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Request for feedback: the upcoming season

Mar 15, 2013, 4:03 PM EDT


Hey all.

HardballTalk is about to enter its fifth season of covering this wonderful little game, and because I’m both bored this afternoon and interested in some interaction, I’m asking for some feedback about anything specific you’d like to see as far as regular season coverage goes.

Not that we’re planning on any radical changes. Indeed, we’re basically of an “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” mindset around here. But if there are daily or weekly features you think that would make life great for you, make an argument for them in the comments or hit us up at the “Feedback” button on the upper righthand corder of the main page.

In the past we’ve done power rankings, but those got stale. We often do look aheads to the night’s action, but not always. We obviously do the morning And That Happened/Settling the Scores stuff. But if there’s anything else you’d like to see from us, we’re listening. We may not do it because this ain’t a democracy, but we are listening. And stealing your ideas and claiming them as our own.

As the guy who does the And That Happeneds, a question/request for info: how many of you read it between 6AM and 8AM Eastern? How many of you save it for later? I ask because, as I often do at the beginning of the season, I’m thinking about how best to make that somewhat labor-intensive feature work for you guys and for me.

One thought I had was pushing it a tad later — say 8AM Eastern or so. Doing so would make my evenings much easier as I usually begin composing it as the games finish up. But it’s not just a convenience thing. If I started working on it in the morning when I woke up, I’d be able to see more highlights and read after game quotes before writing, and that may lead to a bit more insight, jokes and stuff. If the real point is having a post — any post — up at 6AM for you guys to crack wise in, I could maybe do something highlighting one specific/fun/random thing from the previous night as a placeholder until ATH is done. Just spitballin’.

I’m really kind of agnostic about it all. On the one hand, I know a lot of you read that post first thing in the morning. On the other hand, I sometimes worry that fatigue and things make it lose some momentum in the middle of the season.  I’m really just looking for your comments.

Thanks, all. Sixteen days until Opening Day!

141 Comments (Feed for Comments)
  1. number42is1 - Mar 15, 2013 at 4:08 PM

    First thing I do when i wake up after taking a piss is check FB and then HBT for ATH. sometimes i even have time to get my kid ready for school… so my vote is for the 6am EST post be it ATH or some other sort of recap to hold me over till i get to work.

    P.S. keep up the great work. HBT is the only site not named MLB that i use for Baseball news!

  2. stlouis1baseball - Mar 15, 2013 at 4:09 PM

    C.C.: Push the “And That Happeneds” to 8:00 A.M.
    Not only because it may be more convenient for you…but the “research” in the morning totally makes sense as well.

    • kopy - Mar 15, 2013 at 4:48 PM

      And because, for those of us not on the east coast, 8 AM Eastern is plenty early.

      • stlouis1baseball - Mar 15, 2013 at 5:03 PM

        Yes Kopy. Sorry man. I forget about you guys on the left coast.
        8 AM Eastern!

      • kopy - Mar 15, 2013 at 5:15 PM

        No problem. I’m in Minneapolis though, so I’m only on the left coast of the Mississippi River. But even working a regular day job I’m never on here before 7.

      • Francisco (FC) - Mar 15, 2013 at 7:07 PM

        snicker, snicker, not the first time Kopy was mistaken for a West Coast guy. It’s the Mid-West bias I tells ya!

  3. Matt S - Mar 15, 2013 at 4:10 PM

    Keep up the good work. No, seriously. If anything, I’d encourage your fellow writers to be a little more experimental, to express opinions a bit more than they have- though these tend to inflame the comment gaggle, it keeps this site colorful and interesting. For me, I prefer those “big think” posts to straightforward rundowns of the latest news, which is the sort of stuff I scan for. I like it when Matthew, D.J., Aaron, and Drew mix it up a bit and add in a little humor and quirkiness-it enriches the experience.

    And yeah- I wouldn’t mind picking up the ATH a little bit later, if it helps you come up with a slightly more informed take on each game. Just please keep it going- it’s great.

    Oh, and stop the East Coast bias. Obviously :) (kidding, kidding, kidding)

  4. Ben - Mar 15, 2013 at 4:12 PM

    More Phillies trolling.

