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Penultimate EA Sports Takes on MLS Critics, Marge Schott

By Bo Light
Associate Sports Editor

Some people just shouldn't be allowed into positions of power. People like CEOs, politicians, and major-league baseball team owners have to deal with a lot of people. Employees and constituents always hope those people will act unselfishly in everyone's best interest, and the media is always ready to pounce on any mistake. No doubt about it, with power comes responsibility, and some folks just can't handle it.

In case you haven't guessed, the reason I bring this up is that Cincinnati Reds owner Marge Schott is once again in the news, this time for comments she made regarding in a recent interview Adolf Hitler.

Schott not only lacks tact, she lacks business sense as well. Her various cost-cutting maneuvers - like eliminating out-of-town scores from the Riverfront Stadium scoreboards - and tyrannical team policies are turning away fans and players. In a time when baseball is struggling to regain its image, Marge Schott is bad for the game.

Unfortunately, owners can't be fired, and there is no government agency that can simply step in and say, "You can't handle this position, we'll take over." So how do we make her go away?

Well, someone could buy the Reds (I'll do it - what does a major league franchise cost these days?). Alternatively, she could be locked in a room for a week with Albert Belle. But perhaps the best way to deal with people like Marge Schott is simply to ignore them. If she wasn't being interviewed all the time, she wouldn't have the chance to say dumb things, would she?

Corner kicks set the tone for soccer

The scoring has finally begun in Major League Soccer. After two weeks of 10 donnybrooks, offenses started coming through in a big way, the biggest being a 64 slugfest between Kansas City and Columbus (whose nicknames will not be repeated here because they are insipid).

The league's policies, which reward offense and penalize teams that play to tie, have offended soccer purists, but are becoming popular with offense-minded fans used to basketball and football. Each side has valid points to its argument. When scoring decreased in the NFL, the league implemented rules designed to help offenses. Scoring went back up, and the fans loved it.

It's always exciting to see a team score. Much of the general public's dislike of soccer is attributed to a lack of scoring, and since the MLS is trying to draw the general public to games, it only makes sense to reward offense.

Of course, just because something works for the NFL doesn't mean it will work for everyone. A defensive football game is boring. On the other hand, a defensive soccer game is often a thing of beauty. In soccer (or in hockey, for that matter), nothing will bring fans to their feet as quickly as a miraculous save by the goalie, or a defender who stops a sure goal at the last second. Goals are nice, but it's much better to see a goal that was cleverly set up by passing around several defenders than an easy shot misplayed into the net.

What critics on both sides of the argument are missing is that good, exciting offense depends on good exciting defense, and vice versa. Major League Soccer's rules will succeed not because the number of goals will increase, but because the number of attacks on the goal in the final minutes will increase, leading to (surprise!) more exciting games.

One last trivia question

Since The Tech's Commence-ment issue will likely mark the end of EA Sports, we'll finish with one of my favorites: Who won the first game of American football between two colleges? Send your answers, comments, and farewell wishes to easports@the-tech.mit.edu. Hint: The school is located in the Boston area, and they have a plaque outside their football stadium commemorating the accomplishment.

Answer to last week's question: Most people knew that Darryl Dawkins, Bill Willoughby, and Kevin Garnett entered the NBA draft out of high school. Shawn Kemp was not counted as correct; Kemp did attend college for a year, though he never played basketball there. Moses Malone was counted as a correct answer, although as Jaspal Sandhu '99 correctly points out, Malone entered the ABA, not the NBA.

The answers most missed were this year's high schoolers, Kobe Bryant and Jermaine O'Neal (O'Neal's entry into the draft is contingent upon the results of his SAT). Hareendra Yalamanchili '97 and Howard Cheng '96 managed to name everybody, so the next time the Celtics make the playoffs, they can call me, and I'll be happy to get them tickets.