Sociologists will have to study this because I'm far too lazy, but a pet theory rattling around in my mostly empty brain has taken a deeper foothold recently. That thought? When it comes to sports, the pandemic has only accelerated the ascent to the mountaintop where they keep prisoners of the moment.
Let me explain. For years, momentum has been building. Teams who choke away games are immediately the biggest chokers in history. Teams who win are the greatest of all time. The same thing with individual players. The rush to be first with a strong and divergent take is real and oftentimes rewarded.
We love to draw hasty conclusions and build strong opinion on them. Waiting is for suckers. So naturally, the longview is oftentimes sidelined in the high of short-term gratification.
A close cousin of this is the recent trend of falling deeply in love with any and all rule or schedule modifications sports league overlords have put in place to jam through a complete season. The seven-inning doubleheaders. The 10th-inning runner. A 60-game baseball season. An NBA playoff play-in game. You name the alteration and people are giving it an open-mouth kiss, wondering where it's been all their lives, and insisting they be made permanent.
Let's pump the brakes a bit and consider if it's at all possible that we're all simply so happy to have games back that we're willing to accept any alterations hook, line, and sinker. If we're blinded a bit and not truly in love with all the experiments. It will never, ever happen but it'd be great if there were a moratorium on advocating for permanent application of the makeshift rules until a few months after respective seasons end. That way a more thorough examination of facts and feelings could take place.
For instance, it's tough for me to imagine that people will have a long-term love affair with a play-in game between the eighth- and ninth-place teams in an NBA conference. These tend to be fairly middling squads. Outside of the bubble, these matchups aren't going to move the needle all that much.
Drastically shortening the MLB season because the 60-game sprint was fun would be catastrophic for the bottom line, obviously, but it'd also make summer nights more empty. If you really like something, why would you want less of it?
It's great that we're watching games and embracing debate again. It's a weird time, though, and making future decisions based on a ridiculously small sample size amid emotional distress does not seem like a favorable recipe.
Just thinking about those poor pundits who might — gasp — pen something that doesn't age all that well. Or reflect what the really think in the light of day.