Friday Funblast - October 2nd
Welcome back to another edition of Friday Funblast: the weekly roundup of all stories FCC and FCC-adjacent that you need to know about to impress your friends at any and all socially distanced gatherings this weekend.
Stop me if you’ve heard this one before, but FCC got absolutely worked by NYCFC last weekend. I know shitting on FC Cincinnati takes about as much effort as breathing or striking out a Reds hitter with a slow breaking ball, but last weekend felt like a massive step back for the club. You know that scene in “Step Brother,” where John C. Reily lets out a massive fart and it causes Seth Rogan to reassess everything he’d been thinking during their job interview (“Okay, now the tuxedos seem kinda fucked up…”) – that was this past game for FC Cincinnati. You want to feel good about the direction this team is taking; they play a boring, but watchable game of soccer against Philadelphia that ends in a patented 0-0 draw, and you can almost convince yourself that they’re working shit out. But then they go and get absolutely dominated, seemingly helpless to engage in any positive soccer-related activities, and all you can see are 11 guys in tuxedoes who just shit their pants.
Smarter people than I (read: Kevin Wallace) have written about it. Funnier people than I (read: The Knifey Brothers Colina) have talked about it. All I’ll add is this: It’s time for someone to explain what the fuck the team building strategy is and how the fuck it’s going to get better anytime soon. Because, right now, the only discernable plan the team seems to be following is “Throw money at anyone on a free who was in the Eredivisie while Gerard Nijkamp was working at PEC Zwolle.” Now, I hear you out there “Chief, we’ve gotta give everyone time! Jaap just got here and we’re still digging out from the Year 1 disaster.” I get it, but Jaap shouldn’t need “time” here – he should have been brought in to run the same system Racist Ron was set to run (and if he isn’t gonna run the same system, why the fuck was he hired?), so there shouldn’t be any surprises or new things the players are being asked to do. He also has years of experience coaching at better leagues than MLS, so that shouldn’t be an issue either. And as for the Year 1 roster debacle as an excuse, the majority of the starting players on this team are now Nijkamp guys – and most of them have flat-out sucked this year. Even the guys Nijkamp had no money restrictions in picking – his two DPs – have been absolutely awful this season. Would you pay even MLS average money for Jurgen Locadia based on what you’ve seen this year? If you need a dude to stand around and shank shots from point blank range, you can probably get Chris Wondolowski from the Quakes for some leftover Mike’s Express license plate frames.
What’s the ultimate game plan here? What’s the preferred formation going to be? Why does the team only have two outcomes: hang on for 0-0 / 1-0 or get dog-walked and bossed around like an NPSL team? The FO has questions to answer, because the new stadium smell and those sweet COVID-rollover dollars are gonna fade fucking quick.
There was a “Virtual Town Hall” for new and existing entrants into Bailey 2: Bailey Harder on Tuesday. The big news, other than learning that someone out there in Gary-dom is allegic to onions (which – OK, but why the fuck would you ever expect a sports stadium to cater to people with onion allergies? Or, maybe just stick to the Nachos and the Pretzels and skip the cheese coneys?), is that there is apparently going to be a Supporters Bar reserved solely for Bailey use. It sounds neat in theory – but, really, the only thing I give a shit about when it comes to stadium food / drink options is where I’m going to get a beer the quickest. I’ll buy the shittiest domestic beer in a building if the spot selling it has no line and I can get back to my seat quickly. You could put fucking Spotted Cow on tap in a stadium, and if I can get a Bud Heavy from the sweaty vendor and skip a line, I’m going with the Diesel 100 times out of 100. Speed matters especially in soccer, where I’m looking to crush two at the start of halftime and get back in line to get two more to take with me for the 2nd half.
