[OC] The Best MLS Player from Each Country That's Fielded One: Part 1 (UEFA)
Throughout its first 25 years, Major League Soccer has seen players from all different corners of the globe, each with their own career story. Whether it be a guy like Tim Melia or Chris Wondolowski who were scrappy guys that came out of nowhere to be stars in this league, or world famous names such as Zlatan, Beckham, and Henry, the league's history of big names is as diverse as they come. Let's take a look at the best player from each country around the globe. This will be based on national team allegiance. Today, we'll be leading with Europe! Please note that this is my opinion, and in some cases the decisions were tough; I'll be sure to add in honorable mentions where I can, or add notes. Albania: Shkëlzen Gashi ( COL 2016-18) Short list to pick from here, as Gashi's only competition is Jahmir Hyka and Hamdi Salihi. Gashi gets the nod, if nothing else, for his huge 2016 season, where he scored 10 regular season goals (one of which was that year's Goal of the Year) as the Rapids damn near won the Shield. The madlad then went and one-upped that with his absurd equalizer in the playoffs against the Galaxy. His last two years weren't as fruitful, but man, when he was on he could pull something out of nowhere. Armenia: Yura Movsisyan ( KC 2006-07, RSL 2007-09 & 2016-18, CHI 2018) Four choices here, although in the end it's Movsisyan winning out over Harut Karapetyan, who played a couple seasons in the 90s for the Galaxy, San Jose, and Tampa Bay. The fourth pick in a strong 2006 MLS SuperDraft out of Pasadena City College, Movsisyan is mostly associated with RSL, who acquired him in a 2007 trade. With the Claret and Cobalt, he would tally 15 goals in 53 regular season appearances, and in 2009 he'd hoist the club's first MLS Cup. That'd be his last game with RSL until 2016 after some time in Europe with Randers, Krasnodar, and Spartak Moscow (even sharing the Russian PL Golden Boot in 2012/13 with Wanderson). He'd put up a similar clip of 16 in 57 before being waived and finishing his MLS career with four scoreless games with Chicago. Austria: Daniel Royer ( NYRB 2016-pres.) The choice here was largely Royer vs. Andreas Ivanschitz, who was a regular starter for Seattle's first MLS Cup, but I can't say no to a man with over 100 MLS matches played and three straight 10-goal seasons. In all comps, the former Austria Vienna man is just two goals behind Thierry Henry for third on the Red Bulls' all time goal scoring list. Belarus: Sasha Gotsmanov ( COL 2005) Gotsmanov qualifies by default as the only Belarusian player in MLS history. The Minsk native (and son of former Soviet and Belarusian international Sergei Gotsmanov) played one (1) single game for Colorado in October 2005, against RSL. Belgium: Laurent Ciman ( MTL 2015-17, LAFC 2018, TFC 2019-pres.) Shouts to Roland Lamah, who had his moments in Dallas, and Jelle van Damme, who played a season and a half for the Galaxy, but Ciman is the obvious choice. While he's fallen off a cliff as he's gotten older, he's a three-time All-Star and won Defender of the Year in his first MLS season; in his second, he played for Belgium at Euro 2016. At 35, he's lost a step and probably should only be used in emergencies, but at his best he was an elite MLS center back that could also be deployed at right back. Bosnia & Herzegovina: Haris Medunjanin ( PHI 2017-19, CIN 2020-pres.) The first one where I'm not totally confident in my pick, as Baggio Hušidić made this tricky (and as a Union fan I'm afraid of bias). But at his best, Haris is an assist machine (30 in four MLS seasons so far), and a threat on set pieces; the madlad even scored an Olimpico this year. His left foot is probably the best the Union have ever had. While his commitment to defense was nonexistent, give him the ball and he could spray a pass anywhere. Bulgaria: Hristo Stoichkov ( CHI 2000-02, DC 2003) One of three former Ballon d'Or winners to play in MLS (the others being Lothar Matthaus and Kaka, although "playing" is generous for the former), Stoichkov spent the last four seasons of his career in MLS, scoring 22 goals in 72 regular season matches for Chicago and DC. In his first season, a 9 goal in 18 match outing for the Fire, he also won the US Open Cup, scoring the opening goal of the final, a 2-1 win over Miami. (The winning goal, by the way, was scored by our old friend Owen Goal.) Croatia: Damir Kreilach ( RSL 2018-pres.) Mr. Miyagi's favorite MLS player for his crane kick equalizer in the playoffs, the former Rijeka and Union Berlin man has proven to be an excellent utility piece and core part of RSL throughout his time there, scoring 26 goals and chipping in 14 assists in 86 regular season matches and playing all over the damn place (naturally a central midfielder, he's probably still RSL's best forward). At 31, he still has a lot to give. MLS has seen a huge influx of Croats lately, though; before Kreilach's 2018 signing there had only been four Croatian players in MLS history, two of whom barely played. Currently, there are five on active rosters. Czechia: Luboš Kubík ( CHI 1998-2001, DAL 2001) Czech players have had a good hit rate in MLS. In his lone MLS season, Bořek Dočkal led the league in assists, and Zdeněk Ondrášek was a very solid piece for Dallas, albeit one whose MLS time was brief. But no. We have to go with Kubik. The sweeper was Best XI twice, in 1998 and 1999, and won Defender of the Year in 1998 helping Chicago to a MLS Cup-Open Cup double. He'd win another Open Cup two years later, before being traded to Dallas in 2001 and retiring due to injury. So many lethal counterattacks started on the foot of this man, and he is rightfully seen as one of the greatest defenders the league has ever seen. Denmark: Jimmy Nielsen ( KC 2010-13) I debated going WAYYYYYYY off the board here and throwing out Miklos Molnar. His time in MLS was brief, just the 2000 season before he retired, but the man was the best attacking piece on a Cup winner. He could have balled out if he didn't retire early. But nah. We're going with Casino Jimmy, one of the keys towards Kansas City's early 2010s turnaround. A two time All-Star, Nielsen was Goalkeeper of the Year in 2012, a year that also saw him win the Open Cup with the Wiz (on penalties, because KC and penalties, name a more iconic duo at this point). In 2013, he capped off his career by winning MLS Cup, again on penalties, while playing with broken ribs. England: Bradley Wright-Phillips ( 2013-2019, LAFC 2020) This league, man. The list of English players to have represented in MLS is a long one, full of iconic names. Ashley Cole. David Beckham. Frank Lampard. Steven Gerrard. Jermain Defoe. Wayne Rooney. Hell, even Bradley's brother Shaun. But nope. Many of those guys are the butt of many MLS jokes. BWP, on the other hand, is one of the greatest goal scorers the league has ever seen, with two Golden Boots to his name and well over a century of league goals. He was a part of 3 Shield winning teams, and made CONCACAF's Best XI in 2018. And it all started with a quiet trial in 2013 after Charlton dumped him. This. League. And This. Man. Even as a fan of Philly who doesn't care much for the Red Bulls, I respect this dude and everything he's done. I hope he gets another year after winning Comeback Player of the Year this year. Estonia: Joel Lindpere ( NYRB 2010-12, CHI 2013) The only other option here was Erik Sorga, who could dethrone Lindpere as he came to MLS at a very young age. But it's unlikely, as Lindpere was quietly very solid for the Red Bulls during his time. The Tallinn native was a two-time All-Star, and in 2010 he was named the Red Bulls' team MVP. Finland: Alex Ring ( NYC 2017-2020, AUS pres.) T O P I C A L There's a few fairly talented Finns in MLS right now that could make this interesting (I really like Robin Lod's game, and Lassi Lappelainen would be excellent for Montreal if he'd stop getting hurt). Ring however has proven his worth across 4 seasons, including time as NYC's captain. Over 10,000 MLS minutes, mostly for good teams, as a defensive anchor, he will be a fantastic tone-setter for the new Austin team. France: Thierry Henry ( NYRB 2010-14) Oh man, as an Ireland fan I wanted to give this to literally anyone else. I am still bitter, dammit. His best competition is probably Aurelien Collin, who has a closetful of trophies (including a Best XI and MLS Cup MVP). But no...it's Henry. When a big name comes to MLS, what people want to see is someone who treats the league with respect. Henry did that. Not only was he dominant on the pitch, a three-time Best XI nomination, he also respected the history of the club he played for and gave 100%, even though he was getting up there in the years. He's a Red Bulls and MLS legend...as much as I curse that godforsaken hand Georgia: Valeri "Vako" Qazaishvili ( SJ 2017-20) It looks like the San Jose chapter of Vako's career is done and dusted. While the former Vitesse man struggled for consistency, he did put up 26 goals and 13 assists across four MLS seasons for the Quakes, including 10 while being coached by Mikael Stahre, which should probably get him and Wondo some sort of award. We'll see what's next for him, if he leaves MLS or goes back to Europe. His only competition was Quakes teammate Guram Kashia. Germany: Bastian Schweinsteiger ( CHI 2017-19) I'm...actually not sure about this one. I actually changed this while writing, as I very nearly chose Julian Gressel; the former Rookie of the Year has two 10-assist seasons under his belt, and Kai Wagner has also been one of the league's better fullbacks for Philadelphia; Schweinsteiger was solid enough for Chicago in his advanced age for some very frustrating teams (and even moved positions to center back!)...but man, I don't know. Germany is weird. For a country with such a great footballing tradition, the pickings are fairly slim. Arne Friedrich had one good year for Chicago before injuries claimed his career. Lottar Matthaus was as committed to this league as Schalke are to winning football matches. Stefan Aigner was stifled by Anthony Hudson going galaxy brain. Torsten Frings...existed. I dunno. Greece: Alexandros Tabakis ( ATL 2017) The only Greek in MLS history...and our second one game wonder. Atlanta's FOURTH string keeper in 2017, he managed to sneak into a game against Minnesota with Brad Guzan on international duty, Alec Kann injured, and Kyle Reynish sent off during the match. Atlanta lost 3-2. He's now in USL. Hungary: Nemanja Nikolić ( CHI 2017-19) Dániel Sallói and Krisztián Németh had their moments, but the winner is Nikolić, who came to MLS from the Ekstraklasa and immediately won the Golden Boot. His totals diminished in the three seasons he spent with Chicago, but 51 goals in 96 appearances isn't too shabby at all - it's second in Fire history behind Ante Razov. Iceland - Guðmundur Þórarinsson ( NYC 2020-pres.) Not much choice, 3 guys, all of whom were mostly bench guys. I almost went with Kristinn Steindorsson here on the merits of "he didn't have a penalty saved by Rodrigo Schlegel." Israel: Gadi Kinda ( SKC 2020-pres.) It was either him or Dedi Ben Dayan, really. And I nearly went with the former Colorado left back, but nah, Kinda is very much the superior player. The midfielder born in Ethiopia, Kinda shone brightly in his first season in KC, with 6 goals and 4 assists in his debut season. He'll be a DP next season. Italy: Sebastian Giovinco ( TOR 2015-18) A signing that changed an entire club. Before Giovinco, the Reds were a laughingstock. He came in, won a Golden Boot and MVP right away, led the league in assists, made Best XI three years in a row, led them to their first playoff game, their first MLS Cup final, their first MLS Cup win, and a historic treble. And they damn near won CCL too. The Atomic Ant was must-see from Day 1. It's not just because of him that Toronto is now one of MLS's elite...but he was a huge part of changing that culture. 83 goals in 142 games in all comps. And he dished out his fair share of assists too, with a telepathic partnership with Jozy. Latvia: Raivis Hščanovičs ( TOR 2010) Not much to write about here. 14 games for a bad Reds team. Gets in by default with no other Latvian MLS players. Liechtenstein: Nicholas Hasler ( TOR 2017-18, CHI 2018-19, SKC 2019) Another one by default. 66 games as a utilityman. Won MLS Cup and the Shield, though. Lithuania: Vytautas Andriuškevičius ( POR 2016-18, DC 2018) Only other choice was Edgaras Jankauskas, a forward who played 14 games for the Revs. Vytas played 37 for Portland and zero for DC. Luxembourg: Maxime Chanot ( NYC 2016-pres.) Another one by default but this one's an actually really solid player that finished fourth in Defender of the Year voting in 2019. We take those. Malta: Etienne Barbera ( VAN 2012) 2 games in 2012. Only Maltese player in MLS. Montenegro: Branko Bošković ( DC 2010-12) Pretty much every other Montenegrin player played less than 20 games in MLS. Bošković played 43 before returning to Europe for family reasons. 