Salvaging the S.S. Colorado

“The Rapids are not only competing with other MLS franchises, they’re competing in a crowded sports landscape in Denver. A beautiful new stadium isn’t enough. The All-Star Game isn’t enough. David Beckham visiting Commerce City isn’t enough. Winning needs to become part of the equation, even though winning in soccer is not always a sure thing.”
– George Tanner, FC Rocky Blog, 08.09.07 (LINK)

“Today I wish the Rapids ownership, Kroenke Sports Enterprises, would do something to make me believe they care about their club. Today I would not, under any circumstances renew my season tickets. Today I don’t want to go to Saturday’s Rapids game.”
– Bonji, College to Pros, 08.08.07 (LINK)

Those two quotes, just an ort of the frustration stuffed into the scathing posts from which they were lifted, get at the larger issue about what’s going on in Colorado these days – the first sentence Bonji’s comments, especially. It’s as if Kroenke Sports people don’t recognize that Denver is, and long has been, a struggling market for Major League Soccer. If it weren’t for the physical fact called Dick’s Sporting Goods Park, I’d assume Kroenke (it’s Stan, right?) cherishes hopes of so offending the locals that they would chase him to a hotter market. All the floundering, the baffling trades (Greg Vanney for Facundo Erpen; Mehdi Ballouchy for Kyle Beckerman) and flatly stupid tactical decisions pointed out by Bonji, not only didn’t improve matters, but had almost no hope of doing so.

When a guy like Bonji, who cares enough about soccer to start a blog about it, utterly loses faith (not to mention two reporters fighting for a blog at a mainstream outlet), the situation virtually demands some form of action, even action of the symbolic variety. The easy option involves throwing over the clown working the bottom of the lifeboat with the hand-drill: Fernando Clavijo. This constitutes the easiest way to own up to the rotten emanations wafting from Commerce City while still doing what must be done – e.g. playing out the rest of the season; you need a team for that, so you’re stuck with the players. No coach could possibly turn around the season – salvage, maybe – so kicking the job down to a caretaker coach won’t do much harm. But the crucial thing comes with the front office signaling to fans (abjectly as possible) that it’s been nothing but claret-and-blue turds on the field since late May and that the front office knows it.

If Kroenke wants to show real contrition, he’ll double-down by kicking off a Gulati-style (i.e. high profile) search for a fancy-pants head coach who can reshape the franchise in 2008 in the same press conference where he fires Clavijo. If he’s smart, he’ll bring tar-and-feathers…though, at this point, I’m not sure fans wouldn’t seize the pot and go after Kroenke.

One Response

  1. I have never been a fan of Colorado, but my heart goes out to the fans who have to find a way to continue caring about a franchise that seems to not care about them.
    On the other hand… if Kroenke is forced to sell, maybe Vegas might have a chance… hmm…

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