Thursday, February 12, 2009

New Season

I begin the drive to Peoria on Saturday morning, so I've been busy with a number of items this week in preparation for the new season, including this blog. Let's travel back for some context.

Back on May 9, 2008 the Padres returned from a very difficult nine-game East Coast road trip that resulted in a 2-7 record and four consecutive losses at the back end. Our record when we left San Diego was a disappointing, but manageable, 10-16. 12-23 upon our return, however, was both more daunting and more frustrating. Nevertheless, it was a Friday night with over 30,000 fans at Petco, and Jake Peavy was taking the mound against Colorado. All was well, and the Padres held a 1-0 lead through five innings.

In the top of the sixth the Rockies loaded the bases on a bunt and two walks before back-to-back singles drove in three runs. We didn't even manage another hit until Kevin Kouzmanoff's one out homer in the bottom of the 9th, and we lost 4-2. Sorry to make you relive it.

Rather than being at Petco, however, I was sitting behind home plate at UC Irvine doing some amateur coverage while following the Major League action on my blackberry. Despite not seeing even one pitch of the Padres game, I was really aggravated. On the ride home from Irvine, I just kept thinking, "We have to do something! ANYTHING!"

This blog qualified under the "ANYTHING" category.

The point of all this is that in my haste to get up and running late that Friday night, I overlooked (or ignored) a bunch of details... the first of which is the platform of the blog. I literally opened up google, typed "blog" and saw blogger right there at the top. Without hesitation, I plowed through the setup process and was blogging within minutes (side note: when starting something that may require a significant commitment, decisions are best made after a good night's sleep). The ease of use is a ringing endorsement for blogger, but over the past nine months I have found that it comes with certain limitations.

That being the case, I'm here to ask for advice. I've done some research on the topic, but I'm curious to hear your opinions on the various platforms out there - WordPress, TypePad, etc. As you've seen, I've dabbled with a few features (polls and such), but I'd like this blog to have greater capabilities - a nav bar with some different pages, ability to host live chats, and anything else that may seem fun and useful. So, I put the question out to you.

The second item I've been considering for a while is the comment section. The first step was to decide whether or not to allow comments. This was an obvious "yes" in my mind. One-sided conversations generally aren't very compelling conversations, especially when you're on the "receiving" end. The second step - how to monitor/screen those comments - wasn't so obvious to me. I knew there would be the inevitable critical comments of the Padres as well as those that would berate me for ruining this organization or that one. I hoped they were at least original and entertaining.

I really wanted to avoid a handful of things:
  • personal and/or mean-spirited attacks on people associated with the organization - players, coaches, front office, etc - because they weren't choosing to create this forum
  • rumor creation
  • derogatory comments about players with other organizations
  • spam

Fortunately, I have been able to publish well in excess of 90% of the comments, and I think it's great that readers often respond to the comments of other readers before I ever get the chance. Which leads me to the next question: should I simply allow all comments without any pre-screening?

To be honest, I would absolutely prefer to allow everything (assuming I can delete inappropriate material) because it will afford readers the opportunity to hold real-time conversations as opposed to waiting around for me to login and check up on things. Again, I'm interested in your input.

The last item is I've been thinking about is content. Part of my job here is to spend time in the different areas of baseball operations - amateur scouting, player development, and Major League operations. For me that big puzzle is what makes this job so much fun, but I don't assume that everyone else is equally interested in non-Major League topics. So, what would you like to see here during the 2009 season - more of a Major League focus or continued posts from each of the different areas of baseball operations?

I look forward to your feedback, but I reserve the right to reject all your comments. :-)

Pitchers and catchers report on Saturday.

52 comments:

Zach Sanders said...

Paul,

I would recommend Blogger over WordPress and TypePad. I used Blogger for quite awhile, and signed up for WordPress and TypePad just to compare them.

If you want some more features, I suggest you download a blogger template that has more columns.

