I’m a happy subscriber to Calcaterra’s Cup of Coffee newsletter, which gives me a hit of baseball news and opinion (along with updates about automats and local Ohio politics) every weekday. But Rethinking Fandom is a nice zoom back to the larger issues that affect sports fans today.
In its first half, the book details all the issues with modern sports operations: teams that have no financial motivation to try to win, owners who cry poverty while reaping enormous gains in franchise value and in a stream of income from media rights, cities being hoodwinked into laying out public money under threat of the local sports baron moving to another town, and more. Look no further than this week’s comments by the president of the Cincinnati Reds to encapsulate this issue.
In the book’s second half, Calcaterra tries to come up with a philosophy that can allow fans to remain fans on their own terms rather than throwing it all away in frustration. You might not agree with all his suggestions, but I admit that there are a lot of mitigation strategies in there that might calm down some of the cognitive dissonance.
As someone who was raised in a house of sports fans and has been a fan of various teams since I was little, I appreciated that the book comes from the perspective of someone who has devoted so much personal and professional time to sports. Calcaterra picks apart what makes so much of what surrounds sports today seem so unpleasant… when it’s all supposed to be fun, right?