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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. paperlions - Mar 15, 2013 at 4:37 PM

    I know you guys probably can’t do this….but it sure would be nice if the links on players names went to a useful page, such as fangraphs…no offense (and I’m sure you realize this), but the NBC player pages are….well…lacking in utility (by which I mean they suck).

  2. shaggylocks - Mar 15, 2013 at 4:42 PM

    I miss the Weekend Recaps. I’m definitely a weekday reader, and the “here’s what you missed” posts were really handy.

    • Craig Calcaterra - Mar 15, 2013 at 5:02 PM

      That’s a good pont, Shaggy. I’ll make a point to make that a usual Monday feature.

  3. indaburg - Mar 15, 2013 at 4:46 PM

    You probably have no control over this, Craig, but if you could talk to NBC Sports’ IT guys or gals to fix the SportsTalk app, I would be forever appreciative. It loads so much more quickly on my phone than the browser, but the app itself is not very user friendly. The comments section is a nightmare to decipher–there is no way to directly respond to someone and trying to follow it is difficult at best. Also, multi-media doesn’t show up.

    And more sweater pictures.

    And more trolling of all fan bases.

    And it was mentioned already, but I second a chat.

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

      Ack! Clarify that! More MEN IN SWEATERS pictures. We don’t need more of Pete’s wife.

      • cur68 - Mar 15, 2013 at 5:16 PM

        Correct. She should be in a Wonder Woman costume.

      • historiophiliac - Mar 15, 2013 at 5:18 PM


      • indaburg - Mar 15, 2013 at 6:09 PM

        I don’t care if the boys get their jollies of some pneumatic chick, but Pete Rose’s wife picture makes me sad. It’s just a reminder of how far Rose has fallen and what a pathetic caricature of an old man he’s become.

      • historiophiliac - Mar 15, 2013 at 7:14 PM

        I don’t care about the boys and their jollies. I just wanna make sure there’s some for us

      • indaburg - Mar 15, 2013 at 7:21 PM

        We can just, you know, watch the games themselves. We can appreciate it on multiple levels.

      • historiophiliac - Mar 15, 2013 at 7:24 PM

        But then we aren’t making the straight boys uncomfortable talking about it….or forcing them to look at it. If I have to skip Mrs. Rose posts, I should get my own sweater action.

  4. gerryb323 - Mar 15, 2013 at 4:47 PM

    Bring back the “Reader Comment of the Day” section. Maybe make it a “Comment of the Week” and have the comments square off in a monthly battle to win free stuff! Comment to generate the most responses wins! (Or something like that…)

    • alang3131982 - Mar 15, 2013 at 4:50 PM

      Good idea. Also more trolling, like indaburg said above.

  5. tomtravis76 - Mar 15, 2013 at 4:49 PM

    1.I would like to see a daily winner and loser of attendance from games. I feel like the Marlins might go wire to wire in the Loser category.
    * TV/Radio ratings for each team aswell.

    2.Some Q&A’s with players,not the typical questions but give them an opportunity to show their personality.

    3.A monthly minor league stars to keep an eye on.

    4. Maybe some information pieces on each of the MLBs stadiums. Pros/cons, what players like/ dislike about playing in stadiums, records, etc, etc…

    5. A “This date in History” story each day. Doesn’t have to be long, just some quick hits about the history of the game.

    6. A piece about the sposnorship deals players have with various companies( especially equipment and clothing).MLB doesn’t seem to be as strict as the NFL in regards to fining players for what they wear or use in competition.

    Thanks for all the hardwork this site does to provide daily content for readers.

  6. jayxz102 - Mar 15, 2013 at 4:51 PM

    how about formatting the site similar to PFT? This way you can see all the headlines on the homepage and click one link (“Latest News and Rumors” link on PFT) to see all full posts. This still allows users to click just the link(s) they want to read and allows those of us who want to read all of the posts to do so more conveniently.

    • Ben - Mar 15, 2013 at 5:02 PM

      PFT looks like a holdover from Geocities.

    • paint771 - Mar 15, 2013 at 5:09 PM

      My suggestion is to not do this.

    • gerryb323 - Mar 15, 2013 at 5:11 PM

      PFT format is awful! If PFT did a suggestion box I would suggest to format like HBT!

      • jayxz102 - Mar 15, 2013 at 5:33 PM

        Maybe don’t take my suggestion.

    • deep64blue - Mar 15, 2013 at 6:27 PM

      Can’t believe this brilliant suggestion got such a thumbs down – really????