7 assists in his final season though, which is technically something. Netherlands: Johan Kappelhof ( CHI 2016-pres.) Much like Germany, bright footballing tradition, very shaky MLS history. Which is weird because the Eredivisie exports a lot of guys to MLS. Also, I'm excluding Kelvin Leerdam, as he is probably changing his international allegiance to Suriname. So I'm going with 2017 All-Star Kappelhof, who I think is still fairly solid. But really the choices aren't great. Dave van den Burgh? Roland Alberg scored a hat trick once I guess? Danny Koevermans was decent but injured all the time? Maybe it's a hot take. It probably is. North Macedonia: Oka Nikolov ( PHI 2013) Never actually played, only in a friendly. Watch this space though as North Macedonia is apparently courting LAFC's Danny Musovski. Northern Ireland: Johnny Steele ( RSL 2012, NYRB 2013-14) Another case of shaky opposition, it was either Steele or Steve Morrow, who played 41 games for Dallas in the aughts. Steele played regularly for a Shield winner, the 2013 Red Bulls. Easy peasy. Norway: Vadim Demidov Ola Kamara ( CLB 2016-17, LAG 2018, DC 2019-pres.) Adama Diomande is the main competition here. Kamara's first stint in MLS was a smashing success, scoring 48 goals in 90 regular season matches for Columbus and the Galaxy (he was traded for Gyasi Zardes before 2018). A brief foray to China followed, and while he's back in MLS with DC he hasn't quite been the same. Still a good player on his day, maybe just the Bennyball effect. Poland: Piotr Nowak ( CHI 1998-2002) When I think of early Chicago, Nowak and the earlier-mentioned Kubik are the first two names that come to mind. Kubik held down the back while Nowak was the chief creator in the midfield. Three-time best XI, three-time All-Star, and MLS Cup MVP. ...can I drink my water now? Portugal: José Gonçalves ( NE 2013-16) Gonçalves fell off a cliff in his latter years, but in his first MLS season he won Defender of the Year and in his second he was a key part of a team that made the MLS Cup final and damn near won the thing. Runner up here is Nani who is probably closing in. EDIT: I also forgot to mention Pedro Santos, thanks to the Crew fans who pointed that one out. I still think Gonçalves pips him for his 2013 if nothing else, but Santos is probably closer than Nani. Republic of Ireland: Robbie Keane ( LAG 2011-16) A LOT closer than you think; Time Person of the CenturyJuventus legend Ronnie O'Brien was two-time best XI himself. But nonono. This is Robbie freaking Keane. When we see these big name Euro guys interested in MLS, this is the man we want them to be. Hypercompetitive and holding guys accountable on and off the pitch, and scoring for fun. 83 goals in 125 MLS regular season appearances. Best XI four times. 2014 MVP. MLS Cup MVP in 2014. A closetful of team awards including 3 MLS Cups. This man was a baller, and frankly his departure was the beginning of the Galaxy decline into irrelevance, but that's a story for another time. Romania: Alexandru Mitriță ( NYC 2019-pres.?) Question mark because he's on loan and I have no idea if it'll be permanent, but he was punted out by the Pigeons just as he was really starting to break out. He scored 12 goals in his debut season last year but filled in nicely this year while Maxi Moralez was injured. EDIT: NYC fans have informed me he wasn't punted out, but was loaned out to be closer to his pregnant wife. My apologies. Honorable mention: Alex Zotincă, who played for the Wizards and Chivas USA in the aughts. Brave man. Russia: Igor Simutenkov ( KC 2002-04) Not a lot to pick from here either. 49 games, 12 goals for this forward from Moscow, who now serves as an assistant coach at Zenit. Scotland: John Spencer ( COL, 2001-04) Give Johnny Russell another few years and he'll pass Spencer, but for now I'm leaning the latter. Spencer as a coach was frustrating as hell, but as a player he was Best XI twice and an MVP finalist once. Dude could score goals despite battling injuries in his time in MLS. Just don't let him sign Kris Boyd. Then you lose to Cal FC. No one wants that. Serbia: Aleksandar Katai ( 2018-19, 2020) FROM A SPORTING PERSPECTIVE. And mostly due to a weak pool. Runner up was probably someone like Miloš Kocić. 18 goals in 62 games for Chicago before getting yeeted back to Serbia for Bad People Reasons Slovakia: Albert Rusnák ( RSL 2017-pres.) He has tenure on Ján Greguš, who's the closest competitor, but Rusnák is also good. He followed up a 14-assist debut season (4th in the league) with back to back 10 goal seasons before struggling this year with injury. Slovenia: Robert Berić ( CHI 2020-pres.) Once he got acclimated to MLS, the goals came, and Chicago has its successor to Nikolić up top. He finished with 12 goals in his debut season, tied for second in the league with Ruidiaz and Zardes. Also, from what I saw early on, seems like he's a dark-arts type of guy that gets in your head. That's fun. Spain: David Villa ( NYC 2015-18) I really didn't want to put him here due to recent allegations, and the fact that Pozuelo has already matched his MVP and two Best XI performances.... 77 goals in 117 games though, that's tough to pass on. Sweden: Zlatan Ibrahimović ( LAG 2018-19) It's Zlatan. He pretty much dragged a sorry LA organization to something resembling competitiveness. What the hell did you expect? (Anton Tinnerholm made this hard, though) EDIT: Forgot Gustav Svensson as well in my honorable mentions. Switzerland: Stefan Frei ( TOR 2009-13, SEA 2014-pres.) Pretty self-explanatory, one of the most accomplished keepers in MLS history and with a closetful of hardware. And all it took Seattle to get him was a late first round pick that pinged around so much that it was eventually traded for a coach. Turkey: Sercan Güvenışık ( SJ 2012) 5 games that year. No one else has flown the Turkish flag in MLS. Ukraine: Dema Kovalenko ( CHI 1999-2002, DC 2002-05, NYRB 2006-08, RSL 2008, LAG 2008-10) I'm afraid he'd break my legs if I didn't. One of the most physical and downright dirty players the league has ever seen. Made nearly 300 appearances though, and has one each of the 3 major US trophies (MLS Cup, USOC, Shield), all with a different team. Wales: Andy Dorman ( NE 2004-07, 2013-15) Dorman was a key part of that real good Revs team from the mid-aughts, and just beats out Carl Robinson. He made 112 appearances in his first stint, and played in 3 MLS Cup finals, though they famously lost all three. The Revs brought him back in 2013 after some time in Scotland and England, and was playing semipro in the area as recently as 2018.
Going through old issues of the Wrestling Observer Newsletter and posting highlights in my own words. For anyone interested, I highly recommend signing up for the actual site at f4wonline and checking out the full archives. PREVIOUS YEARS ARCHIVE: 1991 • 1992 • 1993 • 1994 • 1995 • 1996 • 1997 • 1998 • 1999 • 2000
PROGRAMMING NOTE: There will be no Observer Rewind on Friday, because I expect to be recovering from a July 4th, 'Merica-induced hangover. Presuming I still have fingers left, we'll pick back up Monday.
The Invasion PPV is in the books and appears to have been a major success. As a show, it was nothing special. One great match, a good main event, and everything else was the usual decent, average, bad, forgettable undercard. Early signs are that this show probably did big numbers on PPV (yeah, that's putting it mildly). It ended with Austin turning heel again, after seemingly turning babyface just a week or two ago, and defecting to the WCW/ECW side. Dave talks about how Austin's brief face-turn seemed to reignite business. Raw ratings were the highest they'd been in 3 months, ticket sales for Invasion saw a major boost following the Raw angle with him, etc. Austin's heel turn at Wrestlemania led to an almost instant downturn in TV ratings and attendance so Dave seems kinda befuddled why they decided to do it again at Invasion, considering last week's babyface turn showed instant signs of improving business. Austin also worked the PPV with 3 broken bones in his back and 2 broken bones in his hand (suffered at King of the Ring). He has breaks in the L-2, L-3, and L-4 vertebraes in his back, but he gutted out the match anyway. Chris Jericho worked the show with a hyper-extended elbow and Kurt Angle has whiplash and a black eye.
They were literally still constructing the stage during the show. During the Heat pre-show match, you could see crew members sawing plywood and hammering stuff to form the left side of the "V" ramp. Chavo Guerrero had to come down the "WWF" side of the ramp because the WCW/ECW side wasn't finished yet. WWF usually books an arena 2 days in advance to do all the setup necessary, but a WNBA game was booked the night before and it went long (due to an N'Sync album release party after the game) and the WWF crew wasn't able to get into the arena and start constructing stuff until the morning of the show.
Other notes from the PPV: Rob Van Dam and Jeff Hardy stole the show, with RVD winning the hardcore title from Jeff. Dave gives it 4 stars. Speaking of titles, if they aren't going to run 2 separate companies, they desperately need to get rid of some of the belts because with all the WCW titles, it has practically doubled the number of champions. X-Pac was booed even though he was a WWF guy and they're supposed to be the babyfaces. And of course, it ended with the Austin turn with him joining the Alliance.
WWF has reached a temporary agreement with the bankruptcy court to be allowed to use the "ECW" name through the end of July. The trustee argued that the ECW intellectual property is owned by the ECW estate they are managing and WWF had been using it without authorization and the court had received complaints from several creditors that ECW owes money too. A couple weeks ago, WWF offered the court $150,000 to buy the ECW trademarks and tape library and were turned down. WWF upped its offer this week to $250,000. In response, the trustee agreed to allow WWF to use the name for now while they figure this out. WWF appears to be the only party interested in purchasing the ECW name and library so it's likely they will make a deal. There's a lot more to this but it's all boring legalese about trademark law and shit like that. Besides, we have a follow up story on this later in this issue....
Last week, Dave had a pretty big obituary for Terry Gordy, but he mentioned that he wasn't able to write a full one by press time. And this week, whew. He's got an exhaustively long obit. But he has more news on it. Gordy died of a heart attack caused by a blood clot in his home. He lived his Freebird gimmick and was a wild partier during his younger days and would get wildly out of control. Dave has stories in here from Michael Hayes and Ted Dibiase about some of Gordy's wild ways. He also tells a story of the Freebirds pissing on somebody and then adds "literally, as the Freebirds in that era were known for giving people they liked--and sometimes didn't like as well--golden showers." Like it was some sort of initiation thing I guess. Well okay then. He also recaps a story about the Freebirds debuting in Memphis and in their very first match on live TV, Michael Hayes shit his pants and had to go backstage during the commercial break to change. There's actually a lot of really funny stories in this obit. But of course, the partying got to be too much and shortly after winning the Triple Crown title in AJPW, Gordy collapsed at a Roppongi night club in Japan from an overdose and his heart stopped beating. He was revived and survived but Giant Baba stripped him of the title and nearly fired him. He managed to keep his job but Baba never fully trusted him again and never again pushed him to the top of the company. In 1993, at the absolute peak of his career (he was making $10,000 a week in Japan and $200,000 a year from WCW), he overdosed again on a flight to Japan and once again fell into a coma. Again, his heart stopped and he had to be revived with CPR. He spent 5 days in a coma and suffered severe brain damage. When he awoke, he was never the same. He had to relearn how to talk, how to walk, and eventually, how to wrestle. He tried to make a comeback, working small indies here and there and even brief runs in ECW and WWF, but the overdose had destroyed his in-ring ability. Despite his success and all the money he made in his career, Gordy died with very little money in the bank and no life insurance. They played "Freebird" at his funeral. Michael Hayes is coming out of retirement next month to take Gordy's place at an indie show that he was booked for before he died. Just 6 days before he passed, Gordy was backstage at the Smackdown tapings and was said to be mentally more clearheaded than anyone had seen him in years and seemed mostly like his old self.