    But seriously, push the ATH time back to 8am Eastern. Shouldn’t you be able to use your site data to tell you how many people actually read it between those hours?

    • Ben - Mar 15, 2013 at 4:21 PM

      Also, I get why it’s structured that way, but on the NBC Sports app, it’d be really nice to only choose the sites you want to update. I didn’t even know “Inside the Irish” was a thing. How is that a thing?

      • jwbiii - Mar 15, 2013 at 4:35 PM

        NBC pays big $ for the Notre Dame football TV rights. If NBC has a family of sports blogs, one is going to be Notre Dame centric.

      • historiophiliac - Mar 15, 2013 at 4:52 PM

        Clearly no ND fans in your family. They are crazy.

      • Ben - Mar 15, 2013 at 5:09 PM

        Definitely some ND alums in my family. I avoid them at family functions.

      • historiophiliac - Mar 15, 2013 at 5:17 PM

        Not kidding, my brother has a shrine…and has stalked Lou Holtz.

    • Craig Calcaterra - Mar 15, 2013 at 4:27 PM

      Well, I could. But that’s, like, work, man.

      • Ben - Mar 15, 2013 at 4:30 PM

        Have you guys thought about doing a podcast? Everyone on the planet does a podcast, but no one’s really blowing me away right now. Except for the Rany Jazayerli/Joe Sheehan podcast.

      • Cran Boy - Mar 15, 2013 at 4:42 PM

        Ben, I like the BP “Effectively Wild” podcast.

      • Ben - Mar 15, 2013 at 4:45 PM

        Yeah, I do too, it’s usually good analysis. Those guys have the charisma of a sodden pair of jeans, although it’s gotten better over time.

  5. stlouis1baseball - Mar 15, 2013 at 4:12 PM

    Oh…and one more thing C.C.:
    Can we bring Metalhead back on?
    Please know I never thought I would ask such a thing.
    But arguing with him is fun for me. Dude is on CBT all the time.
    Said he was banned without an explanation as to why…or by whom.
    Not really my business but I did kind of dig his ridiculous arguments for all things pro-Reds and anti-Cardinals.

    • pbastille - Mar 15, 2013 at 5:13 PM

      NBC banning seems kinda arbitrary. I got banned from PFT and still have no clue why — only wrote three comments in a year and they were pretty innocuous. Florio is too busy to respond. Which is why that site is now blocked at the office. Don’t mess with IT guys!

      If it hasn’t been raised, I’d like an edit function. I rarely hit all the right keys.

      • Jeremy T - Mar 15, 2013 at 6:08 PM

        “If it hasn’t been raised”

        You must be new here… :)

      • pbastille - Mar 18, 2013 at 1:42 PM

        Jeremy T — yep, still under warranty…

  6. crispybasil - Mar 15, 2013 at 4:16 PM

    I have a feeling I’m in the minority here, and that it might defeat some of the purpose of the blog, but I’d love to see a few more long-form pieces. Joe Pos is helping up the ante there already.

    I’ve been reading HBT for over three years now, which makes me feel old for some reason. Keep up the good work!

  7. huskerguy - Mar 15, 2013 at 4:17 PM

    I’d like to see divisional breakdowns. For example: NL Central weekly breakdown on Tuesdays. A different division everyday. Maybe a divisional write up would help put focus on all teams and not just the power teams that seem to dominate story lines (not all your fault). My 2 cents. Other than that, keep up the good work!

    • DanD - Mar 15, 2013 at 4:41 PM

      Second this idea. A breakdown of how each team did in the past week, it’s upcoming games, and general overview of how the division race is shaping up. It would be a great quick-hit way to stay up to date on the teams and races I wouldn’t otherwise have time to keep on.

    • alang3131982 - Mar 15, 2013 at 4:46 PM

      pretty cool idea.

  8. Cran Boy - Mar 15, 2013 at 4:17 PM

    I start looking for ATH around 6:30. It becomes tougher for me to read, work-wise, after 8:00. But “tougher” doesn’t mean “impossible.” Look, it’s your blog. Post it when you want; I’ll still read it.

