Friday: Every once in a while, the Arena Football League gets something right. It did Thursday.
The best player in the AFL this year? It had to be Shock quarterback Erik Meyer.
The Eastern Washington University graduate opened up the season on a hard-to-believe note, attempting a league-record 193 passes before he threw an interception. That type of consistency couldn’t last, sure, but Meyer was still brilliant throughout the season, throwing for a team-record 4,667 yards and 112 touchdowns, running for another 15 scores while leading the Shock to a 15-5 record and the National Conference championship.
But Meyer had one problem. He did it all for the Shock. In Spokane. Not the marquee franchise for the AFL. Actually, the furthest thing from a marquee franchise you can probably imagine, if it were not for Iowa Barnstormers.
The Shock have been on the outs with the league since moving up from af2 and joining the reborn AFL in 2010. The year they won the title. That didn’t sit well. Why? Because this is a league that wants to be known as major league. Franchises are located in Chicago, Phoenix, San Antonio, New Orleans and Philadelphia, all of which make it look big time.
When CBS promoted this week’s ArenaBowl matchup between Arizona and Philadelphia, it had a ring of the big time to it. If Spokane were meeting, say, Jacksonville, it probably wouldn’t have the same cachet nationally. For a league desperate for status and recognition, Spokane’s success isn’t all that welcome.
Which makes Meyer’s winning the league’s MVP award yesterday a bit surprising. Not that he didn’t earn it. He did. But that the league would give it to him is a bit unexpected.
This is a league, remember, that only honored three Shock players – Meyer, Adron Tennell, the best receiver, and Terrance Sanders, who set an AFL record for kick return yardage – on the all-league team. This following a season in which Spokane was arguably the second-best team in the league, after defending champion and soon to be 2013 champion Arizona.
So it would haven’t been much of a surprise if someone else had taken home the MVP trophy. But then again maybe it would have been. See, there was another piece of news yesterday. The league announced the formation of an expansion franchise in Los Angeles, the LA KISS.
Yep, it’s backed by members of the aging glam-rock band. With Meyer a free agent and a L.A.-area native, wouldn’t it look great for the new high-profile team to have the league’s best player as its quarterback?
It may not happen – Meyer has more than enough connections to this area to keep him here – but it wouldn’t come as a surprise if the new owners make a huge pitch for the league’s reigning MVP.
Sunday: Though this weekend seems to be brought to us by the word nostalgia, when we look back at it in a few years, we might remember it as the first day of a new era in Seattle.
The past and present collided at Safeco Field last night when the Mariners honored Ken Griffey Jr., inducting their greatest player into the franchise Hall of Fame.
That was then.
But this year’s team couldn’t honor his memory, losing 10-0 to a mediocre Milwaukee team despite the M’s having their second-best pitcher on the mound.
That is today.
Actually, though, I couldn’t think of a more appropriate way to have the night finish, with all those great M’s of the past watching the not-so-great (as of yet) M’s of the future get steamrolled by the former Seattle Pilots. Until the Mariners, circa 2013, reach their potential, the past is all we have to hold on to, in the baseball sense, right now.
But the future trotted onto the pitch in Toronto during the 34th minute of the Sounders’ 2-1 win last night. That would be Clint Dempsey, the best player in American soccer these days and poised to become the face of Seattle soccer. Though Dempsey didn’t score, he took his shots and invigorated the Sounders’ attack, despite the loss of Obafemi Martins to an ankle injury.
The next few weeks – the end of the regular season and the MLS playoffs – could be real fun.