Greetings From Esky and Rimando
Just got off the phone with Alecko Eskandarian. He's in his hotel room, killing time until tonight. He's already done the USA Today crossword puzzle. Now he's watching "ATL" and messing around on Facebook and MySpace.
"Game days are the worst days ever," he said. "Man, they're so boring bro, especially when you're on the road."
A few minutes later, Nick Rimando called me back. He had just gotten back from Pentagon City Mall, and he agreed with Esky. "Oh my God; you just sit in the hotel or sit in your room and do nothing," he said.
But the two gentlemen have used their time in D.C. to catch up with old friends. Esky had dinner with Bobby Boswell last night. Rimando took his two Argentine teammates around town yesterday--"I'm a very welcoming guy; they wanted to see the Casa Blanca, so I went and showed them the White House," he said. They met Ben Olsen for lunch in Georgetown, and then Rimando went over to Olsen's house for dinner last night.
(I don't know Talley or Pope, which is why this item is not about them.)
The obvious question was about their feelings about returning to Estadio RFK; "I'm stoked," Rimando said. "It's funny flying in here and staying at a hotel and not my house. I still have family and friends here, fans that still are cool with me. It's going to be fun coming back and playing in the stadium with a different jersey on."
"I can't wait," Eskandarian agreed. "I really can't wait."
I asked them what they expected from the fans tonight.
"I don't know, I hope it'll be really cordial," Eskandarian said. "I know I'm planning on clapping for every single one of them and showing them love for all the support they gave to me. I'm not expecting anything crazy. I definitely want to take time out to show them how much I appreciate the support they gave me, because I never had a chance to do that. I'll stay as long as I can after the game, talk to as many fans as I can and sign as many autographs as I can."
"Hopefully it's a good response; if not, oh well, it's part of the game--the fans are always going to support their team," Rimando said. "I've been good to the fans, and the fans have been good to me. When I left, it was a good goodbye."
I asked whether they had plans on exchanging jerseys. Rimado is pledged to Olsen, which is sweet. Eskandarian said he was told before the road trip not to give away any more jerseys, and then he already gave one to his cousin (who has Type I diabetes) in L.A. "I think if I give up my jersey tonight I'm going to be playing skins on Saturday in Toronto," he said. "But we'll see. I'm sure I'll give it to someone. Maybe whoever comes to me first. I don't know, there's so many guys that I want. Maybe if I get a 5-for-1 deal, that'd be great."
Let's see, what else? Well, Nick said I can tell you all that his wife, Jacqui, is pregnant and due in February. Offer your congratulations, Insiders.
"I feel like an uncle already," Esky said.
Oh, and did you know that Esky lives in the Rimandos' basement? And rides a bicycle with a horn and a basket around Salt Lake?
"I'm Dupree. I live in the basement, I bring strangers over: it's hilarious," Esky said.
"He's Esky: He drinks four Red Bulls beore he wakes up. He's 100 miles an hour every day," Rimando said, when I asked about his tenant. "He's good, he eats his turkey sandwiches after traiing, comes home and chills out on his computer all day."
"I'm a pretty simple guy, I eat turkey sandwiches every day," Esky agreed. "The deal is, whenever [Jacqui] cooks, I do the dishes."
"Other than that, he's quiet," Rimando said. "We just keep him in the dungeon all day. Jacqui's almost like a teacher; she taught him how to make spaghetti. He's not going to do anything to get kicked out; he's learning, living with us."
The former putt-putt tournaments Esky helped create in D.C. have not been recreated in Salt Lake, but the fantasy football league has. Except the RSL guys take it a lot more seriously than the DCU guys did. They have a 14-team league, with Esky as commissioner, and he actually lost in week one. He used to dominate the DCU guys.
"I'll pull some strings," he promised. "I'm like the Patriots; I'll cheat if I have to."
This all makes me feel very old. It's been a year since I reported on the DCU fantasy football league ("I can't believe you still have a job, actually," Esky said today), almost that long since Rimando and his Water Wars ("I can't even get outside this hotel to shoot people with water guns," Rimando complained this afternoon.) Now I'm a dad, and soon Rimando will be as well, and 50 or 60 Septembers from now we'll all be gone.
Oh well. More seriously, I guess, I asked both guys about this season. Both said it's been an adjustment to be on a team fighting for its playoff life instead of worrying about seeding.
"We're definitely heading in the right direction," Eskandarian said. "It's just frustrating sometimes, because we're not getting the results we want. We put in all the work, for sure. I'm not used to some of losses we've been getting, I'm not used to the losses. It's been a learning experience."
"I'm coming from a storied team like D.C., having so many trophies and always dominating the league, always being on the top and having points and not really having a problem making the playoffs," Rimando said. "Now we're pushing to get points, every win means something. I've never been in a position where we're fighting to get to the playoffs. It's definitely weird, but it's definitely something new, to learn from, where you're going to get yourself out of the gutter it's tough for sure. It's new, but I don't know, we're growing for sure. We're getting better and better each game."
As for their future plans, Rimando has family in Utah and loves the area; he hopes he'll be back with Real next season. Eskandarian's contract with the league is up after this year; he said he hasn't talked to anyone at RSL or MLS about where he'll be next season.
"I have no idea, to be honest with you," he said. "Wherever I'm getting paid to play the game I love, that's the bottom line. I'm just trying to do what I can on the field and not really worry about that stuff."
"I really don't, to be honest with you," he said. "This year I've been pretty boring. For one, goals have been tough to come by. I think I'm just more concerned with getting the results. I've got a few things in the bag, as always, but I don't know if I'm going to break them out tonight. I have a lot o respect for D.C. and the fans, and I'm definitely not going to do anything to show them up."
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