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    Published on: October 14, 2015

    A guest column by Chelsea Ware

    Content Guy's Note: You may remember that I met Chelsea Ware at Portland State University's Center for Retail Leadership's annual executive conference. She's a student in the program, and when I found out she also was a blogger, I invited her to write a piece for MNB ... and when she did, we got a terrific reaction to her insights into how her generation thinks and acts ... So I asked her to write another one, and now a third.


    I was shopping at Target the other day and while finishing at the register, the machine printed out a list of coupons for me. This is pretty standard, and I glanced at them as I was exiting the store.

    To my surprise, they had given me coupons for men’s Rogaine hair regrowth products. For those of you who don't know me, I am a 23 year-old female who has what I think is excellent hair (at least my friends tell me so). I wasn't even buying hair products, I was buying lipstick.  I am by no means a balding middle aged man.

    While my experience is an extreme example, I feel like this sort of thing happens all the time. Consumers go into a store, make purchases, and receive coupons that are not personalized enough to benefit the shopper or the retailer. The Rogaine coupon certainly made me no more inclined to shop at Target than before, and maybe less so. I probably would have come back to make additional purchases if I had received a coupon that actually spoke to my interests and needs.

    According to the Food Marketing Institute (FMI), supermarkets today carry an average of 42,214 items. In 2010 the average was 38,718, and in 2000 it was only 37, 3000. As time passes, our choices only grow. Today, a trip to the supermarket, even if just for staple products, bombards us with more options than we are sometimes capable of sorting through. In fact, it has even been shown that consumers are less likely to make a purchase if there are too many selections available.

    So what does this mean for manufacturers, brands, and retailers? It means that no matter how much we have evolved or accomplished as a species, humans are still lazy, and we sometimes need things to be laid out for us in an easy-to-process manner. Better yet, sometimes consumers - especially millennials - need customization as a way to have their hands held through the decision making process.

    For example, let’s look at Coke and the soft drink industry. Due to an increased awareness of health, Americans have been buying more bottled water than pop. Even diet soda has had lower sales than water. As a result, the soft drink industry has seen a decline in sales for the past few years.

    As a way to revive the brand for millennials and increase sales, Coca-Cola recently unleashed two different campaigns. In 2009, Coca-Cola introduced the Freestyle, a machine that features sleek modeling, allowing users to personally concoct their own beverage mixtures out of more than a hundred different flavors. Additionally, the Coke Freestyle mobile app provides consumers with a way to create and save all their personalized mixtures. They can then hold their phone up to the machine and instantly receive their tailored beverage. A few years later, Coca-Cola released the “Share a Coke” campaign which replaced their brand name on the can with the phrase “Share a Coke With” followed by a person's name.

    Both campaigns were successful and greatly aided in making the brand more relevant to younger consumers and therefore boosting sales. The Share a Coke campaign was credited with increasing sales in the U.S. by more than 2%. Seeing your name on the product of such an iconic brand makes it personal, fun, and easy to purchase. People got excited about Share a Coke because it was low effort yet still personalized enough to make them feel unique. According to the Coca-Cola website, the Freestyle was attributed with boosting sales and increasing customer traffic for the restaurants that offer the machines. In fact, some consumers will even gladly eat at a fast food restaurant that is further away if it contains a Coke Freestyle.

    In an age where the average consumer has more choices and less time, companies need to think like Coke less like Target.

    Millennials, practically born with a computer mouse in their hands and raised in a world defined by internet access, expect both unlimited choice and personalized options. We expect products to be given to us almost instantly.

    Instead of gambling with automated coupons that can be irrelevant, a more efficient way for retailers to increase sales is to invest in systems that make it easier for the shopper to find and purchase products that actually interest them. Shoppers need retailers to find a way to guide them to products that are such a match to their lifestyle and interests that they practically have their name on them.

    Chelsea Ware is a senior at Portland State University who is pursuing a bachelor's degree in business marketing in addition to a food industry leadership certificate.
    KC's View:

    Published on: October 14, 2015

    Wednesday Morning Eye-Opener: A Delivery To Remember
    by Kevin Coupe

    Wired reports that Starbucks has added a new delivery function to its suite of services ... except that for the moment, it is only delivering to one building in New York City.

    It's a big building, though - the Empire State Building.

