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July 6, 2010

BP Unfiltered

The Suggestion Box is Open

by John Perrotto

Time flies may be one of the oldest clichés but I'm finding that to truly be the case in 2010. It has been six months since I was given the very special opportunity to become editor-in-chief at Baseball Prospectus and it has certainly been an interesting and exciting time, and a most unique experience.

We have made a number of changes this year. We've introduced some new writers and features, greatly expanded our blogs section, dropped weekend content and strived to deliver articles earlier in the day.

I'd like to know what you think of BP just past the midpoint of 2010. I'd like to know what you like, what you don't like, what you would like to see more of, what you would like to see less of. I can't promise I'll be able to respond to each comment but I will read them all. What I can promise is that I and the rest of us here will take your feedback into great consideration as we continue to strive to make BP the type of site that baseball fans feel they absolutely must visit every day.

John Perrotto is an author of Baseball Prospectus. 
Click here to see John's other articles. You can contact John by clicking here

121 comments have been left for this article. (Click to hide comments)

BP Comment Quick Links

Darsox64

Make the nitty-gritty data found on the old DT cards more accessible again.

Jul 06, 2010 13:28 PM
rating: 4
 
Michael
(736)

Sometimes there is value in stating the obvious.

Please program enhancements to the fantasy baseball projection and forecasting software using the prior year's data now. That way the software should be ready to use as soon as the projection work is done. Don't tell us software is ready to use when it isn't. Please provide more frequent updates when there problems are known. Don't continue to label software as "beta" for an extended time period -- at some point it becomes an excuse for issuing error-prone work.

Jul 06, 2010 13:35 PM
rating: 10
 
dwinning

(1) I'm looking forward to the long-promised re-design of the homepage, which still looks cluttered, crowded and sort of ugly. I love the content but the homepage is hard to look at, like a beautiful woman with food in her teeth.

(2) When I want to look up a players stats, pitchFX data, game logs, or stat leaderboards, I go to fangraphs.com 100% of the time, which just feels more user-friendly. If I want up to date minor league stats, I go to milb.com. Seems like for a site that has the analysis of statistics at its core, we should be able to find this kind of thing here quickly and efficiently. The player stat pages here are a mess compared to fangraphs, which has obviously done a lot more thinking about presentation.

(3) I'd suggest growing a Kevin Goldstein clone in the BP labs. Sure seems like there'd be room at BP for another guy with a prospect focus, judging by the response his prospecting work always gets.

(4) Finally, would it be so hard to get Nate Silver to throw us an article once in a while? Just to show us he still cares...

Jul 06, 2010 13:51 PM
rating: 12
 
raygu1

I agree with #3.

Jul 06, 2010 14:34 PM
rating: 1
 
fandamage

I second #(2). PLEASE improve this aspect of the site; it's incredibly frustrating to try to accomplish what should be a simple task.

Jul 06, 2010 23:03 PM
rating: 2
 
gobraves123

I'll give a third rec to #2. FanGraphs is much more user-friendly if I just need to pull a quick stat for a given player, which is too bad because it means I end up using things like FIP instead of SIERA. But wading through a typewriter-font, black and white, closely packed DT card can be excruciating.

And #3 is also a great idea. Even to just have a "backup" to Kevin that might occasionally provide a counterpoint to Mr. Goldstein. I find Kevin's opinions on players to be overwhelmingly accurate, but a second informed opinion never hurts.

Jul 07, 2010 08:13 AM
rating: 3
 
Dan W.

I agree that FanGraphs is more user-friendly, and I also use it because I (for instance) can't find SIERA no matter how hard I try.

But as for "wading through" Courier New font, I disagree -- it (on the DT cards) was the most legible stat presentation BP has ever had, imo.

Jul 07, 2010 08:41 AM
rating: 3
 
morpheusq

It is BRUTALLY hard to find SIERA quickly. If BP wants that to become the stat de rigueur for pitchers, it should be ridiculously simple to pull up.

Jul 07, 2010 09:41 AM
rating: 4
 
morpheusq

Completely agree with #2. It is a joke how bad the BP player cards are. There's a lot of good stuff on there, like chat and article mentions linked directly from the player card, but page is poorly laid out, hard to use, and riddled with errors.

Jul 07, 2010 09:43 AM
rating: 1
 
mtofias

I miss Joe.

Jul 06, 2010 13:59 PM
rating: -1
 
villapalomares

This.

Jul 07, 2010 22:37 PM
rating: 0
 
deacon14

Can you please do something to help your mobile readers? I am not smart enough to know what it is but I generally read everything now through a RSS feeder on my iphone (without going to a webpage). Because I cannot get to the subscription only part of BP this way BP has fallen behind Fan Graphs and other sites that publish this way.

Jul 06, 2010 14:06 PM
rating: 2
 
rjblakel

Agreed; an iPhone app would be fantastic.

Jul 06, 2010 14:36 PM
rating: 1
 
baserip4

RSS is how I read everything on the Web. I understand that you need to keep your feed truncated for the paywalled content, but for free stuff there's no reason it shouldn't be a full feed. All the short feed does is annoy me.

I'd also like to see the ability to subscribe to multiple feeds, especially when it comes to the blogs.

Jul 07, 2010 05:06 AM
rating: -1
 
msloftus

I've really been enjoying Ben Lindbergh's articles. Keep 'em coming!

Jul 06, 2010 14:19 PM
rating: 4
 
BP staff member Chase Gharrity
BP staff

Meh. He's aight.

Jul 06, 2010 20:43 PM
 
Dan

I loved the Kiley McDaniel stuff last year, and was kind of disappointed a replacement wasn't found for 2010.

Jul 06, 2010 14:25 PM
rating: 9
 
YankeesSuck0213

Agreed wholeheartedly here

Jul 06, 2010 16:19 PM
rating: 0
 
doog7642

I'm a rankings geek, so I'd love to see three things:

1) Kevin Goldstein doing a ranking series based on the "Top Under-25 Talent" portion of his offseason prospect rankings.

2) Someone, if not Nate, who will take on the old "PECOTA Takes on the Prospects" series.

3) A PECOTA Upside-based version of Nate's 50 Most Valuable Commodities in baseball.

