Rumors are awesome.

The old saying is that wanting is better than having — that anticipation and speculation is way more fun than boring ol’ truth. I don’t know how true that is for other people, but it’s definitely true for me. I love — love — rumors and scuttlebutt. Be it the baseball hot stove, a new Magic: the Gathering set, or wild rumors about new video game consoles, I find it enormously fascinating to just listen to the gossip swirling about things on the horizon. Even if I’m not personally invested, there’s a certain joy to be had in imagining what could be, a joy that “actually is” rarely if ever matches.

I’m not deluding myself about this, of course — I’m well aware that “rumor” is just a fancy word for “wild speculation with little if any connection to the truth”. That bothers people who don’t like getting worked up about things that don’t have much chance of coming to fruition… but to me, something doesn’t have to be true for it to be interesting to think and talk about, you know?

Take baseball, just as an example. Most baseball trades are between two teams and involve five players or fewer and minimal salary — essentially, the more complicated a deal is, the more difficult it is to get it done, especially if you’re on the clock. Just the same, though, every winter and every trade deadline you hear speculation about three- or four-team trades, trades that involve double-digit numbers of players, trades that involve massive contracts changing hands. In actuality, multi-team deals are vanishingly rare, multi-player deals happen once in a blue moon, and trades of massive contracts are practically mythological. (The reason I was so shocked about the Vernon Wells trade this past winter is that such deals almost never happen.) Still, though, the unlikelihood of these rare trades doesn’t hurt their popularity in the minds of fans and rumormongers. Why?

My theory is because it represents a massive shakeup. It’s hard to get excited about a deal exchanging a number-four starter for a reliever and a couple of medium prospects — it might help the teams, but it’s not changing the baseball landscape. With a speculative huge deal, though, you almost can’t help but change things around significantly. People don’t like change in their lives, but they relish it in their hobbies — they like to see new things. If teams kept bringing back the same rosters year after year, things would become boring after a while even if the quality of play on the field stayed the same. The blockbuster deal allows us to peer into a world where the balance of power has shifted enormously.

I’m having a similar kind of feeling reading all the hyperbolic  prose being bandied about regarding Nintendo’s new console. If you put a gun to my head, I would be forced to admit that probably 80% of what I’m reading is unmitigated bullshit, at least — but what if it wasn’t? What kind of massive shift would we be looking at if Nintendo really had landed Red Dead Redemption 2 and Final Fantasy XV? How can anyone not get excited thinking about that, even if it’s nothing more than some writer trying to stir up hits?

People want facts and sources, and those people are sucking the life out of me. I, on the other hand, am having plenty of fun just speculating. Reality is always disappointing — why not let me enjoy fantasy for a while?


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