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:
I should be able to sell them for around $15 plus $5-10 shipping. If you’re interested, drop me a note — firstname.lastname@example.org
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.