Jul 06, 2010 14:33 PM
rating: 14
 
jpjazzman

+1 on all accounts

Jul 08, 2010 06:34 AM
rating: 0
 
krissbeth

Seconding the difficulty of reading the player cards for the current season's stats. Put the current season stats up top alone, not at the bottom row a long way away from the column headers.

I'm disappointed that I had to go elsewhere for my Omar Infante should not be an All-Star rants. This used to be THE place for intelligent "______ is a dumb move" articles. Someone should be on call for those things when they come up.

Jul 06, 2010 14:34 PM
rating: 3
 
Dan W.

You needed to pay for expert analysis to know that Omar Infante wasn't a deserving all-star?

Jul 07, 2010 08:43 AM
rating: 4
 
krissbeth

No, Mr. Snarky. But that doesn't mean it wouldn't be enjoyable to read BP authors go off on the decision while mixing in intelligent analysis. They used to do this kind of article fairly frequently. Second-guessing was as much a feature of the site as Transaction Analysis and Under The Knife. The Infante selection just highlighted something important that changed on the site.

Jul 07, 2010 09:20 AM
rating: 2
 
devine

It would be great to have a mobile theme for BP, and better navigation between the blog articles - reading four or five of these in a row requires going back to the home page between each, currently.

Jul 06, 2010 14:35 PM
rating: 3
 
reznick

I'd like to be able to read through the blog entries consecutively without returning to the home page, the way I can with the articles. I wish also you'd make up your mind: a given essay is one or the other, not both.

Jul 06, 2010 14:52 PM
rating: 8
 
morpheusq

I agree. The blog seems to be set up like any other web publishing site rather than an actual blog.

Plus, it is incredibly frustrating to search for content on the blogs. The regular search function doesn't do it, and the search box next to the blog doesn't seem to work well at all either.

Jul 07, 2010 09:47 AM
rating: 2
 
jpm9263

Everything has become "big picture". If a player doesn't get injured or traded, there is no content for what occurred. Not that I think there needs to be a box score roundup, but managerial decisions that Joe used to point out, or interesting things that occurred during a game that someone might not be watching but would find interesting, are no longer brought up here. The day-to-day element is no longer present here.

Jul 06, 2010 15:03 PM
rating: 17
 
fieldofdreams

I agree completely w/ this post. BP used to be the place to find intelligent analysis of in game moves, etc. One could read BP and sound impressive at cocktail parties talking real baseball. Just being able to talk about who is outperforming SIERA isn't nearly as much fun.

This seems like a good job for Perotto. With him no longer being a beat writer there is no reason to keep the sterile objectivity found in the daily roundup.

Jul 06, 2010 15:22 PM
rating: 5
 
ScottyB

major dittos

Jul 06, 2010 20:10 PM
rating: 0
 
jrfukudome

This is somewhat fantasy-related: I think we should be able to run a search to see who has the biggest "breakout" potential according to PECOTA...

Jul 06, 2010 15:14 PM
rating: 3
 
greensox

Don't have weekends completely dark. HOld back an article or 2 for Sunday.

Jul 06, 2010 15:51 PM
rating: 4
 
R.A.Wagman

maybe Fantasy Saturdays?
Mostly - I agree with those who have asked for more day-to-day type content - loved Christina's game stories - more along that line, maybe some stuff on tactics (more game, less numbers) sort of stuff.

Jul 06, 2010 16:28 PM
rating: 2
 
Sparky's Pitch Fork

I enjoy the articles appearing earlier but miss the weekend content.

I know I have mentioned this in an email, some college baseball coverage, even if it is limited to once a week during the season, would be great.

Finally, more prospect coverage.

Jul 06, 2010 16:30 PM
rating: 0
 
mrmet4931

I LOVE the Scouts View portion of John's articles, I want more off the record opinion on more players. It's usually like 3-5 players, why not make it 10? The 5 mins-10 mins of calls you make, just have the scout spill out thoughts on 10 guys. I'm always anxious to know who the guys with great eyes and experience for talent think are turning the corner and about to break out, and who is on the decline. No new software or layout, just a few more mins of time with each call you make John and that would be an incredible addition.
Thanks for your hard consistent great work you do.

Jul 06, 2010 18:08 PM
rating: 8
 
marjinwalker

I love the Davenport translations for the minors (renamed "True Averages"?) but for some reason, it started listing leaders regardless of number of plate appearances. Any way to change it back?

Jul 06, 2010 18:49 PM
rating: 2
 
bdoyle978

i miss Joe also

Jul 06, 2010 19:24 PM
rating: -1
 
evo34

1) Scrap the layout of the entire site and start from scratch. The statistics pages in particular are not even up to early 2000s standards in terms of readability/usability. It's not a few simple tweaks away from being good; it's going to require a true overhaul from a professional designer.

2) Introduce ratings for articles. I.e., readers could rate them from 1 to 5 stars. This would help readers find the most interesting articles quickly, and more importantly, provide a way for BP to figure out what subscribers like and don't like.

3) Get rid of the blogs beta section. If ~70% of site content is contained in this section, it shouldn't be obscured by this designation.

4) Produce more original, cutting-edge research on how to predict player performace -- both for future season and for rest-of-season stats. E.g., more Swartz and Lindbergh; fewer five-page rants about minor transactions.

Jul 06, 2010 19:28 PM
rating: 3
 
sensij

+ for point 2, - for point 4 = no rating.

Jul 06, 2010 21:51 PM
rating: 0
 
morpheusq

I agree, particularly with #1 and #2. And something better has to be done with integrating the blog with the regular features and functions of the website.

Jul 07, 2010 09:49 AM
rating: 1
 
deckholm

Agree with point #3 - Never understood the point of the Blog section compared to content available on the home page. Lots of good content I missed for the longest time as a result. The RSS feed I seem to be using doesn't alert me to blog posts - just the main articles which is also a hassle.

Jul 07, 2010 10:55 AM
rating: 2
 
elm
(41)

Better copy-editing. (Seriously, "times flies?") This has never been a strength of the site, but I feel it's gone downhill the past few months.

The stats research has been beefed up this year, and some of the new content is really good, but I wouldn't mind seeing more of the stats-informed analysis that CK and Jay do but that we seem to see less of now, not just with Joe no longer writing but also with many other writers and features that have disappeared over the years, like "Prospectus Triple Play." Joe's take on All-Star Game selections had gotten repetitive, but I was surprised to see no one discuss this year's selections.

