Saturday, February 25, 2012

MLS Cup Trophy Coming to LiveSTRONG (If Only for a Year)

Strike one up to the power of social media. The Wizards MLS Cup 2000 trophy has been found. After Sporting Times article a few weeks ago regarding the fate of the 2000 trophy, the question on where the trophy was has circled through not only the KC soccer community but had started to go through the MLS community as well.

Today the Star broke the news that the trophy is not in Dallas as I had though when I wrote my 2012 wishes, wanting the trophy to return to KC. In the end, the trophy never left Kansas City. The trophy has been in storage at Arrowhead since the renovations of the facility in 2007.

Clark Hunt, after hearing of the campaign to get the trophy back to Kansas City contacted Cliff Illig and Robb Heineman offering to display the trophy at LiveSTRONG Sporting Park next year. The trophy will only stay at LSP for one year before going on display permanently in the Lamar Hunt Gallery at Arrow Stadium's Chief's Hall of Honor. In return, Sporting KC will get a replica of the trophy that will then be put on permanent display.

When OnGoal bought the team in 2006, part of the deal to sell the team was that Lamar Hunt and Hunt's Sports Group would retain the 2000 MLS Cup. This was because of how important it was to Lamar according to his son, Clark. “That trophy was very, very important to my was his first trophy in MLS and first professional trophy since the Dallas Tornado (won the North American Soccer League) in 1971."

I appreciate the fact that the trophy is "found" and will be making it's way LiveSTRONG Sporting Park, if only for a year, but I still don't agree with everything that was said. Firstly, while I have no doubt of Clark's comments about the trophy being important to his father, I just question how important Clark sees it. It was so important in Clark's eyes that two years after the renovations at Arrowhead were completed the trophy was still in storage collecting dust. As soon as renovations were done the Chiefs Lombardi trophy was out and on display for fans.

I also cannot understate my admiration for Lamar Hunt, for not only bringing Major League Soccer to Kansas City, but helping work to make sure that MLS stayed in Kansas City. Yes he put the team up for sale, but he gave precedent to selling the Wizards to local ownership. He could have easily sold the team to New York businessman, Andrew Murstein (who wanted to move the team to New York and revive the Cosmos), or sold and moved the team to Rochester when the Raging Rhinos were outdrawing MLS teams on a regular basis, Philadelphia, San Antonio, Tulsa, or any number of the other cities that were rumored to be getting the Wizards. Instead he kept the team in Kansas City and along came OnGoal and the rest is history.

All that said, I can't think of a situation where an owner has sold a team and kept the trophy that the team won for a championship. But yet Lamar and HSG kept their trophy when OnGoal bought the team. I mean the Kauffman's didn't keep the Royals 85 World Series trophy, there's a replica of it apparently at the Kauffman Center, but the original is in the Royals Hall of Fame at Kauffman. Why isn't something like that done in this instance? Instead, Sporting is the one that will be getting the "replica" trophy. Yes I understand the trophy will stay local, it'll be at Arrowhead. It just doesn't seem right that a trophy for the team is staying with the former owner. Will the Chiefs Lombardi Trophy go if Hunt ever sells the Chiefs?


Howie said...

It's a bit odd for Clark to talk about how much it meant to his pa and then have it collect cobwebs for years.

Anonymous said...

I get that people want the original trophy at the stadium but I think the Hunts are being resonable. The trophy will stay in KC, we'll get a replica at Livestrong, but that won't take away from the fact that the Wizards and KC won the 2000 MLS Cup. We don't need the orginal chunk of metal to remind us.

If thats the way that Lamar wanted it then that's ok with me.

Anonymous said...

Yeah, Anon, I respect that you feel that way, but many of us just dont believe a word Clark says. If it was so important to be true to the wishes of his beloved father, where has it been the past 5 (and actually more than that) years...nowhere near KC that is for sure. This is just a last minute attempt by CH to save face after he and his organization have been called to the mat by the fans (James S particularily) and people of KC. Name me another team in all of sports that doesnt get to have their championship trophy...right...I didnt think so. So I ask everyone, why should we settle for anything less...we have put up with so much disrespect as KCW/SKC fans and the thought that I would now having to pay to see it is particularily classless since it was people like you and me that voted to give the out of town owners $300 million in our tax money to pay for their new and imporved stadium. The least he could do is show some respect for the citizens of KC and gracefully give us our trophy back.