy Terry Glenn and improving WRs Sam Hurd and Miles Austin (who had over 1,000 yards receiving his last healthy year).
  • An upgrade and big-play threat in the running game (Felix Jones will most undeniably be better than Julius Jones, and there's no reason to think Marion Barber won't be anything but better either).
  • A Tony Romo in only his 2nd full season as a starting QB (There's no reason to think Tony Romo won't be anything but better even though he would have been last seasons' league MVP if it were not for Tom Brady having the best year of any QB in NFL history).
  • An upgrade in TE from Anthony Fasano to Martellus Bennett (Don't underestimate this move, Tony Romo as the uncanny ability throw the ball to everyone).
  • Special teams upgrades with the return capabilities of Felix Jones and Pac Man Jones.
  • Did I mention the Cowboys won 13 games last year without these upgrades?

So, bring on the mini-camps, training camps, and preseason--hell, bring on the playoffs! Playoffs? PLAYOFFS!?!? That's right, book it.

It's good to know that at least one general manager in the city of Dallas isn't completely bereft of intelligence. There's nothing like a good Cowboy draft to make me think, Mavs-who?

Now, if we can just get Flozsell Adams to stop his highly untimely false-starts... but maybe now I'm just being greedy...

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Stick a fork in 'em, they're done.

In the likings of Jeff Albertson, "Worst playoff performance ever."

Mavs lose game 2 to the Hornets 127-103, fall 0-2 in playoff series. 

Josh Howard: 3 of 10, 10 points
Jerry Stackhouse: 4 of 10, 9 points
Jason Kidd: 3 of 10, 4 assists, 7 points
Erick Dampier: 3 of 6, 6 points

A big thank you to:
Brandon Bass: 5 of 5, 9 of 9 from the stripe, 19 points

And mediocre performances from: 
Dirk Nowitzki: 7 of 11, 27 points (a decent total but seemed to disappear) 
Jason Terry: 5 of 8, 16 points

There's got to be some "cutesie" pun in here having something to do with its not supposed to be that hard to score in New Orleans.

The Mavs, picking up exactly where they left off in game 1, gave up 39 points in the first quarter, 99 points in 3 quarters, and were at no point after tipoff in serious contention in this game. 

In the 4th quarter, after TNT decided that the Magic-Raptors game was better watching, a few things came to mind:
  • Warm up the bus.
  • I hope the beads were pretty.
  • Go STARS!
  • In Romo we trust.
  • The Cowboys draft is this saturday.
Well, at least the Mavs still have a young defensively minded and incredibly fast point guard-- oh wait, they don't. Ok, at least they still have their young, improving, defensive back up center-- oh wait, we don't. At least they still have their draft picks this year and in 2010-- oh wait, they don't have those either. At least they didn't mortgage their entire future on an old, past-his-prime, point guard, who can't score, and doesn't seem to make anybody better, so that they could win this season-- oh wait, that's exactly what they did do.  

There's still two games to go, but for the next one, I'm bringing the K-Y Jelly. 
And since I'm grinding my gears, here's another tid bit:

Anyone remember Texas Rangers hallowed pitching prospect John Danks who apparently couldn't pitch? 

This season he is 2-1. In his last two games, he has pitched 14.2 innings, given up 8 hits, 2 walks, pitched 12 strikeouts, and given up ZERO RUNS.

So, with a pitcher that strong and young, we must have really gotten a good trade for him right? Oh wait- we got NOTHING. Yes, nobody from the Danks trade is on the active Texas Ranger roster. 

Has anyone started a fire Jon Daniels site yet? 

Friday, April 11, 2008

Good Friday

Friday was a good day to wake up as sports fan in the city of Dallas. There was that something that seemed to linger in the air... something that was vaguely familiar yet hadn't really been around since last November when Tony Romo threw 4 touchdown passes in the Cowboys 37 to 27 win over Green Bay. I suppose you could call it what you want, but whatever you call it, it's back and it's unmistakable--I call it hope.

I call it hope because in one night we simultaneously celebrated the 40th birthday of both Dirk Nowitzki and Marty Turco (for those of you who don't catch the Mike Gundy reference), and for the first time in I don't know how many years, the Texas Rangers have a winning record (or did when I originally drafted this).

No Josh Howard? No problem. Dirk Nowitzki's 34 points will the Mavs to victory over the Utah Jazz and their 3rd win in their last 4 games against teams with a winning record. But the box score aside, did anyone else get the feeling that Dirk at some point decided that he just wasn't going to lose? At least not that game, not that day. And if you had been skeptical of Dirk's resolve up to now, his game-winning 3 pointer with 2 seconds left on the clock (and no timeouts) which hit nothing but the bottom of the net, convinced you. Say what you want about the Maverick's problems this year and in years past, Dirk's not part of them and now he's anything but soft.

