So, it’s late January, and the Super Bowl’s over. The worm-harboring
subcutaneous cyst otherwise known as college basketball is beginning to swell
and redden, preparing to burst forth into the disgusting froth of pus known as
the NCAA tournament. Network television is filled with frenetically paced
events like the Senior Skins Game, which appears to consist primarily of
badly-dressed men trying to be Don Rickles. The Hollywood Hype Machine is
pushing a bunch of what are sure to be limp wastes of time like “Blues Brothers
2000”. There’s little baseball news, even on staples like SportsCenter,
ESPNET, or even talk radio. I mean, for God’s sake, CNN is trying to DESCRIBE
bad fellatio jokes, trying to gently use the word ‘kneepad’ with a collective
straight face. Did Ionesco write this stuff?

I’m a baseball fan. This is Hell on Earth.

The Baseball Prospectus project is market driven. We produce a premium
product, the foundation of which is Clay Davenport’s excellent statistical
analysis. We add in a limited amount of other things that we think are
entertaining and enlightening — Michael Wolverton’s superb Support Neutral
Work, the occasional interview with someone the regular media may not pay
much attention to, some commentary, some projections, and a few features.
But it’s all market driven. We’re listening to our customer base. We’ve
tried to adopt what you wanted. We’ve done our marketing homework. Stay
with me. I’ll try to get to the point here in a few dozen more words.

I’m a DIRECTV customer. For $29 a month and an extra $120 or so during
baseball season, I get tons-o-baseball, lots-o-channels, and much better
picture quality and sound than I got through TCI/SatanCom, or whoever our
local extortionist was. But have you seen some of the hot networks on this
dish, or on most cable systems? You’ve got channels like Home and Garden
Television, The Food Network, SpeedVision, and literally dozens of other
channels catering to every bleedin’ hobby, fetish, perversion, or taste in
the world. These stations are unbelievably focused, and generate
significant revenue by reaching a very focused audience. Of course, the
more general ones run the same advertisements OVER and OVER and OVER again
— their revenue base has got to be next to nothing. Either that, or
selling those “Floyd Cramer — Country and Western Piano Legend” CDs is way
more lucrative than I thought.

So why not a hot stove channel? Seriously. I’m sure others have come up
with this idea and been shot down by financiers. But bear with me here.
Here’s some of the information about our target market. If you’re reading
this, there’s an excellent chance that:

  • You’re male.
  • You live in a suburb.
  • You spend at least 2 hours per week in the offseason following
    baseball news.

  • You’re between the ages of 16 and 54, probably 25 to 45.
  • You make an annual salary in the 70th percentile or greater.
  • You have cable or satellite television.
  • You spend between $100 and $250 per year on baseball aside from
    going to the ballpark.

I’m not writing this to show you that we’re Big Brother’s little buddy
or anything. You probably don’t fall into ALL of those categories. But
you do REALLY LIKE baseball.

Would you watch a year-long ESPNEWS type station devoted STRICTLY to
Baseball? I’m talking CHEAP programming — Japanese League games, perhaps,
minor league games, Home Run Derby stuff, old “SuperStars” broadcasts, but
mostly interviews and updates on baseball, all year round. If the minor
leagues, scouting, college, and even high school baseball were emphasized,
would you include it in your clickable set on the remote?

There’s about 4 Million people in the country that could realistically buy
Baseball Prospectus 1998. The cable and satellite providers in this
are jammed with potential channels as it is. Startup networks are DYING to
get distribution of any sort, and are going so far as to give away their ad
revenue in huge hunks. But there is a shortage of channels aimed at this
particular market segment, and you have a lot of buying power.

So, if you’re in favor of such an idea, either send us a check for $40
Million, or call the Fremont Group and tell them they should send an analyst
over with a checkbook. I’ll be the one in the A’s hat counting the seconds
until pitchers and catchers report. If you have that $40 Million check,
email us, and I’ll make sure you get Rany Jazayerli’s home phone number.

Oh, and in response to the flood of email: We are not currently looking for
interns. At least I’m not.

Thank you for reading

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