Happy SuperDraft Day!
The second-most wonderful day in Major League Soccer is here – this being just behind Opening Day in favoritism for me – and I’m excited. Today, 15 MLS teams chart their course for the future by selecting the top young talent in the country. Not only am I excited, but I’m prepared.
I’ve retreated to the basement of my colossal compound outside Baltimore. Normally, the basement is the poker room and culinary experimentation lab, but not today. No, folks, today it is transformed into a complete MLS SuperDraft War Room, complete with big screen monitors following the action on ESPN2 and in MLS cities around North America, as well as the largest dry erase board east of the Mississippi River, which I will use to track not only their picks, but their meaning for the clubs themselves, and, maybe, their significance in bringing a new forward-looking approach to our country.
The War Room is secluded and set up in such a way that no one will bother me as I take in this most important of MLS days. Other than the TV signals beaming the draft to me in glorious low definition, all other outside communications are blocked. There will be no cell phone calls, no Internet, and no other distractions (save for the special door behind the bookcase where the pizza gets delivered). There will be no live blogging of the draft by me, because I’m going to be too busy working – slotting all the picks into their team’s rosters and deciding just how it’s going to affect their success in the upcoming season. This is done using a large soccer field layout with all the teams included, such that it looks kind of like an Axis & Allies game spread out over a Subbuteo pitch. Off to the side of the War Room is a printing press used to make up the new jersey for the top pick (whether Seattle makes it or not), where it will join the Wall of Fame for #1 draft picks, the likes of Jason Moore (autographed!), Steve Shak, Chris Carrieri, and Leo Cullen. Not just Wall of Famers, but MLS Hall of Famers, all.
Now, late trades such as the ones the Red Bulls are making, shipping Dave Van den Bergh to Dallas and Mike Magee to Los Angeles, make setting up the display a bit more difficult (lots of painting at the last minute to ensure each player is represented on the right team come 2 p.m. Eastern today), but that’s alright. It’s worth the effort. It’s worth the hard work. Because this … THIS! is the SuperDraft.
As a D.C. United fan, this is an exceptionally notable day, as the club has four draft picks in the top 26 selections. This is an opportunity to build through the draft, to find great young players, and become a dynasty once more! Or, United could go to the Minnesota Vikings route and trade all the picks, with Fred, Bryan Namoff, and 20 smoke bombs to Dallas for Herschel Walker. I hear he’s got quite the work rate. The problem from a United perspective is that by all accounts, Walker isn’t from Argentina, so that might diminish his value just a little bit. Plus, Walker stands 6-foot-2, which is a little tall for United.
But when the trades and the picks and the action goes down, I’ll be in the War Room keeping track. Today is the day that can change the destiny of teams for 5, 10, maybe even 100 years. Get it wrong today, and it’s curtains!
OK, so maybe not.
Maybe … just maybe, the above was perhaps a bit of an overstatement. Slightly.
Maybe, in real life, I’ll be sitting in my cramped apartment, watching in my living room (hey, the low definition part was true) like everyone else – trying to figure out who the hell United just drafted at #7 – wondering if he’s the next Alecko Eskandarian or Jason Moore.
But a guy can dream, can’t he?