Mugs and Thugs

Good morning Kickers, I hope you had as good a night as I did! After the match we putzed around the house getting various things done and then I went out and had a few drinks with friends while watching the Sounders beat Kansas City in perhaps the most surreal stadium I have ever seen.

I’ve spoken about the MLS a few times and it’s usually been unfavorable but I’m not going to rip anyone here. Instead I’ll just say that watching football in a Northern League Baseball stadium is quite bizarre, but hey, at least they play on grass! Seriously, I was asking Benny why there were no sideline stands and in fact no stands for 3/4 of the pitch when suddenly I saw a pitcher’s mound off to the side and then it struck me: they’re playing on a minor league baseball ground! It turns out that it’s not even a minor league team, The Kansas City T-Bones are in Baseball’s Northern League, a sort of independent minor league, not heavily scouted by the Majors.

For my readers who have never been in a baseball stadium, they are sort of shaped like a cone. The home plate at the smallest part of the cone and a fence at the largest. In the minor leagues, the seating is all concentrated around home plate with stands running outward from there to the end of the cone. Usually, there are no stands in the outfield and instead there’s just, like yesterday, a little hill where people sneak in or just park a blanket and enjoy a summer baseball game.

Minor league baseball is one of the great joys of America: summer nights, hot dogs, the crack of the bat, some fireworks. If you have a chance, go.

It’s a wonderful bit of Americana but it’s not a place to play football. The only place to fit a regulation pitch in that kind of stadium is all the way in the outfield, where there are no seats! It was weird, like watching a junior high school football match broadcast in High Def. Attendance is listed as 10,000 but I honestly couldn’t verify that, I only saw part of one stand, the whole game.

That’s the state of Professional Soccer in America at the moment. Hopefully, it will get better. More on that at the next Nationalism break.

In Arsenal news, well there is no Arsenal news. There’s a nice little puff piece about the Verminator: 100% guaranteed to have all the quotes you’ve grown to love from him. I supposed Jermain Defoe’s stupid stamp on Saturday is vaguely Arsenal news, since he’ll be out for the Halloween clash against Arsenal. And I haven’t heard anything about Theo’s injury though I’m knocking on wood that he’s ok. That venemous shot he took right after the foul showed that he really wants to play and I’d love to see him get an angry run of form. Shooting from all over the pitch and terrifying defenders with his pace.

There’s still some lingering controversy over Ridgewell’s tackle that I would like to dispel. The Arsenalist has the MOTD highlights and I played that tackle back a bunch of times before coming to the conclusion that it was hard but fair. In fact, it was the same type of crunching tackle that I cheered when Vermaelen wrecked one of their thugs on the sideline in the second half. Ridgewell comes in hard, but it’s one legged, studs down, and he wins the ball. Had Theo seen even a glimpse of Ridgewell coming in he probably would have gotten out of the way. But the fact is that he didn’t. It happens in football, it’s not a no-contact sport. I feel like the intention was there on the part of the Birmingham player but it’s so hard to rule on intention and we have to go by the facts; it was a legal tackle. If he’d missed the ball, or been a little higher, it would be a different story.

The only other Arsenal news that I can make up is that Song collected his 4th yellow card yesterday. I find it funny that before the season a lot of folks pointed to Lorik Cana’s yellow cards tally Ligue 1 as a positive thing and here’s our very own Song now on as many cards as Cana — and has 200% more assists! I’m joking around a bit but only in order to show that maybe we should have bought Cana, we’re going to need him when Song gets his 5th yellow, and when he goes away to the ACN. Who better to play Song’s backup?

And finally, in web site news, I found a place that will print me some 7am Kickoff mugs for a decent price. They are going to be white ceramic, 15oz mugs featuring the Henry logo:

What a mug!I should be able to sell them for around $15 plus $5-10 shipping. If you’re interested, drop me a note —

Right, that’s it for today. Unbelievably I’m sitting here rooting for Stinking Wigan, but then again, they are playing Fucking Man City so there you have it, UP THE ATHLETICS!

See you tomorrow, I’ve got to go get in some two-footded knee high challenges at Optimist park.


  1. I thought the Sounders played in the Seahawks’ stadium? Or is that just in the summer when the NFL is off?

  2. 15 minutes to go in Wigan and it’s 1-1, City down to 10 men and Ade has limped off…

    Count me as pleased….

    1. Brilliant!

      AZ lost to Twente yesterday – ‘Steve McClaren’s Twente’, as the English media always say. Dunno whether that’s good or bad for us.

  3. KC used to play in the the cavernous and empty Arrowhead Stadium (home of the NFL’s Chiefs.) It was ridiculous, the atmosphere transcended non-existent.

    So while the minor league stadium venue is not ideal, it is a far cry better than an empty NFL stadium with gridiron lines on the pitch.