Still, all of WordPress and TypePad's hosted blogs has extreme limitations.

You could consider contacting a site that hosts blogs, such as MVN, as they allow multi-page functionality while letting you control your content.

Myself, I used Blogger for over a year, and switched to MVN a few weeks ago. The change has not been noticed by readers, but I enjoy the multi-page and other features.

To host live chats, I suggest Cover it Live. I myself have not used it, but many other sites do.

As comments go, I have always let them all publish, then edited them out later.

Content wise, I enjoy all things baseball operations.

RAMPAGE said...

Paul,

I love hearing anything and everything with the 'insiders' perspective.

I am an A's fan with little or no interest in the Padres but I love reading the blog to hear your opinions on evaluation or anything else that has to do with the baseball operations.

If I were you I'd keep posting anything that you feel like posting, I enjoy it all.

wrveres said...

check out drupal.org.

It is a full featured, open source, content management system, including blogs, forums, polls and the works. It is currently in use by a number of newspapers, and there is no limit as to how you can customize it.

As for comments, just require registration. How hard can that be?

Personally I would love to see more padre fans interact here, but I get the impression they are starting to tune you out, as this site has become more of a place for Moneyball fans, and Paul DePodesta fans.

neifichicken said...

Few notes:

1) I think a blog feature that would allow a live chat would be incredible. If Blogger doesn't facilitate that, then perhaps the search should continue.

2) I think all comments should be posted in real time, and you should just have the ability to delete any inappropriate comments and/or spam. You could also appoint a mod or two to clean things up when you can't always check.

3) As for content, I think things are pretty good as is, the one suggestion I might have is perhaps trying to get some "guest appearances" from other members of the front office. That might be a hard task, but it would be cool to see a post from Grady Fuson (although he might be a bit too old-school for a blog post) or Jeff Kingston or KT. Just an idea

4) Maybe get rid of the "Word Verification" for posts, nothing is quite as frustrating as losing a post because you mispelled "pqveltus"

Andrew said...

Can I have a job in your office?

David said...

Paul,
I have little to add on the mechanics of blogging, but I do have a comment on commenting. I actually think it's better if you do screen comments to a certain extent. I think one thing this blog has had going for it is that many of the comments are well thought out and advance the discussion. If you read the comments section of the U-T, where it seems the only thing that gets you deleted is blatant profanity, the discussion turns pretty juvenile and mean-spirited in a matter of seconds.

I also appreciate you hosting this blog. This team was difficult to watch last year, I anticipate it will be difficult to watch this year as well, but I will always be a fan. As such, I appreciate learning about the game and about the decision making process.

SammyG said...

It's your blog, make sure you screen the comments before they are posted or it will take away from what we all really want: information/thoughts from Paul Depodesta.
You want to keep the "poster xxx is fat" type of comments off (which was ugly at Ducksnort), but it would still be nice to see sensitive questions posted like;
"Paul, do you get a little bit of satisfaction every time Ned Colletti makes an idiotic move?"
Even if you will not/shouldn't/can't answer a question like that, it good to see what people ask you.

68elcamino427 said...

Please open things up.

You might consider having some conversations with Ken from the Toaster or Jon.

Dan said...

Paul,

My last comment was sent in haste -- in a similar manner to your setting up this blog.

I think the best platform for your blog would be Movable Type or Wordpress. You can build on top of any platform, including Blogger, but in my anecdotal experience, Movable Type is the strongest for your needs. Content providers such as Harvard Business Publishing (for whom my roommate develops) use Movable Type. The ease of use that you praise is available through the other content providers as well. Input stays the same even if your output looks a lot nicer :)

To address a few more of your questions -- you should certainly allow comments, but you might reconsider the optimal way of doing so. Is your blog the best container for interaction? Would you see greater benefit from a more dedicated discussion forum, where you had regular interaction with participants? Even if this participation was scheduled, say once weekly, it would create a different communication touchpoint for you and your readers.

