The unstoppable juggernaut that is Premier League Soccer has begun again this week in England, and whilst my overriding emotion is that it’s like seeing the child you loved grow up to be sociopathic megalomaniac, here are a few things that baseball could learn from "the beautiful game".
Sponsorship– Baseball just doesn’t go far enough in it’s attempts to sell it’s soul.Sure Pepsi is "the official drink of MLB" but the Premier League is actually the Barclays Premier League, thus it can promote an international bank every time it’s name gets mentioned. I suggest that the NL and AL be changed to the Coca Cola National League and the Pepsi Cola American League. Coke versus Pepsi in the All Star Game-that really would be a grudge match.
Dodgy Owners– I’m not even talking about the raft of Americans that have begun to buy English soccer clubs, nor even Roman Abramovich the secretive owner of Chelsea. Pride of place has to go to Thaksin Shinawatra, the new owner of Manchester City who has been strongly criticized by Amnesty International for his human rights abuses when president of Thailand. "He never gave the order to have anybody shot" said his lawyer, and how many of us can say that with a clear conscience?
Meat Pies– there is no shortage of food available at Major League games, but America has never fully embraced the concept of the meat pie, and the chicken balti is the brightest star in the firmament.It’s essentially a curry in a pie crust (what’s not to like?).To enjoy it to it’s fullest extent it should be microwaved until it reaches a temperature that would sear the skin from a crocodile.
Complete Media Domination– It’s like the NFL but multiplied by 100. Once the soccer season starts it obliterates other sports to the extent that they may as well not exist. Every newspaper, TV and radio channel and internet site is only too keen to jump onto the bandwagon. Incidentally, the sports coverage in US newspapers is particularly poor in my opinion, amounting to little more than a factual report of the game and the occasional bland opinion piece. There is far more intelligent debate and variety on MLBlogs than in the national media (this site excluded of course).
Ridiculous Ticket Prices– It would be cheaper for me to watch a top flight game in Spain every week than to watch one in England (and that includes the cost of airfare). Some clubs are now starting to reduce prices due to fans refusing to pay increased costs, but a season ticket still requires the kind of payments usually associated with the average house purchase.
WAGs– Where would the world be without the WAG ? Who else is going to wear wholly inappropriate clothing to a sporting event, or appear in badly conceived TV reality shows, or pose for photo shoots of dubious morality? The WAGs beam a ray of sunshine into this islands grey climate. I can’t help but feel that our very own Alyssa Milano has all the qualities to make an excellent WAG. If only I were her agent, or even her adviser on humanitarian matters!
Despite it all my team got off to a decent start yesterday, so with the Diamondbacks doing far too well for comfort, all is well in my sporting universe. I therefore expect disaster to be lurking just around the corner.