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    Published on: October 4, 2011

    by Michael Sansolo

    In case you haven’t seen it, the US Postal Service (USPS) has a new series of advertisements designed to drive us all back to letter writing. Here’s an early prediction: the effort has no chance of working.

    The essence of the campaign is this. The USPS reminds us of all the terrible things that happen when you use electronic communications. For instance, refrigerators (where I guess letters should be hung with magnets, assuming that one does not have a stainless steel refrigerator) never get hacked. And bills and other important documents never get deleted with just a click of a button.

    This is like reminding people that automobile accidents result in fatalities and therefore we should all go back to riding horses. Good grief.

    Luckily the Postal Service’s incompetence can easily remind us all how to react to a changing world. And it can be done without resorting to mindless nostalgia or fear mongering on an issue that strikes very little fear. Let’s consider strategies that might be better for the Postal Service that might also strike a chord with consumers.

    First, don’t waste money on a dumb advertising campaign. The Postal Service actually has some good messages to send on the power of a hand-written letter or card. Why not focus on that instead of strange references to the safety of refrigerator magnets?
    Then start trying to rebuild your organization by looking inside yourself as critically as possible. There are loads of things I like about the Postal Service - especially their inexpensive method of mailing books, something that Kevin Coupe and I found out extensively in the past few years. The service is well priced and pretty quick. Tell people.

    The gaps, however, are huge. Start addressing them.

    To begin with, I have never once left the Post Office raving about service and I bet I’m not alone. Clearly some massive training in customer service is necessary. Post Office lines are invariably long and service levels that we find there (like those at the Department of Motor Vehicles) are completely substandard. Sure, these are tough jobs, but people can smile, hustle and treat us like customers, not annoyances. First impressions matter and yours aren’t good.

    And here’s the simplest idea: go see Moneyball, the fabulous new movie adaptation of the great book by Michael Lewis. Kevin wrote about the movie last week and I second his suggestion that everyone needs to see it.

    The movie concerns baseball and how the Oakland A’s managed to win with a payroll that was just a fraction of other teams. However, the key lesson in the movie comes in the form of a question asked by Billy Beane, the A’s general manager played by Brad Pitt. As his staff contemplates the impossible job in front of them, Beane essentially asks how the team is going to compete in a world where all the rules and practices are stacked against them. In short, the A’s needed to find a new way of competing to succeed. The new world demands it.

    That’s a situation that many businesses, not just the Postal Service, face these days. All the rules of competition, economics, technology and more are changing. Competing through endless nostalgia or silly ads will never work. You need to find a new way to appeal to shoppers, meet their new values and do so with a level of efficiency never previously imaginable. It also means you have to stop doing things they way you used to, especially when those practices are unprofitable.

    For the Postal Service, it means facing the world a new way and that may mean some difficult but necessary decisions. Daily delivery is fabulous, but as Kevin has pointed out before (some would say ad nauseum), its demise - or at least a dramatic cutback in service, would go unnoticed by many. And while rural communities might suffer lower levels of service, but that’s better than no service at all.

    The bottom line is that I understand nothing about the Postal Service. But this much I do know: you can’t succeed by asking yourself only the questions you want to answer. You have to ask the uncomfortable ones, the impossible ones and even the ones you can’t answer.

    Winning is never easy. Neither are tough questions.

    Michael Sansolo can be reached via email at . His book, “THE BIG PICTURE: Essential Business Lessons From The Movies,” co-authored with Kevin Coupe, is available by clicking here .
    KC's View:

    Published on: October 4, 2011

    by Kevin Coupe

    Justin Verlander apparently is not just a big deal on the baseball field.

    The Detroit News reports that Verlander - the star pitcher for the Detroit Tigers - also is a pretty big deal in the virtual world - he has more than 50,000 followers on Facebook and more that 46,000 followers on Twitter. In fact, has has almost as many Twitter followers as does the official Detroit Tigers feed does.

    According to the story, “a handful of Tigers actively use Twitter, with Verlander (@JustinVerlander) being the most notable. Late last week he used his Twitter to give away tickets to the home playoff games, asking fans why they deserve tickets. ‘I'll pick the winner. Get creative,’ he wrote.” In addition, “Tigers pitcher Brad Penny (@bradpenny) ... has accumulated more than 16,000 followers and tweets in short bursts about the action on-field or his favorite movies (he's a fan of Warrior).

