Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Hey Now


Hope all is well

What a mad few days its been. Once again I was having trouble finding an apartment and having two viewings were cancelled because apparently I earn just over the limit you are allowed to, to live in these places. I was gutted, these places were right in the 'Power and Light district' as well, right where I want to be. It looks as if i'll have to find somewhere else outside the city now. Gutted.

Anyway, on a brighter note, we traveled to New York on the Friday. As a Brit, we see NYC on the TV all the time and i've always wanted to go (having never been the NYC) and when we flew over New Jersey with Manhattan on our left, it was like a sea of lights, it was beautiful. We landed at Newark airport and Dan, Jake and I set off in our car to find the hotel, which took us a while to find due to being diverted around the Holland Tunnel due to a shooting; Dan said 'welcome to New York!' We arrived at the hotel (The W, which was lovely) and I was hoping for a nice view and my goodness I got it. Pulling back those curtains to see an almost perfect view of the city, bright lights and commercials as far as the eye could see; perfect. I'll never ever forget that moment. I've seen a lot of cities in my life but i've never seen anything so majestic as that city.

During the evening we went out in the town we were staying in (Hoboken), which to my surprise was quite a cool place. I was always lead to believe that the area outside and on the outskirts of NYC wasn't that great. Anyway we grabbed a bite to eat at 'Johny Rockets', a stereotypical old style burger place. Then we went on to 'The Dubliner' which was a cracking place in the middle of the town. Jake (director of photography) and his girlfriend Whitney, Dan (assistant producer), John (our merchandise guy who joined us for the trip to gather ideas), Mike (the kit man and honorary mad man), Andy (Mike's assistant) and I all had a great night sharing stories, laughs and of course alcohol.

I got up the next morning bright and early to meet up with John and head down to New York City. Eventually we got there after figuring out how to use 'the path' and get tickets. Its not to dissimilar to 'the tube' in London, so we found our way around eventually. So there I was, local lad from Great Barr walking around New York City. I couldn't quite believe I was there and even though I was only there for a few hours I urge anyone to go if you have a chance; it blew me away. We met up with one of John's old friends and had a bite to eat in an irish pub, which was great because I got to see the last ten minutes of Villa loosing to West Brom (so not so great) and then Chelsea - Spurs and THAT goal from Sandro. After that I got to see the madness of Times Square which was just mind blowing. I had spotted similarities to London in New York but once I saw Times Square, I was stunned. Commercials, bright lights, thousands of people, Hard Rock Cafe, all the sights i'd heard so much about and this was only mid day! I had the opportunity to get my haircut before we left for the hotel but I chose not to, I chose to go to NYC for the first time in my life instead; hence why no haircut yet. I think the funniest moment of that afternoon was when we were walking under a huge building. I glared up at it and said to John, 'man alive, thats a tall building' to which he responded 'thats because its the Empire State', I then said 'oh ye' and felt like a proper tourist.

So after the glamour of NYC we headed back and got ready for the broadcast. I did some more work on my reads before John and I headed over to the stadium using the 'the path' which we were much more familiar with this time.

I met my color commentator about two hours before the broadcast, FOX News' Brian Kilmeade joined me this week. I thought we worked well together. He's obviously done TV so he knows about timings and didn't seem nervous (why would he). On the call, again, he seemed fine, he's a soccer coach in his spare time and he used to do play by play on the Red Bulls when they were the MetroStars so he knows the game well. Despite the odd slip up from myself I think it was a good broadcast and once we got back to Kansas City it seemed the broadcast went down very well and by all means, let me know you're thoughts.

Anyway, my thoughts on the game - I thought the first half was awful and once again we were exploited in the middle of the park. The goal, despite protests IS onside. I think I said on the broadcast, i'm surprised at how well Luke Rodgers has adapted to Major League Soccer. I thought Aurelien Collin marked Thiery Henry superbly well. We improved in the second half but didn't test Coundoul nearly as much as we should have. Another disappointing end to a game, loosing 1-0. 

We got back to the hotel after saying our goodbyes to the guys that helped out on the broadcast and Dan, Craig (one of our assistant producers) and Eric (another camera man/assistant). They both travel with us on every broadcast and have become good friends. We left the hotel and headed for 'The Dubliner' again. The night was going rather smoothly, we had a few bottles of beer and it was a nice relaxing evening, until, (and I take full responsibility for this) I uttered the sentence 'f***k it lets get jaegerbombs' and thats when it went downhill from then on. We went down to the second floor (the dance floor) and proceeded in having a lot more to drink. We regretted it the next day.

We eventually got home after the two flights back home. Sunday, I did nothing, I was hungover. It hurt. Very much.

Monday, I felt great but must admit it was the first day I thought 'going home would be quite nice'. I guess that makes me home sick. After we'd finished for the day Adam (one of my housemates) and I went to the golf range. Having not played for two months its safe to say i've lost it, well, in fact, I don't think I ever had it but smashing balls up to Ohio certainly helped put my mind off things. We were gutted we'd just ran out of golf balls when 4/5 dears decided to run across the driving range. Inevitably, everyone tried to hit them, but failed.

So today, i've obviously been working on this, but i'm off to Swope Park soon as our reserves take on Real Salt Lake reserves. Looking forward to it. Before I go, i've not long tweeted this and i'd like to get people's thoughts. I certainly don't think this is the case anymore but do people and players in Europe see the MLS as a 'retirement' league....... Lets talk.




  1. MLS is dollar for dollar the best league in the world. MLS is the pound for pound champion. Even players brought in on Designated Player (DP) status are impressed by the level of play by this league on such a low salary budget. This means that even DP players will struggle to win honors (such as Golden Boot) over players without DP status. It would take the same top players from the top leagues to just come in and dominate MLS, but keep in mind that they are currently dominating in their leagues as well. I would say this is definitely NOT a retirement league. If anything, we reject more foreign players than we allow in, regardless of what age they are. In another ten years, we will have one of the top ten leagues in the world, and the developmental system under MLS to support its continuing growth. Our player pool is increasing in talent, and the MLS exporting players to Europe is becoming less of a concern.

  2. Hey Cal,

    Just discovered your blog from Down the Byline. Been following you on Twitter as well. Thanks for the candid look into your experience coming here. In first seeing you on TV I was pretty neutral to you, but after reading some of your blog posts I like you a whole lot more. Glad to see you are having some fun. Keep up the hard work on the broadcasts. It will payoff.