Yesterday (Sunday) at this time I sat upon my throne, skimming the comments on THIS article on my iPhone, and realizing Stumptown Footy had been overtaken the good, useful people we like to call trolls.
It was at that moment that I decided a tribute was in order. I lovingly dedicated the kids I had just dropped off at the pool to Mr. Clint "Deuce" Dempsey, and his recent move to that evil force from the north, having FLOUNDERED in the Premiere League last season with Spurs.
The arrival of Dempsey in MLS makes little sense to me. Dempsey, while he's struggled with injuries lately, has not necessarily hit the downslope of his career. He was wildly inconsistent with Spurs, completely disappearing from some matches, yet managed so many crucial goals for the club in the limited playing time he received, that it's hard to call him a total flop. I can't help but think there are other, mid-table Premiere League teams that wouldn't have LOVED to pick this guy up.
Nevertheless, MLS has begun to prove itself as a place where great players can thrift and continue to improve. Dempsey may be ready and quite happy to return to America and finish his career in a league that isn't tops, but is good enough to be able to push even the best players to continue to improve their games. While I did not expect his move, it isn't a horrid move for Clint.
What I question, at this time, is what it means for the Sounders. Is it sustainable for them to spend this kind of money on a player? Can they do it with their cash flow alone, or is Dempsey's salary and transfer fee being subsidized significantly by the ownership?
I like to think that spending THAT much money on a single player is going to come back to bite Seattle. It may, and it may not. If Dempsey stays healthy, he's probably a game-changer for a team that's already loaded with talent. A guy with that kind of nose for the goal WILL win games for his team.
Yes, I was steaming mad Saturday night and most of Sunday. But I've cooled off, and made to peace with what happened over the weekend.
How? Well, first of all, I'm not the typical sports fan. While I sing my heart out as loud as anyone, I tend to be very analytically in how I approach the game. I get emotional in the moment, but I always try to see past that emotion and base my stated opinions in balance and fact. Sometimes I fail in that effort, but I always try.
Secondly, I have no respect for bullies and I'm not afraid of them. So while I probably wouldn't fight it if we somehow COULD become the new 800 pound gorilla of the region, I'm fine to let some other force be the evil one. In fact, I kind of like the idea of being a smaller-town team with fewer big stars, but that somehow manages to win some hardware and be a consistent competitor through exceptionally smart youth development and player acquisition.
For now, I'm going to simply lump Seattle in with the other financial forces of football that I've grown to despise. Paris Saint Germain, Manchester City, Chelsea, and now Seattle.
I could care less about the hardware any of these teams might win. They can have their big money and smug sense of superiority over smaller markets and/or ownership groups that will never, ever be able to match them financially.
They can be the doberman, loudly proclaiming the merits of the hard work and dedicated use of intelligence they invested so heavily to choose what species they would be at birth.
We are the Rose City. We are local, we are organic, we don't drive 90 miles every day just to get to work and back. We bike to games and spend our time outside of games investing in our incredible community. We don't expect you to be impressed by that, and frankly, we don't care.
You are consumptive, spread out, corporate, superficial, scattered. The things that make you great do not amount to true greatness. You are future LA, albeit with a few more trees. You can have all of that. We are not impressed by it.
You can outspend us. You can out-attend us. But you cannot stop us. We will continue to nip at your heals, until you can hardly stand to walk.
We are not only OK with that role, we are proud of it. And we wouldn't have it any other way.