Finally, some photos from our Seattle trip

27 02 2009

My apologies for the delay, but my iPhone was being finicky.

Andrew made me take this of him

This is what Qwest’s press box looks like. Except that it’s about triple the size of what this photo illustrates.

Pristine Qwest

Press Box entrance

This is us lost in the bowels of the building, trying to find the parkade.

A somewhat warped version of Qwest Field

Keller warming up


Major League Blunder

27 02 2009

Allow me a rant on a sport that is far removed from the lovely game of football. It seems this whole steroid scandal never goes away. Alex Rodriguez is the latest victim and now his place in history will forever be questioned.

What sickens me is how Bud Selig, league commissioner, has completely weaseled his way out of any sort of blame for what occurred in the 90’s. Clearly the use of steroids was rampant; this we know. So it has to be assumed that league officials had some sense of it and decided to turn a blind eye. And there is further evidence to support this when you consider the MLB was climbing out of a work stoppage that canceled a World Series, so they needed any sort of boost in viewership they could get.

But regardless, even if they were completely ignorant of what was occurring, they still have no basis to throw their athletes under the bus like this. There were no rules about steroid use in MLB at the time. Period. The league cannot begin to discuss things like suspensions and hall of fame eligibility when it didn’t have rules in place expressly forbidding certain substances.

Now I’m not saying that the players aren’t at fault as well. Clearly there is a lack of morality amongst the game’s best ambassadors. But remember that baseball is an environment where athletes are paid to perform. They have a limited amount of time to make millions of dollars and be set for life. Freak injuries can come into play as well as a whole host of other things. So the environment is ripe for finding every possible advantage, unless you put systems in place to protect the players from themselves. And that is the ultimate failure in judgment in all of this: the league failed to put systems in place to protect the players from themselves.

Live Blog – Vancouver Whitecaps FC vs. Seattle Sounders FC

22 02 2009

3:10 – Next up, some good eats, and then a trip to the Premium Outlets where I get to stick it to all those retailers that charged me $120 for a dress shirt some years ago.  I’m looking at you Klein, Ellis, Guess and BR.  Ah, the plunging economy does have its upside sometimes.

3:05 – We’re now amongst the last people in the stadium.  They’ve clearly turned the heat off, because my feet feel like they’re in blocks of ice right now.  Andrew was deep in thought working on his laptop but magically, when Nate mentioned we can expense our lunch today, he perked up and said ‘what?’  There’s nothing getting past that guy.

2:05 – I’m now sitting pretty much alone in the press box, as all of the writers are on the field conducting interviews.  Simon and Andrew are with Teitur and all I can see is Simon flailing his arms violently.  Greg Anderson is standing off in the distance, shuffling his feet.  I wish I had more excitement to pass on, but I don’t.  If you want to check out another running blog of the match – one that’s far more precise and informative – visit the Sounders live blog here.

2:00 – Final thoughts: the ‘Caps were outclassed today.  I can’t really sugarcoat it.  Seattle is going to be a surprisingly strong expansion team I believe.  They take on Toronto FC in April and I think they could give them a run for their money in a battle of recent expansion squads.  If Le Toux and Nayassi can continue to own the flanks and if Jaqua can continue to demonstrate his finish, they will score some goals.  Unfortunately, we didn’t get to see Ljungberg as he’s currently injured (hey Seattle, get used to hearing that one!).  And I don’t know if I can properly rate Seattle’s defenders, although Keller was solid as a rock, as always.

1:55 – Whitecaps get shutout by Seattle and I get shutout from food by the press box peeps.  Not a happy camper am I.  Not sure who will be grumbling more – Teitur or my belly.  Oh well, there were some bright spots, particularly when the sun appeared through the clouds on a couple of occasions.

1:53 – And that does it.  4-0 Seattle final.  A match that started with a lot of promise quickly unraveled into a clinic on how to control the sides of the pitch.  As Simon just said ‘that was….a bit of a lesson’.

1:51 – Gbeke deserved a penalty shot after being taken down in the box, but alas it seems the refs are content to put their whistles away.  We’re into injury time now.

1:48 – Mee-fillickers!!!  Liverpool drew Man City.  That probably ends their title hopes.  I tell you, I have a lot of respect for Rafa, but if he continues to live with this conservative style, then he’s going to die by this style.  Just not the urgency or determination that a title-topping side should display.

