They say sports are filled with drama. And while that may be true, the real theatrics seem to be happening off the field, pitch, court, mound, ice or whatever surface is relevant.
At least in this day and age.
It seems like we now care more about the offseason than the actual games. Or at the very least, just as much. And no sport is excluded.
In football, recruiting is big business. Ask any college football fan what their team is going to look like three years down the road, and chances are they'll be able to tell you what high school juniors they're looking at. And for the NFL, speculation goes on for months leading up to the draft, and a show of hands would prove how many of us will devote hours in late April to watching names be read off note cards.
Of course, free agency is a major draw for all sports. Remember two summers ago when millions of us tuned in to see where LeBron James would be taking his talents? I'm sure there were plenty of people tuned in that day who never watched a single Cavaliers game that year.
As the NBA and NHL free agency began at the start of the month, I'm once again reminded of how intense the scrutiny over roster moves can be.
I don't know how it used to be in previous generations, but I can't imagine it was on the same level as it is today. For one, they didn't have the same tools.
With the Detroit Red Wings in hot pursuit of the NHL's top two free agents — defenseman Ryan Suter and New Jersey captain Zach Parise — I've taken to social media to get any possible update. I've scoured message boards and searched the internet for any possible leads. My refresh button is wearing out.
If there's news, I want to know about it.
On Tuesday, I was tracking the flight status of a plane owned by Red Wings owner Mike Ilitch. The plane left Detroit for Madison, Wis., and returned later in the afternoon, reportedly for team officials to meet with Suter in person.
Admittedly, the fascination over offseason acquisitions and roster moves gets me every time. I'm a sucker for it. And I appreciate the tools that let me do pretty much everything short of asking Parise and Suter themselves where they'll be playing next year.
The only surprise to me happens after the offseason moves. In the sports other than football, ratings and attendance are an issue. We stop paying attention once the games are played.
This spring, the Stanley Cup finals were consistently topped in the ratings by TV reruns. And that was despite having two major markets with Los Angeles and New Jersey, and plenty of star players.
Remember Parise? He was there, but we weren't ready to pay attention to him yet.
The off-field stuff is great. Embrace it with all that technology has to offer. But don't forget about the on-field stuff. That can be pretty great too.