“Clear & Obvious” is a new kind of sort of vertical/brand/excuse for us to make fun of the deeply strange and wonderful world of MLS. Please take it very seriously.
Yesterday, Major League Baseball announced that the Yankees and the White Sox will be playing a “Field of Dreams” game in a cornfield in Iowa or something.
Field of Dreams, your emotionally absent stepfather’s favorite movie, is about baseball and ghosts and choosing to let children live against the honest best interests of the protagonist. It’s also about America. And the brilliance of the construction of the Ford Model-T. And the stark reaction the zeitgeist had to the counterculture in a post-Manson family, pre-Columbine middle America. And delicious apple pie. And ghosts.
C&O chooses to believe in a world where the country’s nostalgia drug of choice is one day MLS.
YEAR: 2089. 180 years after the infamous Black Sox scandal. 100 years after the original Field of Dreams is released. 80 years beyond present day.
SCENE: An oxygen farm in rural Illinois. About 100 miles or so from New Chicago. Ray Kinsella IV has torn down multiple trees and cleared the land they once inhabited. He has been instructed by a disembodied voice to make a soccer field on that land. He complied. And now he is watching. Waiting for a sign of why this voice might have instructed him to do such a thing. In the distance, he begins to see soccer players emerge from the trees. He is clearly on super drugs.
The players wear cheap purple shirts with large targets on them. Ray IV is unsure of what this logo is supposed to represent but he recognizes the players. It is the infamous 2019 MLS All-Star team. Ray IV’s wife is walking from behind with a suitcase and two babies in her arms. She is also on super drugs. The babies are actually warm baked potatoes.
Ray IV: HONEY! HONEY! HON-oh you’re right there. Honey! Look! Soccer players.
[Ray IV points at the edge of the treeline]
Unnamed Wife Character: Ray IV we’re leaving. Me and the kids are leaving. We can’t handle this anymore.
Ray IV: But it worked! Look, it worked! The soccer players are walking this way.
UWC: Ray IV there ain’t nothing there except your STUPID patch of grass you tore down all those trees for. There are only 10,000 or so trees in the world and you tore down 80 of them you infuriating idiot. We are leaving. It’s over.
Ray IV: I was going to eat those for din--
Graham Zusi [off screen]: Are we interrupting something?
The entire team is now within feet of Ray IV and UWC. Ray IV, startled, slowly turns around and tries to recover the situation, not wanting to embarrass himself in front of the company
Ray IV: No! No, no, no, we were just talking about dinner. Wh-what are you guys doing here?
Walker Zimmerman: Didn’t seem like dinner…
Diego Chara: Shut the hell up Moonlight.
Walker Zimmerman: Stop calling me Moonlight!
Maxi Morales: Yeah, sure, whatever you say Moonlight.
The team collectively snickers. Moonlight looks crestfallen, but that might just be his face and general demeanor.
UWC: Ray IV WE ARE LE--
Ray IV: Really, what are y’all doing here? Why was I asked to build this?
Carlos Vela: We were hoping you could tell us that. We haven’t played since…
Everyone present tenses up. They all know about the time MLS asked them all to stop playing soccer forever after losing to Atletico Madrid by three goals on national TV.
Ray IV: Yeah, yeah, I know why. Well look, you can play now. There’s no one around but us. And look, look…
Ray IV walks toward the field and begins gesturing towards its many amenities. UWC continues screaming in the background, desperate for Ray IV’s attention.
We’ve got goals and benches. Cones if you want to run drills. I just cut the grass too, look. Soft enough to take a nap on.
Moonlight: Uhh, that doesn’t look like grass.
Ray IV: Oh...well yeah, yeah, you guys actually had real grass didn’t you. This is synthetic. Real grass has been extinct for 30 years.
Chris Wondolowski: Yeah, duh, Moonlight. Everyone knew that. I thought you went to college.
The entire team giggles. Even those who went to college. Moonlight looks confused, however, there remains the possibility that is just his face and/or general demeanor.
Graham Zusi: This is great man. Look though we’re kind of on a tight schedule this time.
Ray IV: This time?
Graham Zusi: Are there any unresolved father issues you have that we can fix? We’re like, really good at that. It’s kind of our job as ghosts.
Moonlight: Yeah, really good!
Josef Martinez [In Spanish]: **string of profanity** Moonlight *string of profanity**
The entire team chuckles. Especially those who don’t speak Spanish. Moonlight does not chuckle.
Ray IV: Well...sorry to disappoint I guess. Me and my father are actually great. Don’t….Don’t you guys want to play some soccer? Have a kickabout? Play until big crowds show up, bringing in a massive windfall for the landowner?
Chris Wondolowski [looking around]: Yeah no, not really.
Ray IV: ...oh.
Chris Wondolowski: Yeah so the thing is a lot of us didn’t really “love” soccer. Why do you think we were in MLS.
Ray IV: But it’s America’s greatest past time! It’s the fifth-best soccer league in the world!
Diego Chara: Wait, fifth-best?
Ray IV: Well yeah, but it’s been steadily growing! Maybe not, like, on a steep line, but steady! It’s hard to get a ton of good teams when there are sixty in the same league.
Chris Wondolowski: Ah geez.
Graham Zusi: Ok, look can you maybe see then that being in MLS 80 years ago was just a way to kill time. We all left for better things after the ban. I went and made much more money at a temp.
Ray IV: A temp?
Graham Zusi: Yep. Stamford, Connecticut’s fifth-largest accounting firm.
Ray IV: Connecticut?
Moonlight: I was a doctor!
Entire Team: **Profanities in multiple languages**
UWC, infuriated by Ray IV ignoring her and talking to nothing, begins to move toward the car with her “babies” in hand. She stumbles over a practice cone. A carefully wrapped baked potato slowly falls to the ground. Tin foil protection is not enough. It breaks. UWC screams. The profanities stop. The team looks toward the sound.
Everyone looks to Moonlight. They know he’s the only one who can help. They also know that as soon as he steps off the field, his dream of being a real-life professional soccer player will be over. Moonlight knows what he has to do. He looks toward Zlatan Ibrahimovic.
Moonlight: I’ve always loved you.
Zlatan recoils, possibly holding in vomit and other fluids.
Moonlight slowly steps toward the dividing line. His dream differed for the sake of kindness. He toes the line. Inhales.
Graham Zusi: Walker, wait…
Walker pauses. He collects himself, looks back, nods, and takes a slow, yet purposeful step over the line.
Instead of turning into an old man version of himself like in the baseball movie, he stays the same, but instead of his All-Star jersey, he’s now wearing a shirt from the Academy Award-winning movie Moonlight.
The entire team bursts out laughing.
Diego Chara: My god Rooney you weren’t kidding.
Rooney: I told you. We do this **** to Ryan Giggs’ ghost all the time.
Moonlight runs off crying. UWC gets in the car. She begins to drive away. Still on super drugs, the car runs into a tree, catches on fire and burns the entire farm, including the soccer field to the ground. The ghosts disappear.
End credits. “Bad Guy” by Billy Eilish plays.