Time for something new

The sun is setting on the original design of The Hardball Times website (via slgckgc).

The sun is setting on the original design of The Hardball Times website (via slgckgc).

It’s been almost exactly 10 years since the Hardball Times opened its virtual doors. Over the years, we’ve tried a lot of different things. Starting with a couple of articles a day, we added THT Live. When Derek Carty came on board, we added a Fantasy section. For a while, we sold special access to player projections, courtesy of Brian Cartwright’s Oliver projections.

Thanks to David Gassko’s leadership and Bryan Donovan’s coding skills, we added things like a Sparkline generator and WPA Inquirer. Cool player and team stats. We had fly ball percentages and other batted ball stats before anyone else. Team standings with graphs.

Craig Calcaterra had his own blog here for a while. One year, we ran a subscription service called the Batted Ball Reports. Harry Pavlidis had his own THT Dispatch blog for a short time. We added THT Links a few years ago. We published 10 Hardball Times Annuals, a few Season Previews, a bullpen book and a third base book.

All that time, the basic look and feel of the site never wavered from our original design.

Well, that’s about to change. Sometime early next week, we are going to roll out a new version of the Hardball Times. New logo, new layout, new formats. We’re also going to refocus on the things that we’re most known for. From now on, we’ll feature just one new article a day. The topics will be similar to what we feature now: Insight, Analysis, History, sometimes humor, maybe some fiction or poetry. But just one a day.

THT Live will still be here. So will THT Links. Many of our special features, such as the WPA Inquirer, will be on the new site (though it may not be there right away). All of the old articles will still be here. We’re just taking a moment to step back, rethink how we approach what we do, and do it better.

We’ll let you know more about the site when the rollout occurs. In the meantime, sit back and enjoy the offseason, poke around the old site if you’re feeling nostalgic (I know I am) and, if you’re like me, give a little thanks to the nearly 300 people who have contributed over 15,000 articles and the readers and bots who have generated 190 million page hits.

Something new to this site comes.

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Comments

  1. Dave Bristol said...

    I hope THT Awards and Currently Historic stick around, those are my two favorite columns during the season.

    Thanks for all the great content, good luck in 2014.

  2. Mike said...

    Will an article like this qualify as your “1 article a day”? he said sarcastically … Personally, I thought the articles were a strength of your site. Cutting them back to one a day is, to me, a significant step backwards.

    I’m all for the cosmetic changes (new logo, re-arranging, sprucing up and modernizing). And I understand if certain features are eliminated as time and staff availability warrants. But I like the articles – they make your think, research, and discuss.

    Changes are always going to be met with resistence, but as a fan of your site, I’m willing to go with the flow. I’m sure these choices you are making will result in much debate. Good luck.

  3. Frank said...

    How to kill a website:
    1. Although unnecessary, redesign said website.
    2. Remove most of the content that people enjoy.
    3. Emphasize the parts that only a slim minority of visitors care for.

  4. Paul Singman said...

    I suppose I understand the mixed reaction some people have to the changes, but I am surprised. It’s time for a re-focusing of THT’s mission, and in-depth research pieces are something the online sabermetric baseball community is lacking.

  5. Ace K. said...

    Hi,

    I just come here for the articles.  Several “regular features” here—Chris Jaffe’s wonderful list articles, Cooperstown Confidential, Card Corner—are among my very small list of the very best must-read recurring baseball writing.

    But then again, I don’t pay to access the site or use any features.

    Great, great site (currently).

    Ace K.

  6. Marc Schneider said...

    I love the history-based articles.  Sabermetric stuff is ok in context but my eyes glaze over at the hard-core statistical analysis.  If that’s what the site is going to start emphasizing, I won’t be going much.

  7. Marc Schneider said...

    “It’s time for a re-focusing of THT’s mission, and in-depth research pieces are something the online sabermetric baseball community is lacking.”

    The point is, unless you are really into sabermetrics, this is BORING.  I don’t understand why you would take a successful site that appeals to a wide audience and convert it into something that appeals to a smaller audience.

  8. Paul Singman said...

    @Marc—Here’s what Dave said: “The topics will be similar to what we feature now: Insight, Analysis, History, sometimes humor, maybe some fiction or poetry. But just one a day.”

    I was just highlighting one of these that I will enjoy with the new THT. If you like the current set-up, it seems like there will still be plenty of everything to go around.

  9. Brad Johnson said...

    I’m also surprised. Maybe it’s because I’m involved on the back end a bit and have an idea of what’s in store, but I’m very excited about the change.

  10. dennis Bedard said...

    The true baseball fan hates change.  I read this site everyday and spend a considerable amount of time referring it to friends and relatives. Hope the change is for the better and it doesn’t end up looking like the Chicago White Sox in the disco era.

  11. bucdaddy said...

    Aesthetically, it looks nice and all but …

    1. Are we going to have to fill in name and e-mail address every time we comment now?

    2. There’s nothing on the home page to indicate how many comments (if any) an article received and whether there are any new ones.

    Both of these could be annoying.

    My $.02 at a first glance.

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