Monday, July 30, 2007

Stay home, David

I'll admit, I'm glad that David Beckham has joined MLS, specifically a team that I cover locally. It's great exposure for the game in the U.S., and he brings significant skill to the field as well.

But for a while now, I've become sick of the circus that has sprung up around David, and the last thing that should happen is for that to be perpetuated.

That's what happens, however, when Beckham is treated far differently than other players. For example, I was rather glad that Don Garber stuck to his guns about making MLS teams fly commercial this year. Let the change happen when more teams can prepare and plan for it at the start of the season, perhaps, after the committees vote on it.

Though I sympathize with those who bought tickets in Dallas hoping to see David, I was a little incredulous to read some articles calling for Beckham to fly out to Dallas anyway, even if he can't play because his injury has improved so slowly.

For what? So people could look at him on the bench? The circus indeed. David's not a freak show. If he can't play, he shouldn't be there.

The idea that the Galaxy perpetuated some grand scheme to sell tickets is a cynical one, if understandable to a point. But injuries are tricky things sometimes.

"I’ll just sit it out and let it recuperate and hopefully be ready for this weekend’s game. I think I’ve learned a thing or two about playing with injuries. This isn’t anything that’s going to set me back. Frank’s doing well to monitor it. The trainers are doing a good job. I didn’t do too much damage tonight. The next couple of days, if I take off, hopefully I can come back and get ready for Saturday."

These famous last words were spoken by Kyle Martino after the Pachuca game, where he aggravated a groin injury. Kyle really thought there was a good chance he'd be fine for the Chivas match, and now, like Beckham, he's not even going to Dallas (any Martino fans demanding that he fly over anyway? Didn't think so.)

The point is, Kyle really thought he'd be ok, but the injury didn't cooperate. It's just not getting better as quickly as hoped. Same with Beckham. Sometimes it's that simple - you wake up and the swelling is gone. No one is going to give up hoping for that until it doesn't happen and tough decisions have to be made. That's why the Galaxy waited until the last moment to decide.

"Sorry," said Frank Yallop, about David's unavailability. "The guys here want to see him as well. It is what it is. He could have done his ankle in this morning and been unable to go to Dallas. That's reality. Unfortunately, that's sports. you can't guarantee a guy is going to play - because of injuries. I feel very sorry for the people in Dallas, but there's not much we can do about it. He wants to go, but he can't go."

The idea that the Galaxy are holding David back to somehow deny any other clubs is ludicrous. No team (except RSL) needs wins and points more than the Galaxy right now. Dallas has one of the most exciting MLS teams, are still alive in every league competition this year, an MVP candidate in Juan Toja, and some of their fans are complaining about missing out on watching an injured Galaxy player limp around?

David signed a five-year contract. This is not the Champion's World exhibition games in town for a quick tour. Whether or not teams marketed the games as David Beckham Comes to Dallas is immaterial. Every ad I saw carried the caveat that his appearance could not be guaranteed. His ankle injury has been in the news for weeks, so common sense dictates that there was the very real possibility that he would not appear.

Any other MLS player would be allowed to stay home and recuperate his ankle until it was well enough to play on. If MLS wants to be taken seriously as a legitimate organization, it shouldn't treat David Beckham any differently. Let David stay home, rest up, and lets see him when he can actually do what MLS is paying him to to - play.


A.C. said...

Apparently I'm not the only one somewhat tired of the Beckham circus - this reader is even more sick of it:

I am a lifelong US soccer player, referee and fan. I am sick and tired of the Beckham nonsense. MLS should be ashamed of the unnatural and continuous hype, exaggerating the impact of Beckham.
He is an extraordinary player, and by all accounts a wonderful guy. But as even Pele has said, he is just one midfielder and not a savior of anything except the Hollywood scandal rags. The way MLS has handled this whole thing one would expect they have a contract with MTV,not ESPN.

It is disrespectful to the other players and fans to make such a media circus of Beckham, one that can only ultimately fail to produce the results of better ratings and more fans in the stadiums.

Soccer is doing fine in the US, and MUST grow organically, not by Hollywood hype iof one man. Freddy Adu was hyped and we DC Unitd fans cringed to see how he was damaged, maybe permanently by the exaggerated media circus.magine any 15 year old kid running around on TV stealing the soft drink from out of Pele's hand, as if he had actually accomplished anything in his career! No wonder he got a swerlled head and was unable to develop as a player - in contrast to how othe ryouth stars such as Bobby Convey developed as a 16 year old starter and "savior". He too struggled for several years, showing potential but causing DC fans to cringe in agony at his youthful mistakes on the playing field for several learning years, before he was ready to go to Europe and apprentice for a full season before getting playing time (has he rehabbed yet?).

Keep bringing world class teams to USA like Chelsea and Barca, and press the leage and owners to raise the salary cap, and build both a better quality product and more team depth. Just watch how a top team like DC or LA or NY (all major media market marque clubs) collapses when they have more than 2 or 3 key injuries.

jamesey said...

As a Galaxy fan, my only condolence from this crappy season is that Beckham's injury and absence from some matches will hurt other MLS teams. At least we make their fans sad in that way.

Is that wrong of me?

A.C. said...

You are evil incarnate, said the rightous one.

Matt L said...

I think leaving him at home is fine, but I wish ticket prices for the Dallas game would have been "regular" price and not twice what is normally charged. People get upset when they think they were sold a bill of goods. If MLS/FC Dallas want to market games as "the Beckham game" they need to be ready for the repercussions if and when he does not play.


A.C. said...

If Beckham had been healthy, he would be there. My point is that obviously the tickets were priced according to his appeal, but with no guarantee. That's simple buyer beware - because athletes get injured. People who assumed that risk shouldn't squack about it when it doesn't work out.

It's like rain - on your wedding day.

mosler said...

it's like 10,000 spoons when all you need is a knife.