NJPW had their latest Sapporo Dome show and Dave is perplexed by the booking of this company. The show was booked around the idea of NJPW wrestlers facing a bunch of outside wrestlers and MMA fighters, and the NJPW side lost almost all of the matches. Yuji Nagata lost to PRIDE champion Mark Coleman. Former RINGS fighter Masayuki Naruse won the IWGP Jr. title from Minoru Tanaka. Another PRIDE fighrer, Gary Goodridge, beat Manabu Nakanishi, and so on and so forth. The whole thing just made NJPW look weak and this has been going on for months now, with the NJPW guys never getting their wins back and MMA stars basically running roughshod over the company (yeah, we've reached peak Inokism now. This shit damn near killed the company in the early 2000s).
The trustee in the ECW bankruptcy case has hired lawyers to facilitate the sale of the ECW estate to the WWF. Right now, the lawyers have to untangle some stuff, particularly the fact that video game company Acclaim is still making a stink about the fact that they own 15% of ECW and that they should have the rights to it all since Heyman has folded it. But long story short, the lawyers are pretty much just trying to untangle all the legal red tape so that WWF can swoop in and buy it up when they're finished. Heyman's team is still gathering all the records they can and Heyman has to appear before the trustee next week. Heyman himself filed for personal bankruptcy last week, which most people expected. Heyman claimed to have around $2.8 million in personal debt from the filing and is owed $128,000 in back pay for himself (turns out the wrestlers weren't the only ones not getting paid. He wasn't paying himself either). In his filing, Heyman listed the WWF as his current employer, as a television writer, at a salary of $4,000 per month.
NOAH star Kenta Kobayashi has returned from his recent injury and they finally gave him a new name! Since his real name is so similar to one of Japan's biggest stars, he is now going by simply KENTA (and in 6 days, he's going to start kicking heads off in the 2019 G-1).
Bam Bam Bigelow will return to NJPW for the first time since 1992 to work the next tour. He'll be part of the G-1 World tournament, which is basically like the G-1 Climax, but for foreign wrestlers (I can't find any actual details on this tournament so I had to research it by looking up show results. Turns out Bigelow isn't in it after all. Don Frye ends up winning the whole tournament. Scott Norton, Scott Hall, Super J, Giant Silva, and others were also in it).
The elections for the Japanese Diet (their version of Congress basically) will be taking place this week and if you recall, Atsushi Onita is running. Polls indicate that Onita is likely to win, due to his name recognition and certainly not because of his political acumen. Satoru Sayama (the original Tiger Mask) is also running for office but he doesn't have the same mainstream name value and his chances aren't looking as good. But for what it's worth, Sayama has been traveling around his district, with the Tiger Mask on, campaigning for votes. Dave says it's hard enough to trust politicians when you can see their face but he'd never trust one wearing a mask. After all, a vote for La Parka could end up being a vote for DDP!
There's a shoot-fighting show happening in Japan soon, and it's notable because Dos Caras Jr. will be fighting a guy named Kengo Watanabe. Caras Jr. was a top tier amateur wrestler in Mexico and hoped to compete in the 2000 Olympics but it didn't happen. Dave doesn't know if he'll be wearing the mask or not, but if he does, he'll be the first person Dave knows off to compete in an MMA fight while wearing a mask (that would be Alberto Del Rio, and yes he wears the mask. Spoiler: Del Rio wins this fight when Kengo suffers a GNARLY broken arm less than a minute in. They have a rematch in 2002 and Kengo chokes him out to avenge the loss).
Remember the Atlanta Gold Club strip club that is on trial for a bunch of racketeering charges and alleged connections to the mob? Well, a former dancer named Jana Pelnis testified this week that she performed sexual favors for Eric Bischoff's wife after the couple came to the club and took her to a nearby hotel. Pelnis testified that Bischoff's wife slipped her $200 before they got to the hotel and that the club owner gave her another $800 when she returned. Pelnis also admitted to performing sexual favors for other athletes, such as NBA players Patrick Ewing and Dikembe Mutombo. Eric Bischoff was called to testify the next day and he admitted the story, but also claimed to have been very drunk and said the night in question was a blur. Bischoff said he didn't recall having intercourse with Pelis and said he only recalled his wife and the dancer performing sexual acts on each other while he watched. Bischoff claimed it was a spontaneous thing, not prostitution, and that he later gave her another $100 after dropping her off because he wasn't sure if she had been tipped for lap dances she had done earlier that night at the club. Oh Eric, you scoundrel.
We have another case of a child being killed while doing wrestling moves. A 9-year-old boy in NC died after he suffered a broken neck when his 16-year-old mentally handicapped step-brother tried to perform some kind of wrestling move on him. The case immediately got national headlines and was compared to the Lionel Tate case that has been central to the WWF's lawsuit against the PTC. On MSNBC this week, they had a segment debating wrestling's influence on children and WWF Corporate Relations VP Gary Davis appeared on the show to defend wrestling and talked about how kids always imitate what they see on TV, argues that it's the parents' responsibility to monitor what their kids do, etc. Just the usual stuff.
Hulk Hogan says his plans to start a new promotion are on hold for now, saying the major TV networks aren't interested in wrestling right now. Some of the names that have been attached to Hogan's idea were Jimmy Hart, Sting, Bret Hart, Roddy Piper, Kevin Sullivan, Sable, and Chyna. Some of them aren't legally able to do anything until their WCW deals expire and others (like Bret Hart), Dave doesn't believe for a second were even considering it. But either way, not happening for now.
Sandman went on a radio show and said he's going to be starting full-time with a new promotion in Evansville, IN. He said the promotion will also have Curt Hennig, Sabu, Public Enemy, and a whole bunch of other former ECW stars. They already have their first show scheduled for the ECW Arena in Philadelphia and a few cities in between (that would be a company called Main Event Championship Wrestling. That first show had all the big ECW names on it, plus Buff Bagwell, Chris Harris, Mike Rotunda, and more. And far as I can tell, they never ran another show after that).
At another indie show this week, a bunch of ICP fans were heckling all the wrestlers. Steve Corino worked the main event and got into a confrontation with one of the fans and it got physical. Corino ended up having to be pulled off the fan by a bunch of other wrestlers. Corino out here beating up juggalos, you hate to see it. (Here's an article I found on Deadspin where someone who was there writes in and tells the story of what happened).
The state of Nevada unanimously agreed to sanction MMA as a sport and confirmed that UFC 33 will take place at the Mandalay Bay Casino (fun fact: this show sucked and to this day, Dana White still calls UFC 33 the worst show they've ever done). Anyway, now that UFC PPVs are available on cable providers again, UFC is likely going to be the closest thing to competition WWF will have anytime soon. Dana White played down the idea of competing with pro wrestling, saying they compete with boxing. But he said if UFC gets a TV deal, he believes they could give WWF a run for their money.
On Sunday Night Heat this week, Bob Holly pinned Mike Awesome clean. Dave thinks that's a pretty dumb decision and that none of the Alliance guys should be losing yet, especially to undercard guys, but apparently some WWF wrestlers (Undertaker specifically) that have worked with Awesome haven't been impressed with him as a worker and, well, here's the result.
Dave finally read The Star tabloid interview with Chyna, where she talked about her reasons for leaving WWF and the Triple H/Stephanie affair. In regards to the affair, she said she was suspicious that Triple H (her boyfriend at the time) was cheating on her with Stephanie and said they admitted it when she confronted them. Chyna said she was heartbroken and had hoped to marry Triple H some day. But despite all that, she says it was unrelated to her leaving WWF, saying she left because they couldn't agree on money terms in her recent contract negotiations.
Chyna did another interview on a Boston radio station and said she was scared and excited to try her luck in the entertainment world without being "Chyna." She also said she was surprised when WWF pulled out of their contract negotiations. She blamed the death of WCW and Vince having a monopoly as the reason she didn't get the money she was looking for. Dave says Chyna was asking to no longer work house shows so she could be off during the weeks to pursue acting roles, while still making top star WWF money, and they weren't going for that. Plus, ya know, the other stuff....
Chris Benoit will be using the song "Whatever" by Canadian rock band Our Lady Peace as his entrance music whenever he eventually returns.
Kane filmed a Chef Boyardee commercial last week, along with the one the Dudleyz filmed. (I can't find the Dudleyz commercial, but here's the Kane one).
Jim Ross did a conference call or something recently and talked about a lot of things. He said ECW didn't have the same number of fans WCW had, but said that WCW had eroded its fanbase so much by the end and said the ECW fans were much more vocal and passionate about the product. Said that Sting is 42-years-old and wants to stay home with his family and said he likely wouldn't be coming to WWF. Admitted that they were interested in bringing in Ric Flair and Goldberg, but it doesn't make economic sense for either side right now, since they still have those WCW contracts. Said a lot of the undercard WCW wrestlers they have under contract will be sent to the developmental companies like OVW or HWA so they don't get rusty and can improve some more. Said the long term goal is still for WWF and WCW to run as 2 separate companies, each with their own prime time weekly show, but there's no word on when that will happen. Said they haven't given any thought about what to do with the women's title now that Chyna is gone from the company and she was the champ, but Ross assumed they'll probably do a tournament for it eventually. Said he expects Jerry Lawler to return sooner or later, but he's dealing with some personal issues right now (yeah, Stacy had just left him at this point). Ross admitted that the locker room situation has been tense and uncomfortable lately, with the WCW guys trying to acclimate to the WWF way of doing things but said that aside from all the Buff Bagwell drama, there's been no serious issues.
Speaking of locker room tensions, there's a lot of concern about job security among all the lower and midcard guys. With so much new talent lately and no other place in the U.S. to make a real living as a wrestler, a lot of guys are worried about not being used. If you're off TV, it's "out of sight, out of mind" and so a lot of wrestlers are hiding serious injuries so they don't get taken off TV and forgotten about. Also, because of the pressure to look good and stand out from the pack, sources tell Dave steroid use is making a big comeback lately.
In a WWF.com column, Jim Ross wrote some veiled comments about people in the company leaking information to the internet and how those sources have hidden agendas and are liars and blah blah. (*laughs in Meltzer*) Dave says this is in reference to recent internet reports that WWF is planning to release a bunch of wrestlers soon. Dave says the stories aren't entirely true, but they're not entirely false either, as there are a lot of names who are on the chopping block right now due to the fact that there's just too many guys and not enough spots, so he expects to see some people gone soon. Dave also says there's major heat on some people in the office right now for these stories leaking out, but no names mentioned.
Triple H has been backstage at the TV tapings for the last few weeks, helping with the booking of the shows. He was told by doctors that all this extra travel was putting him behind schedule on his rehab time and to stop flying out to every TV taping if he wants to make a full recovery. Triple H has decided to listen to the doctors and won't be going to the shows as much.
There was some minor heat on RVD at the Invasion PPV because his airbrushed tights had a skull on it, and that's Austin's gimmick. Goddamn, this petty high school nonsense, I swear......anyway, there was a mixed reaction to RVD's match backstage. Obviously, RVD and Jeff Hardy stole the show and a lot of people loved it, but others criticized it, saying it was only good because RVD had the "right" opponent and wouldn't be able to have that kind of match with anyone else.
