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Offline trinbago

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The ‘Don’ does the right thing
By Martin Rogers, Yahoo! Sports
May 15, 8:18 pm EDT
 
      Buzz Up PrintMore From Martin RogersThe seven 'sins' of Cuauhtemoc Blanco May 8, 2008 Ranking MLS's top 20 players May 8, 2008
 Major League Soccer is not the most confrontational of professional sports organizations, but commissioner Don Garber showed this week that he is prepared to fight if his league has been slighted.

Garber came out swinging following the ill-thought criticism of MLS supporters by television pundit Michael Wilbon, co-host of ESPN’s “Pardon the Interruption.” Wilbon’s case was that the practice of throwing streamers onto the field before corner kicks, which happens with regularity at Toronto FC’s BMO Field and sporadically elsewhere, is “minor league” and “garbage” and harmful to soccer’s reputation.

Now, it would have been easy for Garber to ignore these comments and go about his business of trying to continue MLS’ recent and ongoing growth. However, the issue of fan involvement is one guaranteed to raise the ire of those at MLS HQ, as the powers-that-be realize how crucial the phenomenon is to the league’s future.

Heavily borrowed from European and South American examples, the involved and interactive fan experience that soccer provides is unique and undeniably special. It is a huge part of why the game is by far the most popular in the world and a factor that Garber and his colleagues believe will, over time, give their league a crucial edge over competing sports.

Garber did not come from a soccer background, but in this episode he showed he firmly is in tune with his fans and the unique selling point that soccer offers. In his weekly blog, he stormed back at the criticism, defending the fans’ right to express themselves.

“This is a unique phenomenon that happens all over the soccer world,” he said. “We’re playing soccer, not baseball, football or basketball. Our fans are a part of the game experience. That’s one of our points of difference and part of what will drive our future success.

“There are plenty of sports leagues in the U.S. and we are not trying to offer the same in-stadium experience. We need to embrace the passion and electricity that makes soccer the world’s most popular sport.”

There are some who will claim that the practice of throwing items – even tiny pieces of paper – simply is a prelude to some of the less savory aspects of soccer fandom around the world, namely hooliganism. But it is a ridiculous stretch to try to draw a link between the two.

All the marketing companies and demographics experts can do as much planning and research as they like. The simple fact is that if fans enjoy themselves they will return.

Toronto FC fans took no time at all to learn how to express themselves once their franchise was founded in 2007, and that example is rubbing off around the league.

They have built their own traditions and superstitions and turned their club into an integral part of the city’s sports landscape in about a year. The critics need to calm down and get used to it.
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Offline E-man

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Re: We’re playing soccer, NOT baseball, football or basketball !!
« Reply #1 on: May 16, 2008, 11:10:26 AM »
There a lot fans don't like about Garber, like the way he tried to strip cities of their historical names like "Earthquakes" and "Sounders" and get them to use "FC" and whatnot, but in this case he's right.

Offline Storeboy

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Re: We’re playing soccer, NOT baseball, football or basketball !!
« Reply #2 on: May 16, 2008, 11:17:26 AM »
I like Michael Wilbon, but he is dead wrong here. He is he typical American sports commentator who don't ave a clue of what football (soccer) is all about and his ignorance of the game, its fans, and traditions shows here.  He needs to go back to American football, baseball and basketball commentary.
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Offline Bakes

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Re: We’re playing soccer, NOT baseball, football or basketball !!
« Reply #3 on: May 16, 2008, 11:33:38 AM »
There a lot fans don't like about Garber, like the way he tried to strip cities of their historical names like "Earthquakes" and "Sounders" and get them to use "FC" and whatnot, but in this case he's right.

I like Michael Wilbon, but he is dead wrong here. He is he typical American sports commentator who don't ave a clue of what football (soccer) is all about and his ignorance of the game, its fans, and traditions shows here.  He needs to go back to American football, baseball and basketball commentary.

