There was what I, at the time, considered a minor Twit-splosion last night just before 10:30.
A press release. Normal, I’m told. Run of the mill. Nothing terribly unusual. Notice of a closed training session.
Like many others, I blew it off. The team just suffered a pretty spectacular meltdown in Salt Lake. If it were up to me, I’d close practice, too. I was more irritated that I’d tried to get to bed before the inevitable 11 p.m. Rangers Twitter news dump and had been thwarted by a weekly news release that people were trying to make into a bigger deal than it was.
Turns out, it was a pretty frickin’ big deal.
By 9 a.m., rumors were swirling. By 10, a full four and a half hours before the scheduled press conference, the story broke.
John Spencer. Wee John Spencer. Former Ranger John Spencer. Coach John Spencer.
Today he became former Timbers coach John Spencer.
I get it. I accept it. I’m disappointed by it.
There is no other person in this world I would have rather had as coach of the Timbers in their first MLS season. His fire, his passion, his wit were the perfect fit for this city. I don’t know that I can say anything here that hasn’t already been said.
I haven’t been able to bring myself to watch footage of the presser yet. I listened to Merritt’s statements via an audio link posted on Twitter while I was on a break at work. Poor choice on my part. The emotion in Merritt’s voice was enough to make me a wreck for the rest of the day. Maybe there’s no crying in baseball, but there sure is in soccer.
So, what now?
I have absolutely no idea.
Gavin Wilkinson has been named interim coach and will lead the squad for the remainder of the season. I’ve seen a lot of negativity leveled toward Gavin but, at the very least, he knows the players. He brought them here, let him take a shot at coaching them. If it turns out that he’s as awful as so many people believe, well, here’s the opportunity for that to come to a head. It’s not the end of the world. It’s been made clear that he will not be in the running for a permanent placement as manager. However, if he manages to get some points on the road…
I’ll reserve judgement. Admittedly, I wasn’t around for Gavin’s greatest transgressions, but wasn’t there a season with him as coach when the Timbers had a 24-game unbeaten streak? He can’t be all bad, can he?
I was lucky enough to find myself across the table from a long-time, fairly level-headed member of the Timbers Army tonight at the Bitter End. I didn’t ask him if I could quote him as I didn’t really think I’d be writing this, but here we are.
“I’ve been around a long time,” he told me. “I’ve been around a long time and I don’t know what to think.”
Well, brother, you’re not alone.
Emotions will run high this week. I think I’ve been through at least three dozen emotions so far today. Who knows what tomorrow will bring?
We, collectively,team and TA, have about ten minutes to pull ourselves together and start preparing for the next match.
I listened to Popinski 23 on my way home from BE tonight. Fangirl here has burned a cd of it to play in the car. I look to the Popinksi popcasts as the standard, the most perfect reflection of the mood of the TA available. Popinski 23 was released into the wild in the week leading up to this year’s home opener against Philly. It is both raw and polished, filled with expectation and anticipation and hope. Punctuated with pride and bravado, it encapsulated everything I felt at the time. I hope I never forget any of those feelings.
We’re halfway through the season. I stand by my previous statement: I think we have the right team to make the playoffs. We’ve hit a major bump in the road, but the road is still there.
Onward, Rose City.