Bashing Soccer-Bashing

And more on light rail, locavorism, and the justice system.

Re: "World Cup of Sucker" by Mark Fefer (July 2)There are already 17,000 people willing to fork over money for [Sounders FC] season tickets and the team still doesn't have a coach or a designated player. I agree with you that the media far too often attempts to say that soccer has finally arrived, but something is happening in Seattle and it looks like it has the possibility to be big. —ZmurfComparing the quality of Major League Soccer play to the Euros is just silly. That's like saying that because the average MLB regular season game isn't as exciting as the World Series the regular season's quality of play is bad. You come off as another Eurosnob who'd pay through the nose to watch a snoozer between Derby County and Portsmouth because it's the English Premier League but a thriller between Chicago and New England would bore you because it's MLS. The people behind Sounders FC are shrewd businessmen and in the entertainment business. Are they going to draw 58K? Do the Mariners? They'll bring out 25-30K if they play their cards right. And you'll have to gripe about something else.—Jim PowersSo, what need of yours did this article satisfy, Mr. Fefer? You feel better now? Is your ego soothed? LOL. All you soccer bashers are the same. Can't stand the fact that the world has embraced futbol instead of baseball and/or American football.—US FanMany European basketball leagues are hugely popular, though the teams are several notches below the NBA. Here in the U.S. we love college basketball and football, but obviously the talent level is far beneath the professionals. And the Mariners don't measure up to Major League Baseball standards, but many Seattle folks love them anyway. The point? It's possible to enjoy sport for the love of the game, without having to look down on it just because there are people somewhere in the world playing it at a higher level.—Bob HYou make some accurate observations and some totally ridiculous ones that seemed more designed to serve your intended story arc than factual accuracy. Of course soccer doesn't have near the quality or fan support of soccer in Europe or of the major sports here. And predictions of soccer success have been greatly exaggerated in the past. But, that in no way means that soccer is not growing in popularity and quality in the US! The MLS is MUCH more stable, deep, and competitive than the NASL ever was. More and more people continue to play soccer PAST the youth level. We also now have a couple generations that have grown up as fans of MLS and European leagues. You embarrass yourself my ignoring the statistics and evidence that point to soccer's slow, but continuing and significant, growth in the US. Do your research and try writing a more nuanced piece.—phillyprideYou know [Beckham's] still getting called up for the English national team, right? And Real Madrid has publicly stated that it was a mistake to let him go? "Washed up"? That's a lazy line in a lazy article.—MelHMark Fefer responds: Yeah, calling Beckham "washed up" may have overstated the case. But my real mistake was identifying the young women at the All-Nations Cup as Croatian. They were Bosnia supporters!Re: "Tongue Lasher" by Laura Onstot (July 2)No doubt [Allan] Parmalee represents a difficult challenge to the Open Records Act. Clearly, his intent in filing requests has little to do with exposing government misdeed or malfeasance and more to do with disrupting the system. But freedom of information cannot easily be constrained by judgments about "intentions." It is fairly easy to see—particularly in the context of the current federal regime—that allowing the government to rule on the "validity" of a FOIA request is a dangerous path. As a card-carrying member of the ACLU, I am troubled by our state's reaction to Parmalee.However, I am also married to a deputy prosecutor who works for King County. Parmalee has demanded my spouse's employment records, social security number, home address and personal telephone numbers, along with those of all the other criminal prosecutors in the office. I have met the deputies whom Parmalee has personally threatened and have heard the story of the years spent dealing with him. His pattern of behavior quite clearly demonstrates that his intent is to intimidate and harass. He is a sociopath, but intelligent enough to know the very edge of the line between speech and criminal threat. That makes him all the more dangerous.Parmalee is a perfect example of the tensions and dynamics that must be played out in the continuing evolution of the American system. I just hope that he doesn't do permanent harm to a person or to our civil liberties in the process.—Married to the LawRe: "Seattle über Alles" by John Roderick (June 25)As native Seattleite who has lived in Portland and plans to move back, I enjoyed reading your Seattle versus Portland article. The most interesting part for me was the critique of Sound Transit's raised light rail plan. Though I do agree that people should be smart enough to avoid oncoming trains, history has shown us this is definitely not true. I spent a week up at Oregon Health Sciences University last summer and when speaking with one of my nurses I had the chance to hear about all the injuries they've had to treat due to the street-level MAX line in Portland. The MAX has signs on the train warning about how much it weighs and how long it takes to stop. These are there for a reason, and that reason is that there are a lot of MAX accidents every year. Utah's UTA TRAX system in Salt Lake City also has some of these issues.I'm currently reading a memoir written by Blanche Caffiere about growing up in Seattle before the Depression. Streetcars and busses made things so much easier back then—it was a simple thing to hop on a streetcar and get around the city—as most folks did since cars were a rarity. My father grew up in Seattle too and remembers a time when he and his brother and father would take a train right up to Snoqualmie Pass to go skiing. It's sad to look at where we once were with public transit and where we've ended up.—MichelleRe: "Boundary Issues" by Jonathan Kauffman (June 25)I've cooked at three very popular, higher-end restaurants that tout "local, sustainable cuisine" and each time, I was shocked and saddened by how non-local and very non-sustainable their produce and seafood turned out to be. What a racket!—DWrite to us at or comment online!

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