Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Short Follow-up to MLS: Is It Worth Watching?

By: Vidda "JibJab" Grubin

Are we as fans supposed to go to games and root for the league instead of our team?

I ask; because, some of the recent moves by the teams league seem to imply that we should be happy to construct intricate mind-numbing justifications for Major League Soccer's personnel moves based on the idea that the moves are good for the league.

Thus the unmistakeable contradiction inherent in single-entity Major League Soccer, which makes business decisions for the league's benefit, while those decisions simultaneously give a handful of teams a distinct advantage over most other teams.

I hate to simply complain; so, here's an idea. The money is flowing. Double the salary cap. Reduce the number of Designated Players each team can sign to two...and flipping stick to that number.

And, here's the result (I base this on watching the league operate and what certain amounts of money have been able to buy over the years). $7 million dollars could easily see each team signing four or five players of Guillermo Barros Schelotto's class. This would still leave in the range of $3-3.5 million for the rest of the roster, and no one player would have to be earning only $40,000 a year. Players around the world, I think, would jump at the chance to come the States to play for about $600,000 a year.

If the NFL can create a structure that makes it so its fans aren't having to, constantly, make up fairy tales as to why it's okay that those other teams in their league are spending ten to thirty times what we are spending, then crap, Major League Soccer should be able to achieve the same level playing field.

I despise the discussions that I am still forced to have with both my MLS loving friends and my only marginally aware of MLS friends. You know the discussions where someone says "Bradley and Defoe sure make Toronto FC a much better side. Wish we had those kind of players." And then you say "Yeah, but it's good for the league and we get to watch them play."

That exchange makes me feel stupid, really, really stupid.

How bout this discussion with a less MLS interested friend.

"I read something online this morning about Major League Soccer. You're into the Crew. How come Toronto, Seattle and NY get to spend so much more money than the Crew?"

And you reply, "Oh, well, each team is allowed three designated players. And it's up to the owners of each team to pay for them."

Your friend comes back with, "I thought the league was single-entity, and like the NFL there is a hard salary cap?"

"Oh, sure, there's a salary cap, but there's also this stuff called allocation money. Of course, no one really knows how the allocation money thing works."

"Wouldn't the league be better for the fans if they just stuck with a hard salary cap and let the owners, managers, and players compete to see who's best?"

".................Ummm, yeah, but you see..............Oh, f### it. This shit makes me feel like an idiot. Lets go get a beer."

Sometimes I feel like all of us Crew, Fire, Timber's, etc. fans are Sgt. Schultz and Major League Soccer is Col. Hogan. It's funny for a while, and then...not so much. 

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