Norman Chad
Sunday July 12th, 2009

To: David Beckham From: Couch Slouch Re: To live and die in L.A.

Where have you been, dude? The last time we crossed paths, you were about to make soccer the biggest thing in America since karaoke. Seems like a funny thing happened on the way to the Home Depot Center -- I guess you ran into traffic.

So you're back this week for a half-season farewell tour. But how can you say goodbye when you really never said hello? We both work and reside in Los Angeles -- well, I don't really work -- but, frankly, I see Warren Beatty around town more than I see you, and he hasn't made a movie since, like, 2001.

I don't understand this business of a player being "on loan" to another team in another league. Does CSI: Miami loan out David Caruso to Law & Order until February sweeps?

And I'm supposed to get excited because you're back in an L.A. Galaxy uniform this week? No, sir. I live by an old expression: Fool me once, shame on you; fool me twice, shame on ESPN.

(Yeah, I remember when you made your Galaxy debut two years ago against Chelsea. ESPN used 19 cameras that day; if they had used 20, I would've expected you to walk on water.)

The way I see it, you've just pulled off one of the greatest scams in U.S. history. You signed a massive five-year contract, you took a lot of money from a lot of people and, in the end, you were pretty much a marketing mirage.

Essentially, you're Bernie Madoff with a bicycle kick.

As someone who spends a little time in Beverly Hills, I'll tell you this, Becks: The Olsen twins have had a bigger impact around town than you have.

(I'd also say that the most interesting man in the world -- that debonair Dos Equis bon vivant -- has had a bigger impact on most American lives than you have.)

Let's review your time here:

You came. You saw. You got out of your contract. And then you went back to Europe.

Maybe you should've tried Las Vegas -- it suits Tom Jones.

Because of prior commitments and injuries, you're going to end up playing three partial seasons in Major League Soccer. Because of previous commitments and disinterest, I've never played a single second in MLS -- and I have as many playoff appearances as you do.

In 2007, you had no goals and two assists and the Galaxy finished with the league's third-worst record, 9-14-7. In 2008, you had five goals and 10 assists and the Galaxy tied for the league's worst record, 8-13-9

(Neverland is for sale. Why don't you buy it and rename it Neverscore?)

By the way, here's the difference between you and Manny Ramirez: When he signed a big deal to play in L.A., he actually played in L.A., plus he pumped up the local pharmaceutical economy. All you did was give Fox Soccer Channel one more subscriber.

I just wish you had given us more of a chance. Sure, AC Milan is a great club, but the Italian food in Los Angeles is just as good as the Italian food in Milan.

(Exception: Olive Garden.)

I read in Grant Wahl's soon-to-be-published book about you, The Beckham Experiment, that you were unhappy with travel accommodations on MLS trips. You didn't like the Sheraton Braintree in Massachusetts and then you opted out of the Secaucus Sheraton in New Jersey in favor of the Waldorf-Astoria in Manhattan.

The Waldorf-Astoria? What, suddenly you're the Duke of Windsor? If the Sheraton is good enough for Landon Donovan, why can't it be good enough for you? Heck, when I go to New York, I'm lucky to get a broom closet with a Murphy bed at the Marriott Marquis.

In your defense, though you didn't change the face of soccer in America, I understand that when you did play on the road in MLS, you put a lot of fans in the stands. The problem was, the week after you left, those fans didn't come back to watch the Columbus Crew.

Anyway, thanks for coming. Arrivederci, baby. Don't let the roar of the crowd hit you on the way out.

Q: In your mind, which singular moment in Beckham's play is the defining point in time when he singlehandedly vaulted soccer above the WNBA as America's 29th-favorite sport? (Richard Borden; Cranberry Township, Pa.)

A: Listen, pal, if I publish your question, I lose a week of my life responding to 250 angry soccer e-mails.

Q: FIFA president Sepp Blatter suggests MLS adopt the international calendar (August-May). Would such a move have any affect on your complete disinterest in the sport? (Brad Porter; Kansas City, Mo.)

A: Listen, pal, if I publish your question, I lose a week of my life responding to 250 angry soccer e-mails.

Q: With Beckham wanting to leave the country, dare we dream that soccer will follow? (Mike Schutz; Oconomowoc, Wis.)

A: Listen, pal, if I publish your question, I lose a week of my life responding to 250 angry soccer e-mails.

You, too, can enter the $1.25 Ask The Slouch Cash Giveaway. Just e-mail The Couch Slouch and, if your question is used, you win $1.25 in cash!

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