Marty Turco's 23 save shut-out leads the Stars to their first game 1 victory in a playoff series since 2001. For the first time, in a LONG time, the Stars seemed liked they had any interest whatsoever in winning a playoff game. The Stars looked more hungry, more youthful, more athletic, and more desirous than the defending cup champion Anaheim Ducks. The Stars finally decided that defense wins championships and Marty Turco lead the way. And if you had been skeptical of Marty's resolve till now, his save of a point blank Todd Marchant slapshot in the 3rd period, when the Stars were already up 4-0, which was created off a inexcusably bad turnover right in front of his goal, convinced you. Turco decided he wasn't losing that game, not that day. Say what you want about the Stars' problems this year and in years past but Marty Turco has now pitched shut-outs in 4 of his last 8 playoff games--he's not part of them.

Lets forget for the moment that in the past two years, the Rangers have traded Alfonso Soriano, Chris Young, Adrian Gonzalez, Francisco Cordero and Mark Teixeira and did not have a single player on their opening day 25-man roster to show for it. Lets forget that Texas seems to be the place where good pitching goes to die, so the general manager seems to have let that ship sail. Lets even forget, in the spirit of things, that the Rangers have been in a "rebuilding" year since 1999. The Texas Rangers are above .500 for the first time in a long time--or were when I initially wrote this, but are at .500 now and that's still good.

Will the Mavericks actually compete in the playoffs this year? Will the Stars actually make it out of the first round? That is yet to be seen and history is against them. But credit is deserved for two teams and two players that decided that day, that they weren't going to lose at least not that day and in doing so gave this sports fan hope.

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

Mavs vs. Warriors: Mavs Live to Fight Another Day

Dirk Nowitzki cowboys up and the Mavs cough up whatever it was they choked on in the 2nd half of last Sundays "must win" game against the Golden State Warriors at Oracle Arena. 

Although seeing the reigning MVP back in a jersey and sneakers is certainly better than seeing him in a suit and a walking boot, he shot a mediocre 7 of 17 from the floor which seemed to indicate that he was either rusty, or still very much injured (which is more likely and would therefore make his appearance all the more ballsy). Nevertheless, Dirk willed his team to a victory, and perhaps a playoff seed, finishing with a decent total of 18 points in only 27 minutes of playing time, including a clutch 3 pointer in the middle of a 14-2 Mavs scoring run in the 4th quarter. 

Um... Yes, you did hear me correctly, I did mean to say a 14-2 Mavs scoring run in the 4th quarter. Which should bring you to the real reason how the Mavs found a way to take a 1 game lead on the Golden State Warriors and a 2 game lead on the Denver Nuggets--DEFENSE. Yes, that would be the defense that seemed to have been traded away to the New Jersey Nets with Devin Harris because it really hasn't shown up since. 

Now, I'm not saying that Jason Kidd's 17 assists (and wow, even 5 points), Josh Howard's 28 points (great performance, but still not showing up in the 4th quarter), and Jason Terry's 31 points (where has this been hiding all year, Jason?) weren't absolutely necessary, but everybody who has watched the Mavs this year knows that jump shots that rain in the 1st half go dry in the 2nd. What you can't win without is defense. Yes, defense. 

The Mavs held the Warriors to only 86 points and took the ball away 15 times. But more importantly, for the first time in a long time, the Mavs decided that no matter what, tonight's Sports Center wasn't going to be filled with Baron Davis highlights, holding him to only 20 points with 6 turnovers, and no 3 pointers--and get this--only 1 for 5 from the floor in the 2nd half which included allowing him only one shot in the 4th quarter--which he missed! 

Yes... You heard that right too, the Mavs held Baron Davis to NO 3's and NO made shots from the floor in the 4th quarter! Meaning, the Mavs won this game the same way they rolled through the Western Conference in both the '05-'06 season (except the finals--but we're not gonna go there) and the '06-'07 season (except round one of the playoffs--but we're not going there either), by closing out games in the 4th quarter with defense. 

But like every other Mavs fan, I'm left looking at the remaining schedule and wondering, having watched this team play so much poor basketball this year, and the owner mortgage the future for old man river and a 12-10 record since (and if you want to be really underwhelmed check out the combined win-loss record of those teams they beat), I wonder what does this win even mean? And furthermore, would it have been better if the Mavs had lost this game, increasing their chances to miss the playoffs, returning the draft pick that was so easily treated as unimportant, causing the owner to save face, and giving the franchise and its fans some hope for the future? 

