Kim Klement––USA Today Sports

Thinking out loud: Soccer in Pawtucket?

John Rooke
December 06, 2019 - 11:48 pm
Categories: 

Thinking out loud…while wondering if Home Field Advantage has taken on a new meaning…

 

  • Of course, I’d love to see Brett Johnson’s new soccer stadium development plan work for Pawtucket.  It would be nice to have the private sector swoop into Rhode Island and actually show the lame ‘politicians’ in the state just how business can work.

 

  • But color me doubtful over whether or not it will ever work.  Why?  Those same, lame politicians control where much of the private sector money goes – and Johnson needs a lot of it for his plan to work.

 

  • Additionally, while Johnson has had success in Phoenix with a similar team, stadium and project…there is NO soccer team for Pawtucket, yet.  And competition from up the road and the Revolution, who are launching their OWN minor league affiliate – albeit in a lower league than Pawtucket’s proposed USL team.

 

  • Again, I hope it happens.  Johnson is a Brown grad.  It’s great to see someone with local ties come back into the community and try to make it a better place. 

 

  • But unless (and until) most of the residents in the State House are replaced, or undergo lobotomies, we should all have serious reservations over whether any progress toward any kind of real business development ever happens – new stadium or not.

 

  • If these politicians were regular, reasonable human beings who actually cared for the community and not just a few measly votes, they wouldn’t have driven a 50-year business out of Rhode Island in the first place. 

 

  • And the WooSox wouldn’t be an actual thing right now.

 

  • I mean, 17 soccer dates per year for a yet-to-be-named team or 72 baseball dates from a team that had a 50-year track record?  Which do you think would bring in more exposure, more notoriety, more tourism, more income?  Stupid is as stupid does.

 

  • Ok, so the demographics say soccer could work here.  It’s more popular among younger people and within ethnic communities than baseball.  The Providence TV market actually shows very well regionally and nationally when it comes to soccer ratings.

 

  • But will these fans spend their money for the new development, and then spend it ON the new development?  I’ll believe it when I see it.

 

  • Not for nuthin,’ but RI college soccer teams had a helluva year this year.  Brown’s women won the Ivies, were nationally ranked and lost in the NCAA’s 2nd round.  PC’s men played in the Big East final and lost in the NCAA Sweet 16 on a PK.  URI’s men won the Atlantic-10 title.

 

  • Rhode Island.  It’s a soccer state of mind.  ‘Cuz baseball struck out.

 

  • And what do we do with McCoy Stadium?  My suggestion would be – at the very least – to keep the facility open for colleges and high schools to utilize as best as possible.  That will cost $$$ to maintain.  Maybe the Speaker or the Governor would be willing to chip in?

 

  • Or, bring back Friar baseball.  Right, Lou Merloni?

 

  • If you really, truly believe the Peloton commercial on TV being decried as ‘sexist’ IS sexist, then you are one of two things – fat, or ugly.  Or both. 

 

  • I kid, of course.  But maybe not.

 

  • Peloton took a 15% hit in its’ parent company value as an immediate backlash to the commercial.  On this point, I’m not kidding.  But…perhaps Peloton was brilliant at marketing this thing – expecting the blizzard of criticism that followed?

 

  • Wanna bet the company bounces back, big time, thanks to the snowflakes who lambasted it in the first place?  Suckers.  You fell for it. 

 

  • Because, this is part of the problem we’re having these days with society-at-large. 

 

  • Please worry about your own selves, and please leave those who want to spend thousands of dollars on a stationary bike that goes nowhere alone.  There’s really nothing to see here, so move along.  Dopes.

 

  • Shocking that Georgetown dismissed two of its’ top players from their basketball program this past week.  That Patrick Ewing sent Josh LeBlanc packing, if he’s guilty of harassment and misconduct as alleged, is to be applauded.

 

  • But James Akinjo’s desire to transfer, apparently without involvement in any misconduct, was a surprise.  Last year’s Big East Freshman of the Year was on his way to becoming the next great Hoyas’ player. 

 

  • It’s a major, major setback, for now, to Georgetown’s return to prominence in the Big East.

 

  • And yet, before Hoya Paranoia can set in again, Georgetown goes on the road this week and beats a good Oklahoma State team.  You think you know, but you just don’t.