    Anyway, regarding the Arsenal: very frustrating to have Walcott injured again, it mars an otherwise fun weekend of football. Though it seems like Nasri will be back next weekend. It is not a like for like switch, but at least he is another midfielder/striker.

  4. arsenal v az alkmar tickets now on general sale from 32.50[nov 4th]
    no dodgy baseball stadium but in the fantastic emirates

  5. I originally thought that Song’s next yellow card could be tactically taken against West Ham U. That can’t happen because I almost overlooked Sp**s on the 31st. Denilson won’t be back until sometime in Nov. Perhaps Nasri might be ready or move up Vermaelen and slot Senderos in for a start at CB. The scarier move from Wenger would be to put Diaby in for Song. I hope Wenger has something in mind for the inevitable Song suspension.

    Roberto Martinez wants Wigan to be like us. Unfortunately for Wigan, the ‘little brother’ couldn’t match up against us. Wigan are averaging between 500-600 passes a game compared to the just over 200 they used to get when one of England’s ‘up and coming’ managers, Steve Bruce was in charge.

    So I was cheering for Wigan today. They let me down. Wigan did not have enough quality up front to take all the points.

    There was a time when some ( myself included) thought that Santa Cruz could be a replacement option for Adebayor if he went Europe. RSC now looks terrible w/ both his knees covered w/ tape to add extra support. I’d rather my strikers have 1 good leg rather than 2 all bandaged up 😉

    Man City look like they have some ‘issues’. Steven Ireland coming off the bench is not a good thing. Good player but he has a history of getting himself out of sorts w/ the powers that be.

    Full credit to Petrov for showing Hughes that he can stick it where the sun don’t shine.

    Did anyone happen to see that 40-50 yd sprint that Alan Wiley ran during a Petrov led Man City counter attack? He was matching Petrov’s pace. That means that Alan Wiley is faster than almost a 1/3 of Premier League players 🙂

  6. I bet Wenger will go for the scary option. Gibbs would be another possibility – he played there for the under-20s – but goodness knows whether he could do it at this level. I’d prefer him to Diaby, though.

    1. @Mia, ’bout as long as the knee he limped off with….

      CTPA…Give Wigan some time, they’ve got a few old war-horses, but some of the young latin american players look good and very green. They’ve already shown they can play with the big teams and a few more victories and they’re past relegation worries…

      ManCity w/o Bellamy look poor (and personally, I’m glad he won’t be with West Ham next Sunday). Robinho sounds gone to Barca or certainly wishing he was. And Tevez is all work-rate and no end product (and another former Hammer, interesting….). Even before Ade’s got knackered he looked a bit less interested, and had his old problem of straying offside.

      And how do these 5 yellow card suspensions work–league only or do they carry into the domestic cups?…somewhere in the back of my mind I sort of remember something along those lines.

      1. I’m pretty sure the Carling counts. If not, we should consider resting Song against West Ham as the prospect of being suspended for Spurs would make him ultra-cautious and less effective anyway.

  7. Hi, I thought I’d commend you on your Arsenal blog with a US slant; I’m lucky enough to be able to see matches at Ashburton Grove quite regularly and am always appreciative of any Gooner related media that reflects our supports diversity.
    I recall seeing about 20 guys filing down the Gillespie Road with “Arsenal Supporters Club of America” T-shirts on (at the last game of last season, Stoke) so I guess that would be you one day ?
    Victoria Concordia Crescit.

    1. Thanks! I’ve been to Emirates three times and Highbury once. I try to go once a year. This year I had picked out the North London derby followed by the AZ Alkmaar match on the 4th but sadly, events conspired to prevent me from traveling at this time.

      I will be there, though, probably some time in the spring. Maybe Sunderland again on the 20th of February!

  8. As an update to my earlier comments, here is an extract from the updated laws (updated Feb/Mar 2009):

    Careless, reckless, using excessive force
    “Careless” means that the player has shown a lack of attention or consideration when making a challenge or that he acted without precaution.
    • No further disciplinary sanction is needed if a foul is judged to be careless
    “Reckless” means that the player has acted with complete disregard to the danger to, or consequences for, his opponent
    • A player who plays in a reckless manner must be cautioned.
    “Using excessive force” means that the player has far exceeded the necessary use of force and is in danger of injuring his opponent.
    • A player who uses excessive force must be sent off.
    Charging an opponent
    The act of charging is a challenge for space using physical contact within playing distance of the ball without using arms or elbows.
    It is an offence to charge an opponent:
    • in a careless manner
    • in a reckless manner
    • using excessive force

  9. North London Derby will be a huge game. It will indeed be important for us to have Song, although they will be without Defoe, the goof.
    With the way West Ham is playing at the moment, it shouldn’t matter who we play. Although my guess is that he will play a midfield of Fab Diaby and Eboue if, and that’s a big if, he plays cautiously with Song which is not Arsene’s style. Ramsey and Coquelin will be rested for the Carling Cup tie with Liverpool 3 days later.
    Keep up the good work Tim.

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