For example, I read your blog through Google Reader, and according to the analytics they provide, I am one of 1,032 individuals doing so. I'd guess that a large majority of those users don't read the comments within your blog posts, since they don't show up as new entries, and Reader only pulls the new content that you provide as a "post."

So, should you allow all comments? Probably not, since you're a public figure and, I could be wrong here, might face potential scrutiny from Major League Baseball. But a blog or website could take any number of directions, and strengthen your dialogue with readers.

I'm rambling. Sorry. Again, I'd love to help if you are interested. I am deeply passionate about baseball analysis, and also love the web.

Cheers,
Dan Chaparian
chaparian@gmail.com

Travis L. said...

Paul,

I'm glad that you started blogging -- I think we'll look back in a decade and mark your blog as the first of many, and the first to embrace the openness of new media.

I'd suggest that you try out a hosted WordPress blog (don't think you want the hassle of taking care of your own hosting, etc.) I prefer WP over TypePad, just because (IMO) the WordPress plugins are superior. It's those plugins that will allow you to keep spam off the site w/o moderation.

WordPress has an option to allow "trusted" commenters to post w/o blog owner approval. You should first try opening the blog to everyone, however, I suspect that it will deteriorate quickly (I'm looking at you, ESPN blog commenters...) Somewhere in the middle might be ideal -- if you trust a particular commenter, then allow them instant posting priviledges. This way, you will also have the option to ban users if they become unruly (another WP plugin feature).

For the '09 season, I personally would be very interested in some of the other aspects of the Padre organization. I know that you work in the operations dept., but you may consider having someone from Marketing or Ticket Sales do a guest post from time to time. With respect to the baseball posts, I have no preference to MLB/ minor league sides; if you have the material to comfortably rely on the ML club, keep at it! Otherwise, you may find that the wider range of material afforded by the minor league extension very helpful.

Please feel free to shoot me an email if you have any questions about blog software/ hosting platforms -- I'd be happy to assist.

But most of all, please continue to post regularly. The level of outreach afforded by this blog really keeps me engaged with my Padres, even when times are dark (like they seem to be here).

As a request, can you comment on Peavy's eligibility for the WBC? I recall he blamed some arm problems on his participation in '06: will he play this year?

Sincerely,
Travis Leleu

Ron B. said...

This blog is a HECK of a resource, Paul. I think, for what you do that it's very important that you screen comments. It's work, but I think for the sanctity of your blog, it would be better for you. Big time bloggers like Seth Godin don't even bother with comments at all, so...really, the value of them for you, I think would the ability to network a bit with readers.

Maybe you can decide that some posts simply don't need moderation, some posts don't need comments at all and others do. I dunno if Blogger allows that, but I imagine it must.

As for blogging platforms, this is the easier way to "get out there and go" and it seems to work for a lot of folks. The better solutions out there are one that you'd have to host yourself and maintain (or get someone to do it for you) and that could be a hassle for you, I suspect.

Depending on what you wanted to do -- live chats, etc. -- there are lots of tools out there that you could use to make it easier on yourself to that end, but my suggestion to you would be to implement them on an as-needed basis.

GonzoSteve said...

WordPress is pretty much the standard among people I know, though I'm not personally familiar with it.

As for comments, given your position, I think pre-screening is a smarter idea. Just look at the UT forums or comments to any of their articles, and you can see how quickly they can devolve into sheer idiocy, even with a moderator to remove offensive posts.

Melvin Nieves said...

I run a self-hosted Wordpress setup on my own blog (shameless self promotion--the url is in my profile) which I enjoy. It allows the most customization, due to the open source nature of Wordpress and the availability of plugins. Just about any functionality you can dream up has a plugin out there to get it done.

The benefit of a self hosted blog is the design itself can be customized, though this may be a bit unfair since I am a web designer. There are however thousands of free wordpress themes available, with a ton of features, and any competent designer can put together a great looking theme.

