By Chris Lane
By Jeff Balke
By Aaron Reiss
By Angelica Leicht
By Dianna Wray
By Aaron Reiss
By Camilo Smith
By Craig Malisow
Our New Look
Not everyone was wild about our new design:
We're biblical: That's just it. You are supposed to be able to look at, and read, a paper! Journalism 101 teaches you, keep it legible! Keep it readable! Big, bold, simple print! Maybe this is more sophisticated and arty in appearance, but who knows what's in the content, without a magnifying glass! You are using, what — 4 point or 6 point type — in a face or font usually reserved for your X-rated ads in the back, or for the Bible — take your pick. I'll pick my nose — more productive than straining my eyes. In a time that I thought newspapers wanted readers for their hard-copy editions, you are sending me — against my will — directly to the Internet!Arrghhh!
Please rethink this artistic error, and give us something we can at least read! Enuf with the pretentious thin type — your "ragged right" has proven to be a "ragged wrong" for readability!
Name withheld by request
And several of our online readers weighed in on our sports blogger John Royal's assessment of pro soccer entitled "The Dream American Soccer Boom: Not Gonna Happen," March 10:
No pay, no play: In my opinion, soccer will never become a major league sport in the U.S. until the MLS starts paying players major league contracts. This means salaries of $3 million a year.
A lot of kids grow up playing soccer, but they change to other sports in high school and college...because you can't get rich playing soccer.
Can't stop it: You haters see it coming and I can sense your fear. Must suck to realize America is changing before your eyes. All your lies and efforts to stop the soccer revolution will be in vain.
Off base: You made quite a few mistakes inyour article.
1) MLS does have a national television broadcast network: ABC, ESPN andESPN2.
2) Your assessment of the Houston Hurricanes averaging more fans than the Dynamo is way off. I wasn't alive then, so I looked it up. The Hurricanes' best season had 6,211 a game. The Dynamo last year averaged over 10,000 more than that. 16,939.
3) Fifty percent of the Dynamo was bought last year, and that group will likely buy them out completely after the new stadium deal.
4) Some MLS teams do draw legit crowds without Beckham. Case in point: Watch the Seattle/New York game on ESPN2 on March 19. Over 32,000 tickets already sold. Quite a few others average over 20,000 a game, too.
There's nothing wrong with not liking the sport, but if the sport is booming and has growing numbers to support it, how can you make up facts and say it's not?
Rebound: Correction, I have to correct you. The MLS does not air any games over ABC, NBC, CBS, Fox, CW or PBS, which are the national broadcast networks. It does not even air any games over ESPN, which is a national cable network. It does air games over ESPN2 (see http://web.mlsnet.com/mls/schedule/2009/national_tv.jsp). And if you had clicked on the link in my post, you would have discovered that MLS used to have a Thursday Game of the Week on ESPN2, but because the ratings were bad and getting worse by the season, ESPN2 decided that it no longer deserved a guaranteed weekly time slot.
Bend this: Can't make money playing soccer? What hole are you living in that you've never heard of the continent of Europe? Try telling David Beckham you can't make money playing soccer, let alone any of the players that currently make far more than he ever did.
Manchester City offered over $100 million just to transfer a player from Milan; that doesn't even cover his salary at all!
Trolling: I assume that you wrote this in anticipation of drawing out the trolls, football (for that is the true name of soccer) haters and other lowlifes who jump at the chance to trash a major sport.
Regardless of whether you like it or not, or wish to hear it, football is the world's most popular sport and brings in far more money in revenue that the American version played by the NFL. It is watched by more people worldwide than any other sport.
In this day and age, what possible difference does it make if a sport is not on a "broadcast" network? The fact is that the majority of the television viewers in the United States now get their television by means of either cable, satellite or some other non-over-the-air transmission. Your argument regarding national broadcast is a nonstarter.
Fox Sports, ESPN and the other networks are just as national as ABC, CBS or NBC and they are probably seen by more viewers.
You might very well be tired of hearing it, but that's just tough, and frankly I'm tired of hearing you naysayers carping continuously.
In fact, to be quite honest, I really don't care what you think — I have my Dynamo season tickets and I can attest to the fact that MLS teams have more heart and are closer to their fans than any other sport played in the U.S.
Offsides call: What irks those of us who follow, report on, comment on and love football/soccer/fútbol is the fact that journalists who are supposed to cover sports in this country, such as yourself, have this unexplained need to come out and bash a sport they are utterly and totally ignorant of. If you do not understand or enjoy the sport, fine, there are some sports I do not understand or enjoy — not many, but some. Here's the difference: Instead of going out of my way to bash that which I do not understand, I focus on what I do understand. So until you can coherently explain the offside rules, maybe you should focus on the sports you know and leave the beautiful game to those of us who understand the game.
Houston Press is a finalist in five categories
The Western Publishing Association has announced that the Houston Press is a finalist in five categories in its annual Maggie Awards — a journalism contest open to publications located west of the Mississippi.
Staff writer Chris Vogel is a finalist in two categories — in Best Feature for "Prison Cover-up" and in Best Public Service for "Crime Doesn't Pay(back)." In his prison story, Vogel revealed that prisoners in the federal penitentiary in Beaumont were not moved out of the path of an oncoming hurricane even though there were mandatory evacuation orders. His story on crime was an investigation of court-ordered restitution, in which he found out that in Texas most offenders pay nothing back and there are no consequences.
Staff writer Craig Malisow is a finalist in the Best Public Service category for "Selling You," his investigation into the magazine crew business which revealed the unsafe conditions that the young sales people both operate in and bring to your front door.
Former staff photographer Daniel Kramer is a finalist in the Best Single Editorial Photograph category for his December 18 picture of a young boy and his sister at Dickens on the Strand.
And the paper itself is a finalist in the Best Tabloid/Consumer category.
Winners will be announced in late April.