    According to the story, "This is the pilot location for the coffee company’s much-anticipated Green Apron Delivery service. It launches today, almost a year to the day after CEO Howard Schultz announced in an earnings call that Starbucks would be looking into a delivery option, calling it their 'version of e-commerce on steroids.' It only caters to customers in the building (Observation Deck not included), but will likely serve as the proving ground for future delivery kitchens.

    "Green Apron Delivery works simply enough, if you’re the customer. Log in to the new delivery site with your My Starbucks Reward account (the same account that customers use for the Mobile Order & Pay app), select your beverage of choice, add it to your cart, and check out. Within 30 minutes, a Starbucks runner will be handing you coffee."

    The story goes on to say that "Starbucks is hustling to cover every corner of the coffee market. Green Apron Delivery is the company’s latest move toward its 'kill-the-line' concept, following this spring’s introduction of express formats and last year’s launch of Mobile Order & Pay. To many, Starbucks delivery seems like a logical, even obvious, next step."

    First, I have to say that the "hustling to cover every corner of the coffee market" line puts me in mind of the whole "ecosystem" concept that companies like Amazon are pursuing, and that companies like Starbucks clearly see as being relevant to future growth. Within the sphere in which Starbucks operates, it wants to make itself the first, best option for consumers .... creating a path of least resistance.

    I have no idea if the 'Green Apron" delivery service will have legs, but I tend not to be too skeptical ... if the same minds that created the mobile ordering app came up with this service, I'm perfectly willing to give them the benefit of the doubt ... and wait expectantly for when it will show up an part of the Starbucks app on my iPhone.

    It'll be an Eye-Opener.

    But I also wish this had existed earlier. Maybe Cary Grant would've just ordered a latte instead of pining away for Deborah Kerr in An Affair To Remember one of the most wretched movies Grant ever made ... and a movie that was effectively lampooned in a wonderful scene in Sleepless in Seattle by Tom Hanks and Victor Garber, with dialogue by the great Nora Ephron.
    KC's View:

    Published on: October 14, 2015

    Bloomberg reports that Facebook is looking to expand its e-commerce footprint "beyond the 'Buy' button" that it started testing last year, and now "is adding a shopping section to its mobile application."

    The story says that "the new area will be available in the same menu as 'Events' and 'Groups'."

    Bloomberg writes that Facebook "also is making it possible for a person who clicks on an ad to go to to a full-screen catalog for the retailer. That feature is intended to help users browse items faster through Facebook, rather than get redirected to the marketer’s website. The catalog feature is being tested on mobile phones with retailers including Target Corp."

    The story frames the challenge this way:

    "Facebook has tried digital storefronts, birthday gifts and other shopping initiatives over the last several years, but the efforts haven’t always been effective. The social network nevertheless continues to look for ways to ease its 1.49 billion users into making purchases. Facebook doesn’t plan to take a cut of the revenue from the new features, for now.

    "But by gaining more direct insight into what people buy, Facebook can make its advertising more effective. It also makes the application more attractive to advertisers eager to make sales through mobile phones."
    KC's View:
    It isn't enough to provide a networking mechanism ... it is critical for internet-driven companies, even Facebook, to find ways to monetize their services through commerce. It is all about connecting people to retail ... and, in a lot of ways, providing alternatives to Amazon, which works relentlessly at making itself the first, best stop for people whenever they go on the internet.

    Published on: October 14, 2015

    Fortune reports that Walmart has reintroduced employee name tags that it retired a decade ago, reintroducing the slogan, “Our people make the difference."

    The story says that "the move was just the latest step in what Walmart US operations chief Judith McKenna acknowledged is the retailer’s attempt to get back to the core purpose of what the company was built on," hoping to move the needle on sales and profits.

    McKenna told the magazine's Most Powerful Women summit this week that "you will get cynicism, and the only way to break through is keep showing people and take actions. You might not get it right all the time, but you have to be genuine in your intent.”

    She also said that she believes in the importance of establishing as common goal for all of the company's employees, so that, if asked about Walmart's purpose, each one will respond, "We save people money so they can live better."

    But McKenna also said that before store employees are engaged with this effort, she has to get middle management to sign on.

    "The hardest group to reach is members of middle management and that she’s been trying to find a better way to communicate with them," Fortune writes. "She has recently met with 700 store managers over the course of four days in 10 cities. 'If we can start to move store managers in terms of how they believe and what they feel, that is the fastest way to get to all of the associates,' McKenna said."
    KC's View:
    Yeah, well, I have to admit I'm a little skeptical about Walmart's ability to deliver on this promise. I know retailers where the people actually do make the difference, and they don't necessarily have to create badges that say so. It is engrained deep in the culture.

