Saturday, September 8, 2007

Out Foxed

A the Galaxy practice, a group of reporters was discussing Galaxy general manager Alexi Lalas dealing with upset Galaxy fans on Fox Football Fone-In. Apparently, Lalas fielded questions from some pretty irate folk. Curious, I brought up the experience when talking to him.

"Did you see the show?" he asked before I could say anything else.

"Actually, I didn't," I had to admit.

"What? Why?" Lalas demanded.

"I don't get Fox Soccer Channel," I told him. "That's an expensive cable package."

"How can you cover soccer without that channel?" Lalas wanted to know.

I didn't want to get into the topic of a reporter's budget, so I changed the subject, and eventually Lalas answered my questions about the show. Here's a sample.

"It’s a show where fans are given the ability to call in and state concerns. Obviously, it was an opportunity for us to give them the chance to talk to somebody who is in charge of the team they love."

"I’m not justifying, I’m answering questions. All I can tell our fans about the direction that we’re heading is that we’re doing everything in our power to fix the problems that exist and to try to, in some ways, give people a little perspective about what this organization has gone through and how that has affected us."

"Having said that, it’s not our fans’ responsibility to understand everything that goes on behind the scenes. Ultimately, they want a team that wins and it’s our responsibility to give them that."

"We are nothing if not self-critical. Looking at what was done and the way we went about doing things and trying to tweak things here and there to get things going in a positive direction."

"It was our job to do what we felt we needed to do to get a club on the field that was competitive, but it takes time to build the proper mix of players that can handle themselves in this type of environment. That’s what I repeatedly tried to emphasize on the show that we’re talking about – this new world that we find ourselves in is unlike anything any team has ever experienced. Trying to identify the individuals who will survive and thrive in that environment takes some time, because we won’t know until we throw them in there. Some of the decisions that we’ve made we believe are going to pay off in the long-term."

7 comments:

FC Uptown said...

I agree with Lalas on very little, but my gosh he is totally right - you have to get Fox Soccer Channel! Very surprised you don't have it. Really, it isn't a luxury, there is a lot of news on there (and why don't you expense the $19 every month?). Lalas had a lot of cujones to go on Fox Friday Fone-In, I will give him that. Fans were rough on him (w/reason). You should know that show specifically if only to hear what the Euro-view is of MLS. Nick Webster is quality.

A.C. said...

I've met both Steven Cohen and Nick Webster quite a few times, and they aren't shy with opinions, so I think I can track their views firsthand.

But as far as expensing the cost, well, who exactly is covering my expenses if not me? Freelancers don't get expense accounts. I could write the cost off on my taxes, but in the meanwhile, the cost is mine.

Most of the time big games happen, I'm already at the Home Depot Center, watching the match in the press box, which has FSC.

diane said...

All I could think of when Lalas was going on about players who thrive in this kind of environment -- loving the attention, the personal attacks, the criticism ("bring it on"), getting so fired up by the whole package that they play a scorcher every time they hit the pitch -- was, for $17,000 a year?!! (or less) Possible, but a lot easier on a decent wage.

Money doesn't rule how much guys love to play, or whether or not being trashed inspires them to greater heights. But struggling to live on what you earn is exhausting and certainly a distraction. Hard to maintain the laser focused high octane energy when paying the rent and possibly supporting a family is on your mind and/or you may be trying to hold on to a second job. Much easier if at least that part of your outside life is sorted out (easier still if you can come back from road trips to a housecleaner and massuese, but the basics would do ;-) .

The players Lalas describes wanting to make up his whole squad -- "big game" players -- are scarce for lots of reasons, not least of which is they get signed by big clubs when they're kids, but the fact that he can't pay a whole squad a reasonable wage is a big one. I'm just trying to be a fan and it's been a a big sticking point for me since I made the commitment to support my local league (MLS) once it started coming under so much fire this year. Drives me batty, and I'm not sure boycotting the league would help since I might not be having quite THAT much of an impact on attendance and viewership figures.
Does anyone know of an organized hue and cry going on?

Michael said...

Andrea,

I know you don't get FSC but tonight at halftime in their broadcast of the match they interviewed Lalas and put him on the spot about his job security.

It was nice to see them take the opportunity to address the white elephant in the room.

His answer was rather unconvincing.

FC Uptown said...

AC, email me and I will write you a check every month for FSC. I would love to be able to say "I pay the cable soccer bill for America's premiere soccer journalist and blogger." LOL!

JT (Chicago) said...

AC, if you don't have FSC, you can't watch Dream Team! I'm shocked! Let's pass the hat guys.

A.C. said...

Wow, I appreciate the generosity. I've decided, since so many believe it's pretty vital, to cough up the extra and get Fox Soccer Channel.

Thanks readers! I'll keep your offers in mind in case we ever decide to start an "Andrea's Soccer Trip" fund.