The Friday Funblast — September 24th, 2021

After a brief hiatus in which the Chief ended up in Las Vegas (long story — involved a trip to the dice tables in Old Vegas that lasted until 3AM) and won money on The FC finally winning a match, we’re officially BACK for the Funbalst. So, onward!

THE GIRLS ARE BACK IN TOWN

I’m going to start with the positives about Tuesday night first: it was, and is, an incredibly cool thing whenever either of the senior US National Teams comes to play in Cincinnati. Everything in modern society seems determined to drive us apart from one another. We're divided by politics, religion— hell, even the commercials for goddamn Twix bars has “Pick a Side” as their fucking tag line. Twix! The candy bar so fucking basic and shitty that they have to put a second one in the packaging to make you feel like you aren’t getting ripped off when you buy it. As a soccer fanbase in Cincinnati, we’re divided along numerous different lines as well, be it which SG you affiliate with (or if you even affiliate with an SG at all), your take on #JaapIn or #JaapOut, your views on Jeff Berding as a human being, etc. But, when the national teams come to town, we can set all that aside for a brief minute and unite under one banner and one cause: supporting Rose Lavelle for Emperor of Planet Earth (and the known universe, once Zefram gets that Warp Drive thing figured out).

Seeing TQL stadium filled with happy people, excited about what they were watching was a capital-C Cool Thing, especially after a year of almost exclusively bummer-filled moments in the stadium. Watching goals be scored in large numbers? Similarly cool. That kind of competent, enjoyable soccer experience is something the FC has struggled to provide for the past three years. Given how bad it’s been, you’d be foolish to be anything other than stoked when you can go have a nearly-guaranteed good time at the stadium. And, legitimately, that’s what you knew you were going to get the second you bought a ticket to watch the USWNT play (…checks notes) noted women’s soccer powerhouse Paraguay.

Having said all that, what’s the point of these fucking games? We posted the Bishop Sycamore meme to the mothership account, but it felt like that while watching the match — minus the whole “Some kid is going to die because they’re being hit at high-velocity by people who do nothing but live in a weight room.” This Paraguay team was thoroughly overmatched and at no point were they a competitive opponent for the USWNT. From a competition point of view, it was a joke on the level of Alabama scheduling a buy-game from North Central Eastern Arkansas State Cooking School (The Fighting Sous Chefs) where the spread is triple digits and the starters are out of the game after the first quarter. I’ll also bet the USWNT got absolutely nothing out of it from a growth / experience POV — hell, a fucking intra-squad scrimmage of 1s v. 2s would probably produce a closer result. And, if you were looking for any kind of drama in the result as a fan, you were SOL within the first 15 minutes of the game.

So, again, what's the point?

I’d argue that what these “friendlies” have become is the modern-day equivalent of a barnstorming tour. Back in the day (and I mean, way back in the fucking day), superstar baseball players would supplement their incomes in the off-season by playing exhibition games in cities that didn’t otherwise have pro teams. There are famous stories about names like Lou Gehrig and Babe Ruth touring the west coast and staging games decades before anyone had the idea to move a team from Brooklyn to California. They’d play a game for a packed house, get on the train, and ride to the next town for the next game. In the process they made money, built new fans for the sport of baseball, and gave people a taste of elite level talent they’d otherwise never be able to see. The concept lives on today with the Harlem Globetrotters, who go from city to city beating the everliving shit out of the same fake “Washington Generals” team every night.

Honestly? That’s what the USWNT should evolve into. During these down times between World Cups, get together a collection of also-ran women from around the world and form them into an actual team that can play against the USWNT nightly to avoid embarrassing some other country on national TV. By all means, you can mix in an occasional match against a real soccer power (France, UK, etc.), but on nights when they aren’t available, put the USWNT against their jobber opponent and let everyone have fun watching the show. Hell, given how fucking dogshit Cincinnati Soccer has been over the last few years, you could even name their purpose-built-to-lose opponent the Cincinnati Royals, the Queen City Monarchs or something like that. It would allow people to instantly recognize “Oh, there’s no chance the USWNT loses to a team from THAT city” when buying the ticket. And, if you do bring over a France or UK, they can play this Enhancement Talent team too to get some extra work in.

If we’re all here just to watch our heroes and see them beat the shit out of someone, then drop the pretense and let everyone just have fun. And hey, it’d be one way to get a Cincinnati women’s soccer team!

PHILOSOPHICALLY, CAN ANYTHING EVER TRULY BE MADE “NEW” AGAIN?

The Re-New process for season tickets started — apparently triggered by everyone finally getting the long-promised Season Ticket Holder gift for 2021.

