We’ve got news for you Internet baseball watchers. The Hardball Times has just been acquired by our old buddy FanGraphs. “Acquisition” is such as bloodless, corporate word; it makes you think of downsizing, Bain Capital and synergies. But that’s not what’s really happening here, except maybe the synergy part.
Simply put, THT and FanGraphs are combining our financial, technical and publishing resources. Nothing much will change on either website. Both sites have their niches and writers and readership. We’ll still publish good stuff every day, as will Fangraphs. We already lean heavily on FanGraphs’ stats, and that certainly won’t change. We both have excellent pools of fantasy writers, and that won’t change either.
The things that will change are the things that make this type of venture easier on those of us in the background. Hardball Times has fallen behind technically because we can’t afford to have a full-time technical person on board. FanGraphs does. Both of our sites have found it hard to recruit new, good writers. Combining recruiting forces will make it easier. Combining our editing and writing expertise will yield better results for you. Combining our traffic numbers will result in more revenue opportunities for all.
This will also make it easier for both of us to pursue new ventures, such as books, cool apps and other nifty things that baseball people can use.
I’m assuming you all know FanGraphs. FanGraphs first hit the tubes back in 2005, I think. Their founder (and my new boss) David Appelman even wrote for us for a while, as a way to publicize his new site. I invented LOB% for David because Ron Shandler wouldn’t let him use Strand Rate for his graphs (now you know how new baseball stats come to be). I’ve always assumed that David chose FanGraphs for the name of his site because I had already taken BaseballGraphs. So we’ve been close allies from the very beginning.
FanGraphs has since become a powerhouse the baseball world, known for its cutting-edge, in-depth baseball stats and lively, timely commentary. David has done a tremendous job of increasing his site’s features and traffic. We’ve continued to work together closely over the years as both sites have evolved. When THT decided to drop our stats, it was a natural to link to Fangraphs’ instead. And now we’ve formalized things.
Eventually, you may see a change in the THT brand (maybe “The Hardball Times, a proud member of the FanGraphs family.” If we ever have brothers and sisters.) Some of our writers may switch sites. Some of our features, too. But the bottom line is that we’ve just made our mutual future a bit more fun and secure.