    As for other topics, I think it’d be nice if you could occasionally comment on how Ryan Howard has a lot of problems with left-handed pitching for a guy who makes a lot of money and several of his teammates are old. You know, fresh content, noncontroverisial, that sort of thing.

    • Cran Boy - Mar 15, 2013 at 4:18 PM

      Day-um, Ben beat me to the punch on that one.

      • Ben - Mar 15, 2013 at 4:19 PM

        I shoot for predictability.

  9. gza385 - Mar 15, 2013 at 4:17 PM

    I say move the ATH up to 8AM.

    Also, please no power rankings. They are useless and really cheapen any site they are featured on.

  10. historiophiliac - Mar 15, 2013 at 4:17 PM

    I enjoy — and I’m sure everyone else does too — a daily dose of Tigers awesomeness. Also, an occasional HBPiD reference should be standard. Thank you. <3

    • stlouis1baseball - Mar 15, 2013 at 4:21 PM

      What Philac said (except the Tigers part).
      And what Huskerguy said.
      And what Cran Boy said.

  11. spudchukar - Mar 15, 2013 at 4:21 PM

    As great as this game that we all love is, there is still room for improvement. How about an ongoing “suggestion box” discussing rule changes that could improve the game. Ought to bring out some contentious discussions if nothing else.

    I have two that have been bugging me for some time. 1) get rid of the extra line that the base runners are supposed to run between on the way to first. The baseline works just fine. If a runner is 3 feet either way, when struck by a thrown ball, then the ump can call him out, but the existing dual line just creates confusion and makes no sense, particularly when a right-handed batter bunts, and when the runner nears first base. 2) Dump the fake to third, throw to first rule. Even the fake throw to second is “an attempt to deceive the runner”, which is supposed to be illegal.

    Many more rule discussions will arise as the season progresses, so I say maybe with enough agreement the pressure from the distinguished group of Hardball commenters (what is the correct spelling?) may force some changes.

    • stlouis1baseball - Mar 15, 2013 at 4:23 PM

      I thought the fake to 3rd throw to first was dumped.
      Meaning…it isn’t allowed anymore. I thought this offseason. No?

      • indaburg - Mar 15, 2013 at 4:32 PM

        You’re right, stlouis. Fake to 3rd, throw to 1st is now a balk in 2013, much to Buck Showalter’s consternation:

    • geoknows - Mar 15, 2013 at 4:27 PM

      Well, they have already decided that the fake to third/throw to first is a balk. Starting this year. So I guess you can scratch one off your list.

    • cur68 - Mar 15, 2013 at 4:49 PM

      Spuddy, keep it up! its working! Now demand that Craig take suggestion about about instant replay and the A’s relocation…

  12. stlouis1baseball - Mar 15, 2013 at 4:22 PM

    Oh…and what Ben said (the Phillies trolling part).
    Can’t get enough of that.

    • Francisco (FC) - Mar 15, 2013 at 9:06 PM

      So long as Matthew keeps posting Dipwad posts, those crack me up :)

      • historiophiliac - Mar 15, 2013 at 9:52 PM

        Me too!

  13. buffalomafia - Mar 15, 2013 at 4:22 PM

    Wild card games should be best of 3.

    Divisional games best of 5.

    Alcs & Nlcs games best of 7.

    World Series game bedt of 7.

    • jwbiii - Mar 15, 2013 at 4:38 PM

      Make it happen, Craig.

  14. allsdfan1 - Mar 15, 2013 at 4:24 PM

    more padre stuff..who cares bout the east coast!

    • heyblueyoustink - Mar 15, 2013 at 5:00 PM

      Are you the pope by any chance?

  15. blacksables - Mar 15, 2013 at 4:25 PM

    Less of a reliance on any type of statistics in analysis and more about what the players are doing.

    • Ben - Mar 15, 2013 at 4:28 PM

      ….doesn’t a statistic represent what they’re doing? Unless you mean, like, talking to the players? In which case, there’s enough trite drivel out there already. For the most part, baseball players are taught how to be boring, if they’re not boring enough already.

      • blacksables - Mar 15, 2013 at 4:41 PM

        To me, and I know it’s just me, statistics are great for an after action review, but i’m not really that interested in most of them during the game itself.