Jul 06, 2010 19:42 PM
rating: 4
 
Imperialism32

Hi, I'm an editorial intern with BP this season. Could you elaborate on where you've noticed the copy-editing errors you're referencing? Is it the blogs, or the columns, or sort of all over? Any feedback would help, thanks.

Jul 07, 2010 09:03 AM
rating: 0
 
deckholm

From what I've noticed it appears all over (articles and blog posts). Usually it's small things - typos, missing words which makes me need to reread the sentence several times to understand the meaning.

Others are more fact checking errors - According to today's transaction report, the Giants got director Michael Mann with Chris Ray for Bengie Molina (just in the italics not the article). The Oakland A's record was wrong in another post and was quickly corrected after a snarky comment from the gallery.

Hope that helps.

Jul 07, 2010 11:02 AM
rating: 3
 
Richard Bergstrom

Um... you should have noticed by now.

Jul 07, 2010 14:03 PM
rating: -3
 
Richard Bergstrom

I like the tons of new content BP has added, especially during the offseason including the guest pieces (particularly by that sports agent). It's also neat to see more collaborations between multiple authors. The fantasy content has been much more active (though I tend to disagree with a chunk of it).

I still go to baseball-reference, ESPN.com, or fangraphs for player data or game logs. I think the proofreading/editing hasn't gotten better, which was supposed to be John's strength and focus. I also think the layout needs to be changed a bit since it can be hard to find an article older than a week... which gets to be a problem when following ongoing discussions once they cycle off the main page.

Please add a threaded forum for discussions (and perhaps for some of us to post our own articles/research/etc). Also, I thought the +/- system was going to be changed so that you could see threads rated negative even if the initial comment was rated negative...

Also, something has to be done to quiet the repetitive "PECOTA sucks" comments... pull back the veil a bit so people know a bit better how it operates or something... the repetitive preseason revisions to PECOTA (in part, based on changing depth charts), cause issues for people who use it.

Jul 06, 2010 19:58 PM
rating: 8
 
ScottyB

I greatly appreciate your openness to feedback.

The presentation of the blogs is sub-standard. Laying it out like this would be more user friendly and take up less space:

Future Shock
Last update:
Author:
Title:

BP Unfiltered
Last update:
Author:
Title:

Fantasy Beat
Last update:
Author:
Title:

Transaction Action
Last update:
Author:
Title:

Also, are the blogs *still* in beta mode after all these months.

Most importantly, I really miss the day-to-day articles, like Joe's Prospectus Today, that will analyze/criticize moves and decisions based on something that happened in the last 48 hours. It was appaling that the ONLY all-star coverage we got was your "one man's ballot" article, with no detailed stat analysis either before or after the fact.

Oh, one last thing. Please keep the layout clear and uncompliucated. I don't need videos etc popping up all the time, and I'm glad y'all don't do this.

Jul 06, 2010 20:18 PM
rating: 7
 
baserip4

Please please please no auto play video. Or podcasts.

Jul 07, 2010 05:08 AM
rating: 15
 
Tuck
(667)

1) There absolutely, without question has to be a Daily Prospectus-type article. I was not always Joe's biggest fan, but his article anchored the site. You have these great columns on injuries and transactions and prospects and history... all rotating around the center, which was Daily Prospectus. I was one of the first on board with BP, but I will leave next year without this. Joe's success with his daily newsletter should tell you all you need about the appetite for this kind of product.

2) Directed to the authors of the annual... Be bold, and mighty forces will come to your aid. Over the past couple years the authors have shown a strict adherence to PECOTA projections, to their detriment. The writers are more likely to defer or equivocate than to make bold predictions that might run in the face of the numbers. This was not always the case. In my opinion, what was once an informed scouting manual has become merely an interpretation of numbers.

Jul 06, 2010 22:52 PM
rating: 7
 
Scott D. Simon

Wait, Joe has a what?

Jul 07, 2010 14:12 PM
rating: 1
 
Tuck
(667)

It would be poor form to advertise it here. But a google search should send you in the right direction. I'll say this, it's a business model any writer would love.

Jul 07, 2010 15:50 PM
rating: 1
 
eliyahu

You'll never satisfy everyone but....

1) The upgraded fantasy content has been stellar. In particular, the regular "value picks" posts have been extremely useful to me. Keep 'em coming

2) Make the PFM more relavant during the season. I don't know if this is relevant today -- and it's mearly a question of you marketing it more effectively -- or if there's real work to be done, but upgraded PECOTA projections + PFM that can be done to enable me to evaluate in-season roto trades would be great.

3) Expanding Goldstein's work. People who focus on prospects tend to overvalue them; people who ignore prospects tend to undervalue them. What would be fantastic is some blending of prospects and non-prospects in a way that's not done anywhere else. Immediate ideas that come to mind are expanding and periodically updating a Top 200 under 25 year-olds (prospects and players) -- essentially building off the "Top 10 under 25 year-olds" from the offseason Top 11 lists.

One more note: I suspect every one of your tens of thousands of subscribers has their favorite authors, and I'm no exception. (I particularly like Swartz and Goldstein and used to love Silver, Fox and Huckabay.) I leave it to your judgment to make sure that the most popular writers are the ones kept around. However, from a business perspective, it's important for me to say that, as much as I like lots of the writing here, I pay the premium rate for the fantasy content. And while it may be hard for professional writers to swallow, I suspect that many others agree with me. Please don't neglect the fantasy stuff; PFM upgrades and *actionable* colums/blogposts (value picks, SIERA updates, etc.) likely bring in a disproportionate percentage of your revenues.

Jul 07, 2010 03:06 AM
rating: 6
 
pobothecat

Totally agree with point 3 here. But rather than "expanding Goldstein's work" I think we're looking for a feature that expands ON it.

Everyone loves the in-detail, day-to-day prospect updates. But eventually, without context, I don't know what much of it means.

The context I'm looking for here is more team-by-team --- hitting the refresh button on pre-season Top Prospects rankings. Organizational issues, strengths and weaknesses,
Who's hot, who's not. Who's stuck. Who's being fast-tracked.
Who's outperforming expectations, who's disappointing. And insights into the what scouts and front-offices are thinking.

The point is, pre-season prospect rankings really could use some in-season re-appraisals. Whether it's by-team or overall or both, I think this would be a useful and popular addition.

