DTW Site Update (July 13 edition)

So far we’ve raised nearly $500. Thank you everyone for your donations. That gets us about 1/2 towards paying off the site work. So if you haven’t yet donated, we’d love your support.

To make this easy, I’ve generated four payment links.

Click here to donate $10.

Click here to donate $25.

Click here to donate $50.

Click here to donate $100.

If you want to donate less or more, you can pull my Paypal address from the links above.

As a reminder, none of us get paid to maintain the site. My understanding is that Billfer makes enough from advertising to cover hosting and buy a beer every few months. I will disclose that three times in four years I’ve been sent Tigers related items, two of which we’ve in turn given out through the site. One time I kept a t-shirt and wore it. We then went on a 4-13 streak. The t-shirt was last seen in the Trinity River with a cinder block tied to it.

Thank you everyone for your contribution, participation, and feedback. The strength of this site lies in the intelligence and sophistication of the readers and their comments.

DTW Site Update (now accepting donations)

Okay Gents – the site is just about done. I’ve asked the developers to make two more changes: 1) close up the spacing between the menu bars on the home page, and 2) allow for comment editing. Once I have some more time, I’ll update the links and advertising, but we’re open to more ideas if you have them. Let me know what else you’d like to see.

Thus, it’s time to ask for donations to cover everything. With the changes above, and a few more minor tweaks, the bill is going to be just under $1k. If we raise more than that I’ll use what’s leftover to buy some stock images for the site.

To facilitate payments, I’ve cleared out my Paypal account. If anyone requests it, I will gladly post screen shots of the account (and redact your email addresses) to show what has come in.

To make this easy, I’ve generated four payment links.

Click here to donate $10.

Click here to donate $25.

Click here to donate $50.

Click here to donate $100.

If you want to donate less or more, you can pull my Paypal address from the links above.

As a reminder, none of us get paid to maintain the site. My understanding is that Billfer makes enough from advertising to cover hosting and buy a beer every few months. I will disclose that three times in four years I’ve been sent Tigers related items, two of which we’ve in turn given out through the site. One time I kept a t-shirt and wore it. We then went on a 4-13 streak. The t-shirt was last seen in the Trinity River with a cinder block tied to it.

Thank you everyone for your contribution, participation, and feedback. The strength of this site lies in the intelligence and sophistication of the readers and their comments.

 

DTW Site Update

Hello All –

Hopefully by now you’ve notice the new site format. If not, uh, perhaps you should see someone about that.

We’re getting close to finished, but over the next few days you’ll see some of the modules moved around to more familiar areas. For instance, we’re going to swap “archives” and “latest comments.” Moreover, we’ll add some content to the right hand side of the individual game posts. We’ll also look to tighten up the spacing and fix the RSS feed.

If you haven’t noticed, one of the best features is that the site auto-formats based on your screen size. So it should sill look good on a mobile device or tablet.

Here’s how you can help:

1) Let us know what else you’d like to see. Word press has dozens, if not hundreds of plug-ins, so let us know if you’ve seen or used some elsewhere that would be helpful here.

2) Can you confirm whether you can edit your own comments? Smoking Look said he could, but that may be due to his heightened access level.

3) I’d like to update the “Detroit Tigers Payroll” link. It’s a Google Doc, and if someone can update it, we’ll get the updated link working.

4) We’re going to ask for donations to cover the site upgrade costs. None of us make any money on this thing, and I think that billfer makes just enough to cover hosting costs. I think that if every regular reader were to donate $10 – $20, we’ll have no problem paying for the upgrades. I’ll have more on this in the coming days.

The more interaction, the better, so let us know.

DTW Remix

The time has come.

DTW is ready for a design & usability overhaul. Yes, this includes the ability to edit comments.

I’m not sure how quickly this can be accomplished, but let’s get started.

1) We need a Word Press developer. As you likely know, the DTW is built on Word Press. Word Press has plenty of plug and play options, but we’d feel much better with an expert performing the upgrade. Please speak up if you are a Word Press guy or gal, or know of one.

