Is United cheap?
United passed on the likes of Jimmy Conrad, Guillermo Barros Schelotto and Juan Pablo Angel in last week's expansion draft, choosing the less-expensive options of Josh Wolff and Joseph Ngwenya. Then they traded Troy Perkins - who was scheduled to make more than $200,000 in 2011 - for Steve Cronin and allocation money. They haven't made any significant foreign signings this off-season. What's going on here? One of two scenarios. Imagine with me for a minute...
Scenario A: United President and CEO Kevin Payne is in his office in crumbling RFK Stadium. The lights and the heat are off...better to save money that way. Payne sits in a chair with threadbare upholstery, the third arm of his irregular sport coat draped over the back. He digs through the suit's nine pockets in search of some rolls he snagged from a meeting earlier in the day - it's dinner time. Opening a drawer in his desk, Payne produces several ketchup and soy sauce packets collected from fast food restaurants over the years. He removes a few packets, gnaws open the top, and proceeds to drizzle the sauce over the rolls; dinner is served. For dessert: cake swiped from the birthday party of some DC Sports and Entertainment employee he's never met and a handful of mints taken from the local deli.
His meal finished, Payne walks to the window just in time to see the 96 bus roll to a stop in the RFK parking lot. Ben Olsen hobbles out, having completed the three bus transfers and half mile walk required to get him to RFK in just under two and a half hours. He stops at the Salvation Army bell ringer outside the stadium just long enough to get rid of some Canadian coins, then heads inside to meet Payne.
Payne greets Ben at his office door, "Ben!" he says, extending his hand, "Great to see you! Can I offer you something...PBR, Natty Light? Tap water?"
"No thanks - I'm not thirsty," Ben replies, having stopped by Burger King on his way over to refill a cup he's been carrying around since 2002. "Look, Kev, we've got to talk about the draft."
"Right, the draft," says Payne, stroking his chin. "What's up - did you find a place to park for free near the Baltimore Convention Center?"
"No - it's about the pick itself. We've got the third overall pick. That's a valuable freaking thing, and you don't just give it away from nothing."
"No kidding," says Payne. "We screw this up and it's going to be a long MARC ride back to D.C."
"Exactly. Well, I had a brainstorm the other day. You know how I had a Groupon for one of those Duck Boat tours of D.C.?"
"So, I'm on the tour, and I see a kid wearing a signed David Beckham jersey. I asked him how much he paid for it, and he says...get this...five hundred dollars!"
Payne's eyes widen at the mere thought of so much money. Aghast, he flops onto the inflatable sofa next to the window.
Ben continues: "And that's no fluke. I put the jersey I got from Beckham after his first MLS game on Ebay, and sure enough...five hundred dollars!"
Payne is getting flushed. He dabs sweat from his forehead with the third arm of his sport coat.
"So, I'm thinking we trade our pick to L.A. for maybe a thousand signed Beckham jerseys, put them on Ebay, and then watch the money roll in!"
Payne suddenly sits straight up and looks Ben in the eye: "No," he says. For a second, Ben is crestfallen. But Payne continues: "We trade our pick for TWO thousand UNSIGNED Beckham jerseys, sign them OURSELVES, and THEN watch the money roll in!" Ben's eyes light up, and the two men spring from their seats to execute a mid-air high five.
"Outstanding!" says Payne.
"Awesome!" says Ben. "Should we call Will?"
"Not yet," Payne replies. "It's 6:30 in San Francisco. He won't pick up until his night-time minutes kick in at 9."
Scenario B: Kevin Payne, Ben Olsen, and the rest of the United brain trust are in Payne's office at RFK. The lights are on, both literally and figuratively. They're hard at work figuring out how to use the cap space they've cleared to bring in an impact striker and central defender.
I've got my fingers crossed for scenario B.
| December 21, 2010; 4:35 PM ET
Categories: Jeff Maurer, United | Tags: D.C. United, Jeff Maurer
Save & Share: Previous: Washington on the Pacific
Next: The "Alexander Semin is Your Crazy Ex-girlfriend" scale
Posted by: stancollins | December 21, 2010 5:31 PM | Report abuse
Posted by: OhBoyOhBoy | December 21, 2010 5:33 PM | Report abuse
Posted by: DadRyan | December 21, 2010 9:10 PM | Report abuse
Posted by: Matte | December 22, 2010 9:40 AM | Report abuse
Posted by: joe_hill | December 22, 2010 10:12 AM | Report abuse
Posted by: DadRyan | December 22, 2010 6:46 PM | Report abuse
Posted by: I-270Exit1 | December 22, 2010 9:09 PM | Report abuse
Posted by: lgm6986 | December 23, 2010 6:57 AM | Report abuse