Another option would be a wordpress hosted blog, available at wordpress.com. You're a bit more limited there, but it does remove the hassle of using a web host.

Personally, I'm not a big fan of the Blogger design or commenting system. Not very usable in my opinion. I haven't tried TypePad.

As for live comments, let me give a definite resounding YES! I think they would greatly improve the way we discuss. Wordpress has built in spam filtering which works like a charm, our slightly popular blog gets maybe 1 spam comment every few months.

Although I do understand the problems which can occur with anyone being able to post anything, especially for someone in your position. I have found that blog owners who cater to and cultivate the right environment (as you have, along with guys like Tom Tango and JC Bradbury) keep problems away most of the time.

Plus you can always drop the banhammer.

As for content, what I love the most is what isn't out there elewhere. Cliches don't do it for me, even if they are the "feel good" variety.

I want details, the kind you don't get in your average MLB.com story. Don't tell me a hitter is successful because he "makes adjustments". Tell me he's successful because he stands up taller in the box for pitchers who like to go outside, or uses a wider stance to see the ball better. (I just made those examples up, I have no idea if they actually work.)

I also love minor league and hot stove details.

Anyway, most importantly, thanks for asking our opinion!

Melvin Nieves said...

I forgot to mention, you're always welcome to join our team covering The Padres at The Sacrifice Bunt.

Chris said...

I agree with many of the outstanding posts in here. While I do think your "clientele" is a bit better than most, I think opening it up will quickly turn into a free-for-all, resulting in some ugly stuff. As has been mentioned, Padres.com and the U-T are perfect examples.

As for the content...definitely give us all the angles you can. At times, it just seems like the PR face of the Padres where you pretty much toe the party line (understandably so). Seeing some of the other aspects might free you up a bit more (or not!).

Thanks, again, for doing this...no matter which course you pursue, I'll be checking in.

By the way...I'm really hoping you'll stick with SD after the Moorad group takes over. Can you comment on that at all?

Melvin Nieves said...

(That was a joke, by the way)

B.E. Earl said...

Wordpress has two options available for you. They can host your site or you can download the software and run it on your own. The latter offers the most flexibility while the former is much easier.

But if you are thinking of making the switch to wordpress.com then I would say you shouldn't. Blogger, while imperfect, at least allows you to play around with the html of your template. I don't believe you can do that on wordpress.com.

I have blogs on both Blogger and Wordpress and I like Blogger. Or course, I downloaded a Wordpress-style template because I like the looks of it better (I particularly like the option of the tabs on the top of my blog).

But, so far, I haven't seen anything you can do on wordpress.com that you can't do on Blogger.

Generally, I am against comment moderation. But given your public profile I think it is the best way.

Melvin Nieves said...

I forgot to mention. I think Ron B. brought it up, but I know at least Wordpress (can't say for the other platforms) allows comment whitelists, so once someone makes their Nth comment any future comments are automatically approved.

John said...

Wordpress is different from TypePad and Blogger, in that it's hosted by you, on your personal website. TypePad and Blogger both host your site for you. Wordpress is, in my opinion, a lot more customizable and flexible, but also requires more time spent in the set up and maintenance. (Although I'd wager you could get some of the Padres IT guys to help you out.) TypePad and Blogger both take care of a lot of the "behind the scenes" stuff for you, but at a minor cost. I've used TypePad and Wordpress, and I'm more preferential to Wordpress.

That being said, check them all out and see what works best for you. They're all good services - what really matters is the content, and you're doing a great job with that already. As long as you're putting up new content and keeping us Padre fans engaged, everyone wins.

Scott said...

Paul,

My compliments on your BLOG, both in concept and execution. I suggest two things:

1) Enlist fans as moderators to keep out the riff-raft. You control the moderators and they save you tons of time.

2) Talk to the Padres and MLB about connecting this BLOG to the Padres site, and consider expanding it as a BLOGGER for players and other staff, as they have the interest and time available. Make it unofficial, with legal disclaimers and all. I think it'll be as much fun for many on the Padres as it is the fans.