Well, that's a topic for another blog.... Whatever this win means and doesn't mean will be determined in due time, but for now, the Mavs play defense, Dirk cowboys up, Terry and Howard brought their A-game, Kidd does what he was brought here to do, and the Mavs live to fight another day....

Monday, March 31, 2008

Sports fans or Sports socialites?

Becoming a FC Dallas season ticket holder has confirmed something about sports fans in this city that I have long suspected. It's something that peaked my curiosity since I noticed long ago attending Dallas Mavericks games at the American Airlines Center. I wondered, why do fans (especially girls) in this city dress more like Ghost Bar patrons than Dallas Maverick fans when they attend games? Does it have something to do with the proximity to Victory Plaza? Perhaps. But after attending my first FC Dallas game as a season ticket holder, I think I may have connected the dots.

So here's my new take on most Dallas sporting events. To most people in Dallas, sporting games (and this applies to most of the Mavs, Stars, Rangers, and deviates only slightly with the Cowboys) are "events" to attend. Or maybe I should say, fans attend sports games like the game experience is a social event and they as fans are "socialites" rather than "sports fans."

Now many of you socialites might disagree with me, but even if you feel that you in your halter-top and stilettos (not that there's anything wrong with that) are just as passionate about your team as anybody else, I think that any rational observer would recognize that, call it what you will, there is a difference between the fans in this city and the fans in Philadelphia who for years filled the infamous Veterans Memorial Stadium and would express their enthusiasm for the game by regularly egging the visiting team's bus, throwing batteries on the field, and let's not forget booing Santa Clause. Now, say what you will about the appropriateness of their behavior, but clearly you'd agree there's a qualitative difference, right? Trust me, there is. I've been there.

I just can't help but wonder how some of our Dallas sports fans would fair sitting in the outfield bleachers at Yankee Stadium during a Yankee - Red Sox game at about the 7th inning, when everyone around them have had time to put back 2 or 3 cold ones. Or how they would fair at the Golden State Warriors' Oracle Arena when the entire crowd starts chanting "Bull-Shit" in unison objection to poor officiating. Hell, yesterday at the FC Dallas opener, after sweeper Duilio Davino mis-touched an easily playable ball, in the 84th minute, just outside his own 18, causing a turnover which resulted immediately in Chivas USA striker Maykel Galindo scoring the equalizer, I stood and yelled, "THAT WAS TERRIBLE!" at the top of my lungs. Which, I think, is pretty innocuous especially by comparison. But holy wow! You'd have thought I had just thrown a beer at Ron Artest! You should have seen the dirty looks I got from all the soccer-moms seated around me. God forbid I interrupt their social experience with expressions of passionate enthusiasm at a sporting game! I wanted to say, "Lady, if you didn't want to hear yelling, why on earth did you attend a soccer game!?!?"

I'm switching my tickets closer to the field...

Well, what I think I'm getting at, besides the simple social observation, is to just say to all the Dallas socialites, it wouldn't hurt you to loosen up a bit and allow yourself to be lost in the emotional roller-coaster that is sports. Forget that you're at Victory Plaza and you're hitting up the Ghost Bar after the game. Invest in a team jersey and use those vocal chords proudly. Become a real sports fan. Ride the up's and down's, boo your starting strong safety (who shall remain nameless) when he gives up another 40 yard touchdown pass to a tight end (what the hell, his name is Roy Williams); boo your starting goalie when he gives up not 1, not 2, but 3 goals in under 2 minuites (oh yeah, his name is Marty Turco); heckle the refs (trust me, they're terrible), the visiting bullpen, and make as much noise as possible when the visiting quarterback comes to the line of scrimmage or when the visiting guard is shooting his free throws (somewhere I'm sure Dwyane Wade is still shooting free throws given to him by the refs of the 2006 NBA finals, someone should tell them it's ok to take off their Dwyane Wade kneepads now). IT'S CALLED HOME FIELD ADVANTAGE! Trust me, it's real and it's one of the most wonderful things in all that is sports.

I'm buying a beer for the next person I hear yell audibly, "Hey Ref! Get off your knees! You're blowing the game!"

Futbol, Beckham, and the MLS

So... in this month of March I became a proud FC Dallas season ticket holder. The first game I attended (an exhibition match to be fair) recorded an attendance of just under 6,000 people at Pizza Hut Park with a capacity of over 20,000. For a point of reference, consider that last October, the exhibition match between the Dallas Mavericks and the Chicago Bulls at the American Airlines Center recorded an attendance of just over 19,000.

Now, to keep the numbers as fair as possible, I'll include the fact that yesterday the FC Dallas home opener scored a recorded attendance of 17,000 which was to me quite surprising, considering that this season home opener for the Dallas Mavericks scored an attendance of 20,000, last season's home opener for the Texas Rangers had 51,000 attendees, the Dallas Stars sold at least 18,000 tickets for theirs, the Dallas Cowboys 1-upped them all (no surprise really) at 63,000 faithful, while the Dallas Desperados scored only 12,000.