The storyline on TV last week with Kurt Angle hugging Vince was an inside joke on DDP. Apparently, when DDP first signed his WWF deal, Vince went to shake his hand and DDP grabbed him and hugged him instead, like they were longtime friends. Apparently they found it funny and decided to parody it with Angle on TV.
WEDNESDAY:WWF financial details revealed, more on WCW purchase price, Vince Russo planning to be involved in new Australian promotion, Atsushi Onita elected to government position, Acclaim wants ECW, and more...
Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms OR Fluffy's Birthday Party
Saturday, December 18th I wake up and my back is fucking killing me. Megan closed the spa last night and she's quitting her (shitty) second job and her last day is Saturday so she's gone in early to get everything wrapped up and her exit interview. I decide to clean up my garage a bit and get some work done around the house. The morning starts off with some eggs and breakfast sausage with a tall glass of simply grapefruit. Life isn't great, but it could be a lot worse. We are all having a little chat about life, weekends and women as I move charcoal and my dads tools around the garage when suddenly my good buddeh u/fluffy_butternut tells everyone that regular women are not damaged enough for me to enjoy. Not only is this HIGHLY insulting to me, but it reflects poorly on Megan as well. rewind to several months before Mrs. Fluffy emailed the whole reddit gang and told us we are invited to a surprise birthday party for the big guy. She gave us instructions/time/place, etc and everything. She did a TON of work to plan this and it shows. I was under the gun at the courthouse with a trial and I wasn't able to commit to the event and all of us have stuff going on so the odds of anyone being able to make it were not good. However, I kept her email, and her cell number on a burner. cut to present https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cyLdtG7KZvw Did he really go there? He really went there. It's fucking on like Donkey Kong. I pull out a burner and send a message to Mrs. Fluffy asking her if the plans are still the same. She tells me when he will be arriving at the venue and I tell her I'm gonna make a big fucking scene. She is ecstatic at this idea. I grab my packed bag from the closet and jump in the F350. I grab two organic bean to bar 88% endangered species chocolate bars for Megan and I stop by her work. She's busy, so I leave the chocolate for her at her station. I give her co-worker a note to hand to her when she gets out. "Dear Megan, out for revenge. Back tomorrow - Will." I start driving to MSY and traffic down I-10 isn't bad for a saturday. I phone Delta on the way there and book tickets for the flight. The only thing available is MD88 service connecting in Laguardia. In First. Being no stranger to the slightly elevated service and highly elevated price business model, I book the flight. I'm a little early so I make my way to the nearly brand new Delta Sky Club at MSY. It's new, the gumbo is tasty, the wifi is fast. Life isn't bad. Until I get the phone call from Megan. Me: Hi sweetie Megan: what the fuck does "out for revenge mean?" Me: It means I'm out for revenge. I gotta do some things. Megan: What things? We're supposed to have dinner with my brother tomorrow night! Me: Uh. It's a long story. How was your exit interview? Megan: It was fine. I'm leaving early today. Me: Did you go back to your station yet? Megan: No Me: You should stop there again before you leave. Megan: Why? The airport PA screeches boarding announcement for my flight. Me: They're calling my flight. I gotta run. Megan: Flight? What? Me: Gotta hop. Buy potatoes. See you tomorrow night! I hang up and hightail it for the gate. I pop in and see the pilots before we leave and ask them what are the odds we get 31 via the expressway today. He says he was just loading it into the box. I tell him the last time I did 31 via the expressway into LGA at the Delta Museum sim, it was not good. In fact it was the worst thing to hit new york since a bunch of muslims on a tuesday in September. He laughs. The ride into LGA is smooth as the HMG STG delivery schedule. New York is WINDY as fuck today and bumpy. I peer out the window of the left side of the plane and I get a beautiful close up photo of the statue of liberty and Ellis island. Wait. We're supposed to get 31 via the expressway. We should be on the localizer for LGA runway 4. That puts us right over my aunts place in Bay Ridge looking at the Verazanno. We're not getting 31, they're probably going to take us up over central park, back over da bronx and then in via 22. Sure enough, we land on 22 and I ask the pilots what happened and they said the winds shifted and they had to turn the airport around. Eh, no biggie. I've seen it once, I'll see it again. It's a great approach to fly and if you ever get to experience it, it's fucking magical. We land at LGA a few minutes late and the weather is cold, crisp and windy. I have a short connection but I head to the LGA sky club in terminal D. Life is good. I crack the laptop and do some work and as I close the laptop as they call my flight I see the very beginnings of light snow. I'm from Louisiana. I've never seen snow before. This scares me. I walk to the gate and I board in group 1 and take my first class seat. The plane is half empty. I walk up and chat with the pilots and they tell me that with the snow we are going to deice with type 1 fluid and anti ice with type 4 fluid. We will be a little delayed. As I gaze out the window from my seat, it's snowing and blowing even more. Ten minutes later, the boarding door closes and we start to push back. Conditions have worsened significantly. We can't see the next plane in front of us, things have turned into not quite whiteout but very concerning to this southern boy. The pilots tell us we are number 3 for the deicing truck and I gaze out onto the runway. It's whiter than an Ohio MAGA rally. Fuck me to tears. We deice as I check the weather in Pittsburgh. Rain/Freezing rain/Snow/wintry mix. I've never driven in snow. Fuck. Pucker factor increasing. I pull out my burner and send a message to Mrs. Fluffy and tell her I'm at the deice pad and will be there soon. We have a bumpy ride all the way across Pennsylvania and land about 30 minutes late. Hertz has me in the presidents circle but there is not a single car with local plates. I downgrade to a 2020 white Toyota Corolla since it's the only thing with PA plates on it and I hightail it to the venue. I talk to the waitstaff and tell them I'm crashing the party and ask them to get me a tray and a vest with a nametag. The staff is laughing their ass off at my idea. I message Mrs. Fluffy and she thinks the idea is HYSTERICAL. She can't wait. I tell her I'll be there at 645. T minus 60 minutes until Fluffy Arrival I've never been to this part of Pennsylvania. To be honest, I am a Philly guy. The people there are angry, drunken, profane and love cheese steaks. They're my kind of people. I've never been to a Sheetz or Primanti Brothers. However, fluffy tells me some stories about how he and his wife have a good time over at the meadows. I have NEVER been to a racino before, and ever since I was nearly arrested at Wynn Las Vegas - I've been a little scared. However, it's just down the road and as some of you know, I just came into a shit ton of money. This is not going to end well. I drive down interstate 79 and whip into the north parking garage at The Meadows. My pre-packed bag has four days of clothes, underwear, socks and PJ's, two kruggerands and $10,000 in cash just in case i need to flee the country. I pull out the ten dimes and make my way into the racino. The Meadows is HUGE. I get past the security checkpoint and walk around and I don't see any table games. I see a large well appointed poker room and see two craps tables working at the other end of the hall. I have no idea what table limits or odds are. I saunter up to the table. Me: How's the temperature guys? Degen1: Eh it's up and down. Me: As long as it's not as cold as outside amirte? Degen2: haha yeah yinz been outside today? freezing rain and that! Me: I don't know these words but whatever. The point is on 6. I drop $10,000 on the table. Me: Change only. Gimme 1 small and 9 thousands. Pit Boss: do you have a players club card? Me: never played here before, don't worry about it for now. Pit Boss: Okay! The dice come out, it hits jimmy hicks and the dealers pay out all the bets. I look at the table, the minimums are $5 and everyone has pass line and numbers. NOBODY has true odds. Fuck it. Time to show them how it's done. I drop $10 on the pass line. Dice are out. Point is four. I look up and down the table and nobody is making odds bets. I look down at my rack and drop $100 behind my bet. Dice come out. Six hard. Me: Hey pit boss! How much can I put behind the line? Pit Boss: We'll let you go to 10x, so we can take $100 on your pass line. It looks like you got $100 there but we'd count it out and if you were over we'll give you the extra back. Me: solid, thanks! I look down at my watch. Fluffy is due to arrive at 1900hrs. I told Mrs. I would be there at 1845. It's 15 minutes to drive from the garage to the party which means I need to be on the highway at 1830 which means I need to be out of the casino and cashed out and walking to the garage by 1825. She sends me a message asking me where I'm at. I tell her I'm at the meadows and.....fuck it's 1821. Fuck it. Go big or go home. I take my pass line up to $500 and shove $5000 behind the line. Everyone at the table is looking at me funny. I give $2400 to the dealers and tell them to split me the 6/8. Pit Boss: are you SURE you don't want a players club card? Me: no time! throw them bones! The whip slides the dice over to the fella next to me. He throws. Dealer: Four hard, four the hard way, four. Everyone at the table is looking at me funny. My $500 pass line bet has paid even money. The $5000 behind the line pays true odds on a 4, at 2:1. I look down at my watch. 1829. The dealers are stacking and distributing chips with a fervor. Me: Take down my 6/8 and color me up. Dealer: You got it boss! As they color up my chips, I tell Mrs. fluffy I just won a ton of money at the meadows and I'm cashing out now. I take a $100 chip, hold it up and ask if the dealers want to play it or drop it Dealer: It's up to you man, we don't mind. I plant the chip down on the pass line and tell them put half on the pass line ferda boys, drop the other half. They all LITERALLY clap and thank me. Me: One more thing, where's the cashier? They point me to the cage with the aplomb of a new airport ramper. I leave the casino with a giant wad of cash bulging in my jeans. There's no line and they count out all my cash quickly. I look down at my watch as she's counting out the last of the small bills. 1835. Fuck. I'm going to be late. I hate being late. I jog out to the north garage and hightail it back up interstate 79. I have never driven in snow, at night, or for that matter driven in Pennsylvania before until now. It's snowing, it's dark, the speed limit is 55 and I am the SLOWEST guy in the right lane at 80 and people are passing me going WTF ARE YOU DOING GET OFF THE ROAD judging by the horns and the flashing headlights. I am HAULING ass back up to the venue and I park the Toyota in a handicapped spot as I race into the venue. I find Harriet, the party planner she hands me a vest with a nametag. My transition from Will the gun dealer to Mario the waiter will completed as soon as he arrives. I get fluffy's favorite drink and a plate of some food set up on a tray and I hide in the back waiting for his arrival. Here's a photo. https://imgur.com/yZP2FuI As if it were choreographed to the minute, Mrs. Fluffy walks him in the front door at 7PM to a room full of people as a birthday surprise. He had not seen it coming. He begins making the rounds seeing everyone and saying hello. It's a big party so it takes some time. I hang back for a few minutes and let him do his thing and I give my phone to one of his friends and tell them to get this next part on video as I put on the vest and adjust the nametag. Friendo: Sure thing "mario" Me: shut up and just do some good camera work! I take the tray of beverage and minature charcuterie plate over to fluffy as he's greeting the party guests and sneak up behind him. He's taking his grand old time working the room. In my best italian Pittsburgh native accent I can muster, I'm holding the tray and I walk in front of him and put on a great big smile. Me: Can I get yinz something to drink? Or some charcuterie and that? Fluffy: ....... (I now feign anger) Me: OR IS THIS FOOD AND BEVERAGE NOT DAMAGED ENOUGH FOR YOUR LIKING?!?!?!??!?!?! YOU FAT DIABETIC OLD FUCK! Fluffy: What.....are you.........doing here? Me: Mrs told us about it and I figured I should give you a hard time after your comments this morning. Would you like some food? You know, airplane noises make the food taste better. Or are you a little too old for that? Lets give it a try! (I grab a carrot stick and fly it into his face by making very loud airplane noises in a ballroom full of fluffy's closest friends and family making a gigantic scene with people wondering is this a joke or what horrors are about to come next. No, this is not a joke, this really happened. Ask anyone who was there.) Fluffy: I'm good thanks Me: you sure? (more airplane noises followed by a carrot slice raping his mouth) Fluffy is shocked and awed. I tell him to go work the room and to have a happy birthday party. There's an open bar and I help myself to a double ginger ale, neat. I find some millennials and we chat about Hawaiian shirts and stuff and they think my comedy is HILARIOUS. Unlike most of reddit. Fluffy saunters over and we chat some more and he's wondering WTF. I told him the wife planned it all months in advance. Fluffy: You know u/xxxwirtydhorexxx is here. Me: That's really funny. Fluffy: No, he's really here. Me: Bullshit. Then where is he? Fluffy: He's right in front of you, 12 o'clock. I don't see him. Then I look down and there's a guy in a boonie hat. I didn't recognize him without the dress. Me: Oh dear god. He's really here isn't he? Wirty gets up and walks over and he's like HI! I THOUGHT IT WAS YOU! We have a bunch of really really awkward conversation that involves him inviting me to sit next to him and me running over to Mrs. Fluffy asking her to save me from wirty. She finds a spot at her table by her kids for me. I forget his present, even though his wife said no presents and there's a table full of booze, scratchers, and gun stuff. I drive back up to the hotel to grab it and give it to him. He has no idea what it is. You all should ask him about it. I give it to him and Wirty starts complaining about normies. Fluffy: Where are you staying? Me: The Hilton just down the street Fluffy: Oh, the