1:46 – Oh right, I’m here to talk about the match and not just try my hand at stand-up!  Honestly, there hasn’t been much.  But just now, Levesque was all along on the far side, dribbled in, beat Nolly, didn’t beat the woodwork and Hirano was there to direct it into Nolly’s grasp.  It’s not often you can call a keeper on the wrong side of a 4-0 score the star, but he’s really come up big all game for us.  Certainly hasn’t been his fault.

1:44 – A Seattle writer, Steve (not sure his last name, we didn’t formally introduce – my bad), asks about the state of the turf at BC Place.  I respond with ‘you know the turf they make mini-golf courses with?’  Thank you, thank you, I’m here all week.  Tip your waitstaff.

1:42 – Densil Theobald lifts a curling shot toward goal but Nolly makes a beautiful outstretched save.  When I ask Simon who that was, he refers to him as the Trinidadian.  Man, Tobago really got shafted by being the second name.  Nobody is ever referred to as a Tobagan.

1:38 – Andrew, on the sidelines taking photos, sends Simon a one-word expletive.  I probably can’t divulge the word but it definitely doesn’t rhyme with ‘mee-fillickers’.  The last time I saw Andrew use that word, someone had snatched the last Timbit at work.

1:36 – Andrew says the Lemon Lime Jones Soda is actually quite good.  But he needed that sugar kick as his morning meal of Red Bull and a roast beef sandwich is clearly wearing off.

1:34 – With R.E.B. on, Simon informs me that there are 3 Residency players now patrolling our midfield.  I like this move, as hey, if we aren’t going to get the result, let’s at least get everyone some burn.

1:32 – Randy Edwini-Bonsu is on for Nash for our 6th substitution.  Teitur seems intent on spreading the bloodshed amongst the entire squad.

1:31 – Phillipe Davis is on for Toure.

1:30 – Goal Seattle – I shouldn’t have mentioned the beating my hockey team took last night, as it appears to be a harbinger.  Montero is wide open at a tight angle but calmly puts it past Nolly.  4-0.

1:27 – Goal Seattle – Le Toux is able to pounce on Taka’s misjudged header, walks in and finds Montero who puts it away.

1:26 – Montero’s free kick from 25 yards skips up and nails Nolly in the chin.  Poor guys is taking most of the damage today.  He probably feels like me at my rec-league hockey game last night, where we lost 6-0.

1:23 – Jaqua is in all alone but decides to move it across to Le Toux for the tap in, but he’s offside.  Boy, that was lucky.  Jacqua could have simply buried it himself.

1:20 – And it appears Levesque is coming on for Nyassi.  Whitecaps players breathe a collective sigh of relief.  The always quotable Simon Fudge says ‘Glad to see the backside of Nyassi leaving the pitch’.  Hmmm.

1:19 – Hirano comes on for Trafford in our 5th sub of the day.  Shortly after, Nyassi finds Jaqua who re-directs it straight into Nolly’s chest.

1:18 – I just looked at that last point and it may have sounded snarky.  That’s what happens when I’m un-fed and have to rely on a sugar-free spike to get me through.

1:16 – Finally some action.  Gbeke is taken down about 22 yards out.  Again, Nash and Toure line up, but it’s Toure who takes the shot.  In broken recordian fashion, it sails high.  At least this one was closer, missing by a mere 3 feet.

1:14 – I’m getting hungry.  I thought there would be some good eats for the media.  After all, if guys want to spend their Sunday following an exhibition match , the least you could do is make sure they’re well fed.  Ah well.  They do have some Jones Soda.  The sugar-free one is actually not too shabby.

1:09 – To add injury to insult, Wesley Charles went down and has been subbed off for Justin Thompson.

1:05 – 2nd half has kicked off.  Gage is in for Versaille, Burgess in for Arze, Martin in for Knight.  Seattle hasn’t made any changes.

1:04 – This just in: the washrooms are much nicer than Swangard’s.  Although the automated faucet seems to run water far too long.  It’s like 30 freaking seconds.  I had already dried my hands and was about to leave and I had to turn back and make sure I didn’t just leave a faucet running.  I realize this is a minor point.  But if I was in charge of ops here, I could cut the hydro bill considerable first day on the job.