      • indaburg - Mar 15, 2013 at 6:54 PM

        Nooooooooo….. No, no, no, no, no. Leave the format alone.

      • joshcarey - Mar 15, 2013 at 7:22 PM

        Agreed. The PFT format is so far superior that I can’t believe people so overwhelming like the HBT format. Having to click through after three lines of text is greater for their advertisers, terrible for readers.

    • cardsfanandi - Mar 18, 2013 at 12:04 PM

      I stay away from PFT for this very reason. I like to see a little bit of the article (and who wrote it) before clicking it.

  7. unclemosesgreen - Mar 15, 2013 at 4:51 PM

    I like my ATH early, but let’s face it – I’ll take more a little later as well.
    More Joe Pos.
    A weekly ATH column for Old Gator and his Ouija Scrabble partner of the week.
    Other than that … a little more bite and a little less bark, a little less fight and a little more spark.

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

      Satisfy me, baby.

      • unclemosesgreen - Mar 15, 2013 at 5:46 PM

        Grab your coat and let’s take a walk

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

      Thumbs up for your last reference alone.

    • indaburg - Mar 15, 2013 at 7:09 PM

      Yes, more Pos, please. His prose is sincere and eloquent without being saccharine or schmaltzy. I was so excited when he climbed onboard the HBT train, but he doesn’t post enough. From Pos, a little more action.

  8. heyblueyoustink - Mar 15, 2013 at 4:53 PM

    More Cowbell.

  9. joshcarey - Mar 15, 2013 at 4:53 PM

    Settling the scores on the weekend is useless. If the weekend writers don’t want to put in the effort to do the full ATH writeup (even if it comes later in the morning), you can avoid even putting up the post. I can find links to box scores with no commentary everywhere, it’s just a “feature” that clutters up content somebody would actually want to read.

    • Jeremy T - Mar 15, 2013 at 6:05 PM

      if it was just the post alone, I’d agree with you, but the comments section usually makes those posts at least somewhat worth reading

  10. Ben - Mar 15, 2013 at 5:01 PM

    Oh, and one more random suggestion–HBT generally appears to have a pretty well-read, well-spoken, and thoughtful commentariat. It’d be cool to see some folks’ writing featured more prominently. And it’s free content for you!

  11. albertmn - Mar 15, 2013 at 5:01 PM

    Less Craig!

    Just kidding, man. The vast majority of your stuff is good. You can just get hung up on an issue here and there and beat that dead horse for days/weeks (like the whole Ryan Braun fiasco). The various bloggers should comment on issues, share their opinions, but don’t get too hung up on one thing with post after post (unless it is the offseason, then nearly any distraction is good).

    I second those that said a few longer posts (but not all), as well as occasional (maybe 1x per week) interviews/questions to players about non-baseball stuff (as long as it is interesting).

    Lastly, don’t skimp so much on the crappy teams. Just because we aren’t fans of the Yankees, Sox, Angels, etc. doesn’t mean we aren’t still fans with a passion for our Twins, Royals, Pirates, Astros, etc. Throw us a bone a little more often. Fans of the good teams can find stuff on their teams anywhere. Help out the downtrodden a little more.

  12. sdelmonte - Mar 15, 2013 at 5:11 PM

    I read ATH around 7 am EDT and like that a lot. But I’d it lets you cover things better I can wait. It’s not like I have work to do or anything.

  13. gerryb323 - Mar 15, 2013 at 5:14 PM

    More “Pos” posts!

  14. Tim OShenko - Mar 15, 2013 at 5:14 PM

    My sole request: bring back Twitter Thursdays.

  15. philliesblow - Mar 15, 2013 at 5:16 PM

    I like my ATH at 7:15 am along with my morning oatmeal before I get busy working for the man.

    As for new features, maybe a once a week spotlight on the history of the game. Could vary from the origin of terms like Texas Leaguer or Baltimore Chop to stories about the deadball era or Negro leagues to profiles of unusual characters. Baseball has such a rich history that it should be easy to come up with something interesting.

  16. sportsdrenched - Mar 15, 2013 at 5:35 PM

    I’m probably like a lot of commenters. I lurk and comment here while I’m at work. Mostly when I’m on the phone, or when I should be working, ok mostly when I should be working.

    I read ATH at work which well after 8a EDT so that makes no difference to me.

