Some people may doubt the fans of a team being able to influence a player’s choice on where they want to play. Well, Sounders fans pulled a little Hal Sutton action. You don’t know what that is? Well, Sutton has a very famous quote from his final hole of the 2000 Players Championship. On Saturday, June 8th, Seattle Sounders fans were the right club. They weren’t the putter that closed out the win, but they were the wedge that was knocked it stiff, 10 feet from the hole.
On that day the Sounders were playing their rival the Vancouver Whitecaps at Century Link Field. A crowd of 53,679 was in the stands that day and even more were in the bars around the stadium. During the game, as many people have heard, Clint Dempsey was walking around near the stadium. He saw the passion and atmosphere that only that only the fans of Seattle can create. Deuce saw something that he couldn’t in any other city in America. The bars were standing room only for a soccer game. A game in a football stadium that was almost filled to the brim, as well. He got to see what it was like from a fans perspective. He got to witness it from a players perspective, three days later, when United States Men’s National Team beat Panama on the same field. The attendance of that game was 40,847, which is seventh all time for a home FIFA World Cup Qualifier.
What player wouldn’t want to play in a stadium with that many fans? The Sounders are number one in MLS attendance with 40,520 per match. The second best team is the Los Angeles Galaxy at 21,764. That is a difference of 18,756, which is greater than 10 of the other 18 teams average attendance per game. You could double 15 of those 18 teams attendance and not reach what Seattle brings every game. Sure, dominating the U.S. in attendance doesn’t seem that hard, because soccer isn’t close to the top sport in this country. Well, Seattle would have ranked seventh and eighth the last two seasons in the English Premier league. More fans go to a Sounders match than go to Yankees games, in fact only three Major League Baseball teams out draw Seattle (Dodgers, Cardinals and Giants). NBA and NHL arenas would burst at the seams trying to hold Sounders’ fans.
On that day when Clint Dempsey was in town, Sounders fans you were the right club. You influenced one of the best soccer players in America to come to your city. Sure, Adrian Hanauer was the putter that dropped the putt to seal the victory, but it was you the fans that made that putt extremely easy. No one should ever doubt the power Seattle fans have with bringing players here.
Clint Dempsey. Deeeeeuuuuccce. How I heart you so.
How I’ve always loved you so as a player. As a preface to all this, you are the reason I began following the EPL. Sure there’s been McBride and Joe Max Moore before you, and of course our keepers (TIMMAY!!!), but you were the first my-generation field player I could watch regularly play at 7 AM on Saturday mornings as US coverage expanded. You always fascinated me with your perma-scowl yet irrefutable joy when you play. As Bruce Arena so famously said, you “just try sh*t.”
I even am a huge fan of your rap song. Seriously.
You are my ultimate sports man-crush. You should have seen the stupid grin on my face at the World Cup Qualifier here in Seattle when you were introduced and I witnessed you playing live. A very real argument can be made that you are on the same level as Landon Donovan as the best American field player.
And now you’re flying from Heathrow to the West Coast. Rumors are flying about Seattle wanting to bring you here and for the last few hours I’ve been guilty of joining in on soccer’s “silly season,” letting far-flung rumors allow me think, verbatim: No way is this real. Ohmygod this might be real. NO WAY CAN THIS BE HAPPENING. IT MIGHT BE HAPPENING.
Maybe this is the Chicago-sports fan in me that forces a level-head no matter how well things may be going…
Now that football is basically dead to me for the foreseeable future, I wanted to get to a post that has been a month in the making. Ok, maybe “dead to me” is a little dramatic, but that game this past weekend took what was once a fierce hangover to complete joy, back to a somewhat tempered hangover. I would have preferred to not go back to the hangover but losing like that was soul crushing. It moved from alchohol induced to just “icing the kicker” induced, and no – I am not talking about Smirnoff Ice. That would have been preferred.
Plus, I feel like we have been tearing up the football beat when there are other good things just starting to get fired up, and that is collegiate basketball.
To throw another Tom Wilhelmsen curve at you, this isn’t a collegiate post about the Huskies fast start to Pac-12 play. I am going to save that one for another time. I can’t decide if they are quasi-real.
I wanted to touch on a tweet that NoFairWeatherFans.com fan (I looked at that a few times, I think that looks right), Brian Creighton, passed along to me that hits right at the core tenet of the name of this site.
Now, I thought the fair weather fan really was a PNW thing – the teams here generally aren’t that good, and when they are good, everyone comes out of the woodwork. Every Seattleite has a Huskies hoodie from the 1991 Rose Bowl victory, a Refuse to Lose sign, one of those god-awful rust colored Sonics #20 jerseys, and now the Russell Wilson jerseys. I accept Seattle for what it is.
But, this phenomenon has taken roots in the Midwest as well, in a phenomenon I thought, seriously, wasn’t real. I had to double take at this photo a few times.
Hoosiers “fans” – for shame. The description of this product just floors me. This is a must-have? I can think of at least one player that wouldn’t agree with that statement.
I think my favorite part of this piece of opinion editorial is that I have used Antwaan Randle El twice in the matter of a few months. Name another blog that has done that! (Probably for good reason, but I think I am stumbling upon SEO gold here.)
I get IU football hasn’t been that good over the years. Now, their futbol team is actually really good, but I don’t think anyone goes to college soccer games unless you live in Akron. In fact, the American Football version of the Hoosiers has been downright terrible. According to Wikipedia (entire piece of work debunked using this as a source) the all time record for IU in football is 454–624–45 (.424). Ouch. This also included one year of Sam Wyche in 1983 (who coach the Bengals to some degree of success with Boomer Esiason) and a BUNCH of Lee Corso. That last sentence really was the most painful to type. He coached there from 1973 to 1982. Take that to your local trivia game and clean house.