one on the top of the hill? Me: That's why it's the HILL-ton. Everyone groans. Me and wirty talk and he weirds me out and demands to stand next to me in the group photo. I tell more jokes and the millenial group loves me. We close the place down and head back to fluffy's hotel. BOY HOWDY LET ME TELL YOU.........if you thought MY stories were longwinded and pointless you have not met some of fluffy's friends! His local raconteur buddy was telling us at 145AM his story about being fucked by the Virginia state police for speeding. Yeah. I dump him off at his hotel and I head back up to my room. It's 3AM by the time I shower and sleep. SUNDAY JANUARY 19TH 2020 My alarm wakes me up at 9AM. My back is killing me. My head is pounding. It's 21 degrees outside. Fuck this noise. I go back to sleep. The hotel phone rings. Me: Go for Hayden Operator: I have a fluffy butternut on the phone for you. Me: Go ahead and connect us Operator: Thank you (sound of dial tone) I'm not making this up. I grab my phone and call fluffy and we have brunch at the meadows with the mrs. It's fun, we talk guns, life, liberty and the pursuit of extra sides of marinara. I hang out with them at the slot machines until it's time to head to the airport. I gas up at the sheetz next to the racetrack and I fly back home in coach since my status on delta is radioactive dirt. The incoming flight is late from Atlanta which means we leave late for Atlanta and i get back home 2.5 hours later than I expected. Laundry is running and I am unpacking as Megan walks in the door. Me: Hi! Megan: Hi. Back from revenge so soon? Me: Yeah. I'm actually late. How was dinner with your brother? Megan: Good. He took me to olive garden. So tell me what was so important you had to go out for revenge and come back the next day? (I tell her the story) Megan: Wait a minute. Your friend insulted you as a joke, so you bought a last minute first class ticket to new york and pennsylvania to fly to his surprise birthday party to yell at him in person, in january in 21 degree weather? Me: Yeah. Megan: Why would you do that? Me: Well he said that you're damaged goods. He wasn't insulting me, he was insulting you. I didn't like that. Megan: You cannot be serious. Me: I am serious. Megan: and don't call you Shirley? Me: You're weird. Megan: I'm not the one that just flew across the country to go "out for revenge", and I'm the weird one? Me: (goofy smile) Megan: (goofy laughter) Have a lovely holiday weekend everyone!
Hello current and future Seventeens! First, yes Atlanta United is the greatest club in MLS. Thanks for asking! We own every relevant record and award including MLS Best Dressed Coach, and are constantly breaking our own records. So if you are an overseas fan, for example from the UK or Australia and looking for an MLS team to follow of course it should be Atlanta. Watching Here is the schedule as well as what station each game will be on. It could change so visit again closer to the respective match to be sure. For Fox Sports South check here and here. Also you can check out soccerstreams if you're into that kind of thing. Bars to watch at include: Fado Irish Pub, Brewhouse Cafe, Midway Pub, and Der Biergarten, as well as many others. Listening Our dudes Jason Longshore and Mike Conti have the radio call produced by u/atlsoccer929 on 92.9 the Game. You can also get to it via the Atlanta United app and listen on your phone if you don't have radio handy. Sometimes it is on a sister station WAOK. Getting to the Stadium Take MARTA. Seriously. Vine City, Philips, and Five Points are the closest stops but Five Points is a little walk with the benefit being that you don't have to transfer depending on the direction you are going. If you want to drive you should reserve your spot ahead of time. Mercedes-Benz Stadium has a clear bag policy: We strongly encourage all fans to NOT bring any type of bag(s). Fans will be able to carry the following style and size bag, package, or container into the stadium as outlined below: Bags that are clear plastic, vinyl or PVC and do not exceed 12” x 6” x 12”. One-gallon clear plastic freezer bag (Ziploc bag or similar). Small clutch bags, no larger than 4.5” x 6.5”, with or without a handle or strap can be taken into the stadium. An exception will be made for medically necessary items after proper inspection at a gate designated for this purpose. Guests with non-complying bags can valet their bag for a fee at one of the bag valet locations outside of the following gates: • Gate 1 • Gate 2 • Field Level -- North Suite Entry Tailgating Tailgating is done at The Gulch parking lot. To get into the Gulch either take stairs down across the street from Philips Arena, or take a right before the escalators at the Philips Marta stop. All the SGs meet there past the overpass and everyone else randomly throughout. Some SGs have a paid option for food and drink that is typically cheaper for members but still generally open to anyone. Occasionally restaurants and breweries will be out there promoting and giving out free stuff including food and beer. Sometimes there's a live gameday version of Soccer Down Here and sometimes Dukes and Bell from 929 are there. Pre-Game Team Activities and Countdown to Kickoff. Highlights include watching the team roll up in suits to sign the Golden Spike which is located by Gate 4 near the outside entrance to the Team Store and the Supporters March. Where Should I Sit? If you want to actually sit (you'll be in the minority) then you should get an upper level seat, 200 or 300 when it's open. Everyone in 100 stands the entire match. If you don't want flags obstructing your view or beer showers on goals then you should avoid 136, 101, and 102. They are the cheapest seats for a reason. Sections 135 and 103 are still considered Supporters Section but they are assigned seats instead of General Admission and are generally more tame than the General Admissions sections but still close enough to the great atmosphere. 100 level Club seats have access to field level. You also get to watch the players walk in from the locker room. 200 level club seats have a casino or something, I don't know. Buying Tickets There is a weekly Transaction Tuesday thread on the subreddit. There are also Facebook groups. There is currently a waitlist for season tickets, so if you aren't a season ticket holder check out the 4 game pack for tickets to the remaining 4 potentially record breaking games this season as well as free ATL UTD 2 tickets to any 4 games of your choice. Away Games MLSAwayGames is a good resource. https://i.imgur.com/hmAP0Oa.jpg The best source for away tickets will be through a Supporters Group (i.e. by joining one) because they deal with FOs directly and in bulk. Occasionally you can call an FO yourself and get a ticket in the designated away section that will usually look sold out on Ticketmaster. Otherwise filling in the neighboring sections works as well. Chants We Ready Start of every half ATL Clap (drum, drum) A👏 (drum, drum) T👏 (drum, drum) L👏 (repeats increasing tempo) Atlanta - United Call and Response We Are The A We are the A 👏👏👏👏 From Way Down South 👏👏👏👏 And We Are Here 👏👏👏👏 Rowdy and Proud 👏👏👏👏 Sha la la la... Vamos ATL Vamos Vamos Vamos ATL 👏👏 Vamos Vamos Vamos ATL 👏👏 Vaaaaammmooooosssssss ATL Oh Josef Martinez Ohhhh Josef Martineeeezzzz Sha la la ATL quiet and building Sha la la la la la la ATL Sha la la la la la la United Ohh Oh Oh ATL Ohh Oh Oh Oh Oh Oh Oh Oh Oh Ohhohh ohhohoh oohhohohohoh ATL AUFC on corners AU 👏👏 FC 👏👏 Tenemos que ganar Vaaammmmmooooossssss Vamos Atlanta Que esta noche Tenemos que ganar He's One Of Our Own He's one of our own He's one of our own Andrew Carleton He's one of our own Brad Guzan He's big! He's tall! He's a motherfucking wall! Brad Guuuzzaaannnn Brad Guuuzzaaann
Ah, Halloween. The day of spookiness and horrors is upon us once again. Unlike Easter, there's no week-off on Halloween weekend, meaning it's not uncommon to see NASCAR running races the day before or after. As for races held on October 31, there's a number of them. Just to make things easier, we're going to focus on the top three series. 1965 American 500 Series: Grand National (Cup) The inaugural race held at the North Carolina International Speedway (better known as Rockingham), it was the first NASCAR premiere series race held on Halloween. Despite starting on the pole, Richard Petty crashed on lap 58 and instead, Curtis Turner dominated the race. The Virginian led 239 of the 500 laps in the event to record his 17th and final career victory. The race (along with the 1973 Carolina 500) was featured in the Speed program Back in the Day with Dale Earnhardt Jr. 1982 Cardinal 250 Series: Busch Late Model Sportsman (Xfinity) NASCAR's second-tier series was in its first season in 1982. Then known as the Busch Late Model Sportsman Series, the 1982 season finale took place on October 31 at Martinsville. Butch Lindley recorded his fourth win of the season. On an interesting note, the race featured seven drivers who have attempted a Cup race before (Lindley, Bosco Lowe, Tommy Ellis, Jimmy Hensley, Jack Ingram, John Utsman and Tommy Houston) as well as a future NASCAR champ in Dale Jarrett. Only three of them (Lindley, Lowe and Utsman) would finish in the top 20. Jarrett failed to finish and was classified in 37th. 1982 Warner W. Hodgdon American 500 Series: Cup Well, this would explain the lack of Buschwhackers in the Cardinal 250. They're all in Rockingham. This race featured a number of driver headlines. Randy Baker, Buck's son and Buddy's brother, made his Cup debut in the race, which ended with a 20th-place finish. Meanwhile, inaugural Talladega race winner Richard Brickhouse ran his last Cup race, finishing behind Baker in 21st. The American 500 winner would be Darrell Waltrip, driving the Mountain Dew car in what would be the last Cup win for MD to date. Neil Bonnett, who finished 3rd, led 108 for the Wood Brothers; since then, the team has not led at least 100 laps. The closest WBR has reached that number was 70, recorded in Elliott Sadler's 2001 win at Bristol. The namesake, Warner Hodgdon, was an interesting face in the NASCAR garage. Here's a pretty nice article about him for the interested. Video of the final laps 1993 Slick 50 500 Series: Cup Held at Phoenix in conjunction with the Winston West Series, it's not surprising to see the Cup drivers dominate the event. Of the seven Winston West drivers, Rick Carelli finished the highest in 21st. Mark Martin dominated the race while Dale Earnhardt clinched the championship. Speaking of Earnhardt, many know about the rivalry he had with Jeff Gordon in the 90s. The two had their moments even before Gordon was winning races. Aired on TNN, Neil Bonnett made his final call for the network before joining Richard Childress Racing for the next race at Atlanta in what turned out to be his final career start. Race replay 1999 Sam's Town 250 Series: Busch Besides being a holiday, October 31 seems to be the date that tracks like to host their inaugural NASCAR races, considering what we saw with the Rock. Memphis Motorsports Park is another track to see its first NASCAR action on the day, hosting a Busch Series race. On a more tragic note, October 31, 1999 was also the day IndyCar driver Greg Moore was killed in a crash at Fontana. In the Sam's Town 250, Jeff Green recorded his 3rd win of the season from the pole. The late Adam Petty finished 5th, his final top five in the Busch Series. Meanwhile, a young driver by the name of Jimmie Johnson led his first laps of the year, leading 22 of them. He would finish 12th. Nowadays, people bring up the concern of small entry lists. When looking at the DNQs for this race alone, it adds up to a whopping 59 cars, including the likes of Jimmy Spencer, Ricky Hendrick, Kevin Lepage and Kenny Wallace. 2003 Chevy Silverado 150 Series: Truck The Truck Series isn't going to be left out of the Halloween races! Held in Phoenix, there's a reason why we call Kevin Harvick the Cactus King. He led 80 laps en route to his 2nd straight Phoenix Truck win. For the race, he ran a Taz scheme to promote the movie Looney Tunes: Back in Action. Yes, the same one featuring Jeff Gordon. Race replay 2004 Bass Pro Shops MBNA 500 Series: Cup 2004 Atlanta race weekend was a somber one for Hendrick Motorsports. It had been a week since the plane crash that claimed ten team members. With those ten in their hearts, the 48 team showed poise in Atlanta. Jimmie Johnson held off a charging Mark Martin to win an emotional 3rd straight race. As he described it: "6 car was coming, but I had ten angels riding on this race car." Race replay 2008 Chevy Silverado 350K Series: Truck The Truck Series' next Halloween date took place in Texas. Most of us may know about Ron Hornaday and Kyle Busch's unamiable relationship at Texas. Three years before that incident, the two were battling it out for the win. Hornaday came out on top as Busch finished 2nd despite leading the most laps. The win moved Hornaday closer to Johnny Benson in their fight for the Truck title with 2 races to go, though Benson would hold him off for the championship. 2009 Fred's 250 Series: Truck The Truck Series got another Halloween race a year later, this time at the infamous Talladega Superspeedway, a fitting venue considering the so-called Talladega jinx and rumors of it being built on an Indian burial ground. Kyle Busch and teammate Aric Almirola were able to get past Todd Bodine to record a Billy Ballew Motorsports 1–2 finish. In other news, start-and-parker Justin Hobgood finished 9th, his only career top 10. Also of interesting note is Austin Dillon failing to qualify for the race. Talk about spooky. 2010 Amp Energy Juice 500 Series: Cup Talladega in 2010 was crazy. In the spring, there were 88 lead changes. In the fall, 87 on Halloween. In this race, plenty of drivers sniffed the lead, including Joe Nemechek and Sam Hornish Jr. In the end, Clint Bowyer scored his 4th win under caution as A. J. Allmendinger went for a wild ride entering the final lap. Race replay 2014 WinStar World Casino & Resort 350 Series: Truck Well, Kyle Busch won this race, his 42nd win in the Trucks. That's really it. Jeb! Burton finished 2nd. Ron Hornaday ran his final Truck race to date, finishing 12th. Race replay 2015 Kroger 200 Series: Truck Last year's Halloween race weekend was at Martinsville, just like this year. Unlike 2016, however, there was racing on October 31. In this case, it's the Trucks once again. At Martinsville, one can expect plenty of beating and banging, and the Trucks offered that.... a lot. There were 12 separate cautions for accidents but Matt Crafton was able to survive to take the victory, his 10th career win in the CWTS. Race replay As one can see, there have been 12 NASCAR national series races, five of which were Cup, two Xfinity and five Truck. Should be interesting to see what the 13th race would be. It'll certainly be a spooky one.