    “He also seems like the Tiger most likely to tweet you back, even if it's a flip comment: He told one user ‘get a life’ after that person suggested he spend some time with his pitching coach rather than at the movies.”

    It’s all about creating connections with the customers.

    Though, to be fair, it should be noted that one of Verlander’s on-field opponents has been even more successful in this area.

    Derek Jeter of the New York Yankees has more than 1.3 million people on Facebook who “like” him.
    KC's View:

    Published on: October 4, 2011

    Politico reports this morning about the continuing arguments on both sides of the announcement by Bank of America that it will begin charging a $5 per month fee for the usage by consumers of debit cards to buy products - a move made after new financial services regulations put limits on the “swipe fees” that could be charged on debit and credit card transactions.

    In an interview with ABC News, President Barack Obama addressed the controversy: “This is exactly why we need this Consumer Finance Protection Bureau that we set up that is ready to go ... This is exactly why we need somebody who's sole job it is to prevent this kind of stuff from happening. ... You can stop it because if you say to the banks, 'You don't have some inherent right just to - you know, get a certain amount of profit. If your customers - are being mistreated. That you have to treat them fairly and transparently."

    To which, Politico reports, American Bankers Association President Frank Keating, responded: "It's disappointing and puzzling that the President would attack a private corporation for responding to government price fixing that has fundamentally altered the economics of offering a debit card. As a direct result of the Durbin Amendment, consumers have started paying for financial services they previously enjoyed free of charge. Unfortunately, this proves that whenever government tries to control pricing of a product or service, consumers lose."
    KC's View:
    Once again, it strikes me that President Obama is almost tone deaf on this issue ... and that he missed a great opportunity to tell the right story.

    The thing is, it seems to me that people in favor of financial services reforms should be applauding the Bank of America move ... and suggesting that this proves that the reforms are working. After all, swipe fees were invisible ... people were paying them, they were raising the cost of goods, but consumers (and even many retail employees) were unaware of their existence. All they knew was that banks spent tons of money trying to get people to use signature-based debit cards, which had expensive fees attached to them, and they responded to those campaigns by using them.

    Now, because limits have been put on swipe fees - which, by the way, opponents should forever label “invisible swipe fees” - banks have to be more transparent about the fees they charge.

    This isn’t about government determining how much profit a company can fairly make. It is just about making sure that how companies make those profits, on the backs of unsuspecting and, quite frankly, susceptible consumers, is completely transparent. In the end, if we know more, we can vote with our feet and our wallets. Which strikes me as utterly fair. And appropriate.

    Obama has to get the message right. Because if he does, vampires like Keating will have to crawl back into their gilded holes and worry about being exposed to daylight, and what that will do to them. And as we all know, sunlight ain’t good for vampires.

    Published on: October 4, 2011

    USA Today this morning reports that a coalition of 300 companies, organizations and doctors will announce today “that it has filed a petition with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to require that all genetically engineered foods include a label that advises consumers they're eating food that has been altered.”

    Critics of the existing policy - which does not require labeling, on the premise that there is no substantial or significant difference between genetically altered ingredients and those that are not - say that health concerns remain about GMOs, and point to the fact that labeling is required in the European Union, Russia, Japan and China.

    "This is about the consumer's right to transparency," says Gary Hirshberg, CEO of Stonyfield Farm and a member of the Just Label It coalition. "People deserve the right to know what they're eating."

    USA Today writes that “executives at the Biotechnology Industry Organization insist there's no need for labeling. ‘Anyone who has ever studied the issue has come to the conclusion that there are no health issues here,’ says CEO Jim Greenwood. ‘Unless the scientists have stopped being scientific, this will be rejected’.”

    A labeling requirement by the FDA could have a dramatic impact. For example, the paper notes that “some 88% of the corn planted in the U.S. is genetically engineered, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture. It shows up in many packaged foods.”
    KC's View:
    Transparency is better. Almost always, and certainly when it comes to the food that we eat and how it is made.

    I would argue that it is silly to suggest that real scientists would be anti-transparency, because real science, in my opinion, allows for a discussion of this issue.

    Besides, I have a suspicion that the Biotechnology Industry Organization is a lot more about industry than it is about science.