2) We’ll likely need some funds. Not much, but we may ask for some small donations.

3) Let’s talk about requests.

– Ability to edit comments, check.

– Better mobile site, check.

– Updated design, check.

– What else?

In other news…

I read a bit about Brad Ausmus today. Did you know that he went to Dartmouth?

 

Stepping aside

July 17th marked the 9th anniversary for this little old website. It has been a huge part of my life for nearly a decade which is what makes any decision to step away both a liberating and heartbreaking exercise.

I started to have these pangs in the offseason, and took some time away from the blog to sort things out. When the season started I gave it my all, but in the last couple months there just hasn’t been any passion on my part to go through the daily grind of maintaining the site on a regular basis.

I’ve been pressed for time lately, but I’ve been pressed for time before. I just always chose to make time for the blog in the past, but the energy just isn’t there anymore. My labor of love became purely labor and that is my primary reason for largely stepping aside. The first iteration of this post was titled “The End” and had me shutting down the site completely. I can’t bring myself to do it though so we’ll call it a semi-retirement. I will likely still post things on occasion, but it will be on my schedule and on topics that I want to explore. I’m not going to be beholden to the Tigers schedule or the baseball news cycle.

The future of the site is undetermined at this point, but it isn’t going away. “Kevin in Dallas” is going to start posting game threads for the time being. I greatly appreciate his willingness to step up and keep the community together. Beyond that we’ll play it by ear as I don’t want to over promise anything and certainly don’t want to speak for Kevin.

It has been a great ride and I’m thankful for so much. I’m proud of what this humble little website became and it has served as a tremendous growth experience for me. Over the years I think my analysis skills improved, my data mining skills developed, I learned about web development and servers and php and mysql and css and it even led to a web job.

Along the way I hope that I helped to advance the notion that a blog could be a credible source of information and analysis, and that I helped in  some small way to dispel the notion that bloggers are guys working out of their parents basement. I tried to do this with a focus on being right, responsible, and respectful. I think I did okay on this front.

I had opportunities to write for real books. I had the chance to go in the Fox Sports production truck and to see batting practice from the field. I’ve been interviewed as a Tigers expert. I mingled with Hall of Famers at The Henry Ford, interviewed a Michigan treasure, and got to connect with so many class individuals associated with the Tigers organization. Not bad for a guy who started a website on a whim with no knowledge of web development.

Most importantly I had the opportunity through DTW to meet so many wonderful online friends. Whether it is my fellow Tigers bloggers and DIBS members, or other long time bloggers like Geoff Young or Seth Stohs, or those of you who took the time to comment or email, thanks so much for making this a fulfilling experience.

Thanks to all of you who came here on a regular basis. Thank you to those who donated money. Thank you to those who donated their time. I’m flattered and humbled that you made the site a part of your lives as well.

Thank you to Roger DeWitt and Wendy Smith who were responsible for so many of the pictures that appeared on this site, royalty free.

Thanks to everyone who told their friends about the site and invited them aboard.  Thanks to all the bloggers and writers who have linked to my site or posts over the years.

Thanks to the Tigers organization who always treated me with respect and let me interview the CEO, President, and GM back when blog was still a dirty word.

Thanks to everyone who passed me information so that I could look smart a time or two.

Thank you to Dan Dickerson, Rod Allen, Curtis Granderson, Adam Wilk, James Robbins, Dave Dombrowski, and Ernie Harwell who were so gracious with their time.

Thank you to the mainstream media folks who helped promote the site. You helped make it relevant and credible.

Finally, thank you to Mrs. Billfer and the kids for all of your patience while “daddy needed to work on his dot com.” I love you guys.

Opening Day Mega Chat Extravaganza

Please join myself and a significant chunk of the Tigers blogosphere for a live chat today at 3 p.m. It looks like we’ll have a dozen (or more, the responses keep coming in) bloggers and Tigers writers stopping by in the hour leading up to the first pitch of the Detroit Tigers’ 2010 season. You may remember we did this once before at the trade deadline and despite the chaos and moderating challenges, it was also a lot of fun.

