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Welcome to HBT 2.0

Jun 16, 2010, 10:19 AM EDT

Redesign? What redesign? Oh . . . that. Allow us to explain.

No, we’re not changing the name again. It’s still HardballTalk. The only thing different is the look. About that:

People don’t like change. I get that. People especially don’t like change when it comes to the websites they frequent. I totally get that. Indeed, I’m fairly certain that every redesign in the history of the Internet has been met with “this sucks, you suck, I hate you and I want to die — no wait, I want you to die” or words to that effect.  We expect that. But we also expect that once you get over the shock, you’ll come to like what we’ve done.

The first thing you noticed, obviously, is that you need to click through to read each post.  Believe me, I understand that people don’t like this. Clicking is hard! OK, and it can be legitimately annoying. But we didn’t take this step lightly. We talked about it and thought hard about it, but ultimately a couple of considerations ruled:

1.  Browsability. A lot of people like my long navel-gazing or legal posts. Some of you hate them. Some of you read “And That Happened.” Some of you don’t. By compacting things like this and by adding the “Top Posts” thing at the top, it will be easier to find what you want to read and skip what you don’t want. No, people don’t like clicking-through to posts, but they also don’t like scrolling down five miles either, and ultimately we want people reading more of our stuff, not less.  Which leads us to the obvious:

2. Page views:  We are men of action. Lies do not become us. In light of that, I’m not going to lie to you: we make our bones on page clicks, and the redesign will give us more.

I realize your first reaction to that will be to scoff or grouse, but we’ve been writing this blog for fourteen months now, and many if not most of you have been reading stuff from me, Aaron and the rest of us at other places for years.  We’d like to think we’ve earned your trust in that time. Trust that we’re not going to barrage you with gimmicks, bait-and-switches, slide shows and other things simply to drive page views. When you click through on an article at HBT, we think you’re being rewarded with some pretty decent news and analysis, and we hope that makes it worth your while.  Raising page views is no trick, if all you want to do is raise page views. We don’t think such a strategy makes sense, and think that this one change in that direction is worth the moderate initial annoyance you’re experiencing this morning.

And let’s not make any mistake: this is not a non-profit enterprise. People paying for your clicks allowed us to get this operation off the ground. They allowed me to quit the shyster business and write this blog. They allowed NBC to send me to the Winter Meetings and Spring Training and keep me, Aaron, Matthew, D.J., Drew and Bob in groceries, shelter and MLB.tv subscriptions. Sometimes you do what you gotta do with this stuff.

But I am confident that, in a very short period of time, you’ll get over this as you realize that there are more posts available at your fingertips with the redesign, as well as easier navigation to the other NBC Sports blogs, which you should really be reading anyway.  There will be other new things integrated into the mix going forward, albeit less radical things.  The redesign gives us the flexibility to do that.

But at the end of the day, I realize this is probably a bit jarring.  Apologies.  We’ll deal with it the only way we know how:  pound out about eleventy-seven posts about baseball today and hope you like the results.

  1. Seriously? - Jun 16, 2010 at 11:40 AM

    I have been reading since the original Shysterball days and while I can be resistant to change I think the redesign is ok. I am not a fan in any way, shape or form however of the requirement to register and login simply to read the blog. What a serious PITA and forcing me to setup a login simply to view a site does not sit well with me. Consider this confirmation that your slick move to keep track of your page views has now had at least a modicum of the opposite effect as my page views disappear.

  2. ThatGuy - Jun 16, 2010 at 11:41 AM

    Don’t make excuses for him. We are all software engineers/web site designers and know for a fact that every possible scenerio can be tested for and everything that goes into a production environment works perfectly the very first time….

  3. (Not That) Tom - Jun 16, 2010 at 11:46 AM

    Yeah! I want my money back.

  4. Quixote's Whore - Jun 16, 2010 at 11:55 AM

    Well, like Garth said, “we fear change.” Logging in has become a universal fact of life…It’s like foreplay. Will baseball be played in The Singularity or will it just be baseball blogs out there on the field? In any case, I enjoy this blog. Thank you.