    However, what does everyone think about a Game Night Open Thread (mostly full schedules only. Don’t want to mess with that 3 game Thursday night stuff)where we could comment on the various action going on that evening. Would you log in to HBT for that? or does Twitter/other Social Media take care of that?

    That’s all I got. I kind of like it how it is. That’s why I lurk/comment here.

    • churchoftheperpetuallyoutraged - Mar 15, 2013 at 8:19 PM

      Used to always be open threads during the playoffs, shouldn’t be an issue to do one each night.

  17. natinals10 - Mar 15, 2013 at 5:44 PM

    a weekly podcast or some video stuff would be great.

  18. iranuke - Mar 15, 2013 at 5:48 PM

    I think it would be best if you did a “Setting the Score” every day at 6 AM everyday, and did a “And That Happened” at a latter time. It wouldn’t matter to me out here on the West coast, but doing the scores is a fairly routine task and could be done by the person manning the night shift, leaving ATH for you at a latter time.

  19. frankenderek - Mar 15, 2013 at 5:53 PM

    A reader interactive post where you breakdown one key game changing moment, have all of the bloggers give an armchair comment of how they would handle the situation, then the readers give their 7 cents in the comments section.

  20. zakharovsa - Mar 15, 2013 at 6:07 PM

    I echo some comments here about more think/long form pieces and fewer reblogs. Does anyone actually use HBT for straight news? I can get the headlines on Twitter a lot faster than here. What I can’t get are funny/thoughtful pieces by good writers like Craig. By all means, let the other writers do this too.

    • zakharovsa - Mar 15, 2013 at 6:09 PM

      And yes, more Twitter Thursdays. EDIT FUNCTION

  21. brewcrewfan54 - Mar 15, 2013 at 6:26 PM

    If you guys want to text me the score of the Brewer game the morning after those nights where I get too drunk to remember who won that’d be sweet.

  22. jtorrey13 - Mar 15, 2013 at 6:30 PM

    1. I like trolling.
    2. Speaking of trolling, I think I saw on one of Keith Law’s chats that 90% of the trade proposals he receives in questions or on twitter are laughably ridiculous.
    3. So, my suggestion would be to create a new feature called “The Keith Law Trade Proposal of the Week.” In it, one of the writers looks at a recent injury or lackluster play from a regular on a contending team. Then, they concoct a trade to another team. These trades can be bad (like Marc Rzepczynski for Jurickson Profar or, bad from the other side, Shelby Miller, Trevor Rosenthal, Michael Wacha, Oscar Taveras, Kolten Wong and Yadier Molina for Elvis Andrus) or possible (Shelby Miller, Tyrell Jenkins and Matt Adams for Elvis Andrus). Then the comments can try to come up with one worse or better. (Keep in mind, my view of possible may still fall in the 90% of bad.) You can use any argument for the trade. If trading Michael Young, you can talk up his amazing intangibles and how he turns malcontents to gold. If trading Derek Jeter, you can say how he is amazing at defense as evidenced by his Gold Gloves. If trading Wil Myers, you can mention his ranking on various prospect lists. If trading Mike Trout you can talk about his .399 on-base percentage.
    4. Submit the trade request to Keith Law over Twitter or in his weekly chat and post the update.

    I think this idea would allow for the trolling of many teams (disrespecting prospects and/or major leaguers) and also just be fun to see how long it would be before Keith Law figured out an entire site was trolling him. (Not because I’m after Keith, but because he seems like a fun sport. Plus, I want to propose a trade of dinner for a year at Olive Garden, and weekly viewing of “Trouble with the Curve” for a cheese grater coated with lemon juice run up and down the left leg.)

  23. Tim's Neighbor - Mar 15, 2013 at 6:31 PM

    Push it 8! Get some rest.

  24. yankeesgameday - Mar 15, 2013 at 7:12 PM

    Go on the record once a day and call a winner/loser. Every day you guys choose one game to breakdown and each writer does a paragraph on what you think will happen in that game based on all the obvious things: pitching match ups , lineups, bullpen etc… Whatever you think are each team’s keys to the game.

    it will give a spot for tons of great comments about your opinions and let us also show off as we prognosticate with you.

    you can also keep a running tally on the staff win/loss record for bragging rights and it will make the random game more interesting, kinda like fantasy baseball, but one where you’re way more public about how you think games will go down.

  25. mungman69 - Mar 15, 2013 at 7:34 PM

    Just admit that Miami & The Mets will suck this year. Must be SOMETHING to do on the east coast in the summer. Of corse you can’t go to Seaside Heights, NJ this summer.

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