I hate tanking. HATE it. I'm too competitive to accept that anyone else could possibly accept losing. When people here were/are saying that the Chargers were/are tanking, it bugs me because I know that I was/am not - we just had a huge talent discrepancy that has taken several seasons to start closing.
Pro sports, have real people, with real emotions. I don't see how any PLAYER would accept losing, especially in a free agency era, where players can leave. Why would I lose on purpose, or accept my team putting me in a position to lose on purpose so that next year (or three years from now) this roster can be better (possibly replacing ME!)
I can see why ownership might choose this path, choosing to try this shortcut at the risk of alienating fans or players, for the payoff of a true franchise talent. But it's just a chance, not a guarantee, and it's a huge risk. The Washington Bullets (Wizards) were stuck in the same pattern for about 15 years (some may say it's really like 40 years) of being good enough to not get a top pick, but not being good enough to be any kind of real contender. The times they picked #1 through lottery luck, were awful years to pick there - there was no clear-cut #1 pick when they took Kwame Brown and 2001 was one of the worst drafts ever, and John Wall is not a player you can build a champion around. Teams in this kind of holding pattern do need to do something drastic to try and shake things up. But if my team did this, I'd leave them and never come back. I don't want to root for someone who isn't trying their hardest to win, and I'd see their success as one that was built by losing on purpose - something I couldn't get behind.
Tanking in baseball just doesn't make any sense to me. Sure, the Astros did it to perfection. But scouting and development in baseball is SO fickle. The bust rate on high picks is so much higher than other sports. It's not all tanking that helped build them into a winner. But that is the popular theory. Baseball has a 25-man roster, and is an individual sport (batter vs pitcher), within a team game. One individual in baseball can't effect as much change as a star player in basketball, or even football (star quarterback/running back). Even a great starting pitcher, who seemingly has the biggest impact on a game, only plays one out of five games.
The ONLY good I see from tanking, is perhaps MAYBE, the sports seeing teams tank will change their systems to stop people from doing it. Not by penalizing tankers, but by effecting change that will enable other teams to compete. In MLB, on Opening Day, you can eliminate about 25 teams from contention before the 162-game season starts. Only the teams with huge payrolls can really compete. So, some teams are tanking to try and win to beat that system. CHANGE THAT SYSTEM instead. Instead of pointing to the Astros as "see, you don't have to spend $200M to win", point at everyone and say," yeah, this just doesn't work, having only like 6 teams who really have a chance this year", and change the way you govern your league. NBA is even worse. Even with the Pacers, Bucks, and Nuggets having the best records right now, does anyone really think they'll win the NBA finals? Before the NBA season starts, you can eliminate 25 or 26 of those teams too. Change the system. The two major US leagues that have a hard salary cap see parity. The NFL and NHL have different teams rotate through power. The NBA and MLB only tax teams for going over a cap. The huge markets don't care.
So yeah, FUCK tanking, and everything it stands for. And those that use it to try and find success, I wish nothing but injury, locker room turmoil, and lost fan revenue on you.