In conjunction with beastboyrolf, who has kindly let me handle a couple of defunct teams for this series, I present today's "Defunct Team Spotlight". Today's featured "defunct" team is Robby Gordon Motorsports(RGM). Well, OK, it's technically RGM. Today's team is actually Alan Kulwicki(AK) Racing. What does AK Racing have to do with Robby Gordon Motorsports? More than you realize. AK Racing was formed in mid-1986 by Alan Kulwicki, a fan favorite driver and 1992 Winston Cup champion. He initially drove for Bill Terry, until Terry stop fielding a team in mid-1986. So Alan bought Terry's team and began driving his own car - initially running #35, and starting in 1987 Kulwicki drove the now-iconic #7. Between 1986-1993, when Kulwicki died prematurely in a plane crash, he made 188 starts, winning 5 races. The team then passed through several hands: driver Geoff Bodine(Geoff Bodine Racing), Jim Mattei/John Porter(Mattei Motorsports), Jim Smith(Ultra Racing), and Robby Gordon(RGM). Owners:
Alan Kuwicki(AK Racing, 1986-1993)
Geoff Bodine (Geoff Bodine Racing, 1993-1998)
Jim Mattei/John Porter(Mattei Motorsports, 1998-2000)
Alan Kulwicki/Jimmy Hensley/Tommy Kendall(1986-1993): Won 5 races, and the 1992 Winston Cup Championship. The #7 Hooters Thunderbird Kulwicki drove is part of NASCAR lore. His 1992 championship was the closest points race in NASCAR history, until the 2011 season when Tony Stewart and Carl Edwards raced to a tie which was decided by wins(Stewart won). Kulwicki's 1992 championship also remains the last Cup championship by a 'pure' owner driver (Tony Stewart's 2011 championship is the most recent owner-driver title, but as a co-owner, so not a pure owner-driver). After Kulwicki's death, Hensley drove the #7 (with Tommy Kendall spelling him at road courses) until late in the season, when Geoff Bodine purchased AK Racing.
Geoff Bodine(1993-1998): Bodine purchased AKR after Kulwicki's untimely death, and ran the team until he sold it to Jim Mattei and John Porter after 4 wins over 5 1/2 years. He had to find sponsorship upon purchase of the team, as Hooters pulled their sponsorship upon his purchasing the team.
Michael Waltrip/Mike Wallace(1998-2000): Waltrip came in after Bodine's departure, and drove through the 2000 season and was replaced by Mike Wallace.
Mike Wallace/Robby Gordon/Kevin LePage/Casey Atwood/Jason LeffleTed Musgrave/Jimmy Spencer(2000-2004): Ultra Motorsports bought the team midway through 2000, and fielded the #7, with mostly average to mediocre results, through the 2004 season. This team was notably sponsored by Sirius Satellite Radio, and featured the company's canine mascot on the hood.
Robby Gordon (2005-dormant): Robby Gordon purchased the team in 2005 and fielded it as an owner driver through 2012, with his best finishes coming at the road courses. Robby ran into sponsorship issues after his primary sponsor, Motorola, was prohibited from the Cup Series due to Sprint's exclusivity agreement.
Future Cup crew chiefs Tony Gibson and Brian Whitesell cut their teeth working for Kulwicki's AK Racing.
Paul Andrews, who would go on to be crew chief for Geoff Bodine(when he bought AKR), Steve Park, Bobby Labonte and Michael Waltrip, got his start at AK Racing. He was Alan Kulwicki's crew chief from 1988 until Kulwicki's death in 1993.
Before he won championships with Jeff Gordon and owned his own Cup team, Ray Evernham lasted six weeks working for Alan Kulwicki, who was a demanding employer.
Robby Gordon hasn't attempted a race since Sonoma in 2012. He gave the iconic #7 to Tommy Baldwin Racing in 2013, so it's likely the road ends here for the team started by a journeyman driver from Greenfield, Wisconsin. My other team(unless beastboyrolf gives me any others to do) will be Donlavey Racing. That will probably come next week.
2001 season rewatch, weekend 15: Harrah's 200, Nashville Superspeedway (IRL); Harrah's 500 Presented by Toyota, Michigan International Speedway (CART)
LEBANON, Tenn., Friday, July 20, 2001 - Greg Ray returned to his usual strong qualifying form, edging Indy Racing Northern Light Series points leader Sam Hornish Jr. to win the MBNA Pole for the Harrah's Indy 200 with a lap of 199.922 mph July 20 at Nashville Superspeedway. It was the fourth MBNA Pole of the season for Ray in the No. 2 Johns Manville/Menards Dallara/Oldsmobile/Firestone and the 13th of his Indy Racing career, extending his series record. He qualified an uncharacteristic 10th at the last Indy Racing event, the Ameristar Casino Indy 200 on July 8 at Kansas Speedway. Ray has 22 front-row starts during his Indy Racing career. Ray was one of five drivers to break the 200-mph barrier in the final practice this afternoon on the 1.33-mile concrete oval, but light rain that delayed the start of qualifying by 40 minutes changed conditions. "The track didn't have quite the same grip," Ray said. "The air's a little muggier. We never got to top gear. We had a pretty good lap there at the end, but we could never get up to top gear. "We thought we could do exactly what we did in practice if not a little better. The rain definitely changed things for us." Hornish was second at 199.750 in the No. 4 Pennzoil Panther Dallara/Oldsmobile/Firestone, tying his career-best starting spot. Hornish led the afternoon practice at 201.037. The Harrah's Indy 200 starts at 7 p.m. (CDT) Saturday. The race is sold out and will be televised live on ESPN. Mark Dismore qualified third at 199.239 in the No. 28T Delphi Automotive Systems/Bryant Heating & Cooling Dallara/Oldsmobile/Firestone. Billy Boat was a season-best fourth at 199.175 in the No. 98T CURB Records Dallara/Oldsmobile/Firestone. In fact, it was Boat's best start since winning the pole in July 1999 at Atlanta. Eddie Cheever Jr. rounded out the top five at 199.100 in the #51 Cheever Indy Racing Dallara/Infiniti/Firestone. Defending series champion Buddy Lazier was sixth at 198.681 in the No. 91 Tae-Bo/Coors Light/Delta Faucet Dallara/Oldsmobile/Firestone. Lazier is second in the Northern Light Cup standings, 60 points behind Hornish. Qualifying produced a tight field, as 14 drivers were within a half second of Ray. Full race video DETROIT--Michigan International Speedway, which has played host to two of the three closest finishes in Champ Car history during the past two years, will be primed for another this weekend as the FedEx Championship Series returns for the Harrah's 500 Presented by Toyota (1:30 p.m. ET, live, ABC-TV). The two-mile oval located in the Irish Hills of southeast Michigan has hosted some storied Champ Car events of late, beginning with Tony Kanaan's 0.032-second victory over Juan Montoya in 1999, which stands as the second-closest finish in Champ Car history. Kanaan had inherited the lead two turns from the checkered flag when Max Papis of Team Rahal, who had led a race-high 143 laps, ran out of fuel. Montoya was again a principal in last year's FedEx Championship Series event at Michigan, as he and Michael Andretti waged a dazzling wheel-to-wheel duel over the final 20 laps before Montoya nudged ahead for a 0.040-second victory at the checkered flag. The race featured a whopping 52 lead changes at the start/finish line--third in CART history--and an unofficial 162 on the race track overall, and Montoya's margin of victory stands as the third-closest in Champ Car history. As the series prepares for its final visit to Michigan, Andretti (Motorola Honda/Reynard) arrives looking to reverse last year's outcome. He claimed his record-41st CART victory in spectacular last-to-first fashion on the streets of Toronto last week, a triumph that moved him from sixth into second place in the FedEx Championship Series championship. With 73 points, Andretti trails championship leader Kenny Brack (84 points) of Team Rahal by 11 as the season approaches its midway point. Andretti is a two-time winner at Michigan Speedway (1987, '89) and has led 705 laps in 20 career starts at the venue. He is one of four former Michigan winners in the field this weekend, and the only one among the top five contenders for the FedEx Championship Series championship. Brack (Shell Ford-Cosworth/Lola) has built his championship lead on a pair of victories at Japan and Milwaukee--the first two of his FedEx Championship Series career--and a consistent record of finish that has seen him score championship points in seven of nine completed events this season. He leads the series in points scored on ovals, with 59, and has also collected 330 of his series-leading 359 laps led on oval circuits. Brack qualified 10th and finished 22nd due to contact in his inaugural appearance at Michigan International Speedway as a rookie last year. Andretti's victory at Toronto extended a run that has seen him finish among the top eight drivers in four of his past five starts, including a podium result of second at Milwaukee. Of the other three former Michigan winners in this year's field, two are currently driving for Mo Nunn Racing: Kanaan (Hollywood Honda/Reynard), whose 1999 Michigan victory came as a member of McDonald's Championship Racing; and Alex Zanardi (Pioneer Honda/Reynard), who won at Michigan in 1997 en route to his first of two consecutive FedEx Championship Series championships for Target Chip Ganassi Racing. The other former Michigan winner in this weekend's field is Jimmy Vasser (Patrick Racing Toyota/Reynard) of Patrick Racing, who won The Inaugural U.S. 500 in 1996. The weekend's entry list also includes one driver who already has a 500-mile victory to his credit this season, reigning Indianapolis 500 champion Helio Castroneves (Marlboro Honda/Reynard) of Marlboro Team Penske. Castroneves stands third to Brack and Andretti in the FedEx Championship Series championship, with 70 points. Rounding out the top five drivers in the championship chase are Dario Franchitti (KOOL Honda/Reynard) of Team KOOL Green, fourth with 65 points, and defending FedEx Championship Series champion Gil de Ferran (Marlboro Honda/Reynard) of Marlboro Team Penske, fifth with 58. Franchitti recorded a podium finish of third to Montoya and Andretti at Michigan last year, while de Ferran was runner-up to his Marlboro Team Penske teammate Castroneves at this year's Indianapolis 500 in May. All FedEx Championship Series entries ride on Firestone Tires, the Official Tire of CART. The Harrah's 500 Presented by Toyota is Round 11 of 21 in the 2001 FedEx Championship Series. The series visits seven countries and four continents during the season and climaxes with the season-ending Marlboro 500 Presented by Toyota on Sunday, Nov. 4, at California Speedway in Fontana, Calif. Thanks to a partnership between Marlboro, Toyota, CART and California Speedway, the winner of the season finale will collect $1 million, one of the richest paydays in all of motorsports. An additional $1 million, as well as the prestigious Vanderbilt Cup, will be awarded to the driver who wins the FedEx Championship Series championship. Following the Harrah's 500 Presented by Toyota, the FedEx Championship Series completes a run of six events in seven weeks with Round 12, the Target Grand Prix Presented by Energizer, July 27-29 at Chicago Motor Speedway in Cicero, Ill. WHO'S HOT • Michael Andretti (Motorola Honda/Reynard) of Team Motorola has finished eighth or better in four of his past five