OTF Roundtable: The Signal, The Noise, and The German
Making predictions is hard. And it becomes even harder when the information you are working with is, well… noisy. In Nate Silver’s book, “The Signal and the Noise: Why So Many Predictions Fail – But Some Don’t,” he connects our ineptability to make accurate predictions (humans, not Fire fans) as an evolutionary problem identifying the truth from nonsense.
In a line that feels very Chicago Fire-y, Silver says, “Some stone-age strengths have become information-age weaknesses.” Let’s replace “stone-age,” with “MLS 1.0,” pause for a moment, and then move on.
It’s been a really noisy four weeks: An opening draw against a Columbus team that might be awful, a shrug-then-bunker opening day against half an RSL side, then a dizzying loss to Atlanta that gave us about eight minutes of actual soccer to work with. Bad soccer.
We’re 270 minutes of MLS gameplay into the season and no one has any idea how good or bad this team is. Add to that data noise, lets consider the noise of Bastian Schweinsteiger’s media onslaught and it’s just enough to drown out the guy in the corner muttering something about Expected Goals.
So… with that noise… I bring you a shitload more noise in the form an OTF Roundtable that begins more-or-less lucidly and quickly descends into madness. Bring Da Noise:
PROMPT: A win, a loss, a draw, and a German—We are four weeks into the 2017 MLS season and no one could say what the future holds for the Men in Red. Give me your prediction on the state of the Chicago Fire six months from today. The end of September…
Here is your sunshine and rainbows outlook on the Chicago Fire.
For the first time in forever there is a genuine positive buzz about the Men in Red. Their offseason acquisitions and early season quality (aside from right back) have been solid. The signing of Bastian Schweinsteiger, even if only for one year, enhances this view. However, it does not change my overall view of the Chicago Fire’s prospects for success in the 2017 season.
Before the season started, I thought they would be fighting for a playoff spot. I now think anything less than that is a failure for this season. This team has a competent manager, talent and leadership in the midfield for the first time in forever with Schweinsteiger, Juninho and Dax McCarty, (which will remain strong when they lose Dax for the Gold Cup this summer), a proven goal scorer in Nikolic and their central defense with Meira and Kappelhoff — plus Bava is not as frantic this year as he’s been in past seasons.
Considering the longest-tenured members of the first team (players and coaching staff included) have only been around since 2015 (Doody, Accam and Polster), the Fire have come a long way over the past two seasons. They aren’t there yet, but they have made huge strides both on and off the field.
As we all eagerly await for the debut of the Fußballmeister, let’s skip forward a few pages to a few even greater events about to happen in Fire history. It is the start of September, and the Fire are looking to finish out their season with a 3-year-high 18th place overall finish. While the Fire fan base laments another fruitless season, there is still an air of optimism surrounding Toyota Park. This, of course, comes from the impending ground breaking of the new stadium being built in the downtown park area, to be known as ‘The George Lucas Museum of Narrative Art Memorial Stadium’. Built on the non-existent bones of the non-existent foundation of George Lucas’ Temple of Film, the stadium represents both the enduring love of the beautiful game in Chicago and Rahm Emanuel’s final and decisive victory over the Friends of the Park.
You see, following a brief meeting at Maifest, Bastian Schweinsteiger and Rahm Emanuel have become thick as thieves, which for Rahm was a very familiar position to be in. What initially started as a good photo op and a push to drive up Rahm’s likability became a very real friendship, as the pair bonded over their mutual love for schnitzel and David Hasselhoff’s music. As they grew closer Rahm realized that while Basti had fallen in love with the city of Chicago, he hated how far he needed to drive to work, and hated having to train on a gravel lot.
Desperate to keep his new best friend in the city, Rahm sprang to action and was able to secure funding for a his new stadium project. Curiously enough, Fire owner Andrew Hauptman turned out to be a huge investor in this stadium deal, though it will later be revealed that he attempted to pay his part in TAM and GAM and tried to have it named ‘The Private Bank George Lucas Museum of Narrative Art Memorial Stadium.”
Meanwhile back in Bridgeview, the Fire, who somehow have not yet been informed of their new stadium deal, scratch their heads as to how a team of the 11 best defensive midfielders could not secure a higher finish within the league. Now the team must figure out how to convert Michael Harrington back to left back, from right back, from his role as a failed midfield destroyer… and also figure out why people keep wheeling stormtrooper props onto their training ground.
Greetings, and blessings from my fiery monolith on the fourth moon of Jupiter, lovingly named “Telstar,” atop which I have exiled myself since the 2014 Fire season.
The home orb looks good from here. Its pale blue mass crawling along the void of nothingness, dreams and nightmares left behind in its wake, forming a torrid psychic cone of diluted miasma from which Don Garber and Andrew Hauptman are able to divine and perfect their nomadic perfumes.
It’s appropriate to say at a time like this, that metaphysics is dead, and we exist in a time where the will-to-power functions as the most prudent form of producing the Greek episteme.
Capital “F” Futbol and its derivative spectre, Soccer, function as the most luminary “juttings” from the mud of exis. In truth the Continental Germans had it right, and the Hegelian/Fukuyama aspirations are in a way the final nail in the coffin of that which can only be temporally referred to as “making the playoffs.”
And yet, that idea never dies.
Though it may have been a German who planted this idea in the first place, it is now a German who sublimates the fluid rapidity with which the Game, as it were, sloughs its way towards an unknowable progression. It’s a one year contract for chrissakes. In the Deleuzean plane of immanence this could be provisionally referred to as the moment in which the war machine produces an excess of reality which seeks to collapse the aesthetic reification of the system.
TS Eliot once said about the Fire: “I should have been a pair of ragged claws, scuttling across floors of silent seas”
…he was probably right.