    Walmart's instincts are right ... but I'm not convinced that at the end of the day they believe that this is the game-changer ... or have the patience and fortitude to recreate the culture so this actually becomes true.

    Published on: October 14, 2015

    The California Retailers Association (CRA) said today that it has signed an agreement with Certified Inc. "aimed at assisting California retailers with the certification of their goods" as made in the USA, a product of the USA, or grown in the USA.

    The goal of the agreement is to provide a full supply chain audit designed to protect retailers from lawsuits challenging country of origin claims.

    Jill Tanis Rulon, CRA's membership director, said that the goal is to make sure products are "certified independently and professionally," and to "help our members to protect themselves from litigation as well as ensure brand integrity."
    KC's View:
    First, full disclosure. Certified Inc. (which used to be known as Made in the USA Certified) is a once and future MNB sponsor. But I'd do this story even if it weren't.

    I think this kind of information is important to a growing number of consumers, and I think that manufacturers, wholesalers and retailers have to be uncompromising and relentless at making sure that they can back up their claims. Authenticity matters ... ethically, legally, and financially. Screw this up, and you end up in trouble. Get it right, and you have a differential advantage.

    Published on: October 14, 2015

    Marketwatch reports that Whole Foods "is adding to the items it sells for a quarter after the success of the 25-cent coffee program ... Between Oct. 14 and 27, Whole Foods will sell small-sized oatmeal from the hot bar for 25 cents until 10 a.m. daily. And between Oct. 28 and Nov. 3, the market will sell 12-ounce Allegro coffee and tea."

    Whole Foods doesn't put any limits on how many purchases any single customer can make.

    The story notes that "Whole Foods launched a promotion to sell 12-ounce cups of coffee for a quarter in September. The company sold 1.2 million cups, an average of 57,117 per day, it said."
    KC's View:
    Sounds like the coffee promotion worked, at least in terms of dollars and traffic.

    But I guess what I'm less clear on in how this supports and extends the brand in a way that will help Whole Foods reverse several months of bad news.

    To me, it sounds more like desperation than anything else.

    I could be wrong about this. But I am skeptical.

    Published on: October 14, 2015

    The New York Times reports that SABMiller, the world's second largest brewing company, has agreed in principle to be acquired by the world's largest brewing company, Anheuser-Busch InBev, for about $104 billion.

    If the deal goes through - and there is no question that antitrust regulators will examine it closely - it would give the combined company close to a one-third market share in the global beer market, making it more than three times as big as its nearest competitor.
    KC's View:
    I've written a lot lately about how I think that given the changing retailing landscape, antitrust regulators need to reconsider the notion of competition and perhaps bring new definitions and considerations to their deliberations.

    That said, it is hard for me to imagine that this deal will pass muster. Even if they're forced to divest certain brands, it'll be weak brands that'll go into the hands of weaker competitors.

    I'm no lawyer, and I know very little about antitrust laws. But as a consumer, and occasional practitioner of common sense, I cannot imagine this deal being good for competition, good for consumers, and good for retailers that now will have to business with this monster.

    And by the way, let's keep in mind this little story .... Reuters reports that "the U.S. Justice Department is probing allegations that Anheuser-Busch InBev is seeking to curb competition in the beer market by buying distributors, making it harder for fast-growing craft brewers to get their products on store shelves, according to three people familiar with the matter."

    This just seems to stink in a lot of different ways.

    Published on: October 14, 2015

    TechCrunch reports that grocery delivery service Instacart is teaming up with the AllRecipes website to "allow users to click a button to fill their cart with all the necessary ingredients."

