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Sidelines: My soccer hangover and Kobayashi's antics
My World Cup buzz has officially worn off.
It kind of feels like I spent the last month in Vegas at a continuous bachelor party: It was a blast while it lasted, I can’t really recall much of what actually happened, and now I’m vowing to never take another sip of alcohol.
But, in this case, you can substitute the Bud Lights and Crown and Cokes with the watching of soccer and hearing the constant hum of the vuvuzela. I’m addicted and need an intervention. I can’t stay away, despite swearing off its evil tendencies.
So after my short-lived sobriety from the sport following Spain’s World Cup victory, I have another complaint with my new favorite pastime. And it involves our hometown Seattle Sounders FC.
Despite being the team with the best attendance in Major League Soccer, as well as coming off a playoff season in 2009, the Sounders will not have any representation at the 2010 MLS All-Star Game.
And you can thank Manchester United for that little fact. The most powerful soccer club in the world wielded its huge sword and forced the MLS to play its all-star game on Wednesday, July 28. The English team will be the MLS all-stars’ opponent.
That just happens to be the same day the Sounders play a preliminary-round game against Isidro Metapan from El Salvador in the prestigious CONCACAF Champions League.
The MLS has made winning the Champions League a priority. An American team hasn’t won the title since the Los Angeles Galaxy in 2000. The Champions League is a 24-team tournament that features the best clubs from North America, Central America and the Caribbean.
“One of the main factors here was that Manchester United’s tour is something that didn’t have a lot of flexibility in terms of timing,” MLS Director of Communications Will Kuhns told the seattlepi.com. “(July 28) was clearly going to be the All-Star Game as soon as it was confirmed that Manchester United was going to be the opponent. Certainly the conflict with the Champions League is not ideal, but it is a crowded summer calendar and not a lot of other places to put either event without it conflicting again with something else.”
So, in short, the Sounders will not be represented at the MLS’s biggest league-wide event of the season.
What a travesty.
In other weird news:
• I know that I’m way, way late on this, but I had to write a little something about Takeru Kobayashi’s antics at the 2010 Nathan’s Famous July Fourth Hot Dog Eating Contest.
In a devastating blow to the world’s biggest competitive eating event, the legendary Japanese glutton did not participate on Coney Island because of a contract dispute.
I repeat, a contract dispute with Major League Eating. Just to make sure, I didn’t just type Major League Baseball, I typed Major League Eating.
According to Kobayashi, the organization is “trying to take away my freedom.”
But things got weirder following the actual competition, which was won by American Joey Chestnut. That’s when Kobayashi was arrested after jumping on stage as fans chanted, “Let him eat.” He was charged with obstruction of governmental administration. He’s also charged with resisting arrest, trespassing and disorderly conduct.
“It was extremely unfortunate and a little bizarre,” said George Shea, chairman of Major League Eating. “It makes you think about his thought process. It was not appropriate.”
Actually, what wasn’t appropriate was Kobayashi holding out of the hot dog eating contest. It would be like Kobe Bryant saying he wasn’t going to play in game seven of the NBA Finals or Drew Brees refusing to take the field in the Super Bowl unless he gets a raise.
Actually, I take that back. It wouldn’t be anything like that. Kobe Bryant and Drew Brees are way more important than Kobayashi.
A better comparison would be the guy that sang “Pants on the Ground” during an “American Idol” episode, refusing to perform unless he gets Perrier water, brown M&M’s and a display of tulips and roses in his dressing room.
Kobayashi, along with the “Pants on the Ground” dude, are the definitions of one-hit wonders.
Good riddance, fellas.