    As a consumer, I may decide that I don’t mind eating foods that include GMOs. I’ll make that decision based on a number of factors - convenience, price, taste ... and whether I’ve been persuaded that GMOs are good for me, or at least not bad for me.

    But when industry tried to hide the information, that’s when I get suspicious.

    Published on: October 4, 2011

    The Wall Street Journal reports this morning that “retailers are coming to terms with a new reality: the consumer who traded down during the recession and never came back.

    “Buffeted by high unemployment, heavy debt loads, falling home values and high food and gas prices, these shoppers have been whipped into a permanent state of consumer caution. They buy only what they need, avoid premium labels, clip coupons and scour sales.”

    During the coming months, analysts say, consumers can expect to see retailers responding to this trend with sales, promotions, more promotions, expanded private brand offerings, reinstitution of such old-world schemes such as layaway, and even more promotions.

    Chris Christopher, senior economist at IHS. Global Insight, puts it this way: "Consumers are fragile, fatigued and fed up.”
    KC's View:
    Want a snapshot of how tough the economy has gotten for a lot of people?

    You don;t have to go any further than the Wall Street Journal sidebar, which notes that even babies are being victimized by recession: “Recent data show diaper sales are slowing and sales of diaper-rash ointment are rising.”

    In part, the slowing in diaper sales - and we’re talking volume here, not dollar sales, so it isn’t like people are spending less by purchasing them on - can be attributed to better diaper technology. But the increase in diaper rash ointment sales suggests that this is not the whole story ... and that consumers are so pressed by financial concerns that they are no longer able to turn the other cheek.

    Published on: October 4, 2011

    The Washington Post this morning reports on a new study from the Harvard Business School suggesting that good reviews on can increase a restaurant’s revenue by 5.9 percent ... but that chain restaurants largely are unaffected by such reviews because people already have entrenched opinions about them.

    What this means, the study says, is that independent restaurants - which often can find themselves swamped by the bigger advertising budgets enjoyed by chains - may actually find that the new world order allows them to be more competitive. As “online consumer reviews substitute for more traditional forms of reputation,” the study says, restaurants that focus on real differential advantages - like the food - actually can enjoy some benefit.
    KC's View:
    How great is this. The internet as a field-leveler.

    Published on: October 4, 2011

    The Associated Press reports that “the makers of the alcoholic drink Four Loko have agreed to change its labeling and packaging to settle Federal Trade Commission charges of deceptive advertising.

    The FTC says Phusion Projects falsely claimed that a 23.5-ounce can of Four Loko, at 11% or 12% alcohol, had the same amount of alcohol as one or two typical 12-ounce beers and a consumer could drink a whole Four Loko safely on a single occasion. Actually, according to the FTC, a 23.5-ounce Four Loko contains about as much alcohol as four or five 12-ounce cans of regular beer and is not safe to drink in a single sitting.”

    This is just the latest change that Four Loko has been forced to make; last year, the company took caffeine out of the drink after consumer groups and regulators complained about the effects it was having on young people.

    However, manufacturer Phusion Projects remains defiant.

    "Even though we reached an agreement, we don't share the FTC's perspective, and we disagree with their allegations," CEO Jaisen Freeman said. "We don't believe there were any violations. However, we take legal compliance very seriously and we share the FTC's interest in making sure consumers get all the information and tools they need to make smart, informed decisions."
    KC's View:
    A smart, informed decision by consumers with a lick of common sense would mean that nobody would drink this crap. This stuff is designed to knock young people on their keisters, and I think we all know that even though they deny it, the manufacturers know that they have a lot of appeal to underaged drinkers.

    Published on: October 4, 2011

    Reuters reports that “Starbucks Corp CEO Howard Schultz, decrying a lack of leadership in Washington, said his chain of coffee shops is helping to launch a nationwide fund designed to stimulate U.S. job creation.

    “Starbucks introduced on Monday the ‘Create Jobs for USA’ fund in partnership with Opportunity Finance Network (OFN), a group of private financial institutions that provide affordable loans to low-income people and communities.”

    "Businesses and business leaders need to do more; we can't wait for Washington," Schultz told Reuters.

    This is just the latest of Schultz’s semi-political forays; several months ago, he called on US CEOs to stop all political donations until elected officials in Washington started acting responsibly, engaging in meaningful debate, and making the kind of compromises that could lead to action rather than gridlock.