Programming Note

If you happen to be in the metro Detroit area this morning around 9 a.m. flip your radio dial over to WDFN 1130 AM. I’ll be talking Tigers with Sean Baligian and Tom “Killer” Kowalski. If you’re not in the Detroit area you can catch the stream at http://detroitsportstalkradio.com.

If you missed the segment, here is a link to the podcast. We talked about the Nate Robertson trade, the back of the rotation, and the potential of the offense. Thanks to Sean and Killer for having me on.

Trying to balance

You have probably noticed things have been very quiet around here. I normally find ways to generate a number of posts even when the news cycle lulls. That hasn’t happened here since the winter meetings. I’m not sure when that is going to change. I know you don’t come here to read about me, you come to read about and discuss the Tigers, so I’ll keep this short. But I feel I owe all of you an explanation.

The winter meetings and most importantly the blockbuster trade hit me hard. As a fan I was quite frankly bummed out and as a blogger I was worn out. Put the two together and the last thing I wanted to do was talk about baseball and the Tigers. This was a new sensation. This freed up at least 8-10 hours a week that I backfilled by spending more time with my family, and taking a much more active role as husband and father. It turns out I really like those roles.

My family sacrifices quite a bit to this blog. We take vacations only where there is wireless. I rush putting the kids to bed during the season so I can watch the game and moderate comments. I don’t have a lot of meaningful conversations in the evening with my wife during the summer months. Throw in the fact that I end up sleeping only 4-5 hours a night and stop working out completely and it isn’t a healthy lifestyle.

Now that the focus is on the 2010 season, the juices are starting to flow again. But the time still isn’t there. My day job has taken a turn where that is consuming more hours than ever before, and now that I want to write I have even less time to do it.

What I’m saying is that I need to figure out where this blog fits into my life while keeping the things most important to me in the forefront. It will be a work in progress. You will likely see more posts in the coming weeks than you have in the past month. I don’t want to overpromise anything, but considering how dead things have been the goal isn’t that lofty.

Thanks for your patience and understanding.

The Winter Meetings at DTW

As a baseball blogger, this week is one of the most exciting of the year. It doesn’t matter how good or bad your team is, news is likely to break and rumors will abound as every team tries to improve. Here at Detroit Tigers Weblog we’ll have the meetings thoroughly covered.

I had intended to attend the meetings in Indianapolis but that didn’t work out. That’s the bad news, the good news is that I had already taken the time off from the day job so I’ll be tethered to the computer, listening to the radio, and watching TV to hopefully catch anything that happens quickly.

Mentioning every rumor isn’t the normal M.O. here at DTW, but this week will be different. So expect more posts than usual, and many will be in shorter form. Of course any moves that take place will be covered in depth as well.

My intention will be to do some live chats, both text and video, throughout the week and that schedule will be forthcoming.

To best follow the goings on here at DTW there are a few options:

  • If you haven’t already subscribe to the RSS feed. While an email option is available, that only sends out a daily digest. The regular feed is the way to go for quick updates
  • Follow me on Twitter @billfer. Info will be cross posted there as well and you may actually see things there first via re-tweets. Also, you may want to follow @TweetingTigers which aggregates new content from 20+ Tigers news sources.
  • Become a fan of Detroit Tigers Weblog on Facebook. Yes, I’ve had a Facebook fan page for the site for quite some time, but haven’t done much with it. But now might be the time to get some value from it.
  • I’ll also try and keep the payroll spreadsheet up to date as moves are made.
  • If you’re away from your computer, you can still reach DTW via a myriad of smart phones. If you bring the page up on a mobile device and it isn’t mobile optimized, let me know and we’ll try to get that taken care of.