1:02 – The press box is huge.  It looks like it can hold over 300 people (there are only about 25 of us here at the moment).

12:53 – For the Whitecaps, Wesley Charles stood out for me.  Trafford did his best against a nifty Nayassi all half.  Gbeke needed to bury his one opportunity.  Toure has probably been the most active player in Seattle’s half, but he’s also made some poor decisions.

12:50 – Overall, Seattle’s wing players Le Toux and Nyassi have looked like stars, while Jaqua and, to a lesser extent Montero, are demonstrating consistent pressure on the central defenders.

12:49 – Halftime whistle blows and the ‘Caps can’t be feeling too good at the moment.

12:46 – Communication error between Nash and Gbeke results in Martin showing his frustration.  The teams looked fairly even for the first 20-30 minutes, but it’s all Seattle right now.

12:45 – A great pass by Le Toux for Jaqua almost results in another goal.  Jaqua and Nolly meet at 16 yards, with Nolly barely poking it away.

12:43 – Seattle are really rolling now.  Another nice chance sails high.  ‘Caps need halftime to regroup.

12:42 – Goal Seattle.  Jaqua again.  After a great save by Nolly on a Le Toux header, Jaqua has an easy put back for a 2-0 lead.

12:40 – Goal Seattle.  Montero plays in Jaqua, who takes it on the chest and finishes over Nolly.

12:37 – Nyassi beats Nash and sends a dangerous pass toward goal, but Charles deflects it away.

12:35 – A touch by Nash gives Toure the shot but it sails high.  Toure now has at least 3 shots, all high.

12:33 – James Riley holds Ansu Toure as he makes a run into the box and the ‘Caps are awarded a free kick about 25 yards out.  Some pushing and shoving ensues.

12:30 – The sun just peaked out for a few minutes and really demonstrated the beauty of Qwest.  It’s a little strange watching the match in a giant empty stadium, but beautiful nonetheless.  Conjures up thoughts of BC Place in 2011 – well, except the empty stadium part.

12:24 – Toure shoots from just inside the box but it sails high.  On the other side, Montero has a clear look at the goal but weakly shoots it straight at Nolly.  Later, Nayassi has all sorts of time to send a cross to Montero, but he heads it across the face of the goal and toward the by-line.

12:23 – First shot of the match for the ‘Caps.  Charles Gbeke makes a quick move past the defender and fires a low shot to Keller’s right.  Nice toe save by the Sounders keeper.

12:22 – Seattle really have us pinned back now.  Several minutes of errant crosses and corners.  Nayassi is really impressive thus far and Trafford is working hard to contain him.

12:14 – the team is really playing forward right now.  It looks light a four man wall right in step with Seattle’s back four.  However, Ansu is overplaying it a little.  And now momentum is swinging back toward Seattle.

12:10 – I should add that we arrived a little late because of a couple of setbacks on the drive down.  No biggie, we still got inside about 20 minutes before kickoff, but there’s some mad scrambling right now to get set up, sort out the lineups, etc.  Lots of deep sighs by Simon beside me right now.

12:09 – Okay, I’m back.  The match just started and seems pretty even so far.  Nyassi had a nice attempt from just inside the right side of the box, but it just sailed wide.

7:24 – Andrew is busy worrying about if his car is safe to park in Kits. That and telling us how he’s going to be the strongest guy in the office thanks to his new training regimen.

6:50 – Ok, that’s better. I’m all set. If you are not aware, the ‘Caps are playing Seattle in a preseason match today down at Qwest Field. You can visit our website – – for a preview. The match is closed off to fans, since Seattle want their MLS home opener to be the fans’ first experience of the new team. But under the auspices of ‘Whitecaps media personnel’, I get to go. I’m actually pretty excited about seeing not only Seattle’s lineup (including one Freddie Ljungberg), but also how we match up against them. It should be a great game.

Joining me on the trip are Nathan, Andrew and Simon from our office. It’s going to be a tight squeeze into my Exploder, but that’s what makes it fun, right? At least until our first fast food stop of the trip.

