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Thursday, July 31, 2008

Revs Commentary

A Revolutionary remedy

As of the MLB trade deadline, falling on the most nominal off day imaginable, the Red Sox exhibit nothing in the way of momentum and everything in the way of outside disturbances. The annual July 31 Manny Being Manny Pinnacle Week has been its murkiest yet and is sure to have left an indispensable inflammation with or without the mixed-bag leftfielder’s discharge.

Right about now, the state of the Sox is all things 2006. It was precisely at this time last year that another Big Papi walk off homer ultimately proved the last hurrah of a crash-and-burn non-playoff run. This time around, the Sox have been in second place behind Tampa Bay and ahead of the floundering Yankees, which from a fervent Fenway perspective is just as good as first place. But for how long? Like they do every year, the Yanks have discredited the early notion that they’re not playoff caliber, going 9-3 in their first dozen post-All Star games versus Boston’s 4-8, and indulging in a startling batch of deadline deals.

Have any clue where I might be going with this? Well, if I write much more about the toe-curling outlook for New England’s paramount sports team and if you keep following it with such focus, you are only going to jack up your blood pressure. Granted, the ride is far from over, so don’t give it up entirely, but at least understand that there are other teams to cheer for in this area.

No, the Patriots may be a week into training camp, but you’re only enacting another unhealthy habit if you follow six weeks of practice around the clock. I don’t ask the following question out of cheekiness, but because some of you just might earnestly answer “no.” Did you know that Bob Kraft owns another sports franchise? Ever heard of the New England Revolution, the soccer inhabitants of Gillette Stadium?

That’s the cure for such precarious fanaticisms as the kind that has you waiting for a kicker each autumn even after celebrating two World Series titles or devoting more time to buildup than the Pats will actually spend playing through their regular season slate.

The Revs are on a protracted mid-season break from regulation action, as all Major League Soccer teams have devoted the last month to overseas friendly and the All-Star Game, but here’s the data to chew on leading up to their next league game, August 9 against the Chicago Fire: with 13 outings to work with, New England owns the best MLS record at 10-4-3 (the only double-digit win column so far) and is ultra-thirsty to repeal the burden of three straight MLS Cup also-ran seasons.

Yeah, they’re shaping out to be the Buffalo Bills of soccer, but is that any less fulfilling than falling one keystone victory short of an undefeated Super Bowl run?

And it’s only getting more extraordinary that the Revs aren’t garnering more media attention. Never mind, for a second, the fact that Cranston resident and reining MLS Defender of the Year Michael Parkhurst will soon temporarily divert to play for Team USA in Beijing.

Two weeks ago, the team was on a commercial flight from Boston to LA when several players took the liberty of averting disaster. Specifically, they helped restrain a streaking passenger who had been attempted to pry open the emergency exit. The flight was halted on the ground in Oklahoma City to send the unruly nudist to a psychiatric center and everyone else carried on with their lives, the Revs included.

Unbelievable. It’s no secret sports fans need that outside-the-line oddball news in their diets the same way everyone needs internet access and trendy tunes on their portable phones. Manny Ramirez and the barely mentionable Spygate saga make that indubitable. Yet this soccer adventure barely made the cut in a few newspapers and was not substantially discussed in any electronic outlets.

Let it now be made common knowledge, however, that local professional soccer action may be found regularly on WSBK-TV (aka TV-38, the former home of the Sox, Bruins and Celtics) and WEEI.

That’s right. WEEI, the second-most striking acronym in New England sports behind NESN, is the proud radio carrier of Revolution soccer. How could you miss that?

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