Thursday, February 09, 2006

The "Soud Guy" responds

A week ago I wrote a response to an article I found online by Jerrod "The Sound Guy" Kingery out of San Antonio. I am happy to say that he has read my comments and responded. He left this post in the comments section, but I feel it is only fair for me to give him a post on the front page.

Anyway, take it away Jerrod:

Hey, the for real "Sound Guy" here. I was Googling my own name, as I'm a narcissist, and I stumbled across this blog here. Since you have some issues with what I wrote, I thought I'd chime in.

First, the name "Sound Guy" comes from my having been an audio engineer for a TV station, a "sound guy" as it were. "The Sound Guy Sounds Off" makes sense that way, and it also relays the opinionated nature of what I write about straight away. So that's that.

Second, with regard to my not knowing about the shootouts, that's my bad. To be fair, though, my research started and stopped with the official MLS website, which made no mention of past rule changes. I admire the Wikipedia, but I tend to avoid it for "official" facts since lots of it stinks of someone's opinion, like, well, the final paragraph of your example there. Conjecture is something I try to avoid when I'm presenting the facts to back up my opinion.

Third, some of the names are dumb. Sorry, but its a fact. That's not exclusive to soccer, by the way, but soccer is the only "American" sport to shift toward "international" names.

The beef I have with Houston 1836 withstands your comparisons. See, the official names of the '49ers and the '76ers are just that: the '49ers and the '76ers. The idea that the team has a name that is awkward to throw into a conversation (try it...its weird) is what I find foolish.

The bottom line is that I think MLS is sort of retreating, that they are becoming less innovative and resigning to the fact that they'll never be more than a niche sport here. I thought the idea was to bring soccer to America in a way Americans would enjoy it, not to set up an American branch of European (or South American) soccer for the people who were soccer fans anyway. Of course established soccer fans weren't gonna like the "Americanized" rule changes, but it was admirable for MLS to try something new. Its not easy to break into the crowded sports market here in the US, and maybe the rule changes didn't help bring in non-soccer fans, but what does the league expect to happen now? Are they just hoping not to lose fans? Do they not care about growing?

Is going back to "normal" soccer rules and "traditional" club names a white flag? An admission that Joe Football won't ever embrace soccer, so we might as well cater to establish soccer fans?

I don't mind soccer, but I do take issue with stupid, narrow-minded management decisions of Major League Soccer.

All and all, a very good response. I can understand his not wanting to use wikipedia for official information and the lack of a full history on the MLS site is bad on their part. However, I do think that doing a quick search just to make sure would have at least pointed to the correct history. That said, he has admitted to a mistake, so let's move along.

I also think he clarified his take on the names of teams. I do agree that there are some dumb names in the league, but the issue I took with his first piece was his suggestion that the teams will not be successful because of the name. I think if you called the New York Yankees the New York Bumble Bees, they would still be successful.

His point about the '49ers actually being called the '49ers is very valid. Saying Houston 1836 is a mouth full. Hopefully fans will come up with a good nickname soon (how about the "Sound Guys" - this was meant as a joke).

He is also correct to point towards the various bad decisions made by MLS management. There are lots of things the MLS can do to move past the realm of niche sport, but they don't always seem to want to do that. I'm don't think they are in full retreat mode, but I also don't think they are charging forward.

As far as what going to more international standards says about the league, I don't think it points to a total surrender. The thing about MLS is that a lot of soccer fans in the US are not fans of MLS. For various reasons, they see it as a joke league.

I remember reading a survey not that long ago showing that while 99% of US soccer fans said they were interested in the English Premier League, only 38% said the same about MLS. Obviously there is a lot of room to grow in just that category. If moving away from international standards pushed soccer fans away from MLS, perhaps going back to them will bring them back. If this works, then MLS will have a stronger base of fans, and as any politician will tell you, you've got to have your base if you're going to win.

All and all, I thank Mr. Kingery for responding and I will continue to checkout his column. I am also happy to know, from one trained audio engineer to another, the true reason behind the name.


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