David Hirshey writes regularly about soccer for Deadspin.
As happy as I am for Tom and Katie and all my Scientology friends, we all need to take a silent birth lesson and let David Beckham bend a few balls in Los Angeles before anointing him the Savior of American Soccer.
I suppose I can't blame people like USA Today's Christine Brennan for shrieking like a Claymate and saying "David Beckham coming to the United States is like Tiger Woods meeting Brad Pitt on the red carpet," but let's be Real, which Beckham clearly couldn't be anymore. Not to put too fine a point on it, but Becks' stock on the world soccer stage has fallen faster than Sylvester Stallone's facelift.
After a lackluster World Cup, he tearfully "resigned" as England captain and then was unceremoniously dumped from the national team. This season he managed to force his way into Real Madrid's starting lineup a grand total of five times. Does that sound like a savior? His arrival in Hollywood is not exactly akin to the Beatles at Shea Stadium or even Pele playing Randall's Island, though he's likely to sell more jerseys in LA than Sammy Sosa -san will in Yokohama.
So let's call like it is: Beckham coming to America is great for LA clubs and restaurants, US Weekly and The Star, Adidas, Victoria Beckham (can a slot on "Dancing With The Stars" be far off?) and, of course, the haircare industry. As for the MLS, he will clearly put well-toned asses in the seats, at least in his first season, but will he actually raise the level of play? Not by himself. One of Pele's accomplishments in the NASL was luring other fading stars — Cryuff, Beckenbauer, Chinaglia, Henry Kissinger — to play alongside the man they called the Black Pearl. Whether the White Pearl can do the same remains to be seen.
Tiger Woods and Brad Pitt on the red carpet? Frankly, I'd rather see Natalie Gulbis and Scarlett Johannson.