Why one of the founding clubs of MLS may soon cease to exist

Why one of the founding clubs of MLS may soon cease to exist

Barring a change of heart by their owner the Columbus Crew will soon be no more

MLS has had a slow rise in terms of popularity. For much of it’s history it languished miles behind all of the other American sports in terms of attendance and viewership. Recently things have been looking up for MLS, with attendance records being smashed by newcomers Atlanta United and an all time high viewership. While this newfound success should be celebrated, the clubs that toiled through years in an unpopular league shouldn’t be forgotten. These clubs provided the base that allowed the league to grow into what it is today.

One of these clubs is the Columbus Crew. The Columbus Crew were one of 10 founding teams in the MLS in 1996. For the first five years of its existence MLS bled money, resulting with a few teams folding due to financial difficulties. Despite this the league continued to persevere and expand. The Crew played a vital role in this by building the first ever soccer-specific stadium in the MLS. The clubs commitment to expanding the presence of the sport in Ohio has also lead to development of a professional soccer team in Cincinnati.

The Columbus Crew has had mixed success, with their only MLS Cup success coming in 2008. Despite this they have had a consistently dedicated group of supporters. While the core supporter group remains active and loyal overall attendance has not been stellar compared to other MLS teams, partly due to the relatively small capacity of the stadium (approximately 20,000). Because of this the owner of the club, Anthony Precourt, has decided to uproot the club and move it to a more profitable market: Austin, Texas. The deal has not been finalized as of yet, but all indicators point to it being finalized after the conclusion of the city.

An additional part of Precourts motivation to move the crew is that he wants a new stadium built, preferably with the money of the city of Columbus. The Mapfre stadium that hosts the club is less than 20 years old, making a significant investment into a new stadium an unjustifiable expense for the city of Columbus. This trend of sports team’s owners demanding new stadiums funded by public money is not a new trend, and has been seen for decades in the NFL and NBA.

If this were allowed to happen in the MLS it would potentially undermine much of the progress that the league has made over the last two decades. It takes time to develop and maintain new fanbases as they come into the league and the knowledge that any of these teams could be taken away at the whim of an owner could make potential supporters wary. If MLS wants to approach the levels of fandom enjoyed by the best clubs in Europe it needs to adopt a model that puts the supporter first instead of the owner. Many clubs have developed their fanbase over the course of the last century, MLS supporters should be given this chance too.

While their future lies in the balance, the Crew are making the most of their season despite the turmoil surrounding the club. They’re currently in the midst of a deep playoff run, hoping to at least bring one last trophy to Columbus.

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Why I've Lost Respect For Tom Brady

It's not about being the GOAT or a competitor. It's about showings sportsmanship.

Not a day went by, from February 5th, 2017 to February 4th, 2018, where i didn't hear at least one person call Tom Brady the GOAT (Greatest Of All Time). I've heard endless stories about what an incredible human being he is and how his love for the game exceeds so many others. He is devoted in ways that so many other athletes could only dream of. His diet is extreme, and his lifestyle is even more. It is for this reason as to why I have lost so much respect for Tom Brady.

As the confetti began to fall upon the Super Bowl Champion Eagles after a hard fought 41-33 victory, reports began to flourish that Brady did not shake Nick Foles' hand when the game ended. While there isn't 100% proof that this happened, it is highly unlikely that the hundreds of cameras would not have pinpointed Foles and Brady embracing. What cameras did capture was Brady running into the locker room, being escorted by bodyguards.

Now I know what Patriot fans are getting ready to say: "But losing the Super Bowl is embarrassing. Not many players stick around to shake hands after losing the championship, in any sport." To justify this, you have to look at the circumstances.

Brady is considered the GOAT, which in football would be a huge honor because there surely have been some great Quarterbacks throughout the years. He even won MVP this year. Nick Foles was the second string QB for most of the year until Wentz got injured, and he has been doubted every week by the media and fans that he can actually lead his team to victory. Some analysts even suggested that the Eagles would have a better chance if Tony Romo would come out of retirement.