I'm curious...did either of you see the clip with Wilbon's criticism or are you both just responding based on what you read from Martin Rogers?

I happen to watch PTI almost daily and Wilbon's criticism was dead on.  NY was playing Toronto at BMO field and at one point Claudio Reyna went into the left corner to take a corner kick and there was literally a pile of streamers on the pitch which prevented him from being able to take the kick.  You couldn't even see the pitch and as he tried to clear the area the fans deliberately continued to throw streamers directly at him.  Their actions held up play a bit and in my opinion the referee was in error for not being more forceful in having it put to a stop.

Wilbon criticized the behavior of the fans for a) having thrown so many streamers on the field to begin with (players were running around with it tangled on their feet, around their waists etc.) and b) for deliberately throwing them at Reyna in hopes of disrupting play by preventing him from being able to take the corner kick.

He was spot on with his criticism.  It was bush league, boorish and does little to enhance the game, little to enhance it's appeal here, and adds little to "fan participation".

Offline WestCoast

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Re: We’re playing soccer, NOT baseball, football or basketball !!
« Reply #4 on: May 16, 2008, 11:36:35 AM »
dais the main reason why I dont like to watch games at BeeMoo field in TO
the streamers are just as anoying as those Smoke Bombs in Europe.
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Offline RedDevils

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Re: We’re playing soccer, NOT baseball, football or basketball !!
« Reply #5 on: May 16, 2008, 12:27:01 PM »
i said that all of last season, those streamers needs to be banned. i notice this season more fans from around the league doing as well, thats not a good look at all. as soon as fans start doing that i does change d channel.
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Offline Bakes

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Re: We’re playing soccer, NOT baseball, football or basketball !!
« Reply #6 on: May 16, 2008, 01:29:47 PM »
Here is the YouTube clip of Wilbon's comments...

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=w8pgexephJM

Offline kicker

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Re: We’re playing soccer, NOT baseball, football or basketball !!
« Reply #7 on: May 16, 2008, 01:55:22 PM »
Anything excessive is not ideal...

Ain't nothing necessarily wrong with streamers, I for one like how crowds look with mass amounts of streamers & confetti...(typical of many Agentine league games), but if it disrupts the game on the field, then it has to be controlled.

In the FA cup this year there was an incident where the balloons on the field actually contributed to a defensive error and led to a goal...passion or no passion, that shite just isn't cool....
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Offline elan

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Re: We’re playing soccer, NOT baseball, football or basketball !!
« Reply #8 on: May 16, 2008, 02:38:22 PM »
Just sit in the stand for 9 innings or 4 quarters and give a little clap now and then when something spectaular happens. Or go crazy after the game.

That however was way to much streamers.
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Offline dinho

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Re: We’re playing soccer, NOT baseball, football or basketball !!
« Reply #9 on: May 16, 2008, 02:41:40 PM »
better than a pig's head or one of them old back in times Motorola brick phones.

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Offline DeSoWa

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Re: We’re playing soccer, NOT baseball, football or basketball !!
« Reply #10 on: May 16, 2008, 02:50:14 PM »
Here is the YouTube clip of Wilbon's comments...

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=w8pgexephJM

Ok I tended to agree with you before I saw the clip..and yes  I do agree the streamers in that case was way too excessive...

but I just sence that the PTI guy was just waiting to bash "soccer" I definitely did not like the way he spoke down about the game on a whole...streamers aside...

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Offline kicker

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Re: We’re playing soccer, NOT baseball, football or basketball !!
« Reply #11 on: May 16, 2008, 03:09:32 PM »
Here is the YouTube clip of Wilbon's comments...

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=w8pgexephJM

Ok I tended to agree with you before I saw the clip..and yes  I do agree the streamers in that case was way too excessive...

but I just sence that the PTI guy was just waiting to bash "soccer" I definitely did not like the way he spoke down about the game on a whole...streamers aside...

Big Up!

