>Since I first discovered lacrosse – more specifically since I first discovered Major League Lacrosse – I have been a fan of the Long Island Lizards. They’ve been in the league since the getgo and they were originally sponsored by one of my favorite beverage companies, SoBe. I even stuck with the Lizards when the league finally expanded west and added a team in a nearby market, Chicago.
Now I think it is time for a small change. I’m not disowning the Lizards; rather I am giving more support to the Machine. You might have noticed that I put up a graphic link to the Machine’s homepage when I revised the website. I did this because the Machine are the closest MLL team to Des Moines and the most obvious choice for our support. Since I feel it is important to have a professional field lacrosse team that is accessible via single day trip and because the National Lacrosse League’s (pro indoor lax) Chicago Shamrox folded earlier this year, I want to do what I can to encourage Iowa lax fans to cheer for the Machine.
Another reason for my change of heart for the league’s perennial underachiever is the major MLL shake up this year. With the suspension of Los Angeles, San Fransisco, New Jersey, and Philadelphia, several veteran MLL players were reassigned. Among those assigned to the Machine was The Barrage’s Matt Striebel. Striebel is currently attending the University of Iowa as a graduate student and has been serving as an assistant coach with the Hawkeye’s lacrosse team. He has been part of two MLL Championships with Philadelphia, an NCAA championship with Princeton, was a three time NCAA All American, and the MVP of the 2007 Steinfeld Cup.
Chicago has also made some major changes in the looks department. Having one of the ugliest looks upon first entering the league, the Machine dropped gold from their logo and uniforms after just one season. The redesigned logo replaced the gold with silver and the newer uniforms were a simple red, black, and white. Once again, the Machine have updated their appearance by swapping the red for sky blue and adding a lax stick to the logo. Their new colors are intended to provide better representation for the city of Chicago and to show support for the city’s bid to host the 2016 Olympics.
For the last two years the Machine have played at Toyota Park, home of the Chicago Fire soccer team. The soccer stadium will again serve as the team’s primary venue, but a couple of new stadiums will come into play this year as well. To open and close the season, the Machine will play at historic Soldier Field, home of the Chicago Bears. Playing in the much larger stadium provides the Machine with access to fans deeper in the city than their usual Bridgeview home; it also adds credibility to the team. As part of the league’s efforts to provide more visibility for the sport, the Machine will also play a home game in Milwaukee, WI. Full venue and date information can be found by checking out the Machine’s schedule.
My goal is to make it to at least one Machine game this summer. Hopefully we find a free weekend and some free fundage. Individual game tickets start at $20, but family four packs can be had for $65. The four packs are only good for games at Toyota Park, but they include four sodas and hotdogs! Unfortunately the four packs must be purchased ahead of time (the Thursday before the game).