What the hell Mr. Beckham?

I joke around because I think the stories are funny. And when it comes to ironic funny, nothing may be better than David Beckham.

Supposedly famous for playing soccer, it seems to me that Beckham is never mentioned in the news for actually playing. I find it amusing to keep mentioning that.

It was of little surprise to me that, when making his celebrated arrival to join the Los Angeles Galaxy, his appearance on the field was threatened by a possible delay. Sure… it was due to injury. Didn’t matter to me. Beckham long ago crossed over… at least in my mind… to the side of the story where the reasons don’t matter, the reality does. For whatever the reason, David Beckham makes headlines for not playing.

Every so often you get a person that no longer deserves the benefit of the doubt. Or perhaps a better way of phrasing it would be that they are an obvious “I told you so” waiting to happen. The situation may not be exactly what you envisioned, but the results absolutely are. I don’t necessarily mean that as an accusation or some sort of personality judgment. I don’t mean it as a bad thing. Instead, the simple fact is that you need to accept that this person is involved in a situation where specific things will happen when they are involved. Kind of a walking and quacking like a duck concept.

Since we’re talking about athletics… how about J.D. Drew? The Red Sox invested millions in this guy and the immediate reaction was that he wouldn’t produce. That was the summation by plenty of people. Now… the fact is that most, like myself, thought that it would be because of injuries. He has been relatively healthy this season. A few bumps in the road, but nothing lasting for weeks. And yet, on Friday, August 24th, the Red Sox sent Bobby Kielty up to pinch hit for Drew in the eighth inning of a game. It was an important at bat. Guys on base and the score still relatively close. Kielty is hitting barely over .200 for the season. I’m going to go out on a limb and say that while it may not be the injury we expected… Kielty pinch hitting for Drew in the eighth inning of a 5-3 game… well, that’s a significant piece of evidence in proving that $15 million per season was poorly invested. And so… when Drew doesn’t perform, people are saying “I told you so” as it happens.

What about David Beckham?

Beckham is not an athlete. Not any more at least. For several years now, he’s been a celebrity… and that’s all.

Now stop me when I’m wrong.

Does anyone else recall the hoopla about Beckham… some $250 million… and the concepts of saving or establishing or in some manner creating a soccer phenomenon in the United States?

Funny thing… I thought the idea was that Beckham was going to do that by… well… you know… playing soccer.


Apparently they intend to do it by having him the news every day. Soccer part doesn’t matter. And this article is proof.

He plays in a “friendly” (isn’t that funny talk for an exhibition?) in England. You know… a game that evidently had no true significance. Wasn’t even a national team game counting as a qualifier for World Cup play or anything else. Just a friendly.

He then flies to Los Angeles to play in a game against Chivas USA. (Yes… Chivas is a league team.)

Thanks to the travel though… he’s pretty tired folks… he won’t play against Colorado. (That’s another league game.)

(I had linked to a Sports Illustrated story from 2007, but the link is no longer active… “David is coming here to be a soccer player. His first priority is going to be trying to make the Galaxy a better team.” I love that one. Give me a second… we’ll get to why that cracks me up.)

David Beckham was going through this much publicized arrival in the United States. Big day was supposed to be Saturday, July 21, 2007. He played in that game as a substitute. He was injured… but basically, given all the publicity, he sort of had to appear. The Galaxy are 3-7 from that game until the current day. I swear I have been trying to find out the specifics of games started and minutes played and other things for Beckham, but even the Galaxy’s web site is wildly inaccurate, having not been updated on players’ pages for some time. (It lists Beckham with no goals… that’s on Saturday morning, August 25th… he only scored his first goal more than a week ago on the 15th.) So evidently this soccer stuff isn’t even important to the teams involved.

Anyway… he’s going to miss at least one game for the team that pays him so he could fly to England and play in a meaningless contest. David Beckham is not a soccer player. He’s a celebrity. He’s not important to the Galaxy as a player. If he was, he never would have been in England this week. He would have been preparing with his team for their next games. He’s important for selling shirts and getting games in the news.

Beckham is not going to raise the popularity of soccer in the United States. If Pele couldn’t do it… Beckham won’t. It will be interesting for a while, because he is going to get his name placed on the home page of the big name sports web sites. Some folks will give him attention. But eventually, the losing record and the not playing and all of the other stuff will catch up with him. And he’ll fade into the background and drift off into retirement.

From my point of view, I’d rather not mention Beckham on these pages again at all, but it’s time for someone to point out that the emperor has no clothes.

It’s too bad that Beckham doesn’t take the game seriously though. Because I’d like to see if he could actually help the Galaxy win. If he was committed to the sport and his team… instead of to the spotlight, saying the right thing and his checking account… he might have actually made a bit of a difference.

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Fortunately the reunion tour of the Spice Girls begins after the regular season is over for the Galaxy. That will prevent Beckham from having to explain how he traveled with the band while missing games for the team.

What am I talking about?

Well… history again.

The wedding of Tom Cruise and Katie Holmes. (If you want to, use a search engine for the story… where you’ll find out how Beckham, while injured, tried to leave his team at that time to attend Cruise’s wedding. It also covers more details about the move to Los Angeles. Beckham was ordered back from Italy before the ceremony. In fairness, the team had granted permission to the injured player to travel to Italy to visit with the couple before their wedding. I still find it interesting.)

If you have any comments or questions, please e-mail me at Bob@inmybackpack.com