    At its core, the story suggests, the move is designed to allow Instacart and AllRecipes to compete with and undercut the likes of Blue Apron, HelloFresh, and Plated, services that "deliver the ingredients and recipes you need to make fresh, home-cooked meals," but that remain, despite growing popularity, "still something of a luxury for many, thanks to their higher prices for the added convenience of measured ingredients sent to your home, versus simply doing the grocery shopping and meal planning for yourself."

    notes that "Instacart was already integrated into Yummly, the latter which recently raised $15 million and is now valued at $100 million for its recipe recommendation service reaching 10 million registered users. But the integration could prove to have an even bigger impact, as is one of the largest social networks devoted to food and recipes, seeing 1.3 billion visits per year from home cooks. The platform, owned by Meredith Corporation, also includes 19 websites and 3 mobile apps reaching 24 countries and 13 languages which gives it a large footprint that goes well beyond the markets Instacart currently serves."
    KC's View:
    As unconvinced as I am about Instacart's long-term prospects, I think this is a smart move ... and is the kind of move that will allow Instacart to maintain relationships with retailers even as it tries to make sure that it remains a viable e-commerce entity long enough to sell the company before retailers develop their own, proprietary options and no longer need its services.

    Published on: October 14, 2015

    The Seattle Times reports that Amazon has closed down its Amazon Destinations site, which it launched just last April as a way to compete with traditional travel sites.

    “We have learned a lot and have decided to discontinue Amazon Destinations.” the company said in a statement.
    KC's View:
    I'm sure they did learn a lot ... one of those things being that they can't be in every business...

    I would make this observation. I'm a big Amazon user, and I also use travel sites a great deal. But this was never really on my radar, and I think part of the problem may have been that Amazon simply didn't put any real marketing muscle behind it. if you don't market stuff like this, inevitably it goes nowhere.

    Published on: October 14, 2015

    ...with brief, occasional, italicized and sometimes gratuitous commentary…

    • The Keene Sentinel reports that C&S Wholesale Grocers, as part of a restructuring, plans to "trim" its workforce by a small percentage - at least in part because of the impact of "the bankruptcy of the A&P supermarket chain and the sale of roughly 300 of its stores, along with 'changes in consumer purchasing behaviors, and the channel shifting happening in the industry'."

    C&S is one of A&P's largest creditors.

    • The Jacksonville Business Journal reports that Publix is expanding its new Shipt-driven delivery service to yet another market - Jacksonville, Florida, where it will launch in two weeks.

    According to the story, "For $49, Jacksonville residents can have unlimited deliveries from Publix for a year. The membership includes all Publix items, online ordering, same-day delivery and free shipping over $35."

    Publix is not doing the deliveries itself, but rather is outsourcing the service to Shipt, which already is working with it in Orlando, South Florida and Sarasota, Atlanta, Dallas, Phoenix and Nashville.

    • The National Retail Federation (NRF) is predicting that sales in November and December (excluding autos, gas and restaurant sales) to increase "a solid 3.7 percent to $630.5 billion — significantly higher than the 10-year average of 2.5 percent. Holiday sales in 2015 are expected to represent approximately 19 percent of the retail industry’s annual sales of $3.2 trillion. Additionally, NRF is forecasting online sales to increase between 6 and 8 percent to as much as $105 billion."

    • The Nashville Business Journal reports that Dollar General Corp. is cutting 255 headquarters jobs, or about 23 percent of corporate staff, effective immediately, saying it is "part of a broader initiative aimed at proactively improving efficiencies and reducing expenses."

    Cutting 23 percent of headquarters staff suggests that either the employee count there was so bloated that previous management should be accused of malpractice, or that current management is really focused on making the numbers look better. My sense is that this is the second, and the question that has to be asked is whether the drive toward greater efficiency will do anything to make the company more effective ... or are the remaining 77 percent simply going to have to do more work and be not as good at it.
    KC's View:

    Published on: October 14, 2015

    • Walmart announced yesterday that Roger Burnley, the former Asda executive who most recently has been Retail and Operations Director for rival Sainsbury in the UK, is rejoining the Walmart-owned chain as COO. The internal announcement noted that "because he is employed by a direct competitor, it will be some time next year before Roger can join" Asda.
    KC's View:

    Published on: October 14, 2015 on hiatus this week. Kate McMahon will return on October 28.
    KC's View:

    Published on: October 14, 2015

    Responding to yesterday's Eye-Opener about how Playboy is adjusting to a changing competitive and technological climate by getting rid of pictures of nude women from its pages - reflecting the kind of disruptive decision that virtually every organization has to consider making - MNB reader Mike Griswold wrote:

    Agree completely. Change or be changed.

    I guess the line “I only read the articles” will now be true.

    Well, we're going to find out, aren't we?

    I criticized Tesco the other day for instituting a price matching program in the UK that only recognizes the prices of its mainstream competitors, and not those of discounters like Aldi and Lidl ... which, has it happens, have been eating its lunch.

