OFF THE CUFF

You know what one of the coolest things about following your favorite sports teams is? It’s just like following your favorite TV series.

Think about it: Teams in any sport have lineups or rosters of athletes that share many characteristics with the casts of television programs (whether serious or funny).

In both cases, the “characters” can have good traits, bad habits, quirky speech patterns, odd movements and everything else that makes an individual an individual.

And teams have athletes come and go, just like TV show casts. Heck, the cast of NCIS has changed about a bazillion times over the years and it’s still one of the most popular shows going. And I felt like every time a main character left M*A*S*H and was replaced, the show got better.

The same thing can be true in sports. When a player leaves and is replaced (for whatever reason), a team sometimes benefits and ends up being better than before.

Of course, the opposite can also happen. Sometimes when a lead character leaves a TV series, the show struggles to be as good. Likewise with a team; sometimes when a key player retires or is traded, the team experiences big-time difficulties.

Sometimes a player gets injured and doesn’t play for a given length of time, and sometimes a TV series character is similarly “sidelined” for a while, for any number of reasons.

Both sports teams and TV shows get ranked, too, and both can be more popular in one market than another.

And both get talked about in the office, at the restaurant and anywhere else a conversation might take place.

Teams and TV shows can both have their heroes and villains, too. And typically, a sports team plays a schedule that includes facing the same opposition on a regular basis, so after a while the opposition’s players become at least somewhat familiar. The same goes for a TV series where a recurring “bad guy” character surfaces now and then to cause problems for the regulars.

Teams and TV shows can also have their leaders and followers, as – for example – coaches resemble chiefs or CEOs and players resemble officers or employees. In other words, there’s your Andy Reids and Frank Reagans, and there’s your Yadier Molinas and Archie Bunkers.

And never mind the old attitude of “I won’t watch sports because the players are paid too much.”

Sports and TV shows share the high salaries, too. Cast members of The Big Bang Theory were making almost $1 million per episode. Do the math: With about 22 episodes per season, they were making the same kind of serious lettuce that top professional athletes pull down.

And that show is only one example; you can find dozens of others whose cast members make huge money.

Anyway, I enjoy following a few sports teams and I enjoy following a TV series or two. And when you get right down to it, my enjoyment in both cases stems from the same set of reasons.

FACT CHECK See inaccurate information in this story? Tell us here.

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