FedEx Championship Series starts, dating to a runner-up finish at Milwaukee and including a victory last weekend at Toronto. The run also includes finishes of fourth at Detroit and eighth at Portland, and has moved Andretti into second place in the FedEx Championship Series championship with 73 points, 11 behind championship leader Kenny Brack (Shell Ford-Cosworth/Lola) of Team Rahal, who leads with 84 points. Andretti's victory last Sunday was the 41st of his career, tops on CART's all-time list and gave him at least one win in 14 different seasons--also a CART record--including the past eight in a row. • FedEx Championship Series championship leader Kenny Brack of Team Rahal has scored championship points in six of his past seven starts, dating to a runner-up result at Nazareth and including back-to-back victories at Japan and Milwaukee, the first of his FedEx Championship Series career. He also finished ninth at Detroit, 11th at Portland and sixth at Cleveland and enters this weekend's Harrah's 500 Presented by Toyota as the FedEx Championship Series championship leader, with 84 points. Brack has also qualified third or better in six of 10 qualifying performances this season, with poles at Mexico, Texas and Milwaukee and outside poles at Long Beach and Nazareth. • Christian Fittipaldi (Kmart Toyota/Lola) of Newman/Haas Racing finished 12th at Toronto to extend a run that has seen him score championship points in six of his past seven starts, dating to a fifth-place finish at Nazareth. He also finished fourth at Japan, fifth at Detroit, third at Portland and 11th at Cleveland. Fittipaldi has improved from 22nd when the run began to ninth in the FedEx Championship Series championship, with 49 points. • Max Papis (Miller Lite Ford-Cosworth/Lola) of Team Rahal owns points-paying finishes in five of his past six FedEx Championship Series starts, including a victory from the pole at Portland. The run also includes finishes of sixth at Japan, eighth at Milwaukee and Toronto and 11th at Detroit. He stands 11th in the FedEx Championship Series championship, with 43 points. • Roberto Moreno (Visteon Toyota/Reynard) of Patrick Racing has collected championship points with seven of his past eight FedEx Championship Series finishes, including podium results of second at Detroit and third at Portland. The run also includes finishes of eighth at Cleveland, 10th at Japan, 11th at Long Beach and Toronto and 12th at Nazareth. Moreno stands 12th in the FedEx Championship Series championship with 43 points. • Mauricio Gugelmin (Nextel PacWest Toyota/Reynard) of the PacWest Racing Group has scored championship points in five of his past six FedEx Championship Series starts. He comes to this weekend's Harrah's 500 Presented by Toyota off a season-best finish of seventh at Toronto last weekend. Gugelmin's current run also includes finishes of 10th at Milwaukee, Detroit and Cleveland and 12th at Japan. He also owns a pole position at Cleveland, his first since establishing a world closed-course speed record of 240.941 miles per hour in the 1997 season finale at California Speedway. Gugelmin stands 20th in the FedEx Championship Series championship, with 17 points. • Alex Tagliani (Player's/Indeck Ford-Cosworth/Reynard) of Player's Forsythe Racing finished second to Michael Andretti at Toronto, the best result of his two-year FedEx Championship Series career. He has scored championship points in three of four of his past five FedEx Championship Series starts, dating to a 12th-place effort at Milwaukee and including finishes of 12th at Portland and ninth at Cleveland. Full race video (240p) Playlist of full race in 15 chunks (480p) Entry, spotter's guide, practice, qualifying and race results Articles, notes and press releases What the hell is this? In the long off-season we're rewatching the 2001 CART and IRL seasons, in chronological order. This is round 11 of the CART series and round 9 of the IRL, and you can discuss the races below. Enjoy!
I have not had any animals, but I have considered it, I just feel like it would limit my freedom to much for my liking. I have met plenty of travelers who do have them. I feel like if I were a chick I would have a dog for protection.
Edit: just saw your name, your italics make sense now.
I got attacked by four guys once, could have been much worse than it was, I was asleep but they woke me up before they attacked me. The attack started with waterballoons, escalated into kicks, and climaxed with a crowbar to the forehead with a bit of blood, this is when I ran away. I went to the cops and found out a girl had gotten attacked at the same place earlier that night by 4 guys and a crowbar, she died.
The stories and scars I have seen are heartbreaking and absurd, I was in the keys when a humbum was beat to the point that he had no more facial features.
It is always nice to hear of people helping out. I think way more helpful than a couple bucks is a conversation that aims at getting to know their personal situation because then you can see what specific actions could be taken to help them. Lots of homeless will turn your 10bucks into a night of not having to consider their future or their pathetic situation which just makes it worse for them long run, but if you can find one that legitly wants out of their rut and you can help them with some job searching help, use of computer or phone, encouragement, incentives(if I see you working a job I will give you a hundred bucks...),a backyard or garage until they start getting paychecks, you can really change a life...
I make money by juggling and balancing things on my nose, as well as the occasional magic trick.
I sleep behind abandoned buildings, in woods, on public transit, occasionally on a kind strangers porch or couch. The more I do this, the more I run into people I know who house me for a night here or there.
I occasionally go on little hunts through youtube for videos of myself, I have found quite a few, but I have a feeling most I wont find because the searches are all quite generic "juggler in boulder" or whatever bc I dont tell my name when I perform...
Actually it is not that I dont want ppl to know my name, it is that I dont like to talk when I perform. I have always liked the idea that I can get paid just to stand and practice what I want to practice without focusing on patter and jokes and stuff. I make less money because of this, but I think it is worth it. And a sign next to me has always stuck as something I dont want to do, I dont mind not being able to find all the videos of me, if they are good enough then they will float to the surface of the internet and I will see them, and plus I can always video myself and watch it all I want.
I left boulder almost 2 months ago, I was there about a week this time. I was just using it as an example of how I hunt for myself on youtube. I have a place I can crash in boulder if I want though.. A few days at a time at least. Boulder is very easy outdoor sleeping, the cold is an issue for me there though. I am pretty sure I will be outside mostly this winter wherever I end up.
Possibly teach juggling or other circus arts. The past couple years I have been listening to ttc lectures quite a bit, kind of trying to broaden my levels of interest, sort of looking for something that interests me. I have had a few turning points I would say, questioning my religious upbringing was a big one about 7 years ago, really trying to separate the learned from the experienced and sorting out what was true and what I was pretending to be true based on what I thought those close to me wanted me to hold as true. Later on there was realising that I enjoyed my life more the more I took care of myself, years ago I would use food stamps and regularly eat at soup kitchens, but I met enough people in that world that I decided it would make me happier to have more control over my life.
I have had my times with different drugs, I dont regret them, dont have a problem with addicts, I have met a lot of fascinating crackheads. I talk about drugs more in the response to someone elses question.
From my experience, the magic of a crackhead is one that can only be experienced first hand, it is that mindset that turns on a dime, they can be extremely distraught over their addiction and the course their life has taken one moment and seconds later with one small puff of a pipe their problems vanish, they rule the world, all of existence was created for the sole purpose of bringing them pleasure. I had a 19 yr old crackwhore who could barely walk up steps, all her bones showing through her skin, tell me that she knew crack was killing her, but as long as she kept getting high she didnt care. This girl told me she hated water, it was soda crack and chips for her.
It is more the thing that they all have in common that has always fascinated me, not particularly individual stories. Lots of crackheads are in surrealy similar situations. The high only lasts 7-15 minutes, and 15 is far end, after that all that matters is getting more crack you can see it in their eyes that anything else you are talking about other than getting them more crack money is going right past them. It is like when a really horny is talking to a really hot chick, he just nods and agrees while his mind keeps saying "when we gunna fuck?". The are like golum from lotr.
I guess I just kind of jumped onboard with a running joke amongst street people with starbucks being a goto bathroom for them. However, if given a choice, i would generally choose anywhere over starbucks for shitting bc starbucks is almost always individual use only so if you are going to take a nice long relaxed shit you come out to awkward glares from a long line of strangers. More stalls the better, so not actually starbucks. The best qre train stations, airports, libraries, casinos...
Washing yourself is better at starbucks though bc you can strip down, scrub up with soapy paper towels, rinse off, and when you leave everybody thinks you were just taking a shit, but they have no idea what you were doing...
It is because you guys have those private bathrooms and you dont use customer only keys in most cities.
The cup thing is ending at lots of starbucks so the humbums are switching over to einstein bros bc if you find a cup there you can fill it up yourself and dont have to pay 54 cents. It is just like mcdonalds soft drinks.
Hardest part: It definetly changes from time to time, loneliness can be pretty rough at times, I find it hard to relate with the dirty homeless beggar type person, which is most of them, and just living in a very different world than they average guy makes it hard to relate there too. So lots of my time is spent by myself. That is probably what has made me decide to do this. It is weird though because at other times I treasure my solitude and ability to be by myself, this is the case more often than not. I am not generally wondering around feeling sad and alone, but it does get to me times.
Best part: My freedom. I am never obliged to do anything. If I am into a book, it normally goes down in one big gulp. If I want to see texas, I just go. If you are annoying me, I delete you from my life. I can always do what I want when I want, no boss, roomates, nothing that most people seem to feel they must 'put up with'.
