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Things keep changing here at the Hardball Times. Tragically, we lost our good friend John Brattain last week, and, more positively, Josh Kalk moved on to work for an American League team. John and Josh were both excellent writers, and we’ll miss them both. But we’ve been lucky enough to have folks like Harry Pavlidis, Dan Turkenkopf and Sky Kalkman come on board (in addition to their gigs at Beyond the Boxscore), and we’re always looking to improve our lineup of writers.

Which brings me to another new development. John Burnson, formerly of Ron Shandler’s BaseballHQ and publisher of The Graphical Player, is joining our Fantasy Focus gang. John will be writing regularly for Fantasy Focus, which will add to the tremendous depth of writers we already have in fantasy land.

John has many years of experience covering fantasy baseball, and he developed a number of the concepts and formulas used regularly at BaseballHQ. We’re excited to have him on board.

Offer Number One

John is bringing something else to THT. You will now be able to subscribe to his HEATER magazine right here on our site. HEATER is a tremendous value for fantasy players as well as general baseball fans. It’s a weekly PDF download with a wealth of stats broken down by team and position so you have the context you want. Plus, you’ll find “Hot Hands,” projected pitching match-ups, weekly tracking for top prospects, Derek Carty’s “LABR Diary” and more.

Don’t believe me? Check out this sample issue.

When you subscribe to HEATER, you also get a Friday supplement (for those weekend fantasy decisions), The Rundown (a daily email of the previous day’s box scores), and Wheelhouse (a lightning-fast baseball database updated weekly, for Windows PC’s only). The entire package costs just $39 a year.

Offer Number Two

We’re very excited that HEATER is now part of the THT offering; so excited, in fact, that we decided to add another downloadable subscription to the mix. It’s actually two offers in one:

  • A weekly PDF column, by yours truly, called the Batted Ball Report, in which I will review the major trends among batters and pitchers from a batted ball statistics perspective. We’ll also make all the stats available in a downloadable spreadsheet on a regular basis. In addition, you’ll also receive…
  • The Hardball Times Annual 2010 (when it’s released in November). The THT Annual is the place we refined many of our batted ball stats, so it’s only fitting that the two go together.

We’re making this download service available for a price of $34 ($39 in Canada, due to shipping costs). That’s only slightly more than the retail value of the Annual, plus shipping.

Click here to download a free copy of the first Batted Ball Report (it’s a PDF file). Subscribers will also be able to sign up for The Rundown.

To top it off, if you purchase either one of these subscriptions, you’ll also receive Bill James’ Daily Matchups for your favorite team every morning via e-mail.

You can read more about our deals, including purchase directions, on our Downloads introduction page.

The Hardball Times isn’t an “equity-driven” website. We don’t have owners eager to rake in the dough and keep it to themselves. Our writers also aren’t paid a set fee for their columns. We’re more of a baseball writers’ collective. Once a year, we distribute our cash surplus among everyone according to how often they wrote and otherwise contributed to the site.

In other words, we’re a bunch of baseball commies.

The Annual is an important part of our economics, but our revenue per book has been going down (even as total sales have gone up) the last few years because more people are buying the book through Amazon instead of our website. We make very little money on Amazon sales (which is how they keep their prices so low).

So we’re offering the “Batted Ball Report+THT Annual” service as a way of combating the low prices at Amazon. In other words, we’re offering a different kind of “value added” to offset Amazon’s value. We think our subscription deal will be worth every penny to you, and it’s only a few dollars more than you’ll pay if you wait until November to buy the Annual through our site.

In fact, both of these deals are worth every penny. HEATER, the Batted Ball Report, the Bill James Daily Matchups and the THT Annual form an impressive package of baseball writing, stats and insight that you can enjoy the entire year. Please purchase a subscription today.

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