However, if you don't do #1 above, a combination of the vindictive few and the BLOG's success will make this a drain for you rather than a delight. Of course, the Padres could pay administrators, but engaging a dozen fans to take on the task as volunteers is a better way.

By the way, there's nothing better after a 99 loss season than to give new "stars" a chance, and to get off to a strong 2009 start. Let's get to it!

Thanks,

Scott in Oceanside, CA

field39 said...

Paul

First things first. Thank you for writing this blog, providing accessibility and most of all, for providing thoughtful answers to snarky questions.

I will leave the mechanics of it all to other and stick to content. What I like most is in depth information about the organization and how it functions. I thought the series of blogs about the draft, were all anyone could reasonably ask for. Yet I wanted more.

CardiffRob said...

I would think it would be to your advantage to have one or two of the posters on this group as your content assistant. That person could monitor the comments and delete any that are derogatory. That would relieve some of the pressure on you and keep the discussion lively.

Any aspect of MLB, trades, training, MILB, hairstyles, whatever is interesting.

Cheers,

CardiffRob

dgao said...

Next time you're at UCI scouting, I would love to meet you there!
Were you scouting Gorgen, Stowell, or Linton?

As for the blog, everything is great as is.

Ryan said...

Paul,

Your best course of action here would be to accept your offer to be your volunteer behind-the-scenes guy for this blog.

There's nothing wrong with Blogger, and it has few limitations. The only limitations that exist are the limitations of its users.

I don't mean this as a slight to you. You're running a big league baseball team, not spending your days learning CSS and Javascript. And that's good!

But all of the things you mentioned wanting to do are easily available within Blogger (page layout, menus, etc.) or with the aid of freely available outside resources (live chatting).

Of course, I'm no web design genius, but I am free and willing! Feel free to email me. :-)

Yo. said...

I will follow the blog regardless of the platform (chats sound like a great idea ... there's programs that can be used very easily to do this).

As far as the content, I'm very interested in amateur ball (particularly analyzing collegiate baseball), so I'll be glued to those types of pieces. But, I'm guessing I'm in the minority on that.

Joshua said...

I guess if I were to list one thing that I wish were different about your blog, it's more interaction between the posters and yourself. The simple idea of your blog is ground breaking and it's provided several good reads over the past few months. My real one criticism though is there is very little interaction between the posters and yourself. I certainly understand you are a busy man and I also understand some things simply can't be commented on. I guess I just wish if a question is asked, there is at least a 50% chance it will be acknowledged by at least a comment saying I can't really go into great detail about that. In a perfect world, an e-mail back and forth on topics to large to address in the comments section would be very great. Perhaps the lack of interaction is simply my imagination, I know several of your articles developed from comments made by posters but virtually every comment I posted on this blog was filled with questions and I can't remember to many being addressed. Regardless, I'll continue to read when new articles are posted and I'll comment when I feel the itch to do so.

The Oriole Way said...

No preference on the hosting issue, so long as you enable full RSS feeds.

As someone interested in baseball generally much, much more than in the Padres specifically, I really enjoy your writings on the process involved with running a team; that is, how do you evaluate players, think about roster construction, how do you allocate your time between the various functions?

matthew houskeeper said...

I use Blogger and have been happy with it, despite some limitations.
Once in a while, I receive a comment from a "male enhancement" visitor, but it is easy enough to remove.

I would open up the comments.
If it turns into a problem, you can always go back to approval only comments.
The reason the UT threads devolve into a free for all, is because they are not strict enough, or consistent enough with their removals.
Let people post freely, but have a comment policy that you fully enforce.

Geoff Young said...

