It started when the Rangers eliminated the Yankees in the ALCS, but when the Giants managed to eliminate the Phillies in the NLCS the next day, it came to a head. Everybody on the internet had to joke. Everybody had to joke about how there were FOX executives watching each series from their living rooms, in the dark, alone, beside a note and a handgun, and when the final outs were recorded, they stood, slowly, placing the note in an envelope, and sealing the envelope, and suspending a rope from a support beam overhead, and holding the gun in one hand, and the beam in another, and looking up, drawing one final breath.
Ratings. Everywhere, people are talking about ratings. The Yankees versus the Phillies? That would get good ratings. The Rangers versus the Giants? That won't get good ratings. At least, not as good as the Yankees versus the Phillies. I don't know from whence all this sudden altruistic concern for the well-being of the FOX broadcasting company has come, but people are making a big deal out of this. They think that everyone at FOX headquarters must be miserable, and they're hoping against hope that millions of viewers on the fence will end up tuning in.
That concern - it's nice. It comes from a good place. But rest assured, you needn't be worried about FOX. FOX is a television giant that didn't get to where it is by accepting defeat, and its board of directors has already drafted a list of ways to ensure that this year's World Series ratings are as healthy as ever.
1. Emphasize history. The Giants moved to San Francisco in 1958. From where did they move? New York, where they played in the Polo Grounds. "These are your grandpappy's Giants."
2. Bill it as a team challenge reality show. Over a grueling period of four to seven competitions, two teams of complete strangers must come together to compete in an unfamiliar, complicated game on national television, all the while wearing silly tight pants and an assortment of ion-balancing titanium accessories. The team that is able to triumph most often over the other is rewarded with champagne, goggles, and a trophy that's heavy, metal, and sharp.
3. Put Jane Lynch in it. Jane Lynch, so hot right now.
4. Label all games as Steelers vs. Patriots in on-screen TV guides. By the time home viewers figure out they aren't watching a football game the assumption is that these viewers will be far too lazy to change the channel.
5. Purchase millions of personal TVs. The FOX broadcasting company generates a phenomenal amount of revenue and it is within its means to buy out and install millions of televisions, all tuned into the World Series for purposes of ratings inflation.
6. Purchase dozens of hovering mega-TVs. Rather than buying millions of personal, 40-inch television sets, FOX may instead opt to buy a considerably smaller amount of gigantic flat-screen TVs mounted to the underside of the alien ships from Independence Day and floated over major domestic media markets. In this way, residents will have little choice but to watch and Series ratings will be the best they've ever been.