Jul 07, 2010 13:54 PM
rating: 0
 
yanksgood

I am an RSS hound, and the BP RSS feed just doesn't cut it. I only read BP nowadays when someone I trust mentions that there is a good article out there. I understand you can't provide full text because of the subscription, but can you provide some text? Give us the first 150 or 250 words so we can see if the article interests us.

As of know, i always choose fangraphs or beyond the box score first because it is simpler. I come to BP when i have run out of things to read. I have been a subscriber since day 1 and a reader for a long time before that too.

Jul 07, 2010 04:31 AM
rating: 4
 
mtofias

While I still enjoy reading articles, I think a lot of the joy I used to get from BP is gone. Maybe this is because I am old and cranky, maybe it's because the particular flavor of analysis that BP offers isn't that unique anymore, or maybe it's that the newer writers and analysts just simply aren't as strong as the old ones.

I think the easiest improvements have been mentioned in this thread. I know I've mentioned some before.

1. The mobile experience isn't very good. I know someone from defended it, but you're wrong. Widely used WordPress mobile themes put the BP site to shame on mobile.

2. Overall the web design is stale and hindering people from finding the good content that we paid for. The RSS feeds should be full for the articles that you give away for free and contain the same amount of text that you expose on the website. I'd love to see custom feeds too so I could put Christina and Will in one and all the other people I might read in another feed. At the very least there should be a single combined feed for the entire site.

3. I hope that storm of rollover ads never returns. That was insulting.

4. The formating of the stats pages isn't very good. Why is Baseball-Reference better here? And faster! Why can't I filter by position for WARP? See also mobile formating. The team pages aren't very good. This would be a great place to make mobile apps. Partner with someone who has made a good one already.

5. BP often seems to stumble into that weird state where they pretend that no one else is doing analysis on the web. John's links to newspaper articles are welcome improvement, but could be improved further with a bit more meaty information. It would be great if someone else did it for blogs.

6. Someone proposed article ratings. I think that would pay immediate dividends to both the readers and writers of the site.

7. The glossaries aren't very good. They should be improved and incorporated with summaries and links of the great articles that have been written about different stats.

8. Why are there 3 different playoff projection reports? One should be the best. Or maybe a combination is best. Find that and post that one.

Jul 07, 2010 07:01 AM
rating: 5
 
morpheusq

I second all of those rec's.

Jul 07, 2010 09:54 AM
rating: 0
 
dawhipsaw

You need to do away with Matt Swartz. His last article was the very worst I've ever read on this site, and to top it off he was hostile when readers presented negative comments.

Jul 07, 2010 07:17 AM
rating: -2
 
TangoTiger

Matt is one of the best things, if not the best, about BPro.

As for his "hostility": I find that the response should be a bit more timid than what he's responding to. That first comment, which I presume is what you are talking about, was there with guns blazing. So, Matt was fine to be harsher in his comments than he is, because the context warranted it.

Jul 07, 2010 07:47 AM
rating: 6
 
dawhipsaw

You're wrong about responding to reader comments. Your readers are your customers. There's not a single highly commercialized (as BP is now) source of media that has lasted particularly long by actively calling their customers idiots, as Matt did in his replies to comments. You have to be professional and be above responding like that.

Perhaps more of Matt's work is acceptable, you would certainly know better than 99% of BP's customers. As a reader, I was struck by how thin his analysis was and how little he considered other forces driving decisionmaking in professional baseball.

Jul 07, 2010 10:32 AM
rating: -1
 
TangoTiger

This issue is really a matter of opinion, not fact. So, neither of us can be "wrong". I for example would respond sternly (though not necessarily harshly, though that may have happened) on my blog, and as long as I'm fair about it (not personal), then no one really has an issue about it.

Perhaps at BPro, there's an expectation (from some? many? few?) readers that authors should be much more tempered in their responses. ESPN for example won't ever let their authors strongly challenge their readers. To me, that simply makes it a less colorful atmosphere. I would much prefer to see Rob Neyer openly challenge his readers, and even take some of them down a peg or three. You get rid of the riffraff, and you end up with a better setting.

I find it bothersome that to get to appreciate Colin and Matt's personalities, you'd have to read their comments on my site or at Primer, and not on this site. It's an (implied) editorial position I don't agree with, but again, I may be in the minority here.

IMO.

Jul 07, 2010 11:24 AM
rating: 2
 
dawhipsaw

Surely you can possibly fathom that there's quite a bit of ground between disagreeing with your readers (which I love) and calling their opinions "laughable" (which I don't).

As to facts/opinions, you are right, I was stating an opinion. I operate under the assumption that BP is a business and likes to make money. If that's not their goal, then insulting your readers might be the best option.

Given that Matt contributes to your site, it's not surprising that you would so vehemently defend him here. You should at least state your bias ahead of time.

Jul 07, 2010 11:49 AM
rating: 0
 
TangoTiger

You originally said this: "His last article was the very worst I've ever read on this site"

What if one of the BPro authors chose one of your comments and said: "dawhipsaw's last comment was the very worst I've ever read on this site".

Are you suggesting that the financial motive of the site should allow the readers to be far harsher than authors in terms of peer-to-peer interaction? If that's the case, then it's no wonder why ESPN authors rarely, if ever, are found in the comments section of their own articles. And it's no wonder that BPro authors are so tempered, and not often seen, here.

On the other hand, if we ignore the financial motive, and simply allow the authors the right to interact at the same level and with the same rules as the readers, then what Matt said, and the way he said it, was in-line with the original commenter.

This is really an editorial decision by BPro as to how much they want to handcuff their authors.

I would also think that to the intelligent readers of BPro that the financial motive is benign. Otherwise, you are suggesting that as customers, you are allowed to insult those who are providing you with a service, as long as you are paying for it. And the service provider has to take it because you are paying them.

Matt responded in-kind, and therefore, there is no issue.

***

As for the bias: given that I've had my own somewhat unpleasant exchanges with Matt, I don't think I'm necessarily predisposed to argue for (or against) him. In any case, he contributes to my blog as a commenter, much as yourself. I don't know that that means I'm territorial around him or other commenters at my blog. I'm territorial around him because he provides value, regardless of where I've read him.

