First things first: the League, the AEG corporation, soccer and, most importantly, his wife and son are worse off for Doug Hamilton's passing late Wednesday night. Not only is it a shock because it's not something I would have seen coming for a man who ostensibly was in great shape, but it's a huge loss for the league. He was someone who really understood how the system worked and how to grow the sport in America. He will be missed.
On to less important issues:
Yoda had it right: fear leads to anger, anger leads to hate, hate leads to suffering. Suffering leads to watching golf on television. Or maybe it's the other way around.
Still, the people who are seething over
the MetroStars name change
and decrying it as something shameful for this act of including a product in the name of a professional sporting unit (see BigSoccer, The) are entirely missing the boat.
It's never been about the name.
So, get over it. And welcome to the 21st freakin' century. It's the best thing to happen to MLS, well, probably ever, and sometimes when you have the brass cojones to make big decisions (see Garberhino, Donald) you're gonna have the lesser balled taking potshots at you.
No one loves a sports franchise, be it collegiate or professional, because of the name of the team. Never have, never will. I love the University of Georgia because I spent five years in the greatest college town on Earth (four studying, one internship) and I gave blood, sweat and tears to that place. I grew up with it and became an adult within its confines. It's in my blood. Doesn't matter if it's a Georgia or a Nebraska or a Akron State ... the passion that a sports fan develops comes from being raised to appreciate a particular institution, a college or an athlete.
It's about discussing boxscores with your mom or dad, sleeping outside in the cold for playoff tickets or planning your weekend around the game. It's learning to love players, to love colors or to love the stadium atmosphere.
And you're saying, "Well, Perro, you're shooting holes in your own argument. If the Metros were still around, there'd still be that tradition, that love that we've built over the last ten years."
To you I say, "Yeah, you're probably right. But the players haven't changed. The stadium's still the same. You're now going to get what's probably the best stadium in MLS and you might actually see your team being marketed."
The Metros weren't going anywhere. Not sentenced to a quick rip, like taking off a band-aid like the fans of San Jose, but of being left to whither on the vine, ignored until it was too late.
Frankly, you should be happy that someone said, "I see potential there. I see opportunity. I see a club that I want to save."
You were going to lose your club. At least it's not a permanent loss. Now you have a chance to build up that love again and this time without worrying if it will be here for the long haul. New York Red Bull, and by extension MLS, is here to stay. And if they want to call the team Red Bull, it's just something you get to learn to love.
Here's a Vodka Red Bull to toast Mr. Hamilton. May he rest in peace.