Paul, I'm a big fan of WordPress because of its customizability, although the self-hosted version does require a bit of maintenance. As for comments, I've fallen in love with pre-moderation. Part of the reason you can run 90% of what is submitted is that people know their comments will be moderated, which forces them to think before they engage the keyboard. Speaking from personal experience, this makes a huge difference in the quality of conversation. Yes, you lose some immediacy, but if people want instant gratification, there are plenty of forums available. I'd prefer to see a higher level of conversation here.

And thanks for asking.

JEB said...

Paul,

Thanks for doing this. You give unique insights.

As far as content, the elephant in the room is the ongoing ownership change, which has gone unnoted here. I realize it's awkward to analyze your past and future bosses, but there must be a safe angle of approach.

I thought you were at your best during the draft and would love to hear more about the minor league affiliates.

Paul R. said...

Unfortunately, I don't have the technical expertise to recommend a blog software for you; however, I would like to suggest that comments continue to be pre-screened for the site. The content changes that you suggest are exciting-occasional chats would be a good addition

M Oswell said...

Paul,

Enjoy your blog and appreciate a "front office" perspective on team and general baseball issues.

I frequent a couple of blogs were arguments become heated, and whatever your policies for commenting are they should clearly state what behavior will get someone banned - and them you haver to follow through and ban them! It puts an added responsibility on to you, but your site will suffer it the trolls aren't controlled.

The situation at Ducksnorts got crazy, but I'm not sure the site will be as interesting without real time comments. I'll have to see when the season starts whether I feel compelled to visit.

One suggestion during spring training - since I'll be in Peoria during spring, I'd be interested in who you'll be watching in the minor league camp and what to look for; maybe the guys who aren't highest on the radar screen. I know you can't play favorites, but...

Thanks

Paul DePodesta said...

There is so much great stuff here. Thanks to everyone for taking the time to respond with your thoughts and ideas.

I have to say that some of the responses weren't exactly what I was expecting, which makes me even happier that I did this.

Thanks again.

The EveryServer said...

I would love to see you do more posts on the scouting and talent evaluation side of the game. Knowing a bit about the process and the guys you're taking a look at makes Padres fans more knowledgeable and allows us to get excited about and acquainted with the kids coming up through the minors. Right now, the future is really all we have to get excited about so I think it'd be fun to know more about the process.

SwingingFriar19 said...

I agree with many of the other comments on moderation. Moderation is needed to keep the quality of conversation high on this blog.

I think having a few posters moderate this blog for you would keep this a positive experience for you. Anything to lighten your load and allow you to just post and answer questions without any extra hastle.

If you do choose to enlist some moderators here, I hope they will moderate with an iron fist. The comparison in conversation between this place and the UT comment sections is unbelievable.

matthew houskeeper said...

I disagree that pre-moderation increases the quality of the conversation. I think it creates an environment where many are trying to appease the moderator. You end up with a bunch of yes-men, instead of an honest discussion. Just look at the blogs with pre-moderation. They almost always are preaching to the choir. Pre-moderation discourages dissent.Someone is less likely to post if they feel that the moderator will disapprove of their viewpoint.
A true quality discussion includes many different viewpoints. Not just variations of the same theme.
If you want a honest and open discussion, open it up. Just put a comments policy in place, and enforce it consistently, and across the board.

mweldon said...

Whatever you do, please don't make me join Twitter or Facebook. I am happy to have been able to stay tweet-free up until now.

Steve24 said...

Paul,

Like everyone else, I enjoy the blog.

I'm not big on the tech side of things, but I think it might be cool if you had an MLB and Minor league section. I like to read about both, but sometimes it's nice if it's broken up so you can just get the info on one or the other.

I think ESPN allows commenting in real time. Half the time the comments are outta left field but I think everybody understands that the opinions expressed there are not espn's and they just ignore them until deleted (at least thats what I do). Keith Law will reply to the comments at lot of times which is one main reason why I always look forward to his work.

A separate chat area would also be cool.

Links to the Pads minor league teams with their stats and stuff would be fun too. Maybe people who write for their websites could come in and be guest writers here and chat us up about whats going on with their teams.

