Welcome! Welcome, angry and disaffected Twins fans! By now you’ve surely heard the news that baseball’s owners have canceled Opening Day, the first time in more than a quarter-century that regular-season baseball games have been canceled due to a labor dispute.
It’s awful news for everyone except the owners, who seem very happy to play as little baseball as possible, and who really don’t care even a little bit about what you fans want.
Perhaps you’re now taking matters into your own hands, and you’re looking for another summer sports passion. You are right to be angry!
Welcome to the ranks of soccer fans!
Before you get your scarf and your craft beer, however, I’m sure you’ve got some concerns. After all, Major League SOCCER is just Major League BASEBALL with more kicking, right? Allow me to address some very common worries that you might have.
Is pace of play a problem in this league too?
Oh, baseball fans, have I got a gift for you. No more worries about a nine-inning game taking four and a half hours to play. Soccer games end after two hours. Soccer respects your time. You’re a busy, happening, on-the-go type of person. Two hours with soccer and then you’re the heck done and on to the next thing. Even if the game’s tied! That’s the kind of respect soccer has for you: soccer would rather send you home on time, even more than wanting someone to actually win the game.
I just can’t handle these battles between millionaires and billionaires.
Well, with Major League Soccer, you’re in luck. In MLS, the owners are still billionaires, but the players are thousandaires. A good third of them don’t even make six figures. It’s a huge imbalance! If you’re one of those weird people that thinks that all players are overpaid, you’re going to absolutely love MLS.
And if you think these baseball disputes are focused too much on money, then I’ve got some good news for you. In MLS, money is an entirely meaningless construct. There’s a salary cap that’s not even a salary cap. The only thing anyone can agree on, with regards to published salary numbers, is that they’re almost all wrong. Teams trade each other fake money for players, and if that’s not wild enough, there are TWO DIFFERENT KINDS of fake money.
Just like baseball, there are arcane roster rules, but absolutely everyone agrees that they are impossible to understand, and so therefore you don’t need to understand them either. For heaven’s sake, just last year a team got caught paying players under the table, and their excuse boiled down to “I’m sorry, I guess we weren’t allowed to cheat as much as I thought we were.”
If you don’t want to care about money, MLS is the league for you, because even if you WANT to care about money, you can’t, because none of this stuff is public or makes any sense.
But I don’t know anything about soccer.
Doesn’t matter! I can’t stress enough how little this matters. For one thing, sports don’t come a lot simpler than “kick ball in net.” More nuances may come to you in time, but for now, just treat this like you’d treat Rocco Baldelli and pitching changes. If the relief pitcher gives up a hit, then obviously he should have left the starting pitcher in – unless he leaves the starter in and, then it’s so clear to everyone that he should have put in a reliever! If something bad happens, the manager should have done something else. QED.
It’s the same with soccer. Everybody should always shoot more, unless their shots don’t go in, in which case they should have passed. If your team doesn’t score enough goals, then the manager should play a more open and offensive system, unless your team gives up too many goals, in which case your team’s manager can’t organize a defense. Your team focuses on playing too many young players and needs more level-headed veterans, unless they refuse to play young players and therefore they are old and boring and need a youth movement. It’s easy! You’ll get the hang of it immediately!
But soccer’s so BORING.
Listen, I love baseball too, but I feel like we can be honest with ourselves here and say that baseball is maybe not near the top of the excitement rankings either. If you can watch the Twins strike out fifteen times a night and still maintain your interest, you can watch people running up and down a field without dozing off.
Join us! Join us instead. You are very welcome. And no matter what your issues with soccer might be, remember: at least soccer’s playing games right now.