So, I’m going to make a radical suggestion for Ye Olde Bailey Bar: No taps, Tall Boys Only. Don’t get me wrong, I love a good pour – hell, I’ve killed more drafts than Mike Brown in my lifetime. But, the Tall Boy is simply a superior method of consuming a stadium beer. The Cincinnati Reds have figured this out, and any veteran of the Great American Den of Sadness will tell you, immediately, that the best place to get a beer in the stadium is the UDF stand right by the main entrance. Why? Because they sell a billion different types of Tall Boy cans that you can grab two of and be on your way to your seat with. They’re harder to spill, quicker to serve (no need to fill or top off a beer – just pop the top and roll), and you can bring your own koozie with you to keep them colder as you stand and hold them during the match. Like Mando says: This is the way.
Speaking of the Cincinnati Reds – what the fuck? I know this is a soccer website, but still – what the actual fuck? 22 innings of baseball and not one goddamn run? What. The. Fuck. Look, prior to the arrival of FC Cincinnati, the Reds were my first sports love in life. I suffered through a lot of really lean fucking years as a result of this fandom (I still twitch involuntarily when the name Bill Hall is brought up), and I’ve come to the inescapable conclusion that it is never going to get better. This team hasn’t won a meaningful baseball game (which I’ll define as an elimination game in the post-season) since 1995. Think about that for a second; if you’re under the age of 32/33, you likely have no memory of the Reds being anything other than a fucking disappointment and total fucking bummer. When I was growing up, parents would take their kids to Reds games and tell stories about the Big Red Machine and all that nonsense. If you’re 35 and taking your kid to a ballgame right now, what stories are you telling them? About how cool that one game with Jay Bruce was that one time? That one time Amir Garrett tried to fight an entire dugout? How the fuck do you pass fandom down to the next generation when YOUR generation was just this endless parade of empty promises and dogshit pitching. You can’t turn an entire demographic of fans bitter and expect things to keep going well (true story: I went to a Reds-Cubs back in the day where a Cubs fan brought his annoying 8 year old kid to a game; said kid spent the entire time standing on a chair in the upper deck screaming “LETS GO CUBBIES!” in a shrill, little kid voice. As we were leaving following an absolute beat down by the visiting team, I told the cheering kid “Hey, there is no Santa!” as I was walking down the stairs. Not my proudest moment.).
The moral of the story here is that there is no happiness in Cincinnati sports, ever. FC Cincinnati has a moral obligation to fix that, and in fact, need to fix that ASAP. History’s getting pretty fucking old for the Reds, and FC Cincinnati doesn’t even have that on their side. Eventually, you need more than “They’re the local team” as a reason for people to pass down their fandom to the next generation.
Next week is the deadline for voter registration in the State of Ohio. If you are already registered to vote and planning to vote, thank you. If you are not yet registered to vote, seriously, what the fuck is wrong with you? In the time it takes Yuya Kubo to get dispossessed in the midfield, you can easily fill out a voter registration form AND request your mail-in ballot. It’s, legitimately, one of the 3 top easiest things you can do in this fucking country (“Getting a call about your car’s extended warranty” and “Making a cop say ‘Stop Resisting’ repeatedly,” being the other two). And, if your actual friends have been too nice to say this, allow me to be the first: No one – absolutely fucking no one – thinks you’re cool or edgy when you say you don’t vote. They nod, because it’s probably one of your many shitty takes that they like you in spite of (along with being a “I’m never going to watch [insert popular movie/TV show here]” Guy or a “You know all these scientists will say anything for grant money” Guy). Along the same lines, being “You know, they’re both same…” Guy is similarly insufferable. Maybe you could cogently make that argument back when both candidates were Skull & Bones dickheads from Yale – but now? For the love of fucking Christ, read a book. I legitimately don’t care what your political opinions are, but unless you’re a single issue voter on the issue of “Force Taco Bell to Change Their Menu Back,” if you can’t find at least one or two ways these two dudes differ from one another, you’re being fucking lazy and you fucking suck as an American. Go root for DCFC where you and your rose emoji bros can revel in your fucking stupidity.
But for real, register to vote and go vote. Thanks.
All right, that’s all we’ve got for this week. Watch the twitter (@CincinnatiFC) for a link to send in some question or comments, because we’re gonna try to add a mailbag section here at some point. Until then, see you motherfuckers in the Thunderdome.