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Thursday, April 19, 2001
Here's to nothing, fellas

By by Jeff Bradley

If we can't be great, then there's no sense in ever playing again, Sal.

I'm going to out-do myself this week. You know the routine by now, '80s music, '80s movies. Well, how about a little '80s music and a movie all wrapped up in one?

Of course, I'm talking Eddie and the Cruisers, which was playing last week on TBS. And I'm thinking about the memorable exchange between Eddie Wilson and Sal Amato.

Eddie: "I want something great, I want something that nobody's ever done before."
Sal: "Why? We're not great, we're just some guys from Jersey."

And (now this is a lie), it made me think about the U.S. national team that's been called in for next Wednesday's qualifier with Costa Rica. Remember when it seemed like the national team was nothing but a bunch of guys from Jersey?

Well, the current U.S. camp includes players from, among other states, Tennessee (Carey Talley), Georgia (Clint Mathis and Josh Wolff), Minnesota (Tony Sanneh), Washington (Kasey Keller), Indiana (DaMarcus Beasley) and Pennsylvania (Bobby Convey). Of course, you still have a few Jersey boys (Tony Meola, Richie Williams), but the point is, the pool for players is ever-expanding ... and I've got to think that's a good thing.

And before I leave Eddie and the Cruisers, can I just tell you I laughed out loud as I watched the climactic scene: Eddie standing in the Junkyard Palace, about to lose it all ... screaming to the gods, "You got your Edsels, diesels, Dumonts, and Eddie Wilson all together forming our own incredible monument to nothing. Here's to nothing, fellas, here's to nothing."

What? That wasn't supposed to be funny?

The Lords of Discipline

They say it's because they want to move swifter and with more conviction, but I think the MLS Disciplinary Committee just wanted some new gadgets to play with.

I'm kidding, I'm kidding, don't fine me.

The Lords have equipped themselves with some sweet TiVo units, which allowed them to copy, as one example, a clip of Columbus' Robert Warzycha flailing around on the ground after Chicago's Diego Gutierrez waved a hand at him. The Lords then sent that clip via e-mail to all the league's referees and coaches with a warning that stated, "A yellow card should have been issued to Warzycha for deliberate embellishment."

"The investment in technology will allow us to review incidents more quickly and render decisions in a more timely manner," said Deputy Commissioner Ivan Gazidis. Mainly, the Disciplinary Committee is looking for things on tape that the referee may have missed during the course of a game (a cheapshot off the ball, for example). They will not change or alter any decisions on plays where they believe the referee saw the offense and issued a decision (a hard foul that garnered a yellow card, for example, won't suddenly turn red). "If we did that," said Gazidis, "we'd be reviewing hundreds of calls per week."

Stock Options

We've got four teams left who are holding on to allocations. San Jose, Colorado, Kansas City and Chicago. The first three teams listed above all have one of their three senior international slots open while Chicago does not. The Quakes, Rapids and Wizards also have, according to the league office, "room on their budget for a significant player."

So, why isn't anyone moving? Well, it appears everyone's more interested in seeing what specific needs their team has before acting on their final allocations. San Jose and Colorado are said to be moving the swiftest, and both are looking for central midfielders. Kansas City still covets a target man while Chicago would love to secure a little defensive help, but does not have any roster maneuverability at the present time.

Youth Movement

There are currently four spaces open on the league's Youth International list, but any young international players "discovered" at this point will not be roster protected.

Huh?

Okay, I'll try again ... If a team wants to "discover" a young international player -- a player under 23 who does not require a transfer -- they can ... but if they add the player to their team, they'll have to drop someone from their roster.

Forget it, at least I tried to explain.

Sorry I'm going to miss it

I hate to rip anyone for trying, but the MetroStars NASL Reunion Day, this Saturday at Giants Stadium, has turned into an embarrassment. I mean, I'm as big a Cosmos junkie as you'll find, a North Jersey kid who used to plaster my walls with NASL stuff, and I can remember, maybe, 10 of the 40 guys who are coming back for the event. An NASL event at Giants Stadium that doesn't include any of the following names: Pele, Franz Beckenbauer, Giorgio Chinaglia, Johan Neeskens, Wim Rijksbergen, Steve Hunt, Dennis Teuart, Roberto Cabanas, Julio Cesar Romero, Vladislva Bogicevic, Ricky Davis ... I could go on, but I don't feel like being mean.

They say they're trying again next year; here's hoping they can do it right.

Pub talk

For my sarcastically-challenged friends, those who think I'm really a fan of this music I reference, here's a list of 10 groups who are not featured in my extensive CD collection.

1. Journey
2. Foreigner
3. Ratt
4. Poison
5. Loverboy
6. Heart
7. Rush
8. Bon Jovi
9. Chicago
10. Van Halen

And, for those who are still hanging in there ... three '80s albums in my current rotation:

1. Little Steven and the Disciples of Soul: Men Without Women
2. The Connells: Boylan Heights
3. R.E.M.: Murmur

Just wanted to set the record straight.

Jeff Bradley is a senior writer for ESPN The Magazine. E-mail jeff.bradley@espnmag.com.