Note: In 2011, I began a series at NoShortCorners.com titled the ‘MLS Grinder,’ which I published there weekly for two years. Beginning this weekend, that series is coming to TopDrawerSoccer.com. We’ll explore all the salient bits from the previous weekend. Sometimes it’s absurdist. Sometimes it’s informative. Most of the time (hopefully) it’s both.
In a lot of ways, it’s been a tempestuous, uncomfortably breakneck offseason for MLS. Speaking personally, I can hardly be sad to see it die.
The league’s draconian rules system was dragged into the burning halogen spotlight again with ubiquitous talk of special discovery players and allocations and transparency and the guts of the unknown and misunderstood machinery propelling the league. The specter of a new CBA swings like a glimmering guillotine over the 2014 season, the television situation continues to be in flux and the league’s refereeing organization has already decided to bar the doors, however temporarily.
The players have not been immune. The Deadspin Column Heard ‘Round the Twitterverse (and subsequent rebuttal from former MLSer Bobby Warshaw) only underscored the continual, swirling din that follows the almost slavish dedication to charting the nearly minute-by-minute progression of the talent level in MLS. Is it better? How much better? What about Europe, that catch-all basket for exclamatory phrases on what’s Right and Good and Holy with soccer? Are we ‘there yet?’ Will we ever get ‘there?’ Where is ‘there?’ More importantly, where are my ‘pants?’
Were I an MLS player, I doubt my thoughts would be as genial and well-metered as Warshaw’s.