I think he was bashing American Soccer as opposed to World Football.

I sometimes think Wilbon is a yapper, (I personally get annoyed by people who think that increasing the noise level of their tone augments the validity of the point they're making)...but in this case, as in many he has a point. Is it a reason why the MLS doesn't compete with the MLB, NFL, etc ?...- absolutely not, and I'm pretty sure that he doesn't really believe that excessive streamers on the field significantly works to the detriment of the league and the acceptance of soccer as a major sport in the U.S......I think he was more using the excessive streamers as a symbolism of amateurness that is analogous to the MLS as compared to the NFL for example.....
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Offline Bakes

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Re: We’re playing soccer, NOT baseball, football or basketball !!
« Reply #12 on: May 16, 2008, 03:10:45 PM »
Here is the YouTube clip of Wilbon's comments...

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=w8pgexephJM

Ok I tended to agree with you before I saw the clip..and yes  I do agree the streamers in that case was way too excessive...

but I just sence that the PTI guy was just waiting to bash "soccer" I definitely did not like the way he spoke down about the game on a whole...streamers aside...

Big Up!

His "waiting to bash 'soccer' " is more of a joke than anything.  You'd have to be familiar with Wilbon to appreciate this.

Offline Bakes

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Re: We’re playing soccer, NOT baseball, football or basketball !!
« Reply #13 on: May 16, 2008, 03:15:09 PM »
I think he was bashing American Soccer as opposed to World Football.

I sometimes think Wilbon is a yapper, (I personally get annoyed by people who think that increasing the noise level of their tone augments the validity of the point they're making)...but in this case, as in many he has a point. Is it a reason why the MLS doesn't compete with the MLB, NFL, etc ?...- absolutely not, and I'm pretty sure that he doesn't really believe that excessive streamers on the field significantly works to the detriment of the league and the acceptance of soccer as a major sport in the U.S......I think he was more using the excessive streamers as a symbolism of amateurness that is analogous to the MLS as compared to the NFL for example.....

Pretty much on point.  He's very critical of MLS...very critical of the hype and overspending on Beckham and overall kitschy feel of the American game.  For the most part though he is respectful of the sport. 

As far as the 'volume' thing...that's part of the schtick between him and Kornheiser.  LeBetard was sitting in for Kornheiser and isn't quite as over the top so the effect isn't the same.  A lot of time they make these hyperbolic statement with a grin on their faces knowing full well people tend to take them with a grain of salt.

I don't always agree with him, but he's more sensible than most.

Offline DeSoWa

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Re: We’re playing soccer, NOT baseball, football or basketball !!
« Reply #14 on: May 16, 2008, 03:23:06 PM »
Here is the YouTube clip of Wilbon's comments...

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=w8pgexephJM

Ok I tended to agree with you before I saw the clip..and yes  I do agree the streamers in that case was way too excessive...

but I just sence that the PTI guy was just waiting to bash "soccer" I definitely did not like the way he spoke down about the game on a whole...streamers aside...

Big Up!

His "waiting to bash 'soccer' " is more of a joke than anything.  You'd have to be familiar with Wilbon to appreciate this.

Rem, I am just going by the clip you posted eh...so from that I made my point...I have seem him before in passing, but never heard him talk about MLS or world football before now, so in that case I am not really familiar with him and no I don't appreciate this  ;D

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Offline Bakes

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Re: We’re playing soccer, NOT baseball, football or basketball !!
« Reply #15 on: May 16, 2008, 03:30:31 PM »
Rem, I am just going by the clip you posted eh...so from that I made my point...I have seem him before in passing, but never heard him talk about MLS or world football before now, so in that case I am not really familiar with him and no I don't appreciate this  ;D

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Lol...

I went to school in DC, he writes for the Washington Post (as does Kornheiser) so I was familiar with him long before he started on PTI.  Their banter is pretty entertaining...as a matter of fact I'm about to catch it now on ESPN again.

