If there's any wonder why Kevin Calabro is one of the most liked and respected people on the local sports scene, read on for his reaction to being officially replaced by Arlo White today as the radio and television voice of Sounders FC.
Contacted by phone, Calabro stressed that he wanted to thank the fans for listening. And he wanted to thank the Sounders for giving him the chance. And in a way he also wanted to acknowledge that he wishes he had done a better job.
"It’s disappointing," he said. "I didn’t get it done. I don’t know how else to put it: I didn’t get it done. I didn’t have the quality of work that in my estimation was what the fans deserve or the product deserved."
The Sounders' public position today was that Calabro was replaced only because his schedule of basketball work and KIRO radio show didn't allow him to fix undivided attention on the soccer club. And Calabro agrees that played a part.
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But he adds this:
"Now having said that, it also comes down to quality of work. I did not give them the quality of the work that this project and the fans deserve. I’ve never heard Arlo, but I know that he has an extensive soccer background, so without having heard him ever before I would have to say they probably have made the right hire."
Calabro said the Sounders didn't cite dissatisfaction as one of their reasons for not signing on for a second season. But the veteran broadcaster said he's been around long enough to hear what's being said, even when it's left unsaid:
"They were very nice about it. They never once mentioned quality of work. They didn’t have to. I’m smart enough to know. It wasn’t happening. It wasn’t commensurate to the quality of work that they wanted. They were nice about it. In the business, when they say they’re going in another direction what they mean is 'We don’t like the sound,' 'We don’t like the look,' whatever it might be. It happens in business. It hurts for a little bit and you move on.
"I appreciate them giving me an opportunity in the first place. They knew I wasn’t a soccer guy, and I never professed to be a soccer guy. But they gave me an opportunity. That’s why we both agreed to do a one-year contract and then take a look at it, and hey, if you like it, it’s working, then on we go. And if you don’t like it or it’s not working, then we’ll come up with some other plan. Everybody was up front about the way this thing was going to go this year."