Jul 07, 2010 12:13 PM
rating: 1
 
dawhipsaw

'What if one of the BPro authors chose one of your comments and said: "dawhipsaw's last comment was the very worst I've ever read on this site".'

Me personally? I'd be fine with that. But I think that would be a pretty terrible business decision by BP. There's just no upside for them.

'Are you suggesting that the financial motive of the site should allow the readers to be far harsher than authors in terms of peer-to-peer interaction? If that's the case, then it's no wonder why ESPN authors rarely, if ever, are found in the comments section of their own articles. And it's no wonder that BPro authors are so tempered, and not often seen, here.'

'I would also think that to the intelligent readers of BPro that the financial motive is benign. Otherwise, you are suggesting that as customers, you are allowed to insult those who are providing you with a service, as long as you are paying for it. And the service provider has to take it because you are paying them.'


Yes, that's exactly what I'm saying/suggesting. That's called big business. If you can't take criticism and turn the other cheek, then stop writing professionally, open a personal blog, and yell at all of your critics. I'm not defending the original commenter's attitude in his/her post, being rude is uncalled for virtually all of the time. But there are going to be jerks for customers in every industry, and a Hammurabi-esque response to them risks losing not only them as customers, but others witnessing the retribution as well.

By way of example, do this experiment. Go into a four star or better restaurant and order something to eat. When the waiter comes back to you and asks about your meal, tell him it was terrible and flick a piece of the food at him with your fork. See how he responds. Then repeat the same exercise at a greasy spoon. Big time business reacts differently to difficult customers.

Jul 07, 2010 15:46 PM
rating: 0
 
evo34

To give some context, what Swartz wrote was:
"Also, "you can win with the lowest payroll" is laughable. The correlation is high between winning percentage and payroll, and getting higher. Simply noting some counterexamples of smart teams does not change the fact that winning with a low payroll is hard. Having good talent evaluators helps too of course. That does not change the fact that having a higher draft pick helps in addition to having money and good talent evaluators. It's like you have decided that a few examples of other ways that teams have been successful changes anything about a backwards incentive structure."


I, for one, could not agree more with what he wrote. In an unrelated note, adding an "Ignore" feature for subscribers to hide comments from particular users would be a nice addition to the site.

Jul 07, 2010 12:19 PM
rating: 5
 
pobothecat

Gotta say. This whole "You should be nicer when I insult you" crowd is THE most annoying part of BPro.

Jul 07, 2010 14:00 PM
rating: 8
 
Richard Bergstrom

"I, for one, could not agree more with what he wrote. In an unrelated note, adding an "Ignore" feature for subscribers to hide comments from particular users would be a nice addition to the site."

Eh... there have been some commentators who I regularly disagree with and dislike, yet every so often, they say something quite profound that I like. So I'm not in favor of an "ignore" feature.

Jul 08, 2010 14:02 PM
rating: 0
 
Richard Bergstrom

I tend to find BP authors write what they think and stick to their guns to defend themselves if need be. On individual articles, the authors tend to be very open to critique and criticism assuming it is constructive. I do know there are a few subscribers that seem to go around "picking fights", I imagine the authors know that too, and yet they still try to respond.

But an article writer also has to act as a bit of a moderator of the comments and I have no problem with an author challenging a reader back. Tone and style can be an issue at times, but sometimes you have to yell louder to be heard better.

Also, in slight disagreement, but I've gotten a good idea of Colin's and Matt's personalities/intelligence/analysis through comments here... but the tone does seem to change a bit on Tango's blog... perhaps because they have a personal investment in what they write for here? Kind of like the difference between an academic presenting a research paper at a conference instead of chatting about it in the faculty lounge?

Jul 07, 2010 13:58 PM
rating: 1
 
TangoTiger

"Kind of like the difference between an academic presenting a research paper at a conference instead of chatting about it in the faculty lounge?"

Excellent analogy.

Jul 07, 2010 14:22 PM
rating: 0
 
Patrick Ferrington

I play some fantasy baseball. I found BP because of that and have enjoyed it for just over a decade. That said - you are buried in fantasy baseball content. Now I have to wade through piles fantasy specific information to find the articles I want to read.

I'm willing to allow them to have the 'main page' if that is your bread and butter these days. I would appreciate though a non-fantasy main page.

Whether Sheehan comes back or not I have to agree with one thing. I've been missing something for a while now at BP and that was the feeling of a personal connection with an author. I didn't even realize that was that important until I noticed it wasn't there anymore.

Someone needs to put down the calculator and start a conversation instead. I read the VORP, WARP, Davenport Translations, PECOTA translations because Daily Prospectus showed me why it mattered in a game and then I went on to learn about it after I was shown it was useful.

Show me in a game why something was done right or wrong, then show me how using SIERRA or Pitch/FX or what have you could have improved that decision process then when I go to read the statistical article I'll have a reason to do it and the necessary context to give me a reason to want to.

Jul 07, 2010 07:42 AM
rating: 7
 
hessshaun

A couple suggestions and things I would greatly appreciate.

1. Forum. I really think this would be a positive thing for the site. If you had a message board where other could discuss articles, continue to dive further into topics, and your readers could prove to provide some pretty valuable content as well. Just look at the articles that get a lot of comments. They would be very frequently traveled sections of the forum and it's not technically challenging to support it. It would also be a great asset to contributions to the cards with lineups, playing times, rotations, and general team discussion. Game threads, prospect information, team pages, it would develop into a community and communities in a community. Ultimately any information you have can be linked to the message boards and vice versa.

I just think you are missing a large market out there and if managed properly it can be a huge asset.

2. Numbers explanations. I read all these articles on numbers, new calculations, and just isolating numbers on a specific person for comparative purposes. Numerous times I have gone to the numbers via to stat page and I feel like I am trying to learn a new command line. Some type of tutorial on how to isolate data or information pieces would be great. I know it's not the most interesting thing in the world to write about, but I would really appreciate it.

Jul 07, 2010 08:45 AM
rating: 0
 
dwinning

Second the comments regarding a BP members forum. If there were forums for each team, it would sure be nice to be able to discuss team happenings with other fans who are of a BP mindset. I'd certainly use it a lot.

Jul 07, 2010 09:46 AM
rating: 0
 
Shaun P.
(676)

An RSS feed of the chats. I've gone from "guy who checked the site 4 times a day" to "guy who relied on the newsletter in his e-mail" to "guy who relies on his RSS reader for everything". As a result, I constantly miss chats, unless I think to check the front page of the website.