LeBetard sitting in again.

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Re: We’re playing soccer, NOT baseball, football or basketball !!
« Reply #16 on: May 16, 2008, 03:59:42 PM »
Rem, I am just going by the clip you posted eh...so from that I made my point...I have seem him before in passing, but never heard him talk about MLS or world football before now, so in that case I am not really familiar with him and no I don't appreciate this  ;D

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Lol...

I went to school in DC, he writes for the Washington Post (as does Kornheiser) so I was familiar with him long before he started on PTI. Their banter is pretty entertaining...as a matter of fact I'm about to catch it now on ESPN again.

LeBetard sitting in again.


LeBetard as in Dan LeBetard from the Miami Herald? Interesting.  As for Wilborn, he provides entertainment for the most part and they hardly talk about football anyway so I don't expect too much from him or his partner.  Apart from that, PTI is a decent show.
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Offline Bakes

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Re: We’re playing soccer, NOT baseball, football or basketball !!
« Reply #17 on: May 16, 2008, 04:16:28 PM »
Rem, I am just going by the clip you posted eh...so from that I made my point...I have seem him before in passing, but never heard him talk about MLS or world football before now, so in that case I am not really familiar with him and no I don't appreciate this  ;D

Big Up!


Lol...

I went to school in DC, he writes for the Washington Post (as does Kornheiser) so I was familiar with him long before he started on PTI. Their banter is pretty entertaining...as a matter of fact I'm about to catch it now on ESPN again.

LeBetard sitting in again.


LeBetard as in Dan LeBetard from the Miami Herald? Interesting.  As for Wilborn, he provides entertainment for the most part and they hardly talk about football anyway so I don't expect too much from him or his partner.  Apart from that, PTI is a decent show.

Yeah Dan LeBetard...he's a pretty good writer too, and able substitute when Kornheiser out.

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Offline Bakes

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Re: We’re playing soccer, NOT baseball, football or basketball !!
« Reply #19 on: May 17, 2008, 01:12:34 PM »
From another angle:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ji14CljFVBo&feature=related

I'm sure it's not that different at other stadiums...but some of these fans are running the risk of spoiling the hard-earned reputation that the TFC supporters are trying to cultivate.  The club really needs to get a handle on that situation...in this clip fans throw beer at the Red Bull players after Angel scores the second goal (from a different match).

Just ridiculous...this is what Garber needs to focus on, not Michael Wilbon.
« Last Edit: May 17, 2008, 02:40:33 PM by Bake n Shark »

Offline Jumbie

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Re: We’re playing soccer, NOT baseball, football or basketball !!
« Reply #20 on: May 17, 2008, 02:14:53 PM »
I've been to BMO field a few times and must say that ...ITS GREAT! A really exciting place to watch ball, with a great backdrop...especially at night when the city is lit. The fans are very passionate and funny most of the time. A great environment overall. Daily I hear from my daughters (who are not necessarily football fans) .."when are you getting tickets again?" . The vibe is nice, the fellas on the field is starting to win and sections of the fans really try hard to make BMO a place visiting teams will prefer not to come to!

Now, as far as streamers/TP on the field goes.. Yes, it can be a bit excessive and I'm sure the staff at BMO and TFC will do something. If ever you guys or gals  ;) in town, be sure to try and get tickets for a game. Dress warm though, as soon as the wind starts coming off the lake, your jangee will go in e hole.

Here are some pics from last year..



View from the stands..










Offline Storeboy

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Re: We’re playing soccer, NOT baseball, football or basketball !!
« Reply #21 on: May 17, 2008, 09:00:23 PM »
There a lot fans don't like about Garber, like the way he tried to strip cities of their historical names like "Earthquakes" and "Sounders" and get them to use "FC" and whatnot, but in this case he's right.

I like Michael Wilbon, but he is dead wrong here. He is he typical American sports commentator who don't ave a clue of what football (soccer) is all about and his ignorance of the game, its fans, and traditions shows here.  He needs to go back to American football, baseball and basketball commentary.

