Friday Funblast — June 4, 2021

Dominic Toretto said "It don't matter if you win by an inch or you win by a mile, winning is winning." Well, I took a logic class in college and know that also means "it don't matter if you lose by an inch or lose by a mile, losing is losing." But, are all losses created the same? Let's investigate...

I SAID “HOW ‘BOUT A REVOLUTION?”

Stop me if you’ve heard this before, but The FC lost another home match this past weekend. It has now been 699 days since FC Cincinnati has won a match in front of a home crowd. Let that sink in for a second. In the time period that has elapsed since a paying FC Cincinnati home fan was able to see a victory, we’ve had a Presidential Election, a global pandemic, and an entire console generation switch (if you can actually find one in stock — fuck you Sony / Microsoft). Meg Whitman’s “Quibi” video service (the answer to a question that has never been asked of “Hey, could this entertaining show be a little fucking shorter?”) has launched and cancelled in this time period. They’ve managed to shoot and broadcast over 260 episodes of “The Real Housewives of [Insert Place Here]” (an alarming number of them I’ve actually watched due to Mrs. Chief having THE FUCKING WORST TASTE IN TELEVISION EVER).

An aside on “The Real Housewives…” — there is no bigger sign of the decline of a superpower than the fact that millions of people tune in weekly to a show about vapid rich people in obviously staged / scripted situations yelling at one another in gaudy fucking houses. This is the kinda shit your parents warned you about when they said “TV is going to rot your brain” (before a lot of them had their brains rotted by watching Tucker Carlson at high volume five nights per week). Every single season of this fucking show is the exact same thing — 7-10 cast members, made of more plastic than a fucking Parlay kit, pretend to be friends with one another for half a season of TV. They then go on a staged trip somewhere and drink way too much cheap booze to set up an obviously-scripted “fight” between several cast members. The rest of the season is dedicated to them having brunch at various upscale locations to talk about one another, resolve nothing, and then come back to fight on a fucking “reunion” show only for everything to be magically reset 8 months later when the next season starts. And otherwise normal people eat this shit up. I used to worry that the space aliens were gonna see footage of Hitler at the 1936 Olympics and decide to come sterilize our planet. Now I realize that the second they see Jim Edmond’s trophy wife (another reason to hate this fucking show — they cast baseball supervillain Jim Fucking Edmonds’ wife) shouting at some other woman in a poolside cabana, they’re gonna realize we can just be left alone because we’re obviously going to bomb ourselves back to the Stone Age with no intervention needed.

There isn’t a ton to say about the game other than to note that the FC was thoroughly dominated by a superior team (though, it should be noted, a team that the FC outspends by ~$5M). New England controlled possession, created more chances, and ultimately scored the match’s lone goal. I suppose you could say it’s better to lose 1-0 than 5-0 (or 7-1, ‘sup Minnesota United), but fuck it’s depressing to think that’s where the bar is right now for this team. Are we reduced to being happy that we kept an open-play clean sheet (with a massive fucking assist from the lowercase-p post, as several shots just missed going in)? When you’ve been outshot 123-64 for the season, I guess you take the positives where you can get them. Ope, am I right?

The loss dropped the FC’s record to 1-1-4. If you extrapolate that out to a full year, it would give you a record of 6-6-22 — the exact same record that won FC Cincinnati a wooden spoon in 2019. But hey — I’m assured by the Big J Journalists in town that we’re still way too early on in the Jaap Stam administration to make any real judgments (unless we happen to win, in which case it’s proof that things are improving). This got me to thinking — if it’s too early to give players like Brenner shit because they haven’t really had a chance to get into Jaap’s system, why are we giving credit for Geoff Cameron playing well? If this system takes so long to adjust to and get used to, shouldn’t we also be saying that Geoff Cameron probably doesn’t have the system down either and chalk up his early success to what he learned / did playing at QPR? It’s all part of the fucking pattern we’re seeing from the Jaap Stans in this town of inventing excuses out of thin fucking air when Jaap’s team sucks (“It’s too early!” “He just brought [insert player here] in!” “The team needs more time for cohesion!”), but giving Jaap credit when things go well (see: the fawning coverage post Montreal). I don’t give a shit one way or the other, but it has to be one way or the other. Jaap either owns results or he doesn’t. But if he doesn’t, then we need to all pick a date or a time upon which we can firmly say “What is happening now is Jaap’s fault — for better or worse.”

Me? I’m gonna say July 6, 2021. Because on that day it could be two full fucking calendar years since a paying spectator in Cincinnati saw The FC win a soccer match. And that’s two years too fucking many.

BREAK TIME

We’re now in the middle of an extended break for the FC that will see the club off for two consecutive weekends. Theoretically, now would be a great time to shake the club up organizationally — but it’s painfully apparent that no one has the stomach to do that. So, we’re left with the half-hearted hope that something will click for the side during this ~3 weeks off and that something about Jaap’s system will finally start to work regularly. Is that rational? No. But it’s fucking sports -- you leave rationality at the door when you walk into this arena. Hope as about the only thing you can trade in when it comes to Cincinnati sports fandom.

So, with that in mind, I present some options for things to do while FCC is on hiatus:

1.) Baseball

If you haven’t been paying attention this year because of soccer, I’m sorry to report that the Reds are (to the surprise of absolutely no one) thoroughly fucking mediocre this year too. I know it’s crazy, but maybe letting the Cy Young award winner just walk away with no replacement in house might not have been the best strategy in the world. Luis Castillo appears to have forgotten how to throw a baseball while Eugenio Suarez appears to have forgotten how to hit a baseball. This robust combination, along with a total neglect of the concept of “relief pitching” (legit, at age 51, David Weathers could probably be this team’s fucking closer), have allowed the Reds to amass a record of 25-29 on a -28 run differential. They’re probably the only team in history to both have a position player pitch a blowout and also throw a no-hitter (which — to be fair — isn’t the accomplishment it used to be, given how absolutely no one in baseball is attempting to make contact as they all chase endlessly after launch angle, exit velocity, and other bullshit that would give a TI-83 an erection) in their first 60 games.

