In one corner, you have Billy Beane, a man who has become bored with baseball. As Joe Posnanski discussed in this brilliant piece ("this brilliant piece" and "As Joe Posnanski discussed" are the same thing), Beane has become so enamored with soccer that he listens to five hours of soccer podcasts per day, while so detached from the day-to-day challenges of the Athletics that he didn't know about Dallas Braden's perfect game until two outs in the ninth.
In the other corner, you have Major League Soccer, a league that is slowly improving in play, but still lags far behind the top European leagues in terms of overall quality. More significantly, MLS lacks a signature team, one that can dominate in CONCACAF Champions' League and serve as a destination for the finest players in the United States. The major reason? Payroll restrictions.
If this were a romantic comedy film, the music would swell up at this point, with Billy Beane having a moment of realization, and taking off across the country on foot to find himself in Red Bull Arena's warm embrace.
It doesn't have to be New York, of course. Hans Backe has done a splendid job retooling the Red Bulls after last season's disaster, and the eight wins powered by Juan Pablo Angel (plus imminent addition of Thierry Henry) has New York thinking MLS title.
But Beane offers many things to MLS. He is an innovative thinker who did precisely what MLS needs to do to bridge that final gap between the league as it is now, and the league as it must be to compete with the Premier League, La Liga and Bundesliga- find talent through market inefficiencies. As anyone who has seen the way the transfer market could tell you, there are massive inefficiencies.
Beane also offers a convenient entry point for American media to discuss the MLS, as he is one of the best-known GMs in baseball history, thanks to Moneyball.
And for Beane, obviously, it is a challenge that makes running a baseball team well seem irrelevant. Make an MLS team a lasting contender internationally, and Beane will be making history in the sport that now seems to completely hold his interest.
And should he fail- well, the league doesn't need to change overall strategy. Just give Beane the lab of a single team.
This makes too much sense not to happen.