With Philadelphia Union Chairman/Owner Jay Sugarman making his first real appearance of import in five years, big things were perhaps expected of this special announcement. Sadly it was all a bit of an anti-climax as the big news was merely making the rumors of Muelensteen's 'appointment' a formal reality. In the face of nothing really exciting to note here are the thoughts that ran through my head upon watching the presser.
- There was more than a touch of the Marco Rubios about Sugarman's opening statement, don't you think? His eyes kept darting over to his prepared speech, no doubt 'generated' by some flunky in the PR department to hit all the salient talking points, which inevitably made it sound rote, robotic, insincere, and terribly cliched. Come on, Jay, if you're only going to speak quinquennially (look that one up, SAT kids!) you think you'd want to say something other than the usual drivel. On the plus side he does handle a plastic water bottle a damn site better than the senator from Florida.
- Did you notice that Nick Sakiewicz, unused to not being the center of attention, was twitchier than a crackhead after a week at rehab? He was literally itching to jump in and answer questions that were being posed to Sugarman. When one reporter prefaced his question with "I suppose for anyone who wants to take it..." Sak immediately grabbed the mic from out front of Muelensteen like a trapdoor spider finally sensing that vole blissfully unaware of it's impending doom. He then adjusted himself in his seat, sat up straight and adopted his best "I am a serious and highly knowledgeable football executive face" only for the reporter to essentially shout "psych!" by finally adding "Jay, maybe you could start that one". It was truly hilarious, if not a little cruel. Nick did eventually get his word in, but sadly it all seemed a little "yeah, erm... yeah, that's what I said last week, see, I know what I'm doing, I'm important, come on guys..."
- What is it with these rich investor type guys and their inability to have a decent hairdo? For a team that has a sponsorship deal involving free haircuts Sugarman needs to do better than his 'thinning and you're fooling nobody' attempt at a pompadour, and while we're on it... Is he trying to grow out a mullet at the back? Oh, I do hope so. And by the way, the photo at the top of this article? That is the official photo that accompanies the bios on the Union's web page. Wow. Talk about smoldering!
- Is René Muelensteen trying to curry favor with everyone in South Philly with that outfit? He looked like he had just walked out of the recently reopened Shirt Corner with his monochromatic 'wise guy' look. On the plus side at least his suit fits him, unlike poor old Jim Curtin who always manages to look like he forgot he had a presentation to attend so he raided his teenage son's closet for an outfit that same morning.
- Why do blokes at executive level positions always seem to feel the need to try and outdo the other alpha males in the room by making 'funnies'? At times it was like watching your dad and your uncles trying to top each other at Thanksgiving dinner with crap 'jokes' that only they themselves found funny. Louis CK and Kevin Hart don't need to look over their shoulders for the most part, but they might need to keep an eye on Jay Sugarman who won the comedy quip wars with his parting shot to the press of "see you in five years".
All in all the big exciting announcement might not have been as bold and daring as many of us had hoped, but at least it does feel like Sugarman is trying to do something positive instead of hiding behind the boardroom doors. Let's hope that it isn't another five years before we see him again, if only for the slightly awkward fun this twenty five minutes gave me.