So what does this tell you? That soccer in this market, as perhaps part for the whole of the country, is somewhere more popular than arena football, surprisingly not too far behind the NBA, and just about tied with hockey (and with the decline of the NHL there's no real surprise here either) for 4th place.

Now, as a side note, I'm not defending my numbers here, I got them off the web. Also, I concede that there are other things to consider like average attendance over the course of a season, merchandise and television revenue... ect... But I also concede that I neither have the time nor desire to do that kind of extensive research.

But it really doesn't matter because, as I sat in my season-held seats, I pondered one question. Was the LA Galaxy's acquisition of David Beckham worth it? Did it increase the popularity of the MLS thereby increasing attendance and revenue? Simply put, do more Americans like soccer now than they did when David Beckham still played across the pond?

Well, despite what many of my favorite analysts will say (Jim Rome, Michael Wilbon, Tony Kornheiser, and the ATH boys to name a few...) that the Beckham project is as much of a bust as the Jason Kidd for the entire present and future of the Dallas Mavericks trade, I might beg to differ just a bit.

First of all, there's the 'ol adage that any publicity is good publicity, which isn't bad for the MLS since until the David Beckham acquisition the MLS basically had no publicity at all. Sure there were players we remembered we knew once every four years like Landon Donovan, but no real marketable stars that would bring the MLS into the American consciousness. So then began the circus. Will Beckham play? Will he not play? Will he have a reality TV show? And what's in Posh's closet?

Say what you want about Beckham and whether or not he will save the MLS. Say what you want about trying to promote the world's most beloved sport in a country where the NFL crushes all like bugs. But it seems that whatever you say, if you care anything about having an informed opinion, it seems you can only say that Beckham has been great for the MLS and American soccer in general. Like I said any news is good news.

But the fact that Beckham has been great for the MLS leaves me wondering and wanting to ask those powers that be--those millionaires who have invested millions of dollars in making money off of the MLS. Why did you wait till now to throw stupid money at an international soccer star? But more than that, why isn't anyone throwing stupid money at Christiano Ronaldo, Ronaldinho, Zinedine Zidane, Andy Rooney, ect.?

I think my point is, sure Beckham is great and all, and every time he visits a city, you can all but guarantee a record turn out, but he doesn't improve the overall quality of the product the MLS is peddling. What I suspect is that for more than any other reason the popularity of soccer in America suffers from exactly that--a poor product. Anyone that knows anything about soccer can very quickly tell the qualitative difference between a game between Manchester Utd. and Arsenal, and a game between FC Dallas and the Houston Dynamo. It's why nobody cares about the playoff race in the Eastern Conference in the NBA, why nobody cares about the NIT when the NCAA is going on, and why nobody watches golf tournaments when Tiger Woods isn't teeing off.

There's one thing about us Americans, we are consumers and we demand the best or we're not going to buy it. It's the real reason that the XFL was an experiment in futility. You see, I'm interested in seeing the LA Galaxy vs. FC Dallas game because I'm a soccer fan, and I'd like to see Beckham much in the same way people would roll out to see a Dallas Mavericks game in the 90's... if they happened to be playing Michael Jordan and the Chicago Bulls on that given night. So sure, I'll take the Beckham circus, because it reminds everyone that soccer does in fact exist in this country, despite the best attempts of the last US National Team at the last World Cup to destroy it. I'll take it but I want more. I want a league where Beckham and Ronaldo go head to head this week and Zidane and Ronaldinho go at it next week. Can you imagine the MLS marketing not only that caliber of stars but also that caliber of competition? Can you imagine that kind of league? In this country?

And you might ask, but why would they leave Europe to play here? To which I would say, why would Beckham leave Europe to play here? FOR THE MONEY! For the stupid money that the LA Galaxy owner was willing to throw at Beckham. And if you ask me, Christiano Ronaldo is aging, and should be prime target A for any MLS team wanting to increase both the quality of their product and their revenue by dramatic fashion.

Why do I want to say, "If you build it, they will come?"

Saturday, March 29, 2008


I'd like to welcome everyone to Bagger's wide world of hot sports opinions where topics get slung about like a monkey with his own feces.
I keep a blog of a different nature on my MySpace and I'd invite all to follow that RSS feed as well:

All opinions will be unashamedly my own.

I'd like to give all due credit to The Dumpster Crew for their opinions which do shape my own and are the last bastion of true sports fans in this forlorn city of underachieving sports teams known as Dallas.

Let's hear it for another year of bad personell decisions by inexcusably moronic general managers.