Maybe this is a feature from your folks perspective - it should, theoretically, get me to check the front page more often - but I see it as a bug.

I'll also second the stat pages. It seems like making the statistical data more presentable, more flexible, would be among the easier, and most user-friendly, things that could be done. There are few things more frustrating that wanting to find out who has the most WXRL in their career since 1979, and not being able to figure out a way to make the stats page tell me that. Or wanting to look up the adjusted standings of July 1, 2008, and not being able to find them.

And if you need beta testers for new features, you have a lot of long-time, loyal subscribers who I bet would be happy to help out (maybe even for free).

Jul 07, 2010 09:30 AM
rating: 2
 
morpheusq

The search function on the website is totally inadequate and cumbersome to use. At the least, it should include blog and chat content. And why not have a search box on every page, rather than having to click through to the special search page?

Jul 07, 2010 09:58 AM
rating: 4
 
evo34

The best short-term solution is to do a Google search on your search terms and site:baseballprospectus.com. E.g., "Ryan Howard strikeouts 2009 site:baseballprospectus.com" Not perfect (it logs you out of BP when you follow a google search result), but infinitely better than BP search. This problem has been acknowledged by BP for the last ten years, but has never really been improved.

Jul 07, 2010 12:10 PM
rating: -1
 
PLHirsch

Christina Karl needs to temper her style in the transactions reports.

The newspaper highlights feature seems like a glorified search function not worthy of BP.

Love Will Carroll and Kevin Goldstein.

Jul 07, 2010 12:05 PM
rating: 1
 
evo34

Could not agree more with your first point.

Jul 07, 2010 12:24 PM
rating: 0
 
Tuck
(667)

Absolutely. I am glad someone mentioned it.

Jul 07, 2010 12:57 PM
rating: 1
 
Dan W.

What does the first comment even mean?

Jul 07, 2010 13:08 PM
rating: 1
 
evo34

I cannot speak for the original poster, but to me, Kahrl's pieces are ridiculously condescending in tone. Unsubstantiated opinions are stated as obvious fact -- as if somehow she is the teacher and baseball GMs are the fifth-graders acting up. The style is long-winded and excessively showy for subject matter than would be better served by brevity. To me, the articles read more like thesaurus-fueled rants than objective commentary.

Jul 07, 2010 21:10 PM
rating: -1
 
pobothecat

Christina Karl needs to temper nothing.

Jul 07, 2010 14:04 PM
rating: 3
 
jrmayne

I disagree with all of this except for loving Goldstein.

Don't power down, Christina.

Jul 07, 2010 15:21 PM
rating: -1
 
TangoTiger

By the way, it's ridiculous that because dawhipsaw's post was given a "-5" that now every comment threaded to his is also collapsed. There's good comments in that mini-thread by Richard, pobo and evo, (along with ok ones by me) and they are hidden.

Anyway, I've going to give dawhipsaw a +1 just to keep it visible. dawhipsaw makes reasonable enough points, and just because we disagree doesn't mean we should hide it. Readers here are way too into the rating on the "niceties" of the post, rather than on the merits. dawhipsaw makes worthy comments. That there are several of us that are responding to it should count for something.

Jul 07, 2010 14:26 PM
rating: 7
 
Matt Kory

This is exactly why I hate the comment rating system. If someone says something obscene or overtly stupid it should be up to whomever at BP to delete or moderate the comment in some way.

Jul 07, 2010 17:07 PM
rating: 2
 
BP staff member Joe Sheehan
BP staff
(17)

That, more or less, is why forums are basically a non-starter. All cost, no revenue.

Jul 07, 2010 20:10 PM
 
TangoTiger

Fangraphs has forums, and they don't charge their readers. Primer has forums, and they don't charge their readers. You've got to have a better reason for not having a forum considering that you are already charging readers.

Jul 07, 2010 20:52 PM
rating: 4
 
BP staff member Joe Sheehan
BP staff
(17)

How about this?

I've done sports content as a business for 15 years. By any standard I'm one of a small number of people to do it successfully outside the mainstream, I've played most of the roles one can play and holy god I'm sick of listening to you act as if you've had 1% of the success the people you criticize have had. How about you grant that I might know what I'm talking about, given that sports content has been my career, without me having to make a business case to someone with no standing to ask for one?

Fangraphs, as far as I can tell, is financed by a rich grandpa. Primer/BTF/Newsstand/Brand of the Day isn't a business in any real sense of the word, it's r.s.b ported to the Web and stripped of its spark. That you would make these comparisons shows just how little you understand of Prospectus, how little you've ever understood.

Stick to being an academic, Thomas. Stick to your sycophant-laden fora and your above-it-all mien. Stop jumping in here and cheap-shotting a business that you've never comprehended on your best day.

Jul 07, 2010 22:59 PM
 
Richard Bergstrom

None of this really has to do with Tango's original comment, reiterated by others here including myself... the +/- system should be changed because people use it to mark down comments they disagree with, regardless of how rational they are... and when the initial comment gets marked down, the entire thread of conversation afterwards disappears.

Jul 07, 2010 23:49 PM
rating: 0
 
philly

"the +/- system should be changed because people use it to mark down comments they disagree with, regardless of how rational they are... "

That's been on of my biggest disappointments with the BP comment system. It's particularly priceless comming in response to Sheehan throwing out the "sycophant-laden fora" comment. There may be no better descriptor of this comment system.

I have always said Sheehan was arguably the best writer at BP...

Jul 08, 2010 07:12 AM
rating: 0
 
TangoTiger

"I'm sick of listening to you act as if you've had 1% of the success the people you criticize have had"

I didn't realize that my success level was required to offer my opinion. Joe, why is BPro asking for opinions of the rest of us little people then?

In any case, I made no insulting or disparaging remark.

"Stop jumping in here and cheap-shotting a business that you've never comprehended on your best day."

First, don't tell me what to do. Secondly, exactly what did I cheap-shot?

You read whatever you wanted to read into what I said, and decided to use that as a launching pad to tell me whatever you wanted to tell me. And, for some reason, rather than send me an email, you needed to tell everyone else this.

I hope BPro leaves your post here.

***

Just before Joe posted this, I put a link on my blog to Joe's newsletter. Joe is one of the best writers around, and I stand by my position to support him, and I will certainly leave that link there.