    Which led MNB reader Brian Blank to write:

    While your comments regarding defining one’s own competition are valid over the broad picture.  However in the narrower context of the article on Tesco’s price-matching approach, it’s a bit overblown.  Tesco’s policy of price-matching *branded* products is sufficiently self-limiting that it really seems superfluous to bother excluding no-frills, private-label oriented retailers Aldi and Lidl.

    I agree that the private label component of Aldi's and Lidl's businesses is a factor, it doesn't change, in my view, the fact that this competitive move seems kind of shallow. As I said, all hat, no cattle.

    We posted a link the other day to a Tony Schwartz column in the New York Times about why it makes good business sense for employers to invest in the happiness of their employees. Prompting MNB reader Dr. James M. Kenderdine to write:

    Tony Schwartz is right on! I discovered early on in my research that the quickest way to measure customer satisfaction with a retail outlet/service provider was to measure employee satisfaction. Time and again I found that there was a correlation between the two measures. Most firms forget that for their customers, the moment of truth about the company’s strategy is when the customer interacts with an employee. You can spend a fortune on market research and target marketing, but if the customers’ experience when they interact with an employee can make all that worthless if the employee doesn’t give a damn about the customer or their satisfaction, and makes that clear to the customer. 

    Companies spend more effort designing compensation packages for top managers, when the real success of their marketing efforts depends not on the people at the top, but on those who interact with their customers on a daily basis. Look at what Target is doing, adding self-check out and reducing the number of checkers on duty even at peak times: every checker I have talked to since the transition started in Norman (Oklahoma) has told me that most of the customers they talk to do not like the change - telling them “why are you Wal-Marting my Target?”   There is an assistant manager at the Target we shop at who no longer looks me in the eye when he sees me, even if I smile and speak to him: he remembers telling my wife and I several years ago that “Target has never had self-checkout, and never will!” Ask me how happy he is, or how happy my favorite checker is  now that she is afraid that she will not be getting enough hours at Target and will have to get a second job. Sure, she was told that hours would not be cut, but that was last month and who knows what the policy will be next quarter.

    Love your newsletter, it ought to be required reading for everyone in business.

    Thanks so much ... that means more than you know, especially coming from the Professor Emeritus of Marketing and Supply Chain Management at The Michael F. Price College of Business at the University of Oklahoma.

    I wrote the other day about how the fragmenting of the television industry reflects a similar kind of fragmenting in the retail business, as people turn to unconventional and more relevant options.

    MNB reader Alan Finta wrote:

    Recent events in my household couldn’t support your points about TV consumption any better.  We cut our cable about 18 months ago when the bill exceeded $100/month.  Our family of four (Mom, Dad, 12 year old boy, and 13 year old girl) have been utilizing Netflix ever since.

    A couple weeks ago, our Wii system stopped working (after 8 years of heavy use).  Not wanting to buy a new Smart TV until our current flat screen dies, I researched several of the “streaming sticks” (e.g. Roku, Google Chrome, etc.) and headed off to Best Buy (the standard internet research then to the brick and mortar…I’m almost 50 so needed some suggestions from the younger set).

    In store, we ended up switching gears after asking multiple questions to a very knowledgeable sales person, and purchased a “smart” Blu-Ray player with streaming capability.  We had a “DVD only” player…this purchase upgraded us to the more predominant format, and prepared us for when our current TV does die, as the Blu-Ray was built to utilize the current 4K Ultra HD format.

    In the same section we were shopping, we came across a $30 antenna from RCA.  We haven’t had access to basic channels for almost two years, and thought it would be great to watch the news again.  The two minute set up was well within my capabilities, and before long we were watching “The Voice” on NBC as a family.  The “ah-ha” moment came with the first set of commercials.

    Now with allowances to spend, my young consumers had never been exposed to “TV” commercials.  My daughter had been streaming old “Glee” episodes on her tablet via Netflix.  My son doesn’t watch much in the way of shows, but enjoys his “video time” playing games on his XBox One or his IPod Touch.  My wife and I have been accustomed to “binge watching” the Netflix original shows, and are currently enjoying “Dexter”, an older Showtime series.
    The kids today (and us parents) just aren’t exposed to the eight minutes of ads every 30 minutes, like when I was watching the Brady Bunch back in my youth.  My daughter says she gets most of her consumption ideas from things her friends send on Instagram, or from direct marketing from Apple.  I tried to ask my son the same question but he’s playing on his Xbox…

    MNB reader Chris Utz wrote:

    I watch less and less content of all sorts during my free time; I’d rather go out and get some fresh air, like mom told me to do.  If there is a TV program I want to watch on, I usually record it, to view at my leisure.  I also don’t have to waste a good part of my life watching banal ads.  During a 1 hour program,  that could be as much as 18 minutes (more during prime-time) that I could have spent playing outside.  

