Monday, August 15

8/15/05 -- 2004 World Champs vs. 1984 World Champs

It’s time for Jose Melendez’s KEYS TO THE GAME.

Jose was watching a Major League Soccer game the other night (note: or flipping by it to be more accurate) and noticed that the New England Revolution were competing against a club know as “Real Salt Lake.” Jose has two reactions. First, he questions the viability of any league that would put a team in Utah (note: and no he is not making an exception for the NBA). Second, giving bland, white bread Salt Lake the prefix “Real” in order to make it seem more Euro is both curious and amusing.

Actually, Jose sort of likes this about MLS. They know that soccer is not a particularly popular spectator sport in the U.S., at least in part because the overwhelming majority of the best players are from other countries and play in Europe. Moreover, the game is perceived as being foreign unlike basketball, football or baseball. So how do they deal with it? They give some of their teams vaguely Euro names like Real Salt Lake and DC United. Yup, that should help marketing in middle America. They love Europe there! Soccer already has the interest of Euros living in the U.S., so if MLS really wanted to expand their market, they should have given the teams hearty, American names, like the Salt Lake McNuggets or Law and Order: DC Soccer Unit.

The game that should really adopt the catchy Euro names is baseball. Also, players should start wearing all black uniforms. Baseball has no popularity or even comprehension in Europe, even though Europeans with their short work hours and copious leisure time are the perfect audience for a sport whose matches routinely take three hours. So Jose has a few idea on Euro names that major league teams should consider adopting.

· From now on the LA Dodgers should be known as Real LA. This would be in contrast to the LA Angels of Anaheim, who would be known as Fake LA, since they do not play in Los Angeles. Alternatively, whatever team has Rheal Cormier at the moment could take the prefix. For instance, it would be the Rheal Philadelphia Phillies.

· One of the Chicago teams should become Chicago United. This reason for giving Chicago the United moniker is that United Airlines is based there, so there could be a good marketing hook. Better yet, they should merge the Cubs and White Sox and then having a team called Chicago United. It’s time to end the North Side South side divide and really focus on ostracizing the West Side.

· There has to be at least one team with some letters attached to its name that no one really understands the meaning of. Something along the lines of AC Milan of FC Barcelona. Jose’s initial thought is that the Twins should become AC Minnesota, since they always play in an air conditioned dome. Alternatively the Devil Rays cold become FC Tampa Bay, with the FC standing for f*cked company.

The point is that if baseball wants to have a real world cup, it needs to broaden its appeal and Jose can think of no better way to do that then with empty gestures and flashy repackaging.

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