When did sports go bad?

I had to make a trip Oakland for some business and while I was at a gas station waiting in line to pay, a guy walks in and says, “F—— Giants.” There really wasn’t anyone he was talking in to in particular and I guess he just felt he had to express his extremely deep dismay over the fact that SF Giants had been eliminated from the Baseball Playoffs. It only stayed with me, because he wasn’t just commmenting or good-heartedly bummed that he wouldn’t be able to watch his team in the World Series. This guy was genuinely angry and probably would have punched the team’s manager if given the chance.
I don’t know when it happened here, but sports that were originally meant to be fun to watch have become these defining elements in peoples’ lives. Yes, it’s true, it’s mostly guys who have this problem, but there are quite a few women in the mix as well. What’s the deal? It’s just a game. You either play or watch for fun. Wrapping up some element of your self into a sporting event is just well… ridiculous.
Of course, on the other end of this, last year, the Giants were in the opposite position and I was at a bar where there were watching the final game which decided if they went on to the big game or not. A friend was with me at the time who was from England. It was pretty funny explaining all the ludicrous rules of the game to her and then watching her cheer when it seemed like you were supposed to.
Once the game ended, all this people in the bar starting whooping it up and shouting “We did it, we did it!” A pretty funny statement coming from someone eating nuts, while sitting and drinking beer at a bar. Add into that, an older couple was making out in the corner, apparently erotically aroused by the win of “their” team.
My companion turned to me, laughing and asked, “What the hell is wrong with these people? It’s just a game. It ultimately effects their life not in the least.”
“I have no idea what their problem is, but I’m glad you don’t get it either.”
“Yeah. Utterly crazy.”
I was happy for a second in that it must be some backwards American thing to be this much into sports, until I thought for a second and asked her, “Wait, you’re from England?”
“Yeah, so?”
“Isn’t that where Soccer Hooligans are from?”
“Well, sure, but we try to keep them much more separated from common society than you do here with your sports fans.”
“Fair enough.”