Friday, July 30, 2010

American Pickers

The History Channel has come out of a funk recently where all they had were shows on 2012 end of the world conspiracies and alternative history ideas.  Chasing Mummies is a fascinating look at the work of Zahi Hawass and shows like Pawn Stars and American Pickers have a unique way of tying in American history to modern day life.  In American Pickers, Mike Wolfe and Frank Fitz go to random properties and offer to buy 'junk' that is just lying around their lots.  Whether it is in an attic, garage or some shed, Mike and Frank will see some value in something and attempt to give a lost item a second chance.

I'm not aware of any camera crews following the Fire but we have our own version of American Pikers right here in Chicago: Fire Owner Andrew Hauptman and Technical Director Frank Klopas.  Andrew has given Frank a budget very similar to what Mike would give Frank on the History Channel show and our Frank is scrapping by on whatever he can find.  While New York Red Bulls and LA Galaxy seemed poised to bring in big names like Thierry Henry, Rafael Marquez, and Ronaldinho, our club does not have those kind of resources to tap into it (our club is also not named after an energy drink either so perhaps New York still has the short end of stick).

At the beginning of the year we brought in Collins 'Mr. Twenty' John.  English Premiership team Fulham purchased John from the Dutch club Twente and went on to see him score twenty goals at the age of twenty between the years of 2005-2006 or as I like to say twenty-05 and twenty-06.  John lost his starting job at Fulham and proceeded to bounce from England's second division, back to the Netherlands and finally to Belgium before signing with the Fire.  John has been a bit of a dud because he only has one goal and has not even taken the field for that many games because of a mysterious stomach issue.  As I've watched his season unfold on and off the pitch, he just seems to have bad luck and no clue yet on how to turn it around.

If it weren't for Collins John, I would probably be really excited for Frank's latest rummage find of Mexican international Nery Castillo.  Many say there is really no comparison between John and Nery but Castillo had great club success with his first team, Greek squad Olympiacos, and then bounced around with three different clubs in three years with no very little success.  That... is... just... what... John... did.  The glass is half full personality will point out that Castillo attracted the attention of top clubs like Manchester City even in his dry spell and off field issues of his parents passing away while also personally getting a divorce took a toll on his on field performance.  He is still a talent that many Mexican fans wanted to see on the World Cup squad despite the fact that Castillo was not even in top shape.

I will say that his YouTube videos make him look otherworldly at times.  Everyone has sharp goal highlights (ahem, Collins John, ahem) but he has speed and dribbling that could rip some MLS defenses to shreds if that form is recaptured.  That is an important note too because on American Pickers they always have to clean up their latest find and work to get it back into shape.  Nery will need some time to shake the rust off before becoming that one centerpiece in the room that makes everything around it look better.  Maybe Frank is really onto something here and Collins John and Nery Castillo are like matching pieces found at different locations.  The Fire place that is Toyota Park could certainly use some new decorations on the mantle.

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