David Beckham's latest, if you haven't heard, is a sprained knee. They say it could take him out until the final three games of the season. To be honest, I'm relieved.
I obviously don't wish bad things on Beckham or anyone for that matter, but I'm really glad this thing is over. Why? Because I'm tired of all the hype, all the misinformed people who said Beckham could turn soccer into the next big thing, all the people who kept printing that concocted $250 million number. The year 2007 in MLS lore will be remembered as the year of Beckham. But it will also be remembered as the year television ratings remained the same and the year that the popularity of soccer soared--but only for a couple days.
I'm not here to toot my own horn, to say that I called it right. That is, minus the advice I told a fellow blogger of mine, who emailed me one day earlier this month. "Hey, any good ideas of bets I should place in Vegas?" He wrote. "Yeah," I fired back quickly. "If there's a prop that Beckham won't score a goal, definitely bet on it."
Sure enough, Beckham scored a goal that night, perhaps his only one of the season, a couple hours after the bet was placed.
I'm here to say that the fact that Beckham won't "save soccer" should also be a relief to Major League Soccer, though I suppose it's quite uncomfortable to the L.A. Galaxy, who hyped him up so much they had to concoct reasons why the crowds at exhibitions were smaller.
Their one excuse for the crowds of 10,000 to 12,500 for these exhibitions was that they were capping the stadium capacity at 12,500 due to the return of school at Cal State Dominguez Hills, which is right by the stadium. As covered by my esteemed blogging friend Brooks Melchior at this has to be a cover-up so that these games can be called a "sellout." How much traffic can there be at night on a campus that has less than 15,000 students? What sports team in the history of the world wouldn't be able to find a solution to these "traffic problems" in the name of the almighty dollar?
If you're interested, here's how the rest of the Beckham years in the MLS will go. Beckham will appear in Vogue and US Weekly a million times more than he will in any sports publication. He will never average anything higher than one goal every eight games (his average the year before he came into the MLS.) And, counting endorsements and salary, he won't come remotely close to earning that $250 million.
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