By Ben Golliver
Portland Timbers Tuesday: Buzzing About Trade Talk and Vuvuzelas
For fans of the NFL and NBA, the run up to the leagues' annual drafts often causes as much interest as the season itself. For poor teams, or rebuilding teams, the draft represents everything holy: youth, potential, the future and the excitement of the unknown. It's more fun to watch your team obtain the rights to the "superstar of tomorrow" than it is to watch them get crushed by the superstars of today.
Wednesday's MLS expansion draft isn't quite the same, as it involves the Portland Timbers and Vancouver Whitecaps selecting players left unprotected by the other MLS teams as part of their initiation to the league. The top end talent won't be available for the picking, so some of the luster of the process is removed.
With that said, the expansion draft is a critical step in Portland's roster development, and Jose Romero of SoccerByIves.net chatted with Timbers technical director Gavin Wilkinson about his plans. The result, Romero writes, is a wide-open strategy: "The Timbers will be looking for perhaps a veteran who can make an impact, but also a younger player with an upside. The Timbers are also willing to talk trades with other teams once they have made all 10 of their picks, to help ensure they get the players they seek."
Trade talk is always a good way to get some buzz going around your team, but the Timbers have made it clear a different kind of buzzing will not be welcome at the new PGE Park: Vuvuzelas.
If you hibernated throughout the summer and somehow missed one of the biggest cultural memes of the year, a Vuvuzela is a traditional African horn (pictured above) that served as an unofficial soundtrack to the 2010 World Cup in South Africa, with fans blowing them throughout the entire month-long tournament, creating a constant bee-like sound. Vuvuzelas are small, cheap and easy to manufacture in bulk, so their popularity spread worldwide faster than some guys take penalty kicks.
KGW reports, however, that Timbers spokesman Chris Metz says the team will ban Vuvuzelas from home games next season. "The decision to prohibit Vuvuzelas at PGE Park was made with the overall fan experience in mind… With the best supporters in the country, the atmosphere of a Timbers match is so unique and the club, in addition to many of its fans, felt that Vuvuzelas are not part of that authentic Timbers experience."
It's always grating when team officials lecture the world about the "authentic experience" that should take place at their games, but the Timbers get a pass here because Vuvuzelas are just that annoying.
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- Timbers Tuesdays: Portland Timbers Announce 4 Player Signings ForÃƒâ€š MLS
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Ben Golliver is a freelance writer, native Oregonian and avid follower of the Timbers.Ãƒâ€š He edits Blazersedge, co-hostsÃƒâ€š The Dontonio Wingcast and regularly contributes toÃƒâ€š SB Nation. Follow him onTwitter.