Thursday, December 16, 2010

Mr. Conrad Goes to LA

I've been a fan of the Kansas City Wiz(ards)/Sporting KC since 1996, and I don't think any player move has affected me as much as Jimmy Conrad leaving to go to Chivas yesterday in the MLS Re-Entry draft. I knew it was coming just from the way things seemed to be going in the 2010 season. It started with Conrad losing the captain's armband and just seemed to continue from there. I think many fans saw it coming. Unfortunately it still hurts. Conrad was the face of this team for many years. Not just on the field, but in the media as well, Conrad was great for a quote or good for a laugh out at practice. I can lie to you and say that my son's name is Conrad because my great-great grandfather who came over from Germany was named Conrad, or that from the research I'd done on the name it meant "bold counsel", the same as my last name when I looked it up. And that's how I passed it off to my wife. But that wouldn't be the full truth. I originally joked about naming my son Conrad, but the more I thought about it, the more I liked it and the connection to my favorite Wizards player. It's rough to see that part of the team's history go and disappointing that he couldn't get the same appreciate from the Cauldron that Kerry Zavagnin did when he retired.

Conrad came to the Wizards in much the same way Josh Wolff did, Conrad was traded to the Wizards from San Jose for draft picks on draft day 2003. He immediately slotted into the starting lineup for KC and never looked back. His partnership in the back with Nick Garcia helped KC to the Open Cup title, a trip to MLS Cup, and to within a tie breaker of the Supporter's Shield all in the 2004 season. The 04 season is when he became my favorite player, specifically after I caught the jersey he threw into the Cauldron after the team's 5-1 win over Dallas on July 3rd. I still have the jersey, it's hanging in my closet, and likely is going to be framed sooner than later.

His play led to Conrad being called up to the national team in 2005 and he became a solid contributor there, including earning himself a trip to the 2006 World Cup in Germany. Conrad finished his KC career with 28 US national team appearances, and a goal against Mexico. He turned down the chance to go abroad and play in Sweden and instead became "Captain Kansas City" when he was given the captaincy. In what was a bit of a down 2008 season, Conrad finished tied for second on the team in goals with 6 behind Davy Arnaud, many of those goals being clutch, including a stoppage time goal against Dallas that tied the game at 1-1. He's also the first player to ever jump into the Cauldron at CAB and celebrate his goal. His quote afterward has become a favorite of many Cauldronites, "they're right there, right at field level. They're very welcoming, and they smell like beer, which is great. It was fun and I had to go in there. They're our diehards."

Conrad finished his KC career as KC's all time leading scorer for a defender for KC, with 17 goals, tied for 9th in league play with Eddie Johnson and 12th in all competitions with Johnson and Miklos Molnar. He has 5 game winning goals for KC, tying him with Jack Jewsbury and Igor Simutenkov for 12th on that list in league play and 14th in all competitions with Jewsbury. Conrad has played the third most league minutes for KC, 18,194, trailing only Kerry Zavagnin and Nick Garcia. He is 4th on that list in all competitions, 20,551, with Preki less than a full game in front of him. He finished 5th in league appearances with 204, and 3rd for league starts with 203. He finished 6th in all competitions with 230 appearances, and 4th in starts 228. In his KC career he only made 2 sub appearances in all competitions.

Thank you Jimmy.


Anonymous said...

Great post Mike.

I really started to get into following the team when Jimmy came to Kansas City in 2003. He quickly became my favorite player. He had such a great career here and gave so much back to the city and its fans. I'm very disappointed in how this whole thing played out and I know he would have wanted to finish out his career here.

Thanks for all the great memories Jimmy.

Donald said...

I was hoping Jimmy's appearance in the new Sporting gear at the rebranding announcement meant this wasn't going to happen this way. Thank you for all the great play and the laughs along the way. Good luck to you.

Reepicheep said...

Good word Mike. Well said.

J said...

Thanks for the write-up Mike.

Still disgusted at OnGoal for making him prance around in their stupid new uniforms when they almost surely knew they would be kicking him out of town.

Anonymous said...

I'm sure the team didn't put a gun to Conrad's head and force him to come out on stage at the announcement J.

J said...

Anonymous, sure, but were they truthful with him? Do you think they were? I sure doubt it.

Dan said...

Based off his quotes in the Star today the team seemed fairly straight forward about not wanting him considering they never talked about a renewal.