Jul 08, 2010 07:08 AM
rating: 23
 
BP staff member Dave Pease
BP staff
(2)

We almost never delete comments.

Joe is speaking for himself, not BP. Thanks, everyone, for your comments and suggestions, and for reading.

Jul 08, 2010 09:44 AM
 
Richard Bergstrom

Does that mean we can + or - down Joe's comment? :)

Jul 08, 2010 13:59 PM
rating: 4
 
jinaz

That's pretty nasty, Joe. I guess not much has changed here.
-j

Jul 08, 2010 08:53 AM
rating: 5
 
TuftsBat

"Sycophant-laden," "fora," and "mien" all in the same sentence! Holy batman those are big words! I wish I could pay a monthly fee for a newsletter with words like those! Who cares if the author didn't realize you can get better content for free on other sites!

Tango, why don't you listen to Joe and stop being a know-it-all. Keep your fancy numbers and reasoned advice and intelligent opinions to yourself, you thirty-syllable word!

Jul 08, 2010 09:39 AM
rating: 5
 
evo34

Wow. That's quite a diatribe from someone who was consistently the dullest knife in BP's drawer of analytical thought. Your pre-season projections and "my guys" posts became increasingly sad/comical over the years. Simply put, whenever you went out on a limb, you were dead wrong an astounding percentage of the time. I don't know you or another other persona in this thread and thus have no axe to grind; I just know substandard baseball analysis when I see it. Good riddance.

Jul 08, 2010 09:44 AM
rating: 2
 
amazin_mess

Exactly. Joe Sheehan is a legend in his own mind. I know a guy who knows him and a few other BP longtimers and he tells me many of them are assholes. I'm going to reevaluate continuing with this site. What a prick.

Jul 12, 2010 15:11 PM
rating: -1
 
cggarb

WTF!?

Two days ago, I subscribed to Joe's newsletter and am probably going to let my BP subscription lapse after 8(?) years. Because IMO, he's what's missing from BP these days.

But that post was utterly obnoxious and really out of line. I'll think for a while whether I ask Joe for my money back.

Jul 08, 2010 10:11 AM
rating: 2
 
One Flap Down

Seemingly out-of-left-field diatribes like that usually have some kind of history behind them. The nature of this one makes it pretty obvious Tango's been under Sheehan's skin for quite a while and this comment was the final straw for him.

Jul 08, 2010 10:17 AM
rating: 0
 
cggarb

Sure. Not sure why that became my business, though.

Jul 08, 2010 12:11 PM
rating: 1
 
cordially
(917)

Stay classy Joe.

You know how much of your position is luck? An absolute ton. There are a whole crap load of people out there who could do what you do, you just happened to be right place right time. So, should I grant you know what you're talking about? No, not really. You made some money from your newsletter, since you already had a profile from BP. You got to BP because, like I said, right place right time. So, where's the evidence for this skill in sports content marketing? You write about baseball pretty well - don't presume there's more.

Jul 09, 2010 09:53 AM
rating: 2
 
amazin_mess

Joe, from what I've seen here, is an arrogant asshole. Fuck him.

Jul 12, 2010 11:32 AM
rating: -3
 
amazin_mess

what a fucking douche....get out of here you fucking dickwad

Jul 12, 2010 15:08 PM
rating: -3
 
One Flap Down

I have no data to back this up (presumably only BP has it), but my guess is that the "hidden", -5 comments get more views than most regular comments, especially in a thread with quite a few.

The thought of "let's see what this guy said that was so bad" gets me to click on them, and I'm sure I'm not alone. It seems that having them "hidden" calls more attention to them than they'd receive otherwise.

Jul 08, 2010 10:22 AM
rating: 1
 
Peter Benedict

I love On the Beat and Goldstein; I would read more about prospects.

David Laurila has completely converted me to appreciating baseball interviews. I used to find them universally vapid, but his work has been routinely excellent. I'd like to hear more, both from major and minor leaguers, if more of that level of quality is possible.

For me the biggest negative is that I often feel overwhelmed by numbers and underwhelmed by personality. I have graduate statistical training, but articles about small fractions of value are better when accompanied by application and opinionated analysis.

I love the chats, every single one by every single author. The mix of personality, research, and opinion is a lot closer to what I appreciated in the BP articles of yesteryear.

I can't read Christina any more unless she's writing about a specific team/transaction I care about. Too much convoluted construction, too much assumption of reader awareness. I'm smart, I follow baseball closely, and I read authors who disrespect their readers, but it's just too much. I'm sad when I skip her articles because they used to be among my favorite.

Jul 07, 2010 14:44 PM
rating: 4
 
HMGould

Ditto much of this post, especially "overwhelmed by numbers and underwhelmed by personality."

There are still things which bring me to BP regularly. Love the chats for the reasons above. Kevin and Will are great, and when life gets too crazy even to catch an occasional inning on TV, Jay's "Hit List" is my only baseball must-read. I don't always have the patience for Christina's pieces but I do skim for transactions that interest me and even when I'm not reading, I'm glad she's there. Once in a while BP Radio has something great, often when you didn't expect it to be. And of course there are the PECOTA cards.

Russell Carleton was far and away the most promising addition in these six months, but he didn't stick for some reason.

On the downside...

There are too many dry and detailed articles about teasing data toward conclusions of relatively little interest. There's far too much fantasy content. And the whole site is poorly designed and a nuisance to navigate, especially since the introduction of the Beta Blogs column/page.

John P.'s "Paper Trail" looked like a brilliant feature when it started: a digest of links to five or six non-BP articles of particular interest. But it quickly became a laundry list of 25 or 30 articles, most of them just pedestrian local reporting, an unmanageable mass, a minor chore just to scan for that which might be worth checking out. It was a perfect microcosm of BP 2010.

Look, the site misses Joe badly, even more than I'd expected; as someone said above, Daily Prospectus was the hub around which the rest seemed to rotate. I know all things must pass, but if I had to sum up my disappointment with the site since, it would be that you guys have tried to replace quality with quantity, and for me, at least, more has been less.

Jul 08, 2010 07:28 AM
rating: 3
 
cggarb

All this.

"too many dry and detailed articles about teasing data toward conclusions of relatively little interest."

"far too much fantasy content."