 

  • DePaul is 9-0.  Let that sink in for a moment.  And, they could easily be 13-0 when Big East play begins at the end of this month. 

 

  • Two of the Big East teams picked in the preseason for 8th, 9th and 10th…are now two of the nation’s remaining 16 undefeated teams heading into this weekend – DePaul and now-24th ranked Butler.  You think you know, but you just don’t.

 

  • The Friars in California last week were certainly an exercise in frustration.  Why did it happen?  Hard to put a finger on just one thing – but let’s start with not playing with intensity for the full 40 minutes.  Can’t play a 30-minute game these days and still hope to win against teams that are better than advertised.

 

  • Because you know, you think you know.  But you just don’t.

 

  • And then Rhode Island happened.  Credit the Rams, first.  But 22 turnovers?  12 free throws attempted?  There wasn’t much passion and very little sense of urgency as URI spanked PC down the stretch of a 75-61 win Friday night…outscoring Providence 18-6 in the final seven minutes.

 

  • The point guard spot is a liability.  And the older players simply aren’t playing with the kind of energy expected, with one or two exceptions.  Disturbing, and upsetting for Friar faithful, no doubt.

 

  • Ed Cooley has his greatest challenge yet as a coach…staring him down…and ready to run him over.  But the problems are fixable.  The question is – can they be fixed?

 

  • URI’s Cyril Langevine is a beast, with a first-half double-double against the Friars.  But you knew that already.  Fatts Russell is the 3rd straight opposing guard to rip the hearts right out of the PC defense.  Jeff Dowtin?  Steady, and heady.

 

  • This three-headed monster will have a say-so in the Atlantic-10 race.

 

  • Brown’s Brandon Anderson checks in this week 18th nationally in scoring, at 21.6 points per game.  The senior guard is also 14th nationally in minutes played per game. 

 

  • You cannot convince me the Patriots’ loss at Houston wasn’t due, at least in part, to the fact half the team had the flu.  Not an excuse – but a pretty good reason, at the least.

 

  • It’s the first time, in my now 32 years of covering this team, I’ve heard of the Patriots taking two planes on a road trip – one for the wellies, another for the sickies. 

 

  • But, but, but…maybe they’re just not good anymore?  TB12 has approached the cliff again.  No one can catch the ball or run with the ball.  They can’t block, either. 

 

  • The Patriots are 10-2, still tied for best overall NFL record, last I checked.

 

  • It’s simple, really.  Stick with a game plan.  They gave up way too early on the run against the Texans.  Give up early on the run against Kansas City this weekend, they’ll get drilled.  KC owns one of the worst run defenses in the league.

 

  • Keep the ball out of Pat Mahomes’ hands.  Win the coin flip, take the ball and make a statement.  Give your defense – your best attribute – a head start. 

 

  • This New England team was built, defensively, to beat Kansas City.  Here’s thinking the moment this weekend meets the opportunity.  Just sayin’.

 

  • Love Tom E. Curran.  Talented writer, broadcaster and Patriots’ observer.  But he’s out of his mind if he really believes the team will let TB12 walk away to another team after this season is over.  Could it happen?  Anything is possible.

 

  • Will it happen?  NFW.

 

  • Why do I have the sinking feeling, however, that we have seen the last of Mookie Betts in a Red Sox uniform?

 

  • My buddy “Big E” sez his grandson broke a window with a baseball last week.  He asked him what the neighbor said when he discovered the shattered glass.  “Do you want to hear what he said with or without the bad words?” was his reply.  “Without, of course,” Big E told him.

 

  • “Well then,” his grandson answered.  “Nothing.”

 

  • Hard to believe, really, but Rutgers’ fans had a huge role in the school re-hiring Greg Schiano as head football coach after all.  See what griping, complaining and protesting will get you?

 

  • It got Schiano $4 million per year over eight years. For a program at rock-bottom in the Big 10.

 

  • His predecessor, Chris Ash, made $2.3 million before he was fired earlier this season.  Schiano was 68-67 as head coach in his previous trip to Piscataway, NJ.  But there were five bowl wins in 11 years there, so…

 

  • Steve Addazio had seven seasons at Boston College, had one bowl win and a 44-44 record.  The Eagles, desperate to be competitive in an ACC that has all but gone off and left them in a ditch, fired him. 

