OMG OMG OMG! David Beckham is here to make the United States care about soccer! Yay!
Too bad that isn't going to happen...at all. David Beckham coming to the LA Galaxy will do three things; it will sell lots of Galaxy swag, it will sell lots of Galaxy tickets for a season or two, and it will cause ESPN to show you features on Beckham and Posh until your eyes bleed and puss starts coming out of your ears. That will be pretty much all that happens.
Here is the truth of the matter; American sports fans have a scoring mentality. They like home runs more than nice double plays. They like scorers like Kobe more than defensive stars like Bruce Bowen. They like TD scorers like Reggie Bush more than a field position assassin like Shane Lechler. And they surely are not going to get excited by a 32 year old midfielder that has not been a real goal scoring threat in five years. For those of you who are not familiar with soccer in general or Beckham in particular, here is a crash course. Beckham plays midfield, and even though his skills have declined in the past few years he is still extremely good on crosses, corners, and direct kicks. Translation; he is very good at setting other people up to score and on rare occasions he scores a goal on free kicks. He is not the kind of scoring talent that will finally wake America up to the world's most popular sport. Grief, at this point he is not even one of the top ten players in the world. To make matters even worse, he is on the second worst team in the MLS.
So remind me again how getting an aging, non-scoring, pretty boy and putting him on a terrible team was going to make Bud, Mike, and Dave down at the corner bar turn off NFL training camp coverage and turn on the MLS?
Look at it this way. Thinking that Beckham will save the MLS is about as dumb as sending John Stockton to Europe to stir up interest in basketball. Is he good? Yes. Is he an entertaining scorer? No. Would you send a cannon armed catcher to Japan to stir up interest in baseball by throwing out baserunners? No, of course not. The entire Beckham experiment is based upon one simple assumption; the Galaxy, MLS, and ESPN think you are dumb. They think that they can throw out a celeb name, do a bunch of interviews, and it won't matter whether or not the results on the field ever come. Here is a newsflash; American sports fans do like substance with their style. They turned on Anna Kournikova, they turned on Freddy Adu, they are turning on Michele Wie and Danica Patrick, and in a years time they will have turned on David Beckham once it becomes glaringly obvious that he is not the supreme superstar everyone had been hyping him up to be.
And you can expect an ESPN special all about it.