These numbers aren’t inspiring. I can see why students wouldn’t be so excited for IU football. But can you really claim a private Catholic school in Indiana as your football team when you don’t go there? It isn’t even another state school or satellite campus. At least then I could write about “Campus Confusion” (ask Ben) but that can’t be claimed here. Do you think ND students claim IU as their basketball team? I don’t know if that is the case. If anything, I would adopt IU’s sweet basketball warmup pants, but that’s about it.
Candy-striper pants aside, I have always dreamed about the player who rocks one jersey during a game and then flashes the other teams jersey when they do something like score on their own basket or take a safety on purpose. That would be so incredibly awesome, I don’t think the 685 previous words could describe how great that would be. There would be a real product opportunity (reversible jersey/jacket/hat/undershirt) as this player would be emblazoned in the halls of my personal sports glory forever. But just a straight up reversible jacket catering to people that want their cake and eat it too? Weak.
This whole quarterback thing with the Seahawks keeps making me mad and I need to vent. I called it a “thing” because, quite frankly, I don’t know what Pete Carroll is thinking or what is going on. I would vent about the quarterback tinkering that Carroll is doing, but I am way to confused to do so. That’s why I am going to rant about other sports happenings that really make me mad. This steam needs to go somewhere.
Fans booing referees for false starts:
If Breno Giacomini jumps the snap and ends up two yards down field, the fans don’t start booing at that moment. Fans always wait until Mike Carey or Ed Hockuli inform them what they already knew, “False start number 68, that is a five yard penalty, reply second down.” This is where fans decide to lose it and boo. Why are you booing? We all know the penalty was on us. Save your boos for something that is a close call, like a pass interference. Have some credibility as a fan and you might be able to influence a call sometime.
First pitch strikes:
I will start by saying that I understand players are trying to get the pitch count up and its better to start ahead in the count, so you don’t swing at the first pitch. Still nothing makes me more mad in the game of baseball than I pitch “right down the dick” and the hitter doesn’t swing at it. You might be trying to get the pitch count up, but a better way to get to the bullpen is to score a bunch of runs. What better way to do that than to swat a BP fastball that’s right down the middle for a yacker. I don’t know what it is, but this makes me go crazy. It might just be the team I watch, the Mariners, who have produced the worst offense in the league the last few years. Watching them fall behind in counts and swinging at strike three down in the dirt is brutal. Just rip that first pitch, it was perfect.
Announcers saying a game is over when a team is winning late:
We have all seen comebacks. They are one of the best and one of the worst things in sports. You love them if you are a Bills fan, you hate them if you’re a Oilers fan. We have all been on both sides of the comeback. When my team is up by 4 runs in the ninth, 10 points in the fourth or 2 goals in with five mins left, I hate when the announcers says “this one is all over, baby” (Madden 64 touchdown celebration). Every time I hear that I want the other team to come back and make him look bad, unless my team is winning. Give me that win! No one wants the announcers to say their team is done. It’s already hard enough knowing your chances are slim. Next time I hear this, I am saving the recording and putting it on the computer and emailing the person who opened their mouth too early and jinxed a bunch of fan’s favorite team. The email will go something like this:
Please watch this video I have attached. You’re an idiot!
PS - Check out our website, nofairweatherfans.com
Halftime concerts at regular season football games.
This is always a great concept, but never delivers. NFL halftime is only 12 minutes. The stage needs to be setup and taken down. This takes about 2-3 minutes on each end. By the time the performer gets up they have time for one song. What kind of concert has only one song? By the time I get the beer guy and grab my Coors Original, the concert is over. The simple fix to this is to have wiener dog races every game. Check out number six on the outside, that dog has wheels. The Coors guy can wait for me, wiener dog races are too intense to look away.
What are your sports rants? Let us know.
The other night I was at a CONCACAF Champions League game that featured Seattle Sounders FC versus San Francisco of Panama and saw some of the worst flopping I have ever seen in my life. This was leaps and bounds above anything Vlade Divac ever did. Some futbol enthusiast (aka everyone outside of America) might think there is an art to the flop, but most soccer enthusiast (aka everyone inside of America) thinks it is ridiculous.
I have rarely seen players any other sport go down like they have been shot. A simple bump will get a man to roll around for two minutes holding his ankle. I would see this at the game and I would try to look for a replay to see if he had in fact got his Steve Zakuani on. Nope! Just a light hip check, which some how resulted in a shattered tibia.
Next up, the stretcher.
A group of medical staff take a light jog over to the injured player. They get him on the stretcher and carry him off the field. The player is looked at and offered a simple solution to his devastating injury.
A quick squirt of this mist, out of an aerosol can, miraculously makes the injury go away. What I assumed, by the reaction of the “injured” player, was shattered tibia or torn ACL is completely healed.
The player takes a quick, in place high knees and is ready to enter the game. He let’s the assistant referee know he is good to go and enters back into the game. He is sprinting everywhere and has no indication that he was ever hurt.
This delaying of action on the field is a disgrace to sports. I don’t see what this accomplishes, minus the fact the player has a respect for the game he is playing.
So, to all you soccer players in the world, including myself from time to time, stop flopping. It is embarrassing for you and annoying for the people watching.