        I don’t care what a guy’s BA w/RISP is, or his WLI. I know who’s good, and who’s not. There are other things going on. I’m interested in them.

        I’m not against any statistic, but there is too much of a reliance on them in in-game analysis, and second-guessing analysis.

        It’s a great game. There is always more to it than any single statistic.

        My opinion and my opinion only, and I don’t expect anyone to agree with me.

        Let the thumbs down and insulting comments begin. But please, make it entertaining.

    • blacksables - Mar 15, 2013 at 4:33 PM

      Remember way back when, about 5 years and 2 blogs ago, you used to ask readers to send in stuff about non-game things, like quirky warm-ups, between innings action, that kind of thing? Things about the players and the GAME, but not the game?

      • Ben - Mar 15, 2013 at 4:40 PM

        That sounds kinda cool. Does it mean we get more stories about Max Scherzer? That guy’s awesome.

      • blacksables - Mar 15, 2013 at 4:42 PM

        Could be. I like that, and Craig used to do more of it. I’d like to see it again.

  16. allisonhagen - Mar 15, 2013 at 4:25 PM

    It should go without saying, but the later ATH goes up, the later I can sleep. Please, everyone, think of my sanity.

    • cur68 - Mar 15, 2013 at 4:35 PM

      There is always collateral damage in any important undertaking. Sacrifices have to be made. Ends justify means. Eggs broken for cakes. Babies. Bathwater. Your sanity for ATH.

      • historiophiliac - Mar 15, 2013 at 4:56 PM

        Agreed. Her sleep time sacrifice for my coffee time reading is a necessary evil.

  17. Innocent Bystander - Mar 15, 2013 at 4:26 PM

    I like ATH early. By 7:00 I like to read it.

    Only other suggestion, remind Aaron this is not a Twins blog. Other writers do a good job of ignoring minor transactions of their team. Aaron likes to tell us when the Twins 20th ranked prospect got promoted from low A to high A. Not to kill him – I like his other posts – but pull back on the Twins stuff a bit.

    • kopy - Mar 15, 2013 at 5:02 PM

      I don’t know if that’s the issue as much as, if there is a Twins story, Aaron is the one that will write it over the other writers . But then again, I’m a Twins fan, so I probably wouldn’t notice if they do get an unusually high number of posts.

      If that’s the case, I say stick with the adage of “plenty of room on the internet” and post it anyway, unless it’s compromising other potential articles. Folks don’t have to read it.

  18. baccards - Mar 15, 2013 at 4:28 PM

    Much prefer the early time – It allows your insight to be uncluttered by others.

  19. randygnyc - Mar 15, 2013 at 4:30 PM

    Firstly, it is under you power for them to fix the mobile application. I post solely from a mobile device and unlocking the sites usefulness has been harder than untying the Gordian Knot. I should be able to reply to a specific post, rather than at the end of the thread, chronologically. Also, the thumbs up/down feature should be child’s play to integrate.

    Content wise, more Yankees news. Your end of the day round-up should exclude the Yankees. They’ve earned their own daily recap.

    • historiophiliac - Mar 15, 2013 at 4:57 PM

      Agreed on the Doom Watch daily recap.

      • cur68 - Mar 15, 2013 at 5:05 PM

        If this season unfolds with The Empire in the cellar by AS Break, then I think Yankees Doom Watch should be a regular feature. See my gravatar, BTW? Its Doktor Victor Von Doom contemplating Derek Jeter’s cartoon severed head in a goblet. THAT’S Doom Watch, baby.

      • historiophiliac - Mar 15, 2013 at 5:08 PM

        Gee, I thought it was just one of your little nerd-comic cartoons. It’s not nearly as scary as my gravatar, featuring The Dickslayer.

      • cur68 - Mar 15, 2013 at 5:12 PM

        ……..(‘(…´…´…. ¯~/’…’)
        ……….”…\………. _.·´

      • historiophiliac - Mar 15, 2013 at 5:15 PM

        Yipppeeeee!!! Now I can drink happy this weekend. I haven’t been so thrilled since someone on here called me a prick! :) I’m #1. I’m #1. I’m #1.

