04 April 2008

This Week's Hacks (Summer Squash)

Within MLBlogs, the opening of the baseball season, remarkably, took a back seat to...MLBlogs itself, which compromised - and in many cases, squashed - basic functionality to several hundred paying customers - with no meaningful advance warning, nor tech support worth a damn. It would take eons to catalogue the layers of ineptitude discovered to date, spread across the Planning, Design, Build, Test and Rollout stages of this embarrassment (is MLBAM even familiar with these phases?), and that is not the purpose of this post.

To begin to understand where MLBlogs fits into MLB's heirarchy, this article, written by the golden fellow (at left) "in charge" of MLBlogs (left), is illuminating.

To begin to understand how bluntly MLB implements much higher profile projects, read this, or this (hat tip: Russell)

When things are this wrong, you cant just say, "It's all Newman's fault." Well you can, but it's a little like blaming the President for everything wrong in the country. There's truth in it, but the approach isnt wholly instructive either. What you can say is this. Or this. Or this. And every MLBlogger absolutely has to read this.(hat tip:Russell)


The questions posed to Bill James in this extensive New York Times Q&A are unusually cogent, and his responses characteristically provocative. It may squash some popular notions about James, and I promise it'll wake up your brain in the process (hat tip:Nick Piecoro)

Finally, here's a handful of Phoenix restaurants I recently reviewed on the Yelp network. Bon apetit.


Russell said...

Great Bill James interview, and I was particularly pleased to see that he proposes the limiting of pitching changes in later innings. I personally would not allow a pitching change until an out has been recorded or 3 batters faced, but I will agree to differ with him on this.
On the whole MLBlogs thing, it takes a certain kind of genius to make something free and then lose a lot of good bloggers,and annoy everybody else.

Matt said...

Yeah, James has been advocating that for at least 15, maybe 20 years. The NYT piece didnt really fit with the theme of the post, but it was such a good interview, I didnt want to let it pass without a link. I thought his dual passion for making sense of mysteries inherent in baseball and criminology was an interesting connection, and one gets a sense throughout that he has a deep appreciation for the mystery and , for lack of a better word, magic, of baseball.

"it takes a certain kind of genius to make something free and then lose a lot of good bloggers"

I dont think Mark's stupid; maybe not very imaginative, but he's a bright man. But clearly most humans have a very different view of what constitutes a "good blogger" than he does. It's not hard to spot Mark's "good bloggers". They're the ones who hog 90% of his promotion, and like Alyssa Milano, "magically" have slideshow widgets and new link capabilities in their sidebars.

Mark, Alyssa & MLB's insiders are dining on summer squash. As for the rest of us, Let them eat cake.

Michael Norton said...

Artistically clever juxtaposition of images!

Personally I've found Mark Newman's intelligence rather limited. This isn't being snarky, just an honest evaluation. I think that is one reason for the bluster when confronted with his blundering. Arrogance, they say, is a substitute, albeit a poor one, for intelligence.

You are right, though, that this isn't all Newman's fault. It is the attitude MLB and MLBAM have towards its clientele, the fans, that is the core of the problem.


Michael Norton - Some Clubhouse

Russell said...

Actually I think that Mark is the media equivalent of what I believe the Rolling Stones called a "Starf****r".
But if I was his boss (oh if only) I'd be wanting to know where was the impact MLBlogs was making outside it's small circle-but I very much doubt that MLB as a whole want discussion of controversial issues or lively debate,hence the site has developed how it has.

Matt said...

Artistically clever juxtaposition of images!

Thanks for noticing :-)


In his dreams.

Mark's so lonely he's reduced to lobby complete strangers that he's madly in love with himself.


As far as I can see, no takers.

Russell said...

I in no way wished to suggest that Mark was actually "getting any", merely that he loves to hang around "famous" people. Hence every blogger with any kind of reputation will inevitaby find Mark commenting on their blog in the hope of a response.
His marathon blog is interesting (or rather it isn't) because it's actually quite dull. He's not that good a writer and what he clearly hasn't got is a sense of humour about himself, which given the constant references to his "book" he clearly needs. If I had to psychoanalyse him from that site I would say that he is in the stages of a mid-life crisis (running marathons,writing that novel he's always wanted to write,listening to rap music, and yearning for approval). I guess in a way it's quite poignant. Of course he loses all sympathy when he has the temerity to complain about Amazon's customer service! And there's a poem on there that defies description.
I also notice that he has a son called Matt.You're not are you?

Russell said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Michael Norton said...


I can't even find out who Newman's boss is. He denies he has one. I've clung to that hope for two years that someone at MLBAM would raise the question as to why MLBlogs is not living up to its potential. More on that later on my blog.

You've always been a master of images. That is one of the things that makes your blog so interesting.

I've always wanted to play with images, but was concerned they would get hosed when MLBlogs made its oft promised upgrade. That is another example of what I've been arguing about: MLBlogs is simply too unpredictable to function as a robust blog host.

Matt said...


I agree re midlife crisis, but Mark's personal life doesnt ail me. It's that he allots time to this silly blog at all while MLBlogs is in intensive care. His blog, the marathon training, the novel writing, the sweeping technology update he outlined for MLB's homepage, the incredibly inadequate customer support, all suggest that the guy "in charge" of MLBlogs does precious little work there - even during a crisis.

I deleted your comment above because, well, it didnt meet minimum standards for diction and whimsy. Welcome to my world!

(Actually, I like how Blogger documents the comment deletion rather than simply erasing the entire entry as if it never happened, a la MLBNewmanland)


I can't even find out who Newman's boss is.

Me neither, but a Robert A Bowman is President of MLBAM



Sorry about the publish delay on some of your previous comments. I messed up a setting but it's been corrected.

Matt said...

Learning html on the fly :-)

MLBAM Wiki page /

Michael Norton said...

I'd already found the same wiki page and CEO of MLBAM. Been considering what to do with the information for some time now.

I'm not out to get Newman fired, though I believe he deserves it. Problem is, they all do, from what I've seen. It isn't just Newman. Jake is as big of an ass. Their attitude seems to be part of the corporate culture of MLBAM, indeed MLB.

So what'dya do? I'm so disgusted I've considered a boycott like the one after the 1994 strike.

Jeff said...

Ah, how nice it is to have "permission" to comment. There are so many places where I don't have permission.