I think it would be fun to set up a fantasy baseball league for the blog follows, sorta like what they do on mighty xx with rotohog & football.

I'd also like to get your thoughts on Sports Management Worldwide. Been thinking about taking some of their classes but never feel totally confortable signing up for something I'm not sure is legit. You guys ever consider grads of SMWW when hiring?

Steve24 said...

Paul,

I would like to get your thoughts on the 2b position. Are we seeing a changing of the guard at the position?

Last year at times we saw Colorado use Ian Stewart and Jeff Baker at 2b. Now I'm hearing about Mark Teahen in KC, Skip Schumaker in St.Louis and possibly Mark Reynolds in Arizona (a long shot) being used at 2b. Maybe one would consider Jeff Kent the mold for these types of moves where you sacrifice a little defense to get a whole lot more offense.

How do you weigh the defensive side of the position vs the offensive upgrade you'd get with a better yet less mobile hitter playing there?

I pose this question because right here in SD we seem to have a log jam in the OF (Giles, Headley, Hairston, Gerut, Floyd... maybe Venable/Macias). With a definite need for Offense, why not consider Chase Headly or Scott Hairston at 2b this spring?

I understand we signed David Eckstein to play the position and we want to give L.Rodriguez a shot at SS. Wouldn't it be nice to at least let Headley & Hairston get some innings at 2b this spring to give Bud more options later in the game if we need offense? Or on days where he wants to give Eckstein or Rodriguez a day off?

My expectation is that Antonelli and Denker need to play every day so they'll be in AAA.

I'd think you'd want Headley and Hairston to play every day as well but you need to play your other OF as well. Do you really need to play Eckstein every day when he's really not in your long term plans?

Michael said...

Paul,

One enhancement to your blog that would seriously spark more attention is to conduct weekly Podcasts. I envision three Podcasts per month as follows:

1. Minor League Updates
2. Dominican League Updates
3. Front Office insights/interviews

Michael

padredude said...

Paul,
Thanks for setting up this blog. I appreciate the insight into why certain things are being done. We all want to win, some fans just don't understand the economic side of it.

Deadcat2 said...

Paul,

I think the content has been great so far, and more of the same would be my hope.

As a diehard Padres fan I come here for the insight you offer on all aspects of the organization. That includes drafting, development, free-agency, roster construction, trades, player analysis, acquisitions, negotiation processes, and anything else that you care to offer. In my opinion there is nothing you have ever written here that was not worth the read.

As for the comments, I think it is very important to keep things from devolving into what you run into in most other fan forums. I won't pretend to know the best way to do that, but I strongly suspect that it does NOT involve allowing open comments without some form of moderation.

wwilson said...

Please continue posting "anything and everything" baseball operations.

Hendo said...

Blogger seems to work OK. (My blog uses a custom engine that has been tirelessly engineered just for us by Ian Koski and for which enhancements will roll out in about a month. We used to use WordPress, which wasn't all that great.)

Moderating comments is a pain for everybody. My advice would be to try to find a way to validate email addresses, but otherwise just to let the comments flow through and clean up as you go.

You've done great with this site and I'm enjoying it even though I'm on the other coast and root for a different team. Please keep it up.

See you guys at Nats Park in July.

Patrick said...

Like may others have mentioned, I love your blog because it offers a look into a side of baseball that most fans never get to see. The additional topics you mentioned are also great: amateur scouting, player development, and Major League operations. There simply is no other resource for these topics.

Blog format: There are two main types of blogging platforms: hosted and self-hosted.

Hosted blogging platforms take care of many of the technical details for you - you just sign up for a blog and start blogging (Examples: Blogger, WordPress.com, TypePad). The downside is that they may have certain limitations regarding availability of certain themes (blog's skin design), plugins (add functionality), and more.

Self-hosted blogging platforms offer greater flexibility and control, but require a steeper learning curve and time commitment. (WordPress.org is an example - you install the software on a domain you purchase).