I'm curious...did either of you see the clip with Wilbon's criticism or are you both just responding based on what you read from Martin Rogers?

I happen to watch PTI almost daily and Wilbon's criticism was dead on.  NY was playing Toronto at BMO field and at one point Claudio Reyna went into the left corner to take a corner kick and there was literally a pile of streamers on the pitch which prevented him from being able to take the kick.  You couldn't even see the pitch and as he tried to clear the area the fans deliberately continued to throw streamers directly at him.  Their actions held up play a bit and in my opinion the referee was in error for not being more forceful in having it put to a stop.

Wilbon criticized the behavior of the fans for a) having thrown so many streamers on the field to begin with (players were running around with it tangled on their feet, around their waists etc.) and b) for deliberately throwing them at Reyna in hopes of disrupting play by preventing him from being able to take the corner kick.

He was spot on with his criticism.  It was bush league, boorish and does little to enhance the game, little to enhance it's appeal here, and adds little to "fan participation".


B'nS, I did not see the video and was reacting to the post.  However, after looking at the Youtube video posted here I have to admit that I was in error.  My apologies.  Wilbon was right on and so were you.
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Offline Bakes

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Re: We’re playing soccer, NOT baseball, football or basketball !!
« Reply #22 on: May 17, 2008, 09:05:11 PM »
B'nS, I did not see the video and was reacting to the post.  However, after looking at the Youtube video posted here I have to admit that I was in error.  My apologies.  Wilbon was right on and so were you.

Nah dred is no scenes yuh ent owe me no apologies  :beermug:  Wilbon on de other hand might be cussing yuh name doh  :D

I just vex that Garber decide to support that nonsense...and then to see Rogers co-sign on it.  I love de spirit that TFC fans show and still plan on checking out a game if ever I make it up north...but I seriously hope they arrest that nonsense and get it under check.


Jumbie thanks fuh de reports, good to know it is still ah family friendly environment...my head sorf and cyah take bottle  ;D
« Last Edit: May 17, 2008, 09:14:18 PM by Bake n Shark »

Offline PantherX

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Re: We’re playing soccer, NOT baseball, football or basketball !!
« Reply #23 on: May 19, 2008, 12:56:59 AM »
From another angle:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ji14CljFVBo&feature=related

We need some perspective here.  It looks like a lots of material but remember that those streamers are essentially tissue paper so it's more of a distration than a physical impediment.  I  personally would prefer that opposing fans throw streamers at me rather than coins or bottles.

I came across an article at Soccernet.com about TFC's supporters and noticed this tidbit
Quote
"My own expectations for what BMO Field might be like were surpassed when Claudio Reyna strolled over to the southeast corner of the field for a corner kick. The U-Sector pulled out a clever billboard mocking Reyna while seemingly every section in the corner began showering Reyna with crepe paper streamers, which serve as far more of a distraction than a real hazard. Watching the fans throw the streamers was one thing, watching police and security taking the unrolled portions of the streamers and throwing them back to the crowd made me realize just how different BMO Field is than anywhere else in the league.

"A lot of other cities and clubs in the league need to learn from this," Reyna said after Thursday's match. "Whatever they do, it's here in Canada. We love soccer in America, but for whatever reason they really get behind their team here."

When asked whether he had ever faced a shower of projectiles on a corner kick like the one he saw in Toronto, Reyna had to think about it.

"In Central America, with the U.S. teams, we'd get stuff thrown at us, but not as bad as that," Reyna said. "[Toronto fans have some] good aim. They were wrapping it around my ankles and I really had to stop. It was in the way, but it's good. That's great and they've really been a breath of fresh air in this league with the atmosphere they create."

Full article here:http://soccernet.espn.go.com/news/story?id=531102&&cc=5901
« Last Edit: May 19, 2008, 01:18:01 AM by PantherX »