A Positive Example

Fire, Sounders give hope to MLS freshmen

Around the Vancouver Whitecaps office Monday there was an empty feeling following the team's playoff elimination by Puerto Rico on Sunday at Swangard. But there was also a bounce in the step of employees.

How does that compute? Well, they were sorry to see the end of the USSF D-2 championship run, but excited about the home opener in about six months as a Major League Soccer expansion team.

In most leagues, the partners are quite happy to accept their share of the expansion franchise fees, but less interested in supplying the newbies with any really valuable resources.

Players they have made a mistake signing? By all means make them available. But honest-to-goodness assets? Forget about it. It doesn't seem to matter which sport, either.

All you really have to do is look at the histories of the local professional teams.

The B.C. Lions won one game in 1954, their first CFL season. They lost the other 15. The Vancouver Canucks are celebrating their 40th year in the NHL this season and they are still waiting to hold their first parade with the Stanley Cup.

Then there was the ill-fated foray in the NBA, when the Vancouver Grizzlies put the sport of basketball back years around here. The NBA didn't allow the Grizzlies or the Toronto Raptors to have a draft pick in the top five in 1995 and then general manager Stu Jackson compounded the selection of Big Country Reeves by giving him $65 million in a second contract.

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