First, let me apologize for the the sheer paucity of posts recently. Between personal matters and in-house multimedia training I was off the TFC scene for much of October, and since people around the office aren't exactly lining up to write about MLS the blog suffered.
If there's good news to come from all that, it's this: Now that I'm an officially Toronto Star-trained multimedia journalist, I should be able to add some original video to the TFC blog next season.
Should be fun. Stay tuned.
But enough about me. I know you guys clicked on this page because you want to talk Beckham.
Last time we spoke somebody (it still wasn't clear who) was negotiating a deal for him to spend the winter on loan AC Milan. Back then Galaxy coach Bruce Arena said what most of us were thinking -- that the deal made no sense for L.A.
Late last week, however, Arena either changed his mind or had his mind changed for him, because by the time he spoke to Sky Sports he thought the loan was a "fantastic" move.
Then today we get this from Sports Illustrated's Grant Wahl, who learned that Beckham's MLS contract contains a clause that allows him to opt out after year three of his five-year contract.
That's big news.
If you're keeping count, 2009 will be Beckham's third MLS season.
Most of us figured Becks wouldn't have agreed to a deal with MLS unless it contained an exit ramp, but getting someone with knowledge of the deal to confirm it is huge.
If I wore hats I'd take mine off to Wahl.
Anyway, Grant seems to think this contract loophole portends Beckham's early exit from MLS and I can't say I disagree. I'm sure when he signed on two years ago he didn't foresee playing for a low-level team in a league that still isn't Major in the North American sports landscape. When you're slogging through yet another loss, enduring 100-degree weather in half-empty stadiums, the big stages in Europe must seem pretty tempting.
As for the league, the two most pressing questions to arise from this latest Beckham situation concern MLS.
First, what does it say about a league when even during the midst of their playoffs the biggest story is the guy who's not playing?
And second, if Beckham does indeed bounce after the 2009 season, and if MLS hasn't by then achieved an NHL level of prominence in the U.S., can Beckham's tenure be considered anything other than a failure?
How early is too early to discuss these things?
-- Morgan Campbell