Monday, October 04, 2010

Don't Expect the Playoffs Next Year

Next year is supposed to be a banner year for the Wizards with the biggest news being the opening of the teams new stadium out at the Legends. Today season ticket holders got the chance to take a look inside the stadium for the first time on a tour. And while that's big news in and of itself, the biggest news came from comments made by Robb Heineman to season ticket holders. The first set of news being that the Wizards are not planning on having any games at CAB or at Arrowhead next season, that any home games in KC will be at the team's new stadium. That means until the stadium opens the Wizards will be playing on an extended road trip.

Historically this isn't going to turn out well for the Wizards. The last team to start the season on an extended road trip was 2003 when the LA Galaxy opened the season with 8 straight road games. The Galaxy pulled only 4 points from those 8 games. That season started in early April, the 2011 MLS season is starting on March 19th, so the Wizards could have somewhere around 12 games on the road to start the season. The 2003 Galaxy did happen to make the playoffs, but in a 10 team league. Add in another 8 teams and this road trip to start the season is likely to ruin any chance the Wizards had of making the playoffs before the season even starts. After this past weekend's loss to New York, the Wizards are 58-116-51 on the road, for a total of 225 points, so KC has averaged a point per game on the road in their history. But that's been with traditional 1-2 game road trips, at most 4, not somewhere around 12. For another comparison to the Galaxy and their run in 2003, the Galaxy are 79-105-43 in their history on the road, averaging 1.23 PPG on the road, and that's including 2003 where they went 0-9-6 on the road, and 0-4-4 to start the season, over a full half a point less than what they average throughout their history on the road. What in the Wizards history on the road has shown that KC is going to do any better than LA did?

Training in KC and then traveling every single week for a game isn't going to do anything but give the Wizards players tired legs and jet lag before they even play a "home game."

The reason I put "home game" in quotes is because of the fact that during the same event tonight Heineman said that the Wizards were toying with the idea of the Wizards playing "home games" at a neutral venue, potential expansion site. The sites mentioned were Phoenix, San Antonio, and Cleveland.

This is a horrible idea for the Wizards and specifically for Wizards season ticket holders. Instead of seeing 2 to 3 regular season games, season ticket holders are going to get meaningless friendlies with reserves playing at least a half, or US Open Cup games where the team won't take the competition seriously for their extra season tickets. The team stated in their season ticket holder renewal package that the prices of season tickets were for 20 games. I can't see the Wizards going back on that, because they'd have an even bigger uproar if they dropped the number of games but left ticket prices the same. But then they could pass it off as a savings and a lot of season ticket holders would be happier with the lower price.

So if that happens, then Wizards season ticket holders will have 5-6 "extra game" tickets instead of the 3 that they're currently slated to get. Even if the Wizards were to win the Supporters' Shield, that's only 2 playoff games at home, so that's 3-4 more games for games that will mean nothing or be a less than full team for their tickets. This is "my" team, this is KC's team, not Phoenix's, not San Antonio's, not Cleveland's, we went through this years ago and I never thought we'd have to see the Wizards play home league game in another city after the team was sold to OnGoal. Why should we give up a home game?


Reepicheep said...

Did they (Ongoal) rule out an early opening of the stadium? If weather cooperates, I don't see why they can't finish the stadium by lat April.

Anonymous said...

2 months ahead of schedule? That'd have to be a mild, mild winter for that. And they'd have to know for sure by like January when the schedule comes out.

Reepicheep said...

Anon- agreed, but many construction projects are finishing WAY ahead. There's a surplus of workers and materials right now. I really think it's possible, especially given the progress I've seen.

scaryice said...

Don't forget CHI 2006 - 9 straight away games to start the year (2-3-4, 10 pts). I don't think it will make a big difference in KC's playoff hopes one way or the other.

Anonymous said...

Agreed scary. Lots of complaining from Mike. The stadium is happy for once dude!

Sam said...

I'm no expert on construction, but within a few months, weather will have significantly less relevance with regard to construction than it does now; the bulk of it will be finishing the interior spaces.

Ron Bishop said...

'd rather do the long ass road trip than neutral sites. At least get a strong last half run at home - maybe pull an LA?!

Games in expansion cities should be friendlies. If Detroit can bring AC Milan vs Panathinaikos, then other cities can man up and get it done.

I'd feel we were just whoring ourselves out for the money.

Mark said...

While opening on the road for a long extended road trip is not ideal, it is what we are going to have, so lets deal with it and move forward. Although history shows that most teams have struggled with this set up, who is to say that we cannot try to be the first to buck this trend. I am fully behind Ongoal. Everybody should be excited about the new stadium and what it will mean for this team. I am glad we will not have to waste any of our season tickets at CAB or Arrowhead. I am hopeful that their "idea" of playing at neutral sites is just that, an idea that never comes about. We might have a losing record when we open up the stadium, but I don't think that will dampen the excitement of the stadium. Let's just hope for the best.

Nathan Martin said...

Just like when Vermes DUI meant that "the whole season was for nothing", this is another instance of overreaction.

While not ideal, I am sure that some back-to-back California games or NY/NE/Philly games could limit travelling with the help of host facilities.

If this team picks up a little depth along side Omar Bravo then they should be able to compete at home and away.

BlacknBlueKC said...

Not an over-ration, if you ask me, just Mike's initial reaction. I mostly agree with Mike on this.

Not happy about the road trip situation, but understand why OnGoal doesn't want to go through the process and fees to play temporary home matches at Arrowhead or CAB for another half a year. Still, if the Wizards play at a "neutral" venue, why not StL? Played a Superliga match there once. Playing matches in the Southwest, where nobody cares except die-hards, is just plan dumb and naive if you ask me.