    • The Chicago Tribune reports that Mariano's Fresh Market is slated to open its first downtown location today, in Lakeshore East.

    The story notes: “This is the chain's fourth store in the Chicagoland area, but the first one downtown. Parent Roundy's Supermarkets plans to open as many as 18 stores within five years, with Palatine, Forest Glen and Loop locations expected to break ground soon.”

    • Albertsons LLC has launched a new “A Taste of Albertsons” program, designed to “drive shopper awareness and interest through events tied to sampling, product launches, holiday promotions, meal-solutions and more. Knowledgeable, dedicated sales personnel will engage shoppers and personalize their shopping experiences while building consumer loyalty.” The program is a partnership with Daymon Interactions, the consumer event marketing company.
    KC's View:

    Published on: October 4, 2011

    • JC Penney announced that it has hired Michael Francis, the chief marketing officer at Target, to be its new president.

    This is the second high-profile hire by JC Penney, who recently hired Ron Johnson - who most recently ran Apple’s retail business, but before that was vice president of merchandising at Target - to be its new CEO.

    The Wall Street Journal suggests that JC Penney’s interest in former Target executives may offer a hit about the direction the company plans to take.
    KC's View:

    Published on: October 4, 2011

    Responding to one of yesterday’s stories, one MNB user wrote:

    Great work on finding that New York magazine article from last week about the latest developments in the Murdoch U.S. scandal affecting News America Marketing. And right on with your courage to speak your mind in your editor's notes. I hope you used bleach in the shower at sufficient strength.

    If it makes you feel better, the slime can be eradicated in the shower by an author of a post or a reader, but not so easy for the many retailers reading this newsletter under contract that have money in their balance sheet from this News America company, and in doing so, these retailers aided in the harm to both Insignia and Floorgraphics in their actions at the time. And they support right now a corporation that has caused so much harm around the world. And News Corp faces some of the most serious criminal conduct allegations that a corporation could ever encounter, and a scandal that the famous Washington Post investigative journalist Carl Bernstein has already compared at this early stage to the Nixon Watergate Scandal of the mid 1970's.

    Ironically, the subject of  the most recent US media coverage and wide exposure since the July hacking unfolded in the UK, that being the Floorgraphics company victim of News Corp, is the one of the three most recent victims (Valassis and Insignia being the two others) to fare the worst in their damage settlement from 2009. Not only did the mere $29.5 million Floorgraphics take pale in comparison to the over $1 billion estimated total value in cash payments and value of two 10-year business deals of the other two companies, now we find out in that article that perjury occurred at the trial and false testimony played a part in the Floorgraphics decision to settle for that amount and end their trial, I presume. And, Floorgraphics has their $29.5 million deal--but no longer has a company. A sad epilogue, indeed.

    While that article could not cover all the ground of the dispute between Floorgraphics and News America and the hacking was obviously a focal point, I would like your readers to know that while our brave military soldiers were fighting and dying on the battlefield in Afghanistan to stop terrorism from coming here to the U.S. and to provide a better life for the Afghan people in Military Mission Operation Enduring Freedom, back here in the U.S. the criminal misdeeds of this Murdoch division was ongoing at that very same time and was coined Operation Retailer Freedom. And the evidence that emerged was that News Corp was targeting every single retailer doing business with Floorgraphics--even a single store owner--with the clear intent to take away every retailer doing business with their competitor and to destroy Floorgraphics. And the computer hacking was ongoing at the very same time for a total assault deployment.

    And don't rely on what you read here in the MNB comments section as certain truth- with just a little effort you can find it yourself on the Internet in media reports and trial transcripts and assure yourself that this indeed is a 'Fair and Balanced' reader comment report.

    We also got a lot of email about the decision in Denmark to institute a “fat tax” on products with certain levels of saturated fat.

    I wrote yesterday:

    This move will no doubt ignite some discussion of creating similar taxes elsewhere in the world, even here in America ... though it is hard to imagine that such a tax could possibly be passed in the current political environment.

    I got that right.

    One MNB user wrote:

    Seems rather misguided.  Why penalize thin people for buying fattening foods?  Wouldn't it make more sense to penalize fat people?  They ought to base individual income taxes on BMI indices.

