On Wednesday we shared the—how to put this diplomatically?—”out of the box idea” that ABC-TV, or at least its president Thomas W. Moore, offered up to Major League Baseball: cut your season to 60 games, play only on the weekends, promote the games as major television events along the lines of college and pro football, and watch the money roll in.
OK, I’m liberally paraphrasing (probably), but that was the gist of his proposal. Mark Aubrey, who runs Baseball Nuggets, a really interesting historical baseball site composed mainly of old newspaper articles offered up “as is”, tipped us off to that one.
One might think that the tepid response to this nutty idea by network rivals CBS and NBC (who had actual major league baseball games on their airwaves while ABC did not), as well as by then-Commissioner Ford Frick, would have been pretty much the extent of the response. I mean, come on: who was going to take this idea seriously?
Francis Stann. That’s who.
A sports columnist for the Washington Evening Star, a major DC daily that published until 1981, Stann took the proposal seriously enough to fashion a response that could best be described as “indignant”. Because when you spell out the word you use to describe the nature of an obviously ridiculous and unworkable proposal as “G-R-E-E-D”, you’re undoubtedly steeped in indignation in a deep way. If he’d’ve written this article two decades on, he might have been advised thusly: “Lighten up, Francis.” That said, it is an entertaining read, which we present to you below.
For more articles related to this, including a happy ending article in which ABC-TV is awarded the rights to baseball broadcasts for a cool $12 million over two seasons starting in 1965, check out the rest of Mark’s article over at Baseball Nuggets.