    Some ads are actually appealing, I will occasionally watch a recorded ad if its very well done. This is very rare though; perhaps a single ad of the 45 minutes of ads I fast-forwarded past during a 2 hour program. 

    One ad I like is from a German car manufacturer, showing  people timidly leaving an office trying to keep hundreds of hovering drones from attacking; reminiscent of Alfred Hitchcock’s The Birds.  The protagonist jumps into the relative safety of his car, using its technology and nimble handling  to escape and even cause two attacking drones to crash into each other.
    Retailers should spend their ad budgets very carefully, purchasing only the best and most beguiling advertising, but there’s no accounting for taste.  What I find horrendously boring might be someone else’s perfect cup of tea.  That being said, I assume that since I recorded an entire program, ad rates stayed up for that show, since credit was given for someone having watched all the ads.
    Another pet peeve is that I find it harder than ever to surf the web, without popup ads sneaking past my ad-blocker.  I don’t mind sidebar ads, like those in MorningNewsBeat.  Quite often, sidebar ads target some item I had just researched buying;  So much for privacy, but that’s another story…    
    I find it extremely objectionable when a pop-up ad blocks the view of a story I was just beginning to read, then demanding a subscription to continue.  This occurs most often at old-media outlets.  They are trying to force ads in our faces, since they lost print ad revenue from their old-fashioned boring distribution venues.  Thank goodness for Apple’s Reader View, which has nothing but the story.  If Reader View isn’t available, I’ll search elsewhere for the story.   I refuse to even acknowledge the ad by clicking on it to go away.  But that’s just me.
    Bottom line to advertisers and ad purchasers-  Make your content interesting, funny or in some way compelling, or we will find a way around it.

    Not just advertisers. My goal on MNB every day is to be interesting, funny, or in some way compelling.

    On another subject, MNB reader Chuck Jolley wrote:

    About your reader’s comment “Anyone, including the FTC who thought Haagen stood a chance of being successful just does not understand the Grocery/Food Retail business. So many people got hurt because the Federal Government again tries to run every thing..."

    So much whining by folks who see the government as the root of all evil, even when a company walks freely into a bad deal.  The FTC did not force the purchase, Haggen went ahead with it and must handle the consequences.  It’s time for many right wingers, just as they insist the average employee do,  to accept that businesses are responsible for their own actions.

    I agree with you. I'm not sure the FTC did anyone any favors, but I also think that the broader question of what defines competition needs to be addressed at the federal level. Intelligent laws and effective enforcement are not the enemy.

    Finally, regarding yesterday's story about Kroger offering full transgender health benefits to its employees, one MNB user wrote:

    Sad we have to celebrate should be a given.  Sometimes we're  a mean people...

    Sometimes mean, sometimes just ignorant. And sometimes just having trouble adjusting to a world that, for some, has changed far faster than they ever could have expected, challenging core beliefs about our culture. Sometimes it is people who are transgender, sometimes it is people who are tattooed ... it is just more than they can handle.

    Got an email yesterday from a reader who suggested that retailers ought to hire four and five year old children to interview such people for jobs ... the suggestion was that if the child couldn't deal with the person, then customers wouldn't be able to, either.

    Of course, what was interesting to me about this was this person's apparent belief that customers have the mentality and emotional maturity of four and five year old children. I tend to think that this says more about this reader than the customers to whom he was referring ...
    KC's View:

    Published on: October 14, 2015

    In one of the National League Divisional Series, the Chicago Cubs beat the St. Louis Cardinals 6-4, winning the best-of-five series in the deciding fifth game an d moving on to the NL Championship Series.

    The Cubs now wait to see if they will play the Los Angeles Dodgers or the NY Mets ... the Dodgers defeated the Mets 3-1 on Tuesday night, sending the series back to LA for a fifth and deciding game.
    KC's View:
    Let's go, Mets!