  20. frankenderek - Mar 15, 2013 at 4:31 PM

    Inside the Managers Head. I always thought it would be awesome for someone to breakdown a managers strategy (be it for a game, one at bat, etc.) counter with what “The book” normally would say, then give a commentary of if it was the right call, wrong call or somewhere in between based on modern statistics/trends.

    • kopy - Mar 15, 2013 at 5:05 PM

      Yes. This is something that Bill Barnwell does for NFL called “Thank you for not coaching” that I love reading – although those usually are for bad decisions only.

  21. cur68 - Mar 15, 2013 at 4:32 PM

    I’m on Mountain Time. If ATH was later, I’d be fine with that.

    Suggestion: Once a month do a “game of the month” live chat (shit, do it weekly if you can. I loved those things). Then, go back to the live chat for post season. Those were a riot. Just delegate it to Aaron or DJ, eh? They rocked at live chats. Not that you didn’t, Craig…it was just that you were rocking to Meatloaf or something. Except for your Great Gatsby Rain Delay Chat. That one was awesome.

    Only other suggestion is more b00bz. Like, mega.

  22. alang3131982 - Mar 15, 2013 at 4:32 PM

    Can we ask for more trolling? More Hall of Fame? More stupid sports writer stuff? I’m not kidding. I really really like this stuff. I know i shouldnt (but i also shouldnt like the stupid TV i like). Honestly, if there isnt a dig at the Phils or Nats in every post, you’re doing it wrong….

  23. APBA Guy - Mar 15, 2013 at 4:33 PM

    From out here on the West Coast, the later the ATH the better for me. It’s the post I started following during the Shysterball days, and it’s still extremely enjoyable for me.

    I think you do a good job moderating the comments, also. Kicking guys off the site has proven beneficial to maintaining the level of discourse, so please continue that.

    Otherwise, besides getting Keith Law and Neyer as contributors, I don’t have any other suggestions.

    • historiophiliac - Mar 15, 2013 at 4:59 PM

      Maybe a female contributor?

      • stlouis1baseball - Mar 15, 2013 at 5:04 PM

        That’s why we have you and Inda here Philiac.

      • cur68 - Mar 15, 2013 at 5:08 PM

        No female writers, please. All they’d do is post shots of dude’s taking baseballs to the vas deferens then giggle helplessly in the write ups. Its bad enough when Craig does it.

      • historiophiliac - Mar 15, 2013 at 5:10 PM

        he he…he he….he he he he

        I gotta go look at that again…

  24. blacksables - Mar 15, 2013 at 4:34 PM

    Bring back ‘cepts, but limit him to one comment a day, and no rebuttals.

    • cur68 - Mar 15, 2013 at 4:37 PM

      I swear to Dog, not rebutting would KILL him. He’d be eaten alive by his own stomach acid.

    • stlouis1baseball - Mar 15, 2013 at 4:38 PM

      I would like to see Cepts’ brought back as well. I would give him 3 comments and no rebuttals.
      Man…can you imagine how hard it would be for him to commit to which comment he was going to post? I mean…dude is opinionated as hell. I don’t know thatt he could commit to one comment.
      that might be your point huh?

    • indaburg - Mar 15, 2013 at 4:42 PM


      • blacksables - Mar 15, 2013 at 4:45 PM

        Bring back ‘cepts!!!

        Bring back ‘cepts!!!

        Bring back ‘cepts!!!

        Bring back ‘cepts!!!

        Bring back ‘cepts!!!

      • indaburg - Mar 15, 2013 at 4:46 PM

        You know, he is on Twitter. We could probably just ask him.

      • Ben - Mar 15, 2013 at 5:07 PM

        Yes, let’s ask him!

        “@ChrisFiorentino People of HBT all agree with the writers 100% of the time and circle jerk each other.”

  25. stlouis1baseball - Mar 15, 2013 at 4:36 PM

    LOL! I am now a big fan of alang. I appreciate his honesty.

    • alang3131982 - Mar 15, 2013 at 4:48 PM

      me too.

      • stlouis1baseball - Mar 15, 2013 at 5:01 PM

        Yeah…but you are biased!

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