 

  • Maybe, just maybe, if BC had used some of that ACC TV-booty a bit earlier on their once-crumbling athletic infrastructure, Addazio would have had half-a-chance at success?  The new indoor practice facility on campus opened only a year ago.  Just sayin’.

 

  • The Sports Business Journal reported this week it’s likely that Learfield IMG College – the athletic marketing and sales arm for PC, URI and Brown – will probably have a large say in how college student-athletes are able to take advantage of any Name-Image-Likeness opportunities down the line.

 

  • Representing more than 200 Division I schools across the country, they’re in perfect position to do this since they’ve already established relationships with business partners in the local community.  A student-athlete looking for a “deal” would be foolish not to take advantage of a company that already has a foothold within the marketplace.

 

  • And Congress has formed a working group among Senators, exploring plans for college athlete compensation, so there aren’t 50 sets of rules in 50 states.  This is gonna happen, people.

 

  • Cool story in the Wall Street Journal this week giving at least partial credit to three former MIT students for LSU’s success on the football field this season.  The students started up a company known as Perch, which partners with LSU and collects data in velocity-based weight training.

 

  • We lost two good ones this week.  Rob Schuller was a voice you would recognize, having worked in voiceovers on local and regional TV and radio for years – and most recently, as our 2nd voice at Gillette Stadium and Patriots.com.  He was huge into counseling kids with cancer at a Vermont summer camp.

 

  • Rob passed away just after Thanksgiving at age 61.  God speed, my friend.

 

  • You might remember Ann Conway from her time as a news anchor and reporter at both WLNE-TV and WPRI-TV in the ‘80’s and ‘90’s.  She was a consummate professional, a very good anchor and reporter, and an extraordinarily nice person.  Great to work with.  Ann also left us this week, at age 69.

 

  • NBA TV ratings on the two big cable networks, TNT and ESPN, are down more than 20% over last year.  And game officials are oblivious to LeBron James’ blatant traveling, too.  YAWN.  Wake me up in May.

 

  • Well, the Bruins were the first to fall, losing to Chicago at TD Garden Thursday night.  But technically, Boston’s fall and winter teams are still unbeaten at home – in regulation – in their present seasons.

 

  • The B’s are now 12-1-4 at home overall, after the OT loss to the Blackhawks…the Celtics are 8-0 for their home dates at TD Garden…and the Patriots are 5-0 for the regular season at Gillette going into their game with Kansas City Sunday, riding a 21-game home win streak.

 

  • The Patriots haven’t lost a home game in more than two years, since losing to Carolina on October 1st of 2017.  The last home loss for your local heroes?

 

  • That would be courtesy of the Boston Red Sox, on September 28th at Fenway Park.  Home field advantage?  We expect it.  We take it for granted.  But it’s always been hard to beat teams here, especially in lousy weather. 

 

  • The lousier, the better.  The fellowship of the miserable?  You’re right, Coach Pitino, and you’ll always be right about that.  It’s who we are.  It’s a prideful point, really, despite the championships won over the past two decades. 

 

  • I hope we never change.  Keeps the edge on that home field advantage, if you ask me.

 

  • @CMetthekid tweeted this week on the Friars: “Is the team showing confidence this week that they can finish the non-conference on a strong note with a bunch of great opportunities ahead?”

 

  • Chris:  They had better.  After URI, two big games loom as serious chances to make an impression on any potential March dancing – Florida in Brooklyn, and at the Dunk against Texas.  Must win?  Unless they go 14-4 or better in the Big East…probably, yes.

 

  • Interested in having your questions on local Rhode Island sports (and yes, that includes the Patriots, Red Sox, Bruins and Celtics) answered in a somewhat timely fashion? Send ‘em to me! It’s your chance to “think out loud,” so send your questions, comments and local stories to jrooke@weei.com. We’ll share mailbag comments/Facebook posts/Tweets right here! Follow me on Twitter, @JRbroadcaster…and on Facebook, www.facebook.com/john.rooke ...

 

Don’t forget to tune into Providence’s 103.7 FM, every Saturday from 7:00-9:00 am for Cordischi and Coit!  Call in at 401-737-1287 or text at 37937.