Archive for Website Review

BlogsWithBalls 4.0 and the Future of Blogging

Deion Sanders, trying to bring fashion to bloggers at the Van Heusen Institute of Style #BWB4 Kickoff Party also presented by Captain Morgan & Guinness Black Lager.

What is a blog? What is a blogger?

At BlogsWithBalls 4.0, hosted this past weekend by Bloomberg Sports in their fabulous digs, those questions seemed prevalent. Though never specifically addressed, the struggle to define the blog and its writer simmered below the surface. Questions of access, funding, and innovation were all debated openly in the mostly excellent panels and yet it often felt like an element was missing.

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Granny Ramirez & the Performance Enhancing Hugs

Just your typical Triple-A lifer.

If only Fernando Perez was a better ball player. Then again, if he was, it might be unfair to the rest of the men in the world. He’s — forgive the fawning — an excellent renaissance man even without good baseball results at the time being.

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You’re a Good Man, Craig Robinson

This image is presented to the world courtesy British gentleman and graphic wunderkind Craig Robinson, whose every post at Flip Flop Fly Ballin’ we would steal if it weren’t for our commitment to Utmost Decency.

A Cubs Fan’s Greatest Ally

No. It’s not alcohol. A Cubs fan’s greatest ally is a shoulder on which to cry. Few better shoulders exist than Tim Souers’s, the artist behind the site

The life of a Cubs fan meanders along a path of self-loathing and repeated punishment. For those of us who choose this way of life, it sure is nice to lighten the mood occasionally with some fancy art and bone-jostling funny-tales.

Taste the bitter wine of the Cubs life, and grow wiser on its drought of suffering.

Cardboard Card Goodness

So loyal NotGraphs commenter Card Archives (more on that name in a moment), who is also a broad-shouldered captain of industry, has done a thing and that thing is amazing.

I can’t begin to fathom the Mennonite’s toil that went into cataloguing every Topps baseball card ever, but I stand agape. And then I fall down, still agape.

So lose yourselves within his pages, stick-and-ball enthusiasts, and know that here at NotGraphs a hero walks among us.

Excellence in Caption-Writing: Grant Brisbee

If NotGraphs exists for one reason, it’s to propagate the spread of Joe West-related art throughout the country, world, and universe. But if NotGraphs exists for two reasons, the second of those is to celebrate what is Good about baseball and the internets.

Thank you, Grant Brisbee, for doing the thing you do.

Cool: Back to Baseball

See that above? That’s a snapshot of a graphical box score available at Back to Baseball, which is a computer Web site that is fast becoming very beautiful to me. How beautiful? Cheryl Tiegs, make room at the front of the line!

The Revolution smiles upon this because you can see the play-by-play of any game going back to 1950. Once more, for maximum emphasis: You can see the play-by-play of any game going back to 1950. Now who among us can best let the burdens and obligations of adulthood wither on the vine while we toy around with this thing?

(Lingering embrace: BBTF)

Blog Of Fame: The Fightins

In my mind, there exists a Baseball Bloggers Hall of Fame. Because the good Lord above knows we’re not getting into Cooperstown. Nobody knows exactly where it — the Baseball Bloggers Hall Of Fame — is located. It could be anywhere; that’s the anonymous beauty of it.

The magical Baseball Bloggers Hall of Fame is, of course, a basement, and only a basement. A team of elderly mothers and grandmothers operate the joint. They lead you downstairs, and serve you free orange and apple juice. Sometimes, when they’re extra surly, they leave the refreshments at the top of the stairs. Visiting is an authentic experience.

Keyboards hang from the ceiling. In some cases, entire workstations have been preserved. It’s the goal of the Baseball Bloggers Hall of Fame to showcase, for the entire world to see, the baseball blogger’s natural habitat.

A committee of nine — David Appelman, Dave Cameron, Carson Cistulli, Joe Posnanski, Kevin Kaduk, Joe Posnanski, Rob Neyer, Craig Calcaterra, and Keith Law — are judge and jury. They hold the keys to the Baseball Bloggers Hall of Fame, and decide the fate of the millions upon millions of baseball blogs that exist today.

Up for induction in 2011: The Fightins. May the blog rest in peace.

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All the Baseball Movies on Netflix Instant

Below are all the available baseball-related films on Netflix Instant — or, at least the ones that come up when you click Baseball under the genre Sport & Fitness.

I do believe you can click on the image to embiggen it.

I don’t believe you should ever watch something called Pitcher and the Pin-Up.

Your Own Personal Scout

Hired guns.

Mike Newman at ScoutingtheSally provides an excellent service for the prospecticators among us. He visits parks, takes video, and analyzes players that come through the Sally league – ostensibly for those of us in deep dynasty fantasy leagues looking for an edge on our competitors. His independent work functions well as a fantasy manager’s personal scouting department.

Well, now Newman is offering the chance for some fantasy leaguers to gain the jump on others by paying for a premium service. Subscribers of this service will get voicemails or emails minutes after Newman sees a player live and days before he posts an edited piece on his website. An excellent idea, this offering seems to mark a significant moment for fantasy sports. Jason Grey’s hiring at and subsequent articles for ESPN Insider may have been the harbinger, but now a fantasy manager can ‘hire’ his or her own scout by paying for a week-long advantage on the competition. Fantasy is becoming reality.

But there’s something else at play here. Like Mark Zuckerman and Joe Sheehan before him, Mike Newman is attempting to monetize the hard work he does and has heretofore disseminated for free. The correct price is probably yet to be fixed, but the question of whether or not these writers’ work has inherent value should be settled. Zuckerman’s combination of dedication to his team and unique analysis, or Sheehan’s blend of wit and statistical fortitude, or Newman’s tireless scouting work – these things are worth something.

We have far too few data points to speculate on the sustainability of the model at this point. Zuckerman has recently taken to supplementing his reader-supported website, NatsInsider, with the more old-school method of freelancing for CSNwashington, and this writer knows enough from looking at his own wallet not to ask fellow writers to bare their pocketbooks for the public.

But the intellectual underpinnings, the reasoning behind this model, must make sense to most readers, even if they aren’t willing to pony up. There’s real work being done here, and so it’s most likely worth real money.