What’s next at DTW

With the season over there are a few things I need  to say and I wanted to share my plans for the coming offseason:

  1. First things first I want to say thank you to everybody who read the site this year. Welcome to those of you who found it for the first time, we’ll have more stuff in the offseason (more on this in a minute) so don’t go to far. To my long time readers, I’m honored that you keep coming back and thank you for telling your friends about it.
  2. A special thank you to everybody who comments on the site, or posts articles on facebook, or tweets articles. It helps tremendously to build the community. It helps to keep things interesting and it makes it easier for me to a)step away a little bit because you all keep things fresh b)keep the site current because many of you post links to breaking news before I can get to the site c)makes it a hell of a lot of fun.
  3. I also want to say You’re Welcome to everybody who expresses their appreciation in the comments from last night. I was overwhelmed by your sentiments and I’m flattered to say that responding to each one would have put additional stress on an overtaxed server.
  4. As for donations, this part makes me feel a little weird. It’s something I don’t solicit because I’m frankly not that comfortable doing it. But many asked for a way to donate. I don’t want anyone to feel obligated because it certainly isn’t necessary and I hope nobody is offended by this. But if you were one of the ones asking, here is how to donate via Paypal.

What’s on deck?

Things will slow down a little bit without the daily rythym of the baseball regular season setting the pace. There probably won’t be daily posts but you’re likely to see something 4-5 days per week. Some posts will be short and others will be more involved analysis. Some of the things I’m planning for the offseason:

  • Covering the Arizona Fall League which is just about ready to get underway
  • Breaking down the team in a number of ways and looking at offense, defense, and pitching
  • An analysis of the hitters under Lloyd McClendon
  • Some pitch f/x work
  • Roster analysis, who should stay, who should go, who will be offered arbitration, who should be protected in the rule 5 draft
  • Interviews. I’m planning to speak to a few Tigers prospects. I’d like to work in some Q & A’s with others involved with the team as well.
  • Winter Meetings coverage. This year’s winter meetings are in Indianapolis, and while plans could certainly change, as of now I’m planning on being on hand for a couple of days.
  • Video chats maybe? I did a few of these last offseason and they were fun. Those might be coming back.
  • And of course if there are trades or big announcements they’ll be covered here one way or another.

So that’s what the very rough plan is. If you have specific studies you’d like me to do, let me know. I won’t make promises and if I don’t do one of your ideas please don’t take it personally. The reason I wouldn’t do the study is more likely my limitations (time, skill, availability of data, etc.) than the quality of the request.

In summary, keep coming back please. Keep commenting please. And use one of the subscribing options at the top of the page so you know when knew stuff is here.

DTW Downtime

The upgrade didn’t happen Tuesday night/Wednesday morning. It should happen Wednesday night/Thursday morning. Thanks for your patience.

You know how when something really big happens, like Kevin Youkilis is a weenie and charges our prized rookie, or when the Tigers trade for a left handed bat with some positional versatility, or the Tigers announce some roster moves, and you come to the site and then it crashes? I’m not such a fan of that, and I’m sure you aren’t either. And with the team in a pennant race (and hopefully playing well into October) there will likely be increased attention which could lead to more crashes. To rememdy the situation (hopefully) I’m increasing my server capacity. This will take place tonight after 1 am and should take a couple of hours. It means new hardware which means some downtime. Here’s a heads up.

As an aside, this stuff ain’t cheap and ad revenues aren’t what they were. I’m not broke or hard up for money or anything, but if you could tell all your friends how great the site is and how much you enjoy coming here and how they should come here too, I’d appreciate it. Or if you were in the mood to buy something, anything really, you could head over to Amazon (using that link of course) and shop ’til the cows come home.

Maybe you’d want to preorder a book I’m quoted in. Or maybe you were thinking about getting a nice warm Tigers hat for those October games. Or maybe you want to watch all the action on a sexy new display and if you’re out of town and you don’t have access to MLB Extra Innings you could get MLB.tv and hook up your new laptop with an HDMI cable. Or maybe you’ve been thinking about getting the Roku Digital Video Player
which also can stream MLB games, or anything else from Amazon Video On Demand. Just some thoughts…

(Kind of a neat trick where I tell you the site is unavailable, and then ask for money huh…)

Detroit Tigers Weblog 2008 Year in Review

A look back at the year that was here at Detroit Tigers Weblog:

January

Continue reading Detroit Tigers Weblog 2008 Year in Review