2.) Spending time Outdoors

I’m sorry, what did you say? I couldn’t hear you talking over the racket caused by these fucking cicadas. It’s like everyone in the goddamn city downloaded a white noise app on their cell phones and left the fucking thing on at full volume 24/7. Seriously, going outside right now is a fucking chore just because of how loud these fucking bugs are. Plus, these bugs have to be the dumbest fucking animals on the planet — I killed a half dozen of them driving to work today (all of them making this bizarrely loud “thud” on the windshield as they committed automobile-assisted suicide), and if you stay outside more than a few minutes one of them will attempt to dive bomb you for no apparent reason. They’re completely harmless, but standing in the presence of them does make you contemplate the arbitrary basis of nature. These things exist for 17 years underground and show up just for this month to annoy the shit out of everything else. Why? What possible reason do these insects have for existing? Why not just stay underground the entire time? Or why 17 years as opposed to 16 or 18? I can’t imagine how much the sound of these insects would ruin getting stoned by forcing you to contemplate this aspect of existence.

3.) Drinking Heavily

Just because FC Cincinnati isn’t playing doesn’t mean you can’t continue to keep your liver in shape for game days. With the COVID restrictions lifting, life is slowly returning to normal for alcoholics everywhere. One of the simplest pleasures I’ve missed over the past few months, sitting at the bar to have a drink, is finally possible again. Drinking at a bar is always good time, don’t get me wrong — but sitting on an actual barstool or a chair at the actual bar is just the optimal way to have a drink. There’s no waiting around for an actual server to show up, no need to find a good angle to watch the TV. It’s just you, the bartender, and whatever keeps being put into your glass. This is absolutely the activity recommend to fill your time while FC Cincinnati is on hiatus. Plus, you’ll keep your tolerance high for match days when things resume on June 19th.

CAN I GET A GIFT RECEIPT?

There’s another something I want to get off my chest, and since we don’t have any actual soccer to talk about, now seems to be a decent time to do it.

I do not give a fuck about the “Season Ticketholder Gift.”

It seems like every year, we get people online bitching about the “gift” that the club gives to season ticket holders. A few years ago, I remember people bitching on Reddit because The FC only mailed out one (1) season ticket holder “scarf” to each household and how awful it was that they didn’t send one per ticket so everyone could have one. The audacity of the fucking club! This year, on multiple occasions, I’ve seen posts on Reddit or Twitter asking where their gift is for being a season ticket holder.

You know what your gift is? It’s having fucking tickets to the match. It’s having a priority number with the club high enough to be one of the first 5,000 people into a fucking match. That’s what I’m paying for here.

Why the fuck does anyone expect or want some unless goddamn trinket from the club as a token of appreciation? The metal piece of shit we got in year 1 is sitting on a bookshelf in my office. I haven’t touched the fucking thing since I assembled it approximately 30 seconds after receiving my tickets in the mail. The whiskey glass from last year? I broke the motherfucker about 3 weeks into the pandemic while half bottle of Four Roses in to an evening on zoom with people. I haven’t thought about it since. Is this shit that big of a deal to people? I can’t even fucking fathom who the absolute zero of a human being is who sits around, stewing over the fact that his favorite soccer club hasn’t sent him some $5 trinket as a “thanks” for spending hundreds / thousands of dollars on tickets. The Venn diagram of “Guy who bitches about the STH ‘gift’ online” and “Guy who hits ‘reply all’ to work e-mails” is a single fucking circle. And yet, every year we’re subjected to this fucking bullshit.

You know what I want for my season ticket holder “gift?” I want a better fucking team. I want a real fucking right back. I want an actual fucking defensive mid. I want a better goddamn manager who hasn’t washed out of every gig he’s had. You don’t want to give me that? OK. Well then how about a fucking beer. Keep whatever useless pile of shit you were going to mail to me and put the cost (plus postage) into buying me a fucking tall boy Coors Banquet at the next match. That’s a gift I’ll gladly use and, like the other “gifts” I’ve gotten from the club, will also forget about immediately after it has been used.

USA v. MEXICO PREDICTIONS

The CONCACAF Nations League (whatever the fuck that is) is giving us the latest iteration of USA v. Mexico on Sunday, June 6. Since time became meaningless in 2020, it’s easy to forget that we’re going to have a World Cup in 2022 (in goddamn Qatar in the winter, but a World Cup nevertheless). So, it’s time to start giving a shit about the USMNT again.

I’ve actually been to a USA v. Mexico match before. I was at the match in November of 2016 where Mexico beat the USMNT 2-1 in Columbus. It was like a week after Donald Trump had been elected President and folks — let me tell you, the nation was a bit on edge. As the full time whistle sounded there was this deflated feeling in the building. And, from about 15-20 rows behind me, someone just yelled out “Man, it’s been rough week for America.” Around 30 seconds later, a guy dressed like Apollo Creed got into a fistfight with a dude who started chanting “BUILD THAT WALL” at a bunch of hispanic-looking people and I decided it was a good idea to get the fuck out of there. Ended up sitting at a Waffle House in Grove City trying to sober up for the drive back to Cincinnati. Good times.

2-0 USMNT.

Alright, that’s it for this week. We’ll see if there’s enough to write about next week (go create some bullshit drama on Reddit or something to make this easier). Until then: America Forever. International Breaks Never. See you motherfuckers in the Thunderdome!