    MNB user Richard Thorpe wrote:

    That is what is so great about America. Our government would never think of passing a "fat tax" even if it knew that it would lead to better health in America. We are the innovators and the go getter country that will not allow the government to tell us what to do. It is our American right to be obese and be a drain on our health system and our economy.  One need only look at the decrease in smoking caused every time the cigarette tax is increased to know that a "fat tax" should NEVER be considered.  Here in Idaho we are keeping our liquor taxes at 1958 levels in order to keep our liquor and beer cheap and available to all while cutting our education funding to whatever level we need in order to balance the budget. This manner of taxation makes sure that we continue to elect the "no tax increase" crowd lest government do something beneficial for Idahoan's health and education. No sir, and our federal government should follow right along. Why in just a few more years we will be able to increase the number of folks below poverty levels and we can be just like all the rest of the third world countries and our rich folk will be paying their fair share just like the are now.

    Tongue now out of cheek - There are no simple answers but there is nothing wrong with taxation for social benefit - that is what taxation is - it is the line drawing that is difficult. I vote for better health and education for ALL Americans not just those who can afford it like I can and I am sure you can.

    MNB user Bob Bartels wrote:

    Taxing the source of fat foods for everyone just increases the cost for all with potentially little effect on fat people.  

    Taxing the accumulated fat on people might have more impact.  Maybe we should just leave well enough alone.

    From another MNB user:

    I don’t believe that cigarette taxes, beverage alcohol taxes or gasoline taxes have been shown to reduce consumption of these items and I doubt that taxes on fat would have an impact either.

    It will take education, awareness, and finding alternatives to the fats that do not have their negative health impacts but allow for great tasting food. I am not against sin taxes if they are effective, I just can’t find examples that are.

    MNB user Blake Steen wrote:

    I’m not agreeing or disagreeing with this but when you try to tax people into a behavior you usually tax them into a revolt.

    Often, that’s true.

    We’ve had the Arab Spring. Now, the fat tax will launch us into the Scandinavian Autumn.

    MNB user Tom Robbins wrote:

    It is interesting to hear the various approaches that governments take to "help" solve problems (wow, that is an oxymoron). Whether in Denmark, or the US, taxing isn't the solution. First, where does the tax revenue go? Second, what is the revenue used for (in the US it will go to another entitlement).

    Thirdly, is anyone really silly enough to think that "taxing" a product will make the fat go away or actually reduce consumption?

    Life and food in moderation is the only plausible solution and that begins at home, not at the government.

    Yesterday, we had a story about how Barnes & Noble has acquired Borders’ intellectual property and email list, and we printed - in its entirety - the email that B&N was sending out hoping to entice Borders customers not to opt-out of the list. (As opposed to asking them to opt-in.)

    One of the lines from the email went like this:

    At Barnes & Noble we share your love of books — whatever shape they take. We also take our responsibility to service communities by providing a local bookstore very seriously. In the coming weeks, assuming you don't opt-out, you'll be hearing from us with some offers to encourage you to shop our stores and try our NOOK products. We hope you'll give us a chance to be your bookstore.

    Which sounded very nice. Except that it my commentary, I said that if the email said what it really meant, it would have read something like this:

    Borders is dead. Right now, we at Barnes & Noble are doing everything we can to avoid the same fate ... which means we need you to help us stave off the techie infidels who work for

    Like the idea of having a bookstore in the neighborhood? Or, if not exactly in the same neighborhood, somewhere in the general vicinity of where you live? Then you’d better start doing business with us. Because we’re the only thing that stands between you and a world in which Amazon will sell everything to everybody.

    Please. We’re begging you.

    MNB user Ken Wagar thought I went too far:

    I am an Amazon user and Kindle owner and can’t remember when I was last in a Borders or a B&N. And I agree that B&N is likely to go the way of Borders, BUT, What is wrong with a company marketing itself? Particularly to people who are known to have used a conventional competitors services? And shouldn’t they be complimented for being so up front and transparent about how those customers can opt out?

    I don’t disagree with your position but thought it was terribly one-sided from someone who is normally very fair. You could have made your point and also given them good marks at least for the up-front chance to opt out, something I rarely get as my data is bought and sold buy companies I deal with.

    I think you let your passion for change consistent with technology and an eye on the ever-developing future of marketing and retail interfere with balanced journalism if not opinion.

    And MNB user Vic Hansen wrote:

    Unkind, Kevin. So Unkind. You might even be accused of being a cynic.

    That would a fair accusation.