6:41 – It’s, well, 6:41.  On Sunday.  Normally I only get up this early on a Sunday when Liverpool are playing.  But in the cruelest of fate, Liverpool play at 7:00 today.  Right when I leave.  Oh, and my back is killing me – I have a strained disc from about 10 days ago and I attempted to play hockey last night, so needless to say, my back is not happy with me right now.  But don’t worry, future entries will be far more jovial.  If only I can find my passport.

My Saturday Morning Ritual

7 02 2009

It’s taken over half the EPL season, but I’m finally settling into a nice little Saturday morning routine.

So long as Friday night doesn’t lead too deeply into Saturday morning, I wake up around 7am to watch the featured match on Sportsnet. I then figure out how I’m going to watch Liverpool. Sometimes I find a feed online, sometimes I head over to a friend’s house (who has Setanta). I haven’t yet gone to G-Sport or joined up with the LFC Vancouver Supporters Club, but I really should at some point. But anyway, while enjoying some good prem league action, I fire up the laptop and work away on some Whitecaps stuff. It’s a good time of the week to get some work done. I have a clear head, I’m relaxed and comfortable, and I can focus on some things that inevitably get pushed aside throughout the week. For example, I usually post a comment or question on the Southsider’s board and then spend the next few days reading their comments and responding. I’ll also clean out my inbox, inevitably recovering an important email that I had completely neglected.

So I hope this little ritual can continue. It makes for a nice ‘my time’ and doesn’t feel like work. Of course, I work in sports, so very little of my work feels like work!

Happy Saturday to you.

If only I were privy to such knowledge

5 02 2009

Seems a little slip of the tongue has prompted one blogger to suggest I have insight into the results of our MLS Bid.

While conducting an interview about the ‘Caps new Pub Program as part of an evening with coach Thordarson and the Southsiders, I used the works ‘We’re moving up’.

I see how that could lead to speculation, but alas, I have no profound insight into the decision that Mr. Garber will ultimately make.  As I said in a reply to the post, we are moving up, regardless of this MLS decision.  Moving to a renovated BC Place, our training camp starting 6 weeks earlier than ever (and moving to a year-round training schedule) and even our new Whitecaps Foundation is clear evidence that we are raising the game in this province and raising our stature within it.

Anyway, check out the blog here and my incriminating video here.

Fun with my iPhone camera

4 02 2009

Ok, time for an assortment of pics I’ve taken over the last few weeks.

view from my desk

this is our printer on Monday after a certain someone caused the toner to explode

quite the explosion

I love this ad for Crashed Ice

This was in the washroom at GM Place (I know, it’s probably weird of me to be taking pictures in a bathroom).  If content is crucial, maybe you should replace your ads with the current Canucks jersey and colors?

This one just seems dumb to me and I don’t know if I actually get it.  Are those pins?

Old Whitecaps mirror at a pub I went to on east Hastings

Does this one need a comment?

Really?  Soap can be organic?  I’m skeptical.

What a fun winter it was

Waldo and Nate at the office

Liverpool 2 – Chelsea 0

1 02 2009

Gutsy effort by Liverpool today. They were very fortunate to have Wank sent off with a straight red but there were questionable calls both ways (don’t get me wrong, however, that was the biggest). Benayoun blatantly getting kicked in the back and no action from the ref is one example.

But int he end, Liverpool got the three points. This season they are finally proving capable of beating the top clubs but it’s the middling clubs the continue to underestimate. And that falls squarely on the shoulders of Rafa Benitez. Several points have been squandered because he tries to play it safe against these clubs, as if his more talented side on paper will win out. His lack of confidence in Keane is inexcusable, considering the forward has not seen consistent minutes all season (and yet has 3 goals in his last 3 starts). I want him to stay and get minutes but Rafa seems intent on one striker formations. I thought this would be the year the philosophy changes but nope: Rafa’s passivity is the sword upon which he chooses to die.

Overall, Hopefully this is the boost the Reds need to continue their pressure on United. If Keane is to be transferred I can only hope there is talent coming back because it’s going to be a gruelling couple months ahead. Don’t bother looking for a striker because Rafa won’t play him anyway (plus he’d much rather bring Babel on in key moments and watch him look for his own stats). Perhaps another central mid to allow Gerrard to play even more advanced than he is and give him and Alonso proper relief. Hmmm, maybe a Gareth Barry type?