I've been thinking about the future of this blog a lot recently, and I've run into more questions than answers.
What do I want out of it? What do I want it to look like? What do I not want it to look like? Do I want to try and make some money off of it now by taking ads or devoting all of my posts to a paying group blog? Would I rather make a long play and try to get a real job out of it over the next couple of years? Would I be a partner at my law firm right now if I hadn't started this blog in the first place?
Answering those questions in various ways presents all kinds of options, and not all of them are mutually-exclusive. They're all difficult questions, however, and since I can't see the future with a crystal ball, they have become somewhat agonizing questions to consider. Well, not the partner one. I don't think I ever really wanted that.
What I do know, though, is that I want three things above all others: (1) the ability to reach as many eyes as possible; (2) some assurance that as many of those eyes as possible are connected to functioning brains; and (3) the continued ability to write what I want in a space that is mine and mine alone.
Putting those things together led me to accept an offer made by The Hardball Times to relocate ShysterBall to its esteemed pages. The move will be effective sometime in the wee hours of Monday morning, December 1, 2008. I'm pretty excited about it.
So why move? An easy answer is traffic. While I'm pretty proud of the level of readership this here blog has garnered in the 20 months it's been live, the fact is that you sort of plateau once you get to a certain point with a stand-alone blog. THT has many more readers, and given their content, I know that they're smart readers who will be interested in the kinds of things I write.
A less shallow answer is -- and please pardon my use of this awful word -- synergy. As you may know, we simulposted "And That Happened" on THT this summer, and all parties agree that it was a success. There were people who would have never otherwise read ShysterBall reading it, and people who would have never otherwise read the THT Daily post in which it appeared reading that. All-in-all, I think moving the whole kit and caboodle is a chocolate and peanut butter kind of move, with my jackass opinions complementing THT's stats and analysis quite nicely. Both THT and I are interested in seeing if we can't crank the Reese's Cup factor up more.
The beauty of the move is that virtually nothing you have come to know and love about ShysterBall will change. It will still be me and me alone writing it. I'll still be writing the same kinds of things with the same level of frequency. Comments will still be enabled. You can still set it up in your RSS feed or whatever it is you crazy kids are doing these days. The only thing that won't be there is this generic, off-the-shelf Blogspot template. I asked THT's Dave Studeman if we could keep it, but he explained that the code behind it is far too ancient for THT's servers to translate. Alas. If you're curious what it will look like, you can get a pretty decent idea by checking out THT's Fantasy Focus blog. I think my little baseball player next to the blog title will be a batter, however.
As for location, there will be a tab at the top of the main THT page that says "ShysterBall." It will obviously have it's own permanent URL as well, but I'm not going to give it to you now because we're still testing stuff there. Of course, I'm sure you URL hackers can figure it out if you apply yourselves. I'm probably going to have this URL and Shysterball.com automatically redirect to THT starting Monday morning, but I'm a technical idiot, so I'll probably screw that up.
So that's that. I know no one likes change. I especially don't. But I think this is change we can believe in, and my understanding is that everyone likes that sort of thing these days.