Today is the last day of Jeff Crandall's tenure with the Chicago Fire. Tape the clappers on the bells; they can ring tomorrow. Today is a day for quiet, because another person who loves the club is being flung into exile.
He was caught in one of the double-binds that define our time; twist this way and offend the money, that way and betray his love. He is caught no longer.
Crandall will be remembered as a member of Whiskey Bros. Aught-Five, one of the Fire's most active and engaged supporters' groups; he will remain a member, of course. He will be remembered as Brendan Hannan's partner-in-laughs during the most productive and interesting period of CF97 web content. And he will, finally, be remembered as a guy who believed in transparency, believed that trusting supporters with the truth - be that truth inspiring, or saddening, or just plain ugly. He believed that MLS could be all the things it aspires to be.
And, as of today, he's not a part of the Fire any more.
Other people will do the job he did previously. Perhaps they will do it well. What's certain, though, is that they won't have the love of the badge that Crandall has; true love takes time, and Jeff was a supporter before he was an employee. The new person or people will not have a Facebook wall filled with pictures of supporters' group outings. They will not have a two-pole display commemorating their passion. When they leave, their will be no public wake.
Crandall has all those things.
Let the public wake commence! And let's not lose everything in this. If the beer will allow it, please feel free to share your favorite Jeff Crandall stories or photos in the comments below.