Some Changes

There are a few changes going on at the Hardball Times. You probably already know that Craig Calcaterra has closed down his Shysterball blog and moved onto a gig at NBC Sports’ Circling the Bases. If you use RSS feeds, you can follow Craig in this one. We’ll miss Craig dearly, but we’re happy for him, too. Good luck, buddy!

The Shysterball blog is no longer in our navigation menu, but we’ll keep the Shysterball archives up as long as there is a THT. There’s a link in the right-hand column of the home page.

We’ve also made a big decision about the THT’s statistics: we’re not going to have them next year. Stats are expensive and, truth be told, we’ll never be as good as Fangraphs and Baseball Reference (though I was always proud of our stats layout and their succinct “story telling.”)

So we’ve made an agreement with Fangraphs in which we will feature each other on our sites. You may have already noticed that we now sport a Fangraphs player search function in the left-hand column, where our own player search function used to sit. And we plan to feature more Fangraphs features in the future.

I think this is a win/win/win situation, for THT, Fangraphs and you. Each site gets to focus on what it does best, giving you the best baseball content possible. And I’m looking forward to deepening our already-strong relationship with David Appelman and everyone at Fangraphs.

There will be more news to come, including a new product rollout in a month or two as well as other new features. So keep your eyes peeled and ears open as you continue to enjoy the content of THT, THT Fantasy and THT Live.

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Comments

  1. Ted said...

    Disappointed to hear about your stats are going away. I always thought this was the best stop for advanced stats. Plus I always enjoyed looking at win shares.

  2. Dave Studeman said...

    I’m not sure about the division graphs, Dave.  I guess it depends on whether I can work out the data source and if I can continue to get up every morning and post them.  That’s the sort of thing we’re going to spend the next couple of months working out.

  3. Hizouse said...

    I also will miss xFIP, PrOPS, and Win Shares.  And the “Teams” page; that was a great one-stop spot to get team level stats like DER.  But I can see the business reason; I for one had been a long-time THT use who recently started going to fangraphs first for stats.  Keep up the good work.

  4. David Appelman said...

    While I’ll say more about this on FanGraphs later, I just wanted to chime in and say that I too think this will be a win situation all around and I look forward to working closely with Dave to make the transition stat wise as smooth as possible!

    As for xFIP, that is on my list of things to do this week, so at least one of the THT favorites (and also one of my personal favorites) won’t be absent for very long.

  5. Paul Canzano said...

    For the last 6 months I wanted to track win shares… I guess Bill James has copyrighted that stat into oblivion (or a subscription to his website)….

  6. Detroit Michael said...

    I have little doubt that the page views / work to maintain ratio of the stats pages was pretty low compared to your other content.  I’ll miss the stats pages, but understand your viewpoint.

    In case you (or David Appleman) is curious, the stats item I found most helpful was the defensive statistics on the team page.  The breakdown of whether the plus/minus was due to the pitching (or the type of contact and placement of the batted balls the pitchers induced) or the fielding was terrific.  I don’t know of any other website, free or subscription, that had that statistic.

  7. Dave Studeman said...

    Bill James hasn’t copyrighted Win Shares.  In fact, he’s been very open with his methodology.  I decided I didn’t want to spend several hours every week creating and posting them, particularly when there are better alternatives, like WAR, available.

    Plus, I made Win Shares periodically available for those who purchased the Batted Ball Reports during the year—and you can also get them now by purchasing the THT Annual. If you want everything to be free, you’ll get what you pay for.

  8. Detroit Michael said...

    Right now, there are no headlines from the THT Live blog on the home page, letting readers see whether there are new items there.  I’d think you’d want to fix that or else readership of the THT Live blog will fall.

  9. Detroit Michael said...

    Not when I load up the THT home page, Studes.  I see headlines from the THT Fantasy blog but nothing from the THT Live blog.

    (I’m using Internet Explorer in case it matters.)

  10. Dave Studeman said...

    It sounds like the page is still loading, Michael.  The right-hand column has THT Live at the top, followed by our RSS feeds and our baseball cap (which is another way to support THT!).

    Our page is slow to load sometimes, which drives me just a little crazy.

  11. Detroit Michael said...

    I’m doing my part!  I bought three books directly from your website this off-season, not even going to Amazon.com this year.

  12. Peter said...

    This news saddens me.  I used the stats section here frequently.  This was also one of the places where I could count on the analysis never having that sort of “Fangraphs slave” theme that so much analysis carries these days.  (…Not that I don’t enjoy Fangraphs and appreciate their contributions, I just think there are too many people buying into the groupthink and failing to recognize the limitations, which is always very dangerous.  People also seem to be asking fewer questions these days, which is contrary to the tradition of sabermetrics.  We got here by asking questions.  Not that those at Fangraphs intended for this to happen or do anything to encourage it, it’s their followers’ over-reliance on them that’s the problem…)  I could always count on THT to bring that always brilliant but never trendy type of analysis.  I hope that doesn’t change.  I don’t expect it to, seeing as this is the best group of saberists out there, but that would be a tragedy.

    At any rate, cheers, and good luck.

  13. Dave Studeman said...

    Detroit Michael: THANK YOU!!

    Peter: I appreciate your comments. We value our independence at THT, and I promise we’ll avoid being trendy. We’ll be using Fangraphs’ stats, but I know our writers will find new ways of looking at the data.

  14. Dave Studeman said...

    Detroit Michael: I found the problem with our home page.  Explorer was tripping on some HTML code.  Should work now.

  15. Myron Logan said...

    Dave, I appreciate all the work you put in here. Personally, I was a favorite of the fielding data available here, the RZR and OOZ data. I know it costs money to license that stuff from BIS, but do you know if it will be available anywhere?

  16. Lee Panas said...

    This is bad news for now but hopefully any stats that can’t be found elsewhere will be moved to fangraphs.  Will the catcher defense stats be moved over? 

    Lee

  17. Dave Studeman said...

    I don’t think the RZR and OOZ data will be available anywhere (except when John publishes it in one of his books). We were the only ones who purchased it from BIS.

  18. David Appelman said...

    Lee, we’re actually working with BIS to get the defensive catcher data that was available on THT, so that is something that will definitely be on FanGraphs, probably looking at February, but could be sooner.

  19. Ian said...

    I think this was probably the right move.  I love the site, but switched over to Fangraphs for stats lookups a while ago.

  20. TCQ said...

    I’d also mention to Peter that while there may not be quite as many questions nowadays, that has a whole lot to do with how many of ‘em have been answered. When the information is better, there’s less to ask. Which is, of course, not to say that we shouldn’t keep looking for better and better methods of measuring baseball…

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