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January 16, 2008


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Noel Maurer

Spinrad's "National Pastime."

The amazing thing about the story isn't the violence. (And, well, Blood Bowl has that beat to ... uh ... hell and back.) No, it's how Spinrad perfectly anticipated the marketing strategy that Major League Soccer would adopt a quarter-century later.

In a slightly more subdued form, of course.


Hm. Spinrad had the Gay Bladers, the Black Panthers, the... [screw it, googles] the Hog Choppers, the Psychedelic Stompers, the Caballeros -- and why not the Latin Kings? -- and the Golden Supermen, who were the white supremacist team.

Obviously free agency is pointless in this league. Also, I'm intrigued by the idea of the Stompers' cheerleaders.

The New York City High School Math Teacher

Warhammer 30K and bloodbowl were the kind of intense, kinematic, sculptural war gaming I enjoyed far the corner of my eye, in another room, during the all-night Advanced Civilization marathons.

I don't think the Games Workshop gameplayers I knew could list the NFL teams. But they could paint lead miniatures.

Sir Francis Burdett

well on a rather more cheery note



... the sweet sculptural rhythms of Warhammer: Blood Bowl? Hm.

Frankie, I was on WLUK as a kid! (it was ABC then, not Fox.)

Noel Maurer

MLS has openly pitched teams at the major soccer-playing immigrant groups in each of it markets.

This strategy hit its limit when the league decided to move a team to Houston and name it the 1836, a pretty blatant attempt to capitalize on Anglo sentiment. I mean, it's not quite the "Golden Supermen," but it's not hard to read the code. The Mexican-American population of Houston, happy to be citizens of the United States, turned out to be equally happy that Texas was forced to remain United, and protests started by local elected officials soon nixed that.

But the New England Revolution openly markets itself to the Portuguese-Brazilian-Cape Verdean ... I guess "lusophone" is the right word ... communities here.

D.C. United, meanwhile, openly supports stadium barras straight outta Peru and Bolivia. (Although, well, I've seen the style in Argentina and Mexico.) The Chicago Fire made a similar play for Polish support. Toronto FC has tried and miserably failed to identify with the city's Caribbean community. (MLS has stated that Queens --- not "New York," Queens --- is slated for an expansion team. I figure they don't want the Canadians poaching the opportunity.)

And when L.A. Galaxy plays Chivas USA, well, we all know what that's all about.

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