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BatiGol Weekly 241: Young Americans

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In which we discuss some very bad suggestions to Americanize calcio.

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32nd Annual Walter Kaitz Foundation Fundraising Dinner Hosted By TV One
I want the young American.
Photo by Larry Busacca/Getty Images for Walter Kaitz

Fiorentina has made a sharp turn towards courting an American market of late, which isn’t shocking considering that Rocco Commisso’s spent most of his life in the US. While we’ve seen that manifested in some fun ways—a Times Square moment for Commisso and Vincenzo Montella, a surprising invitation to the International Champions Cup, a Twitter feed that’s suddenly producing content in English—this is still undeniably an Italian operation. If Rocco really wants to Americanize the joint, we have a few suggestions.

1. A mascot. No, we don’t mean the kids who escort players onto the pitch. We mean someone inside a large, hairy suit that possibly bears some passing resemblance to a real critter or possibly, uh, doesn’t. We’re not sure what that would be for Fiorentina; the obvious choices are a lily (city emblem and source of the nickname Gigliati) or a viola (something like this but less horrifying would be a start), neither really lends itself to a fuzzy costume. Tryings to go very, very, very wrong, so some sort of creature is key.

2. Roving refreshment sellers. The Stadio Artemio Franchi is a magical place full of history and beauty. It’s one of Italy’s most iconic stadia and I, for one, wouldn’t trade it for the world. That said, if you want to get up at halftime to grab a snack or a drink, you’ll be fighting through a tide of like-minded refreshment seekers. If you’re lucky, you can grab something and make it back to your seat without missing more than the first 5 minutes of the second half. You’re not often lucky. Having vendors roving the aisles with beers or waters or pretzels, as you see at various American sporting events, would be just dandy.

3. Pitchside seats. Again, the Franchi is wonderful, but the distance between the pitch and the fans is pretty large. While a Bombonera-type cliff of doom isn’t necessary (although can you imagine the crazies in the Curva if they were literally above the goal?), getting fans closer to the action would be just fine. This seems to be a pretty generally agreed-upon policy, so any stadium updates should take it into account.

4. Dress codes. This is specific to the NBA and is, to be honest, fraught with a lot of weird and unpleasant overtones, but one of the best things about the Association is the dress code. Players aren’t allowed to just wear sweatpants or tracksuits around anymore, but have to dress up a bit. Again, it’s more than a bit paternalistic, but when it leads to results like this, or this, or this, or this, it’s hard to argue with the results. Just imagine KPB with a regular runway. It’d be glorious.

5. Athletes airing out their beeves. Soccer players tend to be pretty understated and polite as a group, at least in front of the media. You don’t find a lot of guys who’ll go after players on other teams. In many American sports, though, you get a lot of guys who aren’t afraid to name some names when they don’t like someone. This can look like Jalen Ramsey calling opposing quarterback Josh Allentrash” (and knocking pretty much every other QB in the league) or Damian Lillard shutting down Marvin Bagley III’s self-assessment as the NBA’s best rapper with a fantastic diss track, or any number of other outlets. Who wouldn’t love to hear Nikola Milenković explain why facing, say, Emmanuele Giaccherini doesn’t concern him in the slightest due to their previous interaction?

Latest news

The week began with Vitor Hugo’s departure (and lovely letter to the fans) for Palmeiras.

Kevin-Prince Boateng was rumored to be a Viola target early in the week, and a few days later, the rumor was confirmed with an official announcement.

Radja Nainggolan was also a Fiorentina target, but ultimately and correctly chose Cagliari as his new squad so his wife could fight cancer at home amongst her family. Good on him.

Next up was Pol Lirola, who finally signed on the dotted line after a lengthy negotiation with Sassuolo that we think will be well worth the wait.

From slightly farther afield, young Uruguayan attacker Diego Rossi could be a perfect addition to the Viola attack, although LAFC probably aren’t in any rush to sell him.

RB Leipzig’s Diego Demme could well be the next arrival, as he’s been one of the most-linked players in the press.

Fiorentina captain Alia Guagni took the next step on her inevitable pathway to Viola canonization by turning down a mega-offer from CD Tacón, Real Madrid’s soon-to-launch women’s side.

David Hancko has moved on loan, with an option to buy and counter-buy, to Sparta Prague. It hurts to see such a talented youngster leave, but it’s probably a smart move all around.

Milan Badelj back? Milan Badelj back.

Inter Milan seem to be dangling Borja Valero and/or Matteo Politano in an effort to re-sign Cristiano Biraghi, but there are a lot of obstacles to seeing a deal completed.

Must read

Now that Lirola is the first real rightback to latch on in Florence as a full-time starter since the halcyon days of Lorenzo de Silvestri, we wondered which other area of the pitch Commisso would ignore now, and you answered.

Poll

For real, though, what would you pick for a Fiorentina mascot costume?

This poll is closed

  • 5%
    Lamprey
    (3 votes)
  • 23%
    Lily with face, arms, and legs
    (12 votes)
  • 36%
    Stylized Lorenzo de Medici
    (19 votes)
  • 34%
    Tiger with chainsaws instead of feet
    (18 votes)
52 votes total Vote Now

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That’s it for this week, folks. Listen to some different music.