"poorly designed and a nuisance to navigate"

"John P.'s "Paper Trail" looked like a brilliant feature"
(but now, IMO, is a poorly-laid-out Buster Olney blog, aka "an unmanageable mass"

"the site misses Joe badly"

Bingo.

Jul 08, 2010 12:14 PM
rating: 0
 
BP staff member Will Carroll
BP staff

Russell left for a position with a team. I personally wish he was here, though I don't speak for anyone but myself.

Jul 08, 2010 17:41 PM
 
BP staff member Ben Lindbergh
BP staff

As long as you're expressing that opinion, you can certainly speak for me.

Jul 08, 2010 21:59 PM
 
Scott D. Simon

Emphasizing what others have written:

1) I use Opera Mini on my BlackBerry. I won't visit BP from there because the site loads so poorly. Please improve/construct the mobile version of BP.

2) Still waiting for the website redesign promised in January.

3) If I want a player's 2010 stats, I type "Player Fangraphs" into google. Fangraphs lets you customize your own "dashboard" so you always get the stats you're looking for on each player.

4) I used to read everything posted on BP. These days I read:
- Anything by Goldstein, Carroll and Lindbergh
- Most chat transcripts
- The "MLB Rumors and Rumblings" of every "On the Beat"

5) I like reading the above because they analyze *current events* in the MLB world. So much of BP these days is backwards-looking (TA, Hit List) or theoretical (you know what I mean). I said it in January and I'll say it again... I would pay extra in my Premium subscription just for baseball articles by Sheehan, Rany, Silver, Huckabay, Law.

Rany just wrote 5,000 words for his free blog on the Royals' potential trade deadline moves. Law produces high-quality content for ESPN. Silver is an elite political wonk. Huckabay... I have no idea.

At least now I know that Sheehan's been writing a newsletter all year. Sign me up.

Jul 07, 2010 19:55 PM
rating: 1
 
Richard Bergstrom

BP should buy baseball-reference.com and link it up with Cot's Contracts and PECOTA. That would provide unequaled player/team information and give context to PECOTA's projections.

Jul 07, 2010 23:57 PM
rating: -1
 
JD Sussman

I think Mr. Foreman does very well for himself, I don't believe he would sell his cadre of reference sites.

Jul 08, 2010 08:16 AM
rating: 0
 
evo34

Is there any reason BP continues to ignore pitcher velocity data? The avg. velocity tables and charts are prob. the single most useful feature at fangraphs. I have no problem continuing to use them for this information, but it seems like it would be a good addition to player pages here. Ultimately, using pitch types and avg. speeds should allow for creating much better comparable players lists (even if the historical data is not yet deep enough to allow for full use in PECOTA).

Jul 08, 2010 10:00 AM
rating: 0
 
BP staff member Will Carroll
BP staff

Yes. The content is property of MLBAM and cannot be used for commercial purposes. We charge a subscription fee.

Jul 08, 2010 17:43 PM
 
evo34

fangraphs charges a fee for some services, but not for seeing pitch data. This appears to satisfy MLB. Could BP offer the pitch data only its free section as well?

Jul 08, 2010 22:39 PM
rating: 0
 
Darsox64

This thread got pretty meta as far as "ways for BP to improve itself" go...

Jul 08, 2010 13:43 PM
rating: 0
 
trueblue
(127)

"I've done sports content as a business for 15 years. By any standard I'm one of a small number of people to do it successfully outside the mainstream, I've played most of the roles one can play and holy god I'm sick of listening to you act as if you've had 1% of the success the people you criticize have had. How about you grant that I might know what I'm talking about, given that sports content has been my career, without me having to make a business case to someone with no standing to ask for one?"

Yes, for more of this award-winning commentary and insightful analysis, be sure to check out Joe's newsletter!

Jul 08, 2010 13:51 PM
rating: 2
 
Richard Bergstrom

Note that, after two days, this thread has already scrolled off the main page (and it wasn't even a weekend). Yet another argument for redoing the blog format or the search archives format.

Jul 08, 2010 14:03 PM
rating: 1
 
brucegilsen
(999)

Two suggestions.

1. Allow blog posts to be selected by date range, say a week at a time. If they are older than ones on the main blog page on the right, there's no way to get them by date. For example, I should be able to select the blog posts for the 4th week of June.

2. Allow search of reader comments. I comment on here from time to time, and I have no idea if anyone responds. There's no way to find my comments and check.

Jul 08, 2010 19:30 PM
rating: 1
 
BobbyRoberto
(907)

"I've done sports content as a business for 15 years. By any standard I'm one of a small number of people to do it successfully outside the mainstream, I've played most of the roles one can play and holy god I'm sick of listening to you act as if you've had 1% of the success the people you criticize have had. How about you grant that I might know what I'm talking about, given that sports content has been my career, without me having to make a business case to someone with no standing to ask for one?"

I can think of a plethora of major league managers and GMs who could have said something similar to this to Joe Sheehan after many of his columns in the past.

Seriously, Joe, how dare you criticize, for example, Dusty Baker (in past columns) when you haven't had 1% of the success as a major league manager that he's had? How about you grant that he knew what he was doing, given that managing has been his career?

Do you get what I'm saying here? Do you see the irony?

Jul 08, 2010 23:20 PM
rating: 7
 
Drew Miller

My first thought was "Steve Phillips".

Jul 11, 2010 11:18 AM
rating: 2
 
dantroy

A lot of love here for Kevin Goldstein, which I echo. He's one of my favorite prospect guys, for sure, and I think BP has more reliable prospect rankings and information because of him.

One thing I do miss, though, is the Top 50 roundtable discussions the old crew used to do. Is there a way to bring something like that back? When it comes to prospects, nuance and dialogue is really crucial.

Indeed, as a general rule, I'd love to see more roundtable discussions. We got a small taste of that with the CK/KG collaboration on the Cliff Lee trade. There's a lot of smart people who write for the site and I'd love to hear their disparate opinions on prospects, the trades of the day, etc.

Jul 10, 2010 13:30 PM
rating: 2
 
amazin_mess

Stop allowing users to rate comments. It's ridiculous.

Jul 12, 2010 11:29 AM
rating: -3
 
luist2401

Update the Player Forecast Manager on a weekly basis.

Jul 13, 2010 13:05 PM
rating: 0
 
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