    But let me just reply to the suggestion that the journalism was one-sided or unfair.

    For the record, the journalism was completely unbiased. I framed the reason for the email, and ran it in its entirety.

    The commentary was a little biting ... and little cynical ... and maybe a little unkind. I would also argue that it was pretty accurate.

    And yes, it was one-sided ... but it was commentary. Which by its very nature is biased.

    And I’m totally transparent about that.

    Another MNB user wrote:

    Thanks for the laugh on your version of the email Barnes & Nobles sent out, as my kids would say, LMAO.  As recent history as shown us (Netflix) a letter from the CEO via email to customers is a dicey proposition and it appears B&N was more successful than my favorite whipping boy, Reed Hastings.

    And, from another MNB user:

    After reading your nasty response to B&N doing what any company would do in the same situation and showing your incredible Amazon bias (where I shop occasionally as well) many KUDOS for attaching the SNL Netflix skit. If anyone missed it you should put the link in every MNB this week and next. It was funnier than almost any skit I have seen on SNL for quite a while.

    Here is the link, in case you missed it:

    Click here.

    Regarding the debit card fee controversy, one MNB user wrote:

    You are so "flipping" naive to think that the retailers won't just pocket the savings they are getting from swipe fee reductions.  Of course they will "say" they are passing the savings along but there will be no way to substantiate the claim. (Also, please inform the person who blames the "libs" for this law to look at who voted for it and their PAC donations as well.)

    Do you really think that food or other retailers are using a different rule book for making profit, as one of your readers stated..the fees are just going to someone else. It was not swipe fees that hurt smaller retailers it was their ability to match price with the big boys who do get lower wholesale costs. Also, the person who said he would go out of business if no credit cards were allowed forgot about WINCO, a successful retailer that does not accept credit cards. They do accept debit cards and they are employee owned and profitable with very low prices and solid service.

    MNB user Elizabeth Archerd wrote:

    I've already seen at least one ad by Ally Bank, about how they never charge you to use your own money.

    People can complain or they can act on their own behalf. Sometimes it takes a big jolt to get them acting. Let's hope.

    And finally, on another subject, albeit one close to my heart, and MNB user wrote:

    Thank you for lending a voice to the disenfranchised baseball purists  on the National League batting title.   Many fans who believe in the purity of the game, and respect the players  from the past should appreciate the call out on how the NL batting title was won.   In the immortal words of Professor Kingsfield -  the fans of the game only appreciate those who won the old fashion way – “they earned it”.

    Jose Reyes took the easy route to ensure he got the title.  I don’t know the man but (land mine territory here) based on his age,  assume he came from the generation where even the 28th swimmer in the meet  got the trophy.  That is not earning the prize  – it is assuming the prize and feeling good about yourself.  Ryan Braun deserves the batting championship because he went out the last day and fought to get it.  Now - Ryan had to go out and try.  Statistically  - Jose did not.  But that is beside the point.   Jose and his manager / team figured out what he needed to win and he reached on a surprise BUNT??  In the first inning??  Who does that??  ?? And that move won a batting championship? 

    It is like in business– if you take the easy way out, you may win today – but the consumer catches up with you and loses all respect.  Then in the end – who loses?  I may be old fashion but I certainly believe in fair play.   I can’t help but think that the age old idea of winning on your own merit is the only way.  Whether in the respect of your family, winning the heart of the one you love, getting the next job in your career– your life – your relationships or how you treat the dog.  It is all about respect and Mr. Reyes, whether he cares or not, has lost mine.

    A couple of things here.

    First of all, a bunt hit is still a hit. Bunting is a vastly under-appreciated skill, and more players should know how to do it. I have no problem with the bunt. I have a problem with only one plate appearance by Reyes.

    To be fair, though, Ryan Braun does not deserve the batting title. Over the length of the season, Reyes had a higher batting average. Can’t dispute that. It is how he did it, in the last game of the season, that showed lack of character. And character counts.
    KC's View:

    Published on: October 4, 2011

    In the American League Divisional Series, the Texas Rangers defeated the Tampa Bay Rays 4-3, and the Detroit Tigers beat the New York Yankees 5-4. The Rangers and Tigers now each have a 2-1 lead in their respective best-of-five series.

    And, in Monday Night Football action, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers defeated the Indianapolis Colts 24-17.
    KC's View: