The Commissioner’s thumb was poised to click the link to Melt Your Face Off, to see how he had been slandered today, when the Blackberry buzzed in his palm. The caller ID read, simply, NORBY!.
“Gary, it’s Norby! I’ve been looking over the numbers again. You know we would love to have the NHL back on The Networks. For one thing, Melrose could finally start earning his check again. But I have some changes from what we talked about yesterday.”
“Well, the games would be on the Deuce, as we discussed. We would do Tuesday nights, with maybe Sundays unless there’s football or baseball or a really good tennis tournament on. The price tag was fine. But we need one concession.”
“You have to ease up on the fighting. The fans love it. The number of YouTube hits on hockey fights is insane. There’s even a Web site devoted to them. Fans love the fights; they make great highlights, too. We can’t do it unless the instigator rule is repealed, and linesmen are ordered to let the boys go at least 30 seconds before stepping in.”
“Think about this, Gary. You would get the nightly highlight show back. Cross-promotion on SportsCenter. Highlights that last longer than seven seconds. And the postgame shows would not be followed by bass fishing. Well, unless bass fishing starts to get poker numbers.”
“I can’t do it, Norby! Fighting is barbaric and disgusting. Civilized gentlemen settle their differences with words, not fists.”
“Gary, I strongly urge you to reconsider. We are the World Wide Leader. We always get what we want, in the end. You would be making a very big mistake to turn me down. This is our final offer.”