Is it strange that being a sports fan these days has us play-acting at being in charge of the team?
We not only know what salary caps are, we understand what “dead money” and “contract restructuring” are. We’re excited when our team has “years of control” over a young star, paying him less than he’d get somewhere else if he was allowed to take offers.
Modern stats try to stick a “neutral” value on a player, sneering at the old guard with their narratives and context dependence. The new evaluation rejects narrative and is allergic to chance: what should have happened? What is his “true talent level”? What are they really worth?
Fantasy sports cast us as general managers, drafting and cutting, scouring scouting reports, agonizing over trade proposals. The players are our assets.
No wonder we hate on “greedy” athletes making millions of dollars! No wonder we forget about the thousands of slightly less talented or lucky athletes playing for dreams and peanuts!
No wonder we side with the owners in labor disputes.
Should I change the channel? Pop culture is the same!
The phrase “Benioff and Weiss” means something to me. I know what a “showrunner” is. The Talking Dead and After the Thrones are TV shows that exist to talk about TV shows.
“Marvel’s Phase Three” is something that I could plausibly explain to a time traveler. I’ve looked stuff up on Box Office Mojo.
I was there when we brought Community and Arrested Development back from the dead. I was there when Veronica Mars got Kickstarted.
No wonder we feel like we can demand a say in characters and plots!
Who knew being a superfan would warp your position on labor relations?