(AN ASIDE: I’m actually curious to know who the person is that *really* gives a shit about the stupid junk we get mailed every year as a “thanks.” Most people buy season tickets to — you know — get tickets to the fucking games. But this guy? This guy clicks “buy” and is already thinking about the joy coming his way when he gets something useless to add to his (presumably) incredibly crowded desk or mantle. I like to imagine this person coming home from work getting angrier with every day that passes where that little rectangular package isn’t sitting on his doorstep from FC Cincinnati. It isn’t the losses that bother him, or the incompetent roster management — hell, he’ll even tolerate the insane crowds on the concourses — but that lack of a $9 trinket from China? The last fucking straw. Time to create a burner and get on Reddit to bitch! I want to know more about this person and how they function on a day-to-day basis. I may have too much free time on my hands.)

Photo Courtesy: @Mlongcincy

Are you renewing your tickets? I’m an idiot who can’t stop being hurt by this team, so I’ve already made the decision to renew; but I’m gonna make my ticket rep sweat it out for a few weeks before I finally get around to clicking the button to make it official. I might ignore a few phone calls — hell, might even be the “I need to see that this team is committed with their next GM hire” guy, as if that makes any fucking difference to who gets hired. Plus, not to brag, but I’ve got a fucking awesome seniority number that I can’t justify giving up. Sick flex, I know.

I do feel bad for my ticket rep and all of his coworkers, though. Selling tickets to this team ahead of the first MLS season was easy — we were all blissfully ignorant of the spoonfucking that was to come and just excited to be part of the show. Even after that shitshow of a 2019 season, we still had a new stadium to look forward to and the associated FOMO of losing your rights to be at the first game in our brand new home. But now? We’ve all been to the Tickle. Multiple times. We’ve seen that all the pretty LED lights and spiffy standing areas can’t make the walk out after a loss any less frustrating and anger-inducing. So, what exactly are the ticket reps selling people on when they start working the phones for 2022?

You could say they’re selling the promise of a better 2022, but is there any evidence right now that shit is gonna get better (other than the vague notion that it can’t possibly get any worse)? The team, right now, is rudderless. There is no GM in charge, with Nijkamp fucking off back to Europe after shitting all over the proverbial carpet during his time here. Jaap Stam is (thank fucking God) riding out the last few weeks of his contract   as well. The roster is very much in flux, with a ton of money and players not guaranteed past November (though, we have to again thank Gerard for ensuring that our absolute worst fucking contracts — Mokotjo, Vermeer and Cruz — will remain, like a fart in lingering the elevator long after the offending party has left). About the only thing you know for certain if you put down for season tickets right now is that they’ll be playing 17 home games in the West End — and hell, due to all the dipshits shooting themselves full of horse dewormer instead of getting a fucking vaccine even THAT isn’t a given.

So, if you think you’re having a bad day at any point this weekend, just remember that your job isn’t trying to sell tickets to one of the worst sports franchises in North America. At this point, even the people working at Activision/Blizzard would probably send that headhunting call to voicemail.  

TOSS OFF

At multiple points during last weekend’s FC match, we were treated to the uncomfortable sight of people throwing shit onto the field. The first, and most egregious, incident happened in the wake of an FCC goal being disallowed and a weak-contact PK being awarded to NYCFC. First the boos rained down, and then the beer cans started hitting the field.

I’m going to say this clearly so there can be no confusion: If you throw shit on the field at a sporting event, you are a scumbag. Full fucking stop.

There are exactly two times, and two times only, where it’s appropriate to throw a beer can in public — towards a recycling container while yelling “Kobe!”, and when / if the World Heavyweight Championship changes hands via a finger poke. At a sporting event, throwing a beer can anywhere makes you a giant dipshit and shows that you are unable to process your emotions in a normal, adult way (like going onto twitter and making angry posts under a pseudonym). It’s behavior you expect from the kind of hillbilly human fungus that shows up to Bengals / Steelers games wearing their bootleg Ochocinco jerseys from the Ceasar Creek Flea Market. Aren’t we better than that as a fanbase? At least *our* bootleg jerseys (of which there are many, based on a casual glance at the shades of orange on the Adidas striping) come from DHGate directly.

I’m in full support of the team reviewing relevant video footage and offering full bans to any chucklehead who thought it prudent to throw trash on the field. This kind of bullshit gives us all a bad name — and worse, it might lead to them switching to draft beers away from the tall boy cans. And that, dear readers, would be something really getting angry about.

REMEMBER THE NEIN

The Chief was at the last game The FC played in Washington DC. Memories are kinda hazy, because we double-featured and attended the Washington Nationals playoff game that night — continuing to drink the entire time.

This DC United team is thoroughly average, which would probably matter when making a prediction if the team I was predicting for was anyone other than our factory of sadness franchise.

It feels like Jaap is maybe 1-2 losses away from this team just packing it in, and I’d hate to see that happen and force us into Utensildom for a 3rd straight season.

1-1, the points get split in the District.

THEY MADE A MOVIE ABOUT KYLE SCOTT…

…it’s called “O Brother, Where Art Thou?”

Alright, that’s it for this week. Next week we rant about ticket pricing for the USMNT game (spoiler: it’s priced appropriately, stop being cheap) and ask “Was anyone really asking for Wendy’s to put cheese *on* the bun?” Until then Albright forever, Nijkamp never. See you motherfuckers in the Thunderdome!