Problem? It’s Game Lengths Plus Attention Spans.

Whoops! Did I just outrun your attention span?”


Anyone today who chooses to speak or write into the wind of all those limited attention spans that are out there today is simply asking for it.

Here’s a better way to picture it. – Remember all those great Roadrunner-Wile E. Coyote cartoons of childhood? Their interactions serve us well here as models.

Wile E. Coyote is the presenter. The Roadrunner is the audience that old Wile E. intends to capture.

Every time Wile E. charges after old Roadie, the result is invariably the same. – The moment he seems to be getting there, Roadie shifts into high gear high-speed and is gone in a cloud of dust.

And where does that leave Wyle E.?

Sometimes it leaves the smarter version of Wile E. screeching to a dust-filled blinking spot in the road before he spins over to the Acme Company in search of a new capture trap.

In our model, the Acme Company serves as our symbol for everything from universities to authors to “Leisure Learning” courses on “how to get what you want.”

Most of these programs don’t work, but, like Acme, they always have something new to offer. – And why not? The Wile E. Coyotes of the world keep asking for them.

The not-s0-smart versions of Wile E. Coyote don’t stop when the Roadrunner disappears because, frankly, they are not even aware of his departure. They just keep charging after where they think he is, leaving a dusty trail of their own near the rim of the high plateau where they run.

Worse. The dummy Wyle E.s keep on running past the rim – and for a short distance – they are obliviously running across open sky as though it were solid ground.

Then. Something happens.

Wile E. Coyote senses a slight decline in the altitude of his running path.

The ground is now so light that Wile E. notes the absence of ground contact as he places each pounding foot down in fast speed stride.

A sudden suspicion grips Wile E.’s mind. And his eyes both enlarge to freeze-position as OPEN-WIDE.

Wile E. looks down. The look confirms that he is now running through the open air.

The canyon floor awaits him. – 3,000 feet below.

Sheepishly, he waves us goodbye and falls through the bottom of the screen.

And we look on at the open space he once occupied, only a nanosecond ago.

And what keeps us aflight is never a problem. It’s called movie magic.

And our plight is not at issue here, anyway.

The metaphor speaks for itself:

Presenters and events that pursue audiences in 2017 without regard or awareness for the presence of short attention spans will get what they have coming to them, one way or another.


Regarding the Physical Changes at Minute Maid Park

After watching the presentation by Astros President Reid Ryan last night during the ROOT Network telecast, I’ve come around to thinking that maybe the ball club has got the right handle on what needs to happen to make people stop worrying about the length of games or silly filler practices like character races or tee shirts slung into the crowd by cheerleader types. As much as I personally miss Tal’s Hill, the changes in center field have created more area that is now devoted to fan exploration, eating, drinking, socializing, and hanging out. We got to see it with our own eyes last night and the fans seemed to be lapping it up. In fact, those very activities probably are the core of things that can really distract people from the cell phones and provide the kind of atmosphere that people associate with “the less time this takes, the better.” It isn’t about less time. It is about how enjoyable is the time that we spend at Minute Maid Park (MMP)? Enjoyable social time between fans is the one thing that MMP can provide that is superior, especially for younger fans, to watching the game on HDTV at home. Plus, throw in all the new ballpark game vista options, and MMP is superior to any bar scene that offers big screen coverage of the same views we can just about all get on home TV now.


Bill McCurdy

Publisher, Editor, Writer

The Pecan Park Eagle

Houston, Texas


2 Responses to “Problem? It’s Game Lengths Plus Attention Spans.”

  1. Tom Hunter Says:

    Not sure how this applies to your metaphor, but my favorite version of the Wile E. Coyote vs. Roadrunner contest is when Wile E. paints a picture of a tunnel on the solid rock and then watches as the Roadrunner runs through it. When Wile E. tries to follow, he smashes into reality.

    All the things that make baseball enjoyable to us fans are considered intolerably boring by those who must have constant stimulation. Paying attention is something you can’t order from Acme.

    • Bill McCurdy Says:

      “All the things that make baseball enjoyable to us fans are considered intolerably boring by those who must have constant stimulation. Paying attention is something you can’t order from Acme.” – Tom Hunter

      Tom, you get it beautifully. Wile E. Coyote never does.

      And to my “MMP Changes” comment, this is what I’m getting. Finally. The Astros understand that they must have a team that fans believe can win it all. They’ve got one. Now they seem to understand that the more they do to help make fans enjoy hanging out at the ballpark at places where they also spend money, the better those two needs are served. These younger fans can enjoy the game better if they are eating and drinking the time away as they choose from many new perspectives on the field that are also friendly to their wired social media connection needs. Satisfy those cravings and compulsions and the club doesn’t have to worry so much about how little they understand the finer points of the game. If they’re not complaining, and if they are still buying tickets, the games will still go on for those who want to watch baseball the old fashioned way – and not be bothered by the clock for purer baseball reasons.

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