Yet, Foles won the Super Bowl and had a outstanding game. Foles went 28 for 43 on completions, threw for 373 yards and 3 touchdowns, in addition to catching a pass for a touchdown on a crucial trick play. It is for this reason why he was named MVP. It should be noted that he did throw one interception, but that was off the hands of Alshon Jeffery so the blame shouldn't be put on him.

With next to no analysts predicting the Eagles to take down the mighty Patriots, the story was certainly one that will go down in history. With all this being said, Brady should have shaken his hand. Brady should honestly have congratulated the entire team. This isn't about him already having 5 Super Bowl rings, though that can get thrown in for good measure. This is about Brady, the face of a franchise and the leader of the team, showing sportsmanship to the underdog team that rightfully won that game.

You can Google images of past Super Bowl QB's shaking hands after the game because that is what you do when you are the leader of the team. You show respect to the others who beat you fair and square. Peyton Manning shook Russell Wilson's hand after getting destroyed in Super Bowl 48. Cam Newton shook Manning's hand after playing terribly in Super Bowl 50. To make matters worse, Brady can be seen shaking the hand of the losing team in Super Bowl 49 and 51.

Brady is not the only athlete to do this. Other star athletes have been seen running off the field or court after a loss whom another article could be written about.

As fans, we should demand sportsmanship between teams, especially their leaders. You cannot show "sportsmanship" when you win one game but not when you lose. It's about showing respect for the players that bested you. It's about saying, "you know this hurts that we lost, but that was a great game." We should demand better of our athletes, especially if they have already stamped their ticket into their respected Hall of Fame.

Tom Brady certainly is one of the greatest to ever do it, no question about that. He truly is an incredible athlete with his own underdog story. But after the events of Super Bowl 52, I will never be able to look at Brady in the same way.

Cover Image Credit: Sports Illustrated

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Can Matt Harvey Bounce Back In 2018?

Will the Dark Knight ever return to form?

For Matt Harvey, 2018 has to be more than just a bounce-back year. It needs to be the year where he defines his entire career.

It seems like an eternity ago, but at one point, Matt Harvey seemed like the future of the Mets. Before Jacob DeGrom and Noah Syndergaard even joined the team, Harvey was there, breaking records and starting All-Star Games. Typical rookie stuff. In 2015, when the Mets reached the World Series, Harvey’s dominant 8+ inning performance in Game 5 came crashing to a halt after walking Lorenzo Cain and giving up a subsequent RBI double to Eric Hosmer. Harvey was removed from the game, and the Mets would lose the series later that night.

Since then, Harvey has never been the same pitcher he once was. Over the past two seasons, he’s gone 9-17 while posting a staggering ERA of 5.78. He wasn’t able to finish either season due to injury.

However, 2018 will be a year where the Mets can only go up, and in a contract year, Harvey has the chance to prove he can be a dynamic part of the team’s rotation. With Manager Mickey Callaway at the reins of a complete turnaround for the Mets after an abysmal 2017, it would only make sense that Matt Harvey could completely turn his career around.

During his tenure as pitching coach for Cleveland, Callaway was responsible for the evolution and domination of both Corey Kluber and Carlos Carrasco, pitchers who led the Indians to back to back playoff appearances over the past 2 years. With the Mets, Callaway believes he can do the same, and that the talent is inherent for the team. “The amount of very good arms and quality stuff we have in this Mets organization, I promise you nobody else has that,” Callaway said on Tuesday.

Of course, in order for the talent to shine, the Mets need to overcome their greatest weakness and stay healthy. In 2017, four out of the five probable starters for the Mets all served lengthy stints on the disabled list, while DeGrom was the only SP to have an effective season. While Callaway danced around the idea of limiting pitchers’ innings, he put an immense emphasis on health, a topic that Harvey has struggled with immensely.

After undergoing surgery for thoracic outlet syndrome in 2016, and in 2017, Harvey received more surgery to repair his left shoulder blade. While there are still plenty of questions regarding his health, and if he could possibly return to form in 2018, Callaway has put his faith into not only Harvey, but the entire Mets pitching staff. “There are smiles on everyone’s faces because they’re coming in healthy and what I’ve seen so far has kind of blown me away”

Cover Image Credit: WikimediaCommons

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