THE FRIDAY FUNBLAST – Friday, April 9th, 2021

Just when I think I’ve got nothing to talk about this week, the FC goes and does something that makes my job just a little easier. So, let’s get right into it:

FRANK MAKES A BRAND NEW START OF IT

News broke this morning just as I was getting ready to proofread the Funblast (jk, I don’t proofread shit) that Frankie Amaya had been traded to the New York Corporate Energy Drinks for an undisclosed return (rumored to to be Tricky Don Funbucks™ in the neighborhood of $1M). This brings an end to, officially, the second lamest saga in history, behind only the “Twilight” series, with Frankie getting it his way in the end. When you stop and consider it, this is probably the best outcome the FC could have hoped for – unloading Frankie before the games start counting for real and before the attitude problems would have a chance to poison the locker room.

My instant reaction to this was that it’s fucking hilarious we sent Frankie Amaya even further away from the West Coast than he already was. If you believe what you hear anecdotally, Frankie came to Cincinnati mad over the fact that they didn’t trade the #1 draft spot to LAFC and stayed mad while here (you don’t have to dig far online to find stories people tell about Frankie thinking he was “better” than Cincinnati). So, hearing that we sent him to go live in fucking New Jersey – geographically and figuratively the armpit of the United States – is about the perfect revenge you can take on the perpetually malcontented midfielder.

My second reaction to all this was: no, seriously, fuck Frankie Amaya. If you think way back to the “before time” in FCC history (before the dark times, before the co-co), we could not have been more excited ahead of the 2019 season. We sent people up to the fucking MLS SuperDraft to watch our first pick in history. We could’ve drafted the great-grandson of Charles Manson and Adolf Hilter and it wouldn’t have mattered -- our fans would still have been going crazy, watching youtube highlights of his college games and talking up his killer instincts. When Frankie was forced to speak at the draft and totally shit his head, it was our fans there cheering to encourage him through the moment. This motherfucker could’ve been a goddamn *legend* in this city with the barest minimum of effort. Sadly, we got a dipshit 20-year-old who made minimal effort to connect with the city (possibly because he knew, no matter what, he’d never be the most famous “Fran” to live in Cincinnati) he was playing in. The dude spent most of his time walking around thinking he was the MLS Messi while playing on a team he clearly didn’t make better with his awesome presence.

We really don’t ask much of our athletes in Cincinnati. It’s one of the more amusing aspects of being a city with a strange mix of Midwestern hospitality, Southern charm, and German pragmatism. You don’t really need to win championship to be beloved here – we understand this is Cincinnati and doing your best probably isn’t going to be enough on that front. Hell, you don’t even need to win that many games. All we really ask of our sports heroes is to do two fucking things: look like you give a shit on the field and act like you give a shit about the city. That’s it. Pete Rose is a fucking scumbag, and he’s beloved in this city because he ran really hard and trucked a catcher that one time in an exhibition game. We love a ton of Cincinnati Bengals who didn’t do shit when they were here in terms of actually producing victories (Chad Ochocinco: more name changes than playoff wins) but who made an effort to be a part of this community. I like to make fun of the stupid fucking reporters who ask new signees “DER HAVE YOU TRIED SKYLINE?!?!” in press conference, but fuck – they ask the stupid question because eating a goddamn coney once or twice matters in this town. That could’ve been Frankie Amaya. He could’ve paired up with Penei Sewell and become the next generation “Furniture Fair” duo. That’s fame you can’t put a fucking pricetag on (and, bonus, all the free sectionals you want for your McMansion in West Chester).

Instead, Frankie’s heading to New Jersey, where absolutely no one will give a shit who he is as he sits the bench in a mostly-empty Red Bull arena. He was never going to be the most famous Fran in Cincinnati, and he’ll definitely never be the most famous Frankie in north-Jersey. Enjoy the turnpike, asshole.

TAMPER RESISTANCE

The last, lingering fart that remains from #FrankieWatch is going to be the allegation of tampering filed by FCC, which we learned about this week. The Athletic (venture capital’s answer to the question “Isn’t there a faster way to end local newspapers than waiting for boomers to die off?”) reported this week that the FC had filed formal allegations against Philadelphia Union and the aforementioned NYRB for tampering in the then-ongoing Frankie Amaya trade talks. One would have to think that the trade of Frankie to one of the alleged Tamperers means that, in some way, there will be a settlement to this charge included in the trade package. But, this is MLS – so there’s also an equal chance that the punishment is some fucking stupid thing, like forfeiture of a specific roster spot for players 26 years old and born in a month with more than 3 vowels.

The funniest part of all this is how little goddamn sense any of it makes when you stop to consider the structure of Major League Soccer. FC Cincinnati (owned jointly by the entirety of MLS) is alleging that New York Red Bulls (owned jointly by the entirety of MLS) and Philadelphia Union (also owned jointly by the entirety of MLS) is tampering in the contractual relationship of a player they all collectively own the contract for. The more you read that back, the less fucking sense it makes. It’s the functional equivalent of White Castle’s breakfast division filing a lawsuit against their slider division to determine which side has control of the goddamn cheese supply the company orders every month (fun fact: White Castle, low key best fast-food breakfast). Everyone works in the same fucking company. The asset involved is a company fucking asset. The single entity is absurd for this kind of thing, and the end result feels like a fucking Smackdown v. RAW rivalry after they did the stupid brand split.

I desperately want to believe that FC Cincinnati has corporate counsel that sits all day and works on this shit. While everyone else in their firm is wearing $6,000 suits and ordering around first year associates, they’re sitting in a corner office wearing leftover USL-logo polos trying to make sense of the MLS structure and figure out a how a company makes allegations against itself – all while billing Carl Jr. Jr. $500 an hour for the services.

KYLE SCOTT TRIAL ENDS WITH NO VERDICT

Kyle Scott, trialist extraordinaire, returned to Europe this week with no deal in hand from the FC. From what little we had seen and heard, Scott had appeared to impress the FCC brass and looked good enough to offer a full-time contract to, but apparently the sides couldn’t make the numbers work. At the time, I assumed it was because we had fixed whatever was wrong with the Frankie Situation (as Scott seemed to be a good replacement fit). Big “Ope” on the Chief’s part there.

The real question here is why the hell Scott would come to the United States and work out with a bottom-tier MLS franchise if there wasn’t already a basic agreement to stay in place? I mean, there’s a fucking pandemic happening and you’ve gotta jump through all manner of hoops and abuse your fucking nose (and not in the fun “let’s kick this Miami bachelor party up a notch” way) to travel internationally. Did Scott and the FC really not spend a minute on Zoom ahead of time talking about what kind of deal he was looking for? When you bring someone in on a trial, it seems like a pretty binary situation: either there’s a deal or there isn’t. The idea you’d bring someone over on trial and then negotiate once he got here seems fucking bananas and a waste of time you could be using on playing a player you could actually afford to keep.

As it stands, the Kyle Scott experiment just ended up being a waste of everyone’s time. Which, for a team that’s now in the market for a midfielder again, seems pretty odd.

THEY MADE A MOVIE ABOUT NICK CASTELLANOS

It’s called “Man on Fire”

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Alright everyone, that’s it for this week of the Funblast. We’re down to just one more week until actual fucking soccer starts, and I cannot fucking wait. Until then, see you motherfuckers in the Thunderdome.