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3 O'Clock High: Mr. Fix-It


This message was brought to you by Television's Jeffmacke...


Minyan "S" Coop writes:

"Once again you have to pick on the CHISOX. Just because ratings are down this year because the Yankees and Bosox aren't in the ALCS you feel you have to put them down.

You are beginning to sound like another organ of the elitist media. Off handed smack downs of things, whether it be the Whitesox or Bush, just ends up being gratuitous, monotonous and tedious. Instead of that, say exactly what you don't like and how you would fix it, whether it is the economy or baseball ratings. Thanks for your time."

"S" Coop
Evanston, IL.


I was beyond fired up to get this email. Not so much the "organ" or "elitist" parts. And I think you misread my reasons for picking on the ChiSox. But those were simply endearing flaws in an otherwise brilliant note.

What made me giddy was the part where you suggested I lay out "exactly what (I) don't like and how (I) would fix it". Dude... grousing and explaining how I'd "do things differently" are my two of my favorite hobbies. Indeed, noting flaws and suggesting fixes could be my defining characteristics.

I'm rarely actually asked to bitch n' fix for two reasons: 1) I get the impression it's not something everyone "enjoys" 2) Asking me to observe specific flaws and smugly make corrections would interrupt a bitching and fixing session already in progress.

I'm saving the details on how I'll fix the economy until after I'm Fed Chair. I have a plan, of course. A secret plan which ensures prosperity with honor. Also a chicken in every pot, 3 cars in every house and two houses owned by every man, woman and child in the United States. Utopia, baby.

But I won't get confirmed if I tell anyone what I really think so I can't yet share my plan. Since we have some time to kill before the Age of Macke, I'll go ahead and fix baseball.

Why the ALCS is unwatchable, just like all modern baseball.

In the interest of brevity, I'll stipulate the following to be fact (rather than my personal opinions):

  • Games, particularly play-off and WS games, are impossibly long, largely as a function of the television commercials.
  • 9-Million viewers tuned into a competitive play-off game between teams based in the 2nd and 3rd largest markets in the country. Martha Stewart's NBC show is on the cusp of being cancelled for an audience of the same size.
  • Attending games live is wildly expensive and now features nearly as many commercials as watching on television.
  • Drugs have ruined every major record, and thus all the sense of history, from the game.


  • Minimize the ad-break between innings and destroy the one between pitching changes.

I know "the networks need the ad dollars, that's the whole point". The television ad is dying, whether networks like it or not. The solution is not to try to jam more ads into consumers' faces, using ever more volume and force. The solution is to rethink the entire revenue process.

Sell fewer ads, in spaces organically created by the flow of the game. Less ads will mean a better product which will lead to higher ratings. Let Budweiser (BUD) have all the ads for the entire game - just don't let them interrupt the game.

With higher ratings, BUD will pay more for the ad-space and exclusivity. The network makes its money and, as a nice bonus, stops killing their own expensive product.

The networks don't have the wontons to make the leap of faith that fewer ads will mean higher ratings. They insist that more ads sold at lower rates is a better economic solution. They are wrong. I am right.

Seriously, Coop, thanks again for asking. It was a true underhand lob of an email for me to take a rip at. The great thing is, even if I whiffed, I can just run to first anyway!

Good luck to your squad in the remaining 2 months of the baseball season! Let me know how it turns out... this organ plans to be at the golf-course.


MLB should also stop drug testing. The genie is out of the bottle; let's see if it can hit 100 home runs in one season!

No positions in stocks mentioned.

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