Of the sports that claim to be "major league" anything, only soccer -- and probably only soccer in the Pacific Northwest -- could lead to a battle over whose fans are the biggest hipsters. There's a fascinating feature in the Wall Street Journal on the rivalry between Major League Soccer's Seattle Sounders and Portland Timbers, who will play each other for the first time on Saturday. The two teams are currently tied for first place in the MLS's western conference, but there's so much more at stake than the standing. Behold, the kind of grudge match only a Hipster Runoff fan could love.
Seattle: They can't just have a general manager. Sounders minority owner Drew Carey (yes, that Carey) was adamant that the franchise would be run as a "democracy" when they began play in 2008. Carey called it his way of "spreading the gospel of fan control over the team's management, like they have at Real Madrid and Barcelona." To make it more than a marketing gimmick, the organization gave a booster club called The Alliance a say in how the team is run. So far, writes Dan Ruiz of The Olympian, The Alliance has been a "philosophical concept with few demonstrated successes." That could be because Alliance members don't really get to make many meaningful decisions. Their one real show of force is "a vote on retention or lack of confidence in the general manager." But that only happens once every four years."