  5. Craig Calcaterra - Jun 16, 2010 at 11:56 AM

    Folks: if you haven’t seen it already (thank you Common Man) the register-just-to-read thing is a glitch. It is NOT part of the site going forward, and will be corrected as soon as possible.
    I understand that this is totally bush league on our part and apologize. But you WILL NOT have to register simply to read the site once the problem is solved.

  6. The Common Man - Jun 16, 2010 at 12:00 PM

    Craig, why do I have an itching, burning feeling when I look at the newly redesigned blog? Is that supposed to happen? Can you get IT on that?

  7. Why Do I Need a Username to Read? - Jun 16, 2010 at 12:02 PM

    Meanwhile you got a lot of people to sign up to post comments about it and read the site in the interim. Maybe this “glitch” was just designed to get people to register?
    How can we delete our accounts once this “glitch” is fixed?

  8. dl3mk3 - Jun 16, 2010 at 12:04 PM

    I echo the cluttered look on the home page, is there a reason that the twitter and facebook buttons need to be on the homepage (I dont know what they are used for)-could they be at the end of the article and off of the page. At the very least they could be redesigned.

  9. The Common Man - Jun 16, 2010 at 12:06 PM

    Yeah, man, it’s a conspiracy. Don’t you guys get it??? First they take our email addresses. Then, one by one, they take our freedoms. You’ll never take me alive, Calcaterra! Do you hear?

  10. Jason @ IIATMS - Jun 16, 2010 at 12:26 PM

    New launch wrinkles aside, I like it. Viva La Page Views! Viva La Click Thru!

  11. eaglealan64 - Jun 16, 2010 at 12:38 PM

    Click to read each post – blah, especially on a mobile device, this is 2010 guys …..

  12. Paper Lions - Jun 16, 2010 at 12:44 PM

    Craig:
    Can we get an option, maybe even a permanent setting that allows us to choose if we want comments displayed most recent first or oldest first?
    Thanks.
    FWIW, all of the clutter and buttons are annoying…but yeah, we’ll get used to it and ignore it all. Like many, your blog is the ONLY reason I am ever on an NBC site.

  13. Simon DelMonte - Jun 16, 2010 at 12:45 PM

    Well, I registered anyway. Mainly to come here and say that Craig anticipated every last one of my complaints. The nerve of him.

  14. sagert - Jun 16, 2010 at 12:53 PM

    I agree with Paper Lions. It’s a small thing, but comments being ordered from newest to oldest has always seemed extremely counter-intuitive to me. Especially when it’s my first time reading the comments on a certain post, and even more especially when there are nested replies.

  15. nps6724 - Jun 16, 2010 at 1:00 PM

    I’m with Paper Lions on the comments. An option to read from oldest to newest would be most excellent.

  16. Alf3 - Jun 16, 2010 at 1:13 PM

    I like the new layout and can deal with having to click through to read a full post. Since we’re all asking for stuff, how about not taking me away from your site when I click on a link within a post? Can you have your IT minions set it up so that clicking a link opens a new window rather than redirecting me from the HBT site to wherever? Seems like an obvious way to keep me on your fancy new site rather than allowing the shiny objects on someone else’s site steal my attention.
    Oh, and give Gleeman a raise! He’s wasting away to nothing!

  17. Jonny5 - Jun 16, 2010 at 1:45 PM

    That’s an awesome Idea that I thought of at least 50 other times already. I found my way around it by right clicking the link, then clicking on “open in new tab”. But i don’t remember to do that all the time either.

  18. Jonny5 - Jun 16, 2010 at 1:52 PM

    And while you’re at it, can you please have $10 deposited directly into my checking account for everytime I post, and you responding from your invisible jet streaking across the sky would be pretty cool too. Hey, why not? Everyone seems to think this is “build your blog my way day”. Thought I’d join in. ;>P

  19. eaglealan64 - Jun 17, 2010 at 4:58 AM

    Please don’t do that, it’s nasty.
    Just right click and open in new tab, which should work on any modern browser.

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