Basic needs: Well, food is the biggest issue. I make money to buy food when I can by juggling when I can, when I cannot for some reason I have come up with different ways to get food. When I was new I would eat at soup kitchens, but that generally left me feeling shitty, not because the food was bad, it often is quite good, but because I would feel like a leech on society. It is very rare that I do that now. Nowadays if I feel I must eat and have no money I will look for leftover containers near or in garbages, or dig in grocery store dumpsters. It is amazing how much better I feel when I dont eat much compared to when I eat alot. Often it is one meal a day and a snack. What other basic needs are there? Medical has been a non-issue. I carry a tooth brush..
I am not currently pursuing employment, however if the right job were to present itself I would certainly accept it. I get lots off food for free, but I also make some money juggling, and the occasional odd job. Winters I almost always go south, the florida keys, socal, hawaii, new orleans..
I have never gotten sick from eating out of a garbage/dumpster that I know of. Garbage food is always leftovers that were just purchased, or food still packaged that just went past expiration date and is still good. Sometimes I will go to mall foodcourts, look around at all the eaters, spot some that I doubt will finish their food and position myself between them and the garbage and just do a quick "mind if I take that for you?" as they are walking toward the bin, people love giving away food instead of throwing it away, and foodcourts love selling more food than people eat.
I try to stick to a pretty vegan diet, but I certainly do make regular exceptipn based on hunger, but it has almost never come to stale food.
I havnt been there in years but the big thing that sticks out was how talented the street performers were and how performer friendly the laws and tourists were. There were some really amazing magicians there, and very likely still are.
Haha, yesterday I was midsentence when a girl dumped 2 pizza rolls and pasta in the garbage, and no I didnt go after it. I will take the closed styrofoam container 'whiteboxes' out though. So far as them coming in contact with dangerous stuff, I dont dig, I just pull off the top, and I stick to areas with garages that are often changed. Oh, and packaged dumpster food I wash.
I was with a girl a few years back who pulled an icecream cone out of a garbage and ate it, that shit was fucked up.
I typed up an answer to this but it is gone, maybe I replied somewhere else accidently.. But no I have not done this and I doubt it would work bc in highschool I worked for pizzahut and when that would happen we would get to eat the pizza back at the store. It wasnt beyond us to call in fake orders..
The closest I have done was tell fastfood places they fucked up my order the other day and that I had called in and was told to come in and someone would give me what was left out.. I even had a worker lie and tell me that he was the one who took my bullshit call... I have not done this for about three or four years.
Family worried some at first but less now. I talk about this some in another response. However, my little brother specifically I think will end up traveling, he allready tried taking off on his own once but got caught by the cops. So far as something happening to me and nobody knowing, I am ok with this, if my body is not burried 'properly' dont mind, I feel bad for my family though if this is the case because it would be such a drawn out painful process of not knowing if I am alive and not communicating for longer than normal or if I am dead or stuck somewhere. My concern for how they would feel is not enough for me to want to make sure I am constantly surrounded by people who would know who to contact if I go missing.
I keep in touch with my family rarely, I prefer to interact in person, I have allready done more typing in this ama than I have done in the last 2 years. I dont have a phone plan, so I rarely call. So when I am in their towns I hang out but thats about it. I have never had a girlfriend, but there have been a couple girls that I have hung out with for a month here and there in open relationship style. My longest relationship has been a platonic one with a guy a couple years older than me, we have traveled for about 2 years together on and off over the span of the last four years. I guess so far as a place goes, I come more from a point of view that if there is something I want to do and having a place will make that possible, then having one is what I want, but getting a place as a goal in and of itself is not my desire.
In parks, woods, public transit, behind churches is good bc they are almost never there so nobody ever knows and if they do show up they are not dicks about it. In and around lots of abandoned places like casinos, apartment complexes, motels, churches, houses. Sometimes just out of view in busy places, under bushes, bridges, behind dumpsters.
Greatest place was in an apartment building where I went into an apartment and constructed a closet in front of a bedroom door, completely concealing it, filled the closet with clothing so to get into my room you would have to slide all the clothes to the side and then slide the back of the closet to the side. Narnia style.
I dont have tent, traveled with one for a week, but replaced it with a tarp, easier to carry. If I must I lay on it and pull it over me and tuck it on the other side like a buritto.
I have gotten good at picking spots to stay safe from drunks and cops amd such, out of sight out of mind.
My hobby at that time was going around at night and 'looting' abandoned and half burned buildings, so I found this big closet, the kind that is like an enyertainment center, not the kind that is like a room. The only tool I needed was a knife with the end broken off so it became a flathead screwdriver. The hard part was moving the thing piece be piece to my place, but once there I put it back together in front of my bedroom door, I set up the room it was in to look like a lived in bedroom so nobody who broke into my squat(abandoned apartment I was occupying) would assume the dummy room was mine and I would be safe behind the closet in my actual room. I was young at the time and very worried about sleeping safely. I stayed in that squat for about 2 months. This was in spain, I was 18. It ended with the building being demolished.
Visas for the main part of the eu are easy to get for 3mo at a time, you just fly in and they stamp your passport. From my experience the uk wants to see money before they give you one so they know you are not a bum coming to live off of them. Im from the us.
Ok, so this is what happeneafter I had been in there around 2 months, I met a group of squatters that all lived together in another building, they had just gotten notices posted all around their building saying that they had to move out bc their building was gunna be demolished. Since they had no place else to go and I had a ton of empty apartments in my building I took them over to my building and we went up to the top floor(my apt was on 2nd floor). On the top floor there were 3 small apts, so we connected 2 of them by bashing out a wall, we got their electrical fixed too(i had done this at my apt as well). So, we start moving all their stuff in and these 2 random homeless guys show up and freak out saying they live in the top floor, we assumed that nobody was up there bc it was a mess and there was no electricity when we found it. So to make them happy I gave them my apt and moved in with my squating budies on the top floor, after about a week the cops showed up and told us that we had to move out bc now our building was set to get demolished, it was around that time that I flew back to england, my squating friends found another squat, a really nice one, a house, not another apt.
I do. I am not in a hurry though, I tend to subscribe to the view that if you do what makes you happy then you will find other people doing the same and then neither of you will be so dependent on the other to be happy. I also kind of wonder if maybe in some way I dont realise just how amazing a relationship can be, makes me excited about the future.
Haha, it was in atlantic city about 16 months ago, she was a mid thirties single mom, lost, looking for the bus to jersey city I think, we ended up swimming in the ocean for a bit, I bought a hotel room and thats about it, I showed her where the bus to jersey was the next day.
At that time I had up over 5k cash, it made me nervous carrying that much so I never minded spending it, I bought a 100 dollar ticket to see britney spears within a few days of that, just because I could. But generally I stick right around 0(cash, not savings)and make money when I need it.
I dont think it is because there are more female shelters, I think it is because it is more dangerous, rapes and attacks. Also it more common for a housed male to take in a homeless female for companionship or sex than viceversa.
O yes, very plausible, lots of the teen and 20s travelers seem to travel in groups for companionship, but safety is an added benefit too. I often prefer to travel alone, and I have met solo traveler chicks, some go with dogs fir safety and they say a dog will increase your begging income as much as a guitar. If you want a group you can always go to a very traveler heavy town to start and find a crew. Lots of ppl have mentioned some main ones, both portlands, stsanta cruz, ann arbour, nyc's east village.. Just to name a few, if you are interested you can post a city and I can try and name a mecca close by.
My benefit to society is too difficult to measure for it to be anything but opinion, and so take this ama for example, it was only possible as a result of the lifestyle I live, so is this ama beneficial to society? If so, does it justify the costs that society has incurred on my behalf? Some say it does, some say it doesnt, I dunno, but I am having a pretty good time.
I feel like I do live off society, everyone in society does. I dont live off pity though, not for moral reasons, but because you get better at what you do and I dont eant to be good at making people feel bad for me, I want to get good at doing stuff that people want to see to the point that they decide it is in their best interest to give me their hard earned money. As a street performer I am offering my services for societies money, skills that I have been cultivating since I was 13, that I paid society to help me develope when I trained at a school of circus arts after highschool (i could only afford tuition not rent, this is why I initially became homeless). I do not look down on those who beg, it is just unique that you meet a homeless guy who doesn't that is why I mentioned it. Even beggers offer those who donate to them something, they get a good feeling that you can only get when you help someone else out, but im not saying that I myself subscribe to an altruistic philosophy, and I dont give to beggars because I know how easy food is to get (in america), and thus thats not what they actually need money for in almost every case that I have encountered.
I think I just ranted. Tldr; I live off society via an exchange of my services for societies money, don't we all?
I am really unsure about how I see myself, I dont know if my contributions outweigh the burden I put on society, I dont regret the experiences I have had and the people I have met but I am wondering if I might not be more fullfilled living a different life, I think that is a big part of why I am doing this ama. Its not just to see how ppl see me or to show ppl a different type of life, but to help me reevaluate how I see myself.
It started because I really wanted to go to a particular circus arts college after highschool and had limited funds, it was tuition or rent. It continued because traveling to the school gave me the travel bug and living off nothing while at the school gave me the confidence to continue doing it. I left the school after three months and have been travelling ever since.
I am also very thankful for this ama, it has been quite a blessing to have so many people interested in discussing my life with me. So, you're welcome, and thankyou too!
I have gotten a few month or two long jobs on farms at which times the farmers house me) and then lived off that money for awhile, but 95% of the time momey comes from street performing, or living money free when I dont want to perform. Oh, I also lived in a van for a short stretch and made money as an emergency long distance delivery driver, that allowed me to amass the savings that I now have, but rarely touch. I like living around zero as opposed to constantly pulling money out of savings, but I do occasionally when money is tough and I want to fly or something.
A few things, the connection between music and juggling has long fascinated me and I would like to develope a set off juggling balls that send there location to a computer which converts the peak height of each throw to a sound, so I can then not only juggle to music but make music while I juggle. I would also like to work with a band at some point.
I would like to write a book at some point both about my travels and how anyone can travel very cheap.For example, I just rode my bicycle from new hampshire to san diego(i got a couple rides in some rough spots) I had 13 dollars cash when I started and didnt touch my savings until I finished(i got myself a place for a couple weeks after I finished).
Well, I have some favorites, nyc, all of hawaii, st louis, santa cruz, portland maine, burlington vt, lots of east fl, boulder co, bilbao spain.. These ones stick out now, but im sure there are others that ill think of later and wont be able to believe I didnt put them down. Oh south western is awsome for there bike path system, they have hundreds of miles of pathes all around columbus, dayton and that whole area, even down to Cincinnati I think.
Well, it is sort of like I am homeless to make it so easy to travel, everytime I go town to town the only expences I have are those I feel I need to keep myself going. No paying rent somewhere I am not, no hotel rooms(generally), just food, pleasures, and necessities.
Thanks man, I have hit up almost every, maybe even every town on the east coast of fl, so I was very likely in your town before. It has been quite a few years so I just may be due for another trip that way.
It was both a very special time in my life, I had just gone from a year of really being very alone to cramming into a van with five guys and driving across the country, when we found santa cruz we all just knew it was the place for us. There are so many travelers there, the locals are very supportive of travelers, especially performers passing through. There are woods so close by the downtown area, which are the best place to sleep. The college there is gorgeous, and it is very easy to audit the occasional class there which is an immensely fun passtime. They have one of the largest weekly meetup of firespinners and drummers in the country, up on the cliffs by the lighthouse. The dog sculptures on the street (pacific I think) where dogs are banned always made me laugh.
Airplane, been there 3 or 4 times, answered this elsewhere, but tickets can get cheap if you check obsessively and are willing to fly immediatly upon finding a good deal. Ive got some savings stashed away that I have gathered up from doing some legit jobs in the past.
Last updated: 2012-12-09 10:47 UTC This post was generated by a robot! Send all complaints to epsy.
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