Many apologies from Slurpo-san, who is indeed a big loser for not doing more to keep the blog rolling. I just got back from crappy work-related travel, and leave again today for another few days. I'm sure there is some sort of irony in having to travel on Veteran's Day, a day that is supposed to honor those who served, rather than being able to relax and enjoy the day. but alas, I'm too tired to find the irony.
Anyway--I was going to put this in the comments, but realized I have enough to say to warrant a post.
1MLS playoffs--concur, its a crappy system, but consistent with what America seems to like. MLB, NHL and NBA all play extended regular seasons, but its all about the playoffs--and the same thing (crappy team winning it all) can happen in any of those sports--witness the '06 Cards who won 83 games in the MLB regular season, squeaked into the playoffs and peaked at the right time.
I much prefer the Euro system but it will be a struggle to get that system to generate excitement here. Witness NASCAR's recent change to a 10-race "postseason", or Golf's FEDEX cup. Both are designed to foster interest late in the season when it might otherwise wane because a particularly dominant player/team has a big lead. I certainly don't like the American obsession with do-or-die, winner take all playoffs--especially since they are frequently anti-climactic--but I do understand why its a tough sell in the States. That said, MLS could at least make it a two-legged playoff all the way through until the finals. Why are the semis a "one-off" contest?
2) I'm excited to see if MLS can keep up the momentum with more quality DPs this offseason. Blanco (the neckless wonder), Juan Pablo Angel, Toja and others really improved the quality of play and brought a heretofore lacking attacking flair. As much as I hope the Beckham effect continues, that will largely depend on whether England can miraculously pull out Euro 2008 qualification--if they make it, Becks is gone for at least 2 months midseason, but if not, he'll be here the whole year and the buzz will be fantastic.
3) Derby continues to get whacked (poor Eddie Lewis even racked up an own-goal this weekend) and Bennie can't get a game? if you can't play for the worst EPL team, then something is up. We all know he has the talent, so is it an attitude thing? undisclosed injury?? clash with the coaches???
4) I was not surprised to see Yallop leave, but very surprised to see Gullit hired. I thought Klinsmann would be THE perfect candidate for that job. And yet his name was barely mentioned. I can't help but think that he just flat out doesn't want to coach, and has made it very, very well known. That or every GM/owner has pictures of him and a donkey. Either way, as surprising as Klinsmann unemployment is, the fact that his name isn't even bandied about is a far bigger surprise
5) Watched the ManU-Blackburn game yesterday--while ManU should have added 1-2 more goals against the 10-men Rovers, a win is a win is a win. And how about that Cristiano Ronaldo? Is that kid any good???? Now that he's added top-shelf finishing to his bag of tricks, he's easily one of the 5 best in the world. If Nani can add some direct play and better decision-making to his guile and tricks and we could have a second coming of CR in a few years...
6) Minor League Soccer update--not quite enough for a separate post, but worth noting: I HATE watching soccer games played on fields with football markings. It looks so ridiculous and just highlights the fact that soccer is a 3rd or 4th tier sport, at best, in the US. Its hard to follow the game b/c the marking are confusing and its just bush league. At least New England, on the field they share w/ the Patriots, makes an effort to paint over the markings. But there were no such efforts for the Houston match, played at the UH football stadium. MLS needs soccer only parks!!!
all for now, off to crappy Jax again-