Which blogging platform is best?I use a self-hosted WordPress blog. For what I do, it is simply the best platform.

But your needs are different - you need a quick and easy way to reach the masses without spending a lot of time and energy learning the technical side of blogging.

Unless you can hire an intern or dedicated blog manager as part of the Padres staff, your best bet is probably a hosted platform like you already have.

There are different themes (designs) available for hosted blogs, you just need to find them. Try Googling "Blogger themes," "TypePad Themes," or "wordpress.com themes" to see what is avilable that will fit your needs. As long as you can find a theme that meets the structure you are looking for, you should be able to modify it a bit by adding a photo to the header or changing colors.

Best of luck deciding on your blogging platform and thanks for giving the fans insight into the front office. :)

dan said...

"amateur scouting, player development, and Major League operations. For me that big puzzle is what makes this job so much fun, but I don't assume that everyone else is equally interested in non-Major League topics."

Paul, cover everything you do. I'm interested in everything. If people aren't, they'll skip over. The reason this blog is so unique is that it gives direct access into thoughts from inside the organization. We want that. Why decisions were made, the expected outcomes, and the back-up plans. Thank you for your work. I hope you continue to blog for us for a long time.

brodiejoe said...

Hi Paul -
I would strongly suggest using the Wordpress engine for your blog.

It is extremely flexible and customizable, which will allow you to have a unique setup, based on your own specifications.

Comments: I can understand how visitors to your site can get very emotional so I would suggest the need for each viewer to create an account before actually being able to post.
That way, in the event that this person is a "bad seed", you can disable his account for a time (or forever!)

The format of your site is great -- I think readers like myself enjoy reading about the inner workings of a professional baseball team.

I am a web developer and if you are interested, I would love the opportunity to assist you with the new version of your site. You can see my portfolio here: Gorirra Consulting.

*Note: My newest sites in the portfolio are actually powered by Wordpress.

Regards,
Joey
www.gorirra.com

Dan said...

I suggest some screening of comments, although I suspect that people reading your blog are more reasonable than the average message board. Quite frankly, I highly value your input.

I was a lifelong Dodgers fan until McCourt changed directions and let you go. You did a great job for the organization and I'm now a Padres fan.

axion said...

User self-moderation is not out of the realm of possibility, either. Check out joystiq.com for a proof of concept in action. "trolling" gets voted to the bottom, giving you more time to focus on whatever else instead of moderating as much.

Will said...

Paul,

I think it's great that you're considering writing about some of the inner workings of a MLB front office. Even though some may consider these facts minutiae, others (like me) will be intrigued by an insider's perspective on the business. But, it's your blog, so you call the shots.

On a somewhat related side note, I had the chance to meet Kevin Towers in December '04. We talked shop for an hour or so, and he was nice enough to sign my Baseball-Prospectus from earlier that year, and Edit the Padres section.

In a way, your blog is an extension of that conversation.

Cheers,
Will

Josh said...

Paul,

I'm a big Dodgers fan (and didn't mind your tenure) and just want the front office insight. Even if it is for the Pads. It is cool to hear your opinions regarding the players, transactions, scouting, etc.

I think most of us would love your job but in reality are in other careers so the insider info is great and interesting. Keep up the good work.

Feel free to offer LA, Peavy for Kershaw and Kemp (I'd do it - if we get Manny...)

Josh in Newport Beach

David said...

Paul - I too vote moderated format. What I would like, though I don't know if it's possible, is to be able to search the comments as well as your blog entries. You can on regular google, but you can't in the Blogger search box at the top. You can imbed a google search to allow for that.

You also dutifully add labels to your entries, but you don't have an index to search them. Sure it's best for historical purposes and you want this always fresh, but it makes it easy to look back.

I would also be interested if you have access to the MLB stats pages for you to set hyperlinks from the player's names to their stats sheets. I really love stats.

Thanks for your work.