Some Changes At USSM

Dave · April 19, 2010 at 12:00 pm · Filed Under Mariners 

With Derek off to take over the fiction writing world, obviously USSM has lost a pretty big asset. We’re not going to be able to replace him, nor are we really going to try. But that doesn’t mean that we’re just folding up our tent and going home. To offset his loss, we’ve made some changes behind the scenes, and this post will hopefully help clarify what the site will look like going forward.

1. Remember that server move from a few weeks ago? Well, that was the first step in a partnership we have entered into with FanGraphs. USSM is now a partner site with FanGraphs, and David Appelman has agreed to host the site for us as part of the agreement. For you guys, the biggest change is that the site should hopefully never go down again, even on trade deadline day, and we should have more ability to resolve technical issues when they arise.

You’ll see some other minor tweaks as well. We’re going to make it a habit out of linking our player names in the posts to the player pages at FanGraphs, and we’ll be able to add some pretty neat Fangraphs-style things to the site as we go forward. Overall, we expect that this partnership will be nothing but a huge benefit to the site, and the effects you see will all be positive.

However, as we shift to being hosted by FanGraphs, we have to pause and give a massive thank you to the folks at Digital Forest. For the last few years, they went way above and beyond to help the site, allowing us to stick a server on their rack and keep the site alive. When we needed a hand, they offered one, and for this, we are exceedingly grateful. We are not switching hosts because we were unhappy with them – the exact opposite is true. We felt bad taking advantage of them in the way that we did, and it was time for us to no longer be an undue burden on their good graces. But, yeah, the guys at Digital Forest deserve a massive thank you, and if you need local web hosting, we can’t recommend them highly enough.

2. Why did we choose to partner with FanGraphs? Well, there’s one pretty obvious reason, and you may have seen it announced over there earlier today. I have agreed to take on a full-time position with the site, and when I graduate in May, I will officially make my living as a baseball writer. Partnering USSM with FanGraphs solidifies a relationship that is already strong to begin with, and there are quite a few natural advantages that we should be able to take advantage of.

There is probably no job I could have landed that could be a better fit for allowing me to write for USSM in a similar way to how it has been in the past. As part of my employment with FanGraphs, I have retained my ability to write here just as often as I have in the past, and that was pretty important to me. By taking this position, I should be able to bring some continuity to the site in a time where we’re going through some pretty significant changes.

That doesn’t mean that all will continue exactly like it has, and there will be some changes in where I write different kinds of pieces. In the past, I’ve posted both Mariner specific content and general baseball theory stuff here, because this was my primary outlet to place my thoughts. Going forward, it’s pretty likely that any future pieces like the Evaluating Pitcher Talent piece would be written over at FanGraphs, and most of my writing here will be mostly about the local team. Hopefully, you’ll just make both sites a regular part of your reading schedule, but we’ll also work to make the content from over there easily accessible from this site, so that you won’t miss out on those types of baseball theory articles.

3. Additionally, as we’ve brought on some other bright minds to write here recently, I won’t be having to hold down the fort by myself. We’ve been lucky enough to keep Jay Yencich and his prodigious minor league information, but also have added Marc Webster, who will be contributing both major league and minor league information, and JH, another frequent commenter whose voice I respect, and will be chipping in from time to time as well.

There’s no way I’d be able to keep this place going by myself, but I’m lucky that I don’t have to. With three great co-authors, we should be able to keep the site loaded with similar content to what you’ve become accustomed to over the years. It won’t be exactly the same, as none of us can copy Derek’s unique style, and the type of writing I do here has changed a bit, but we’ll try our best to still make this a place where you can get great information about the team and the game as a whole.

We’ll have some more announcements in the future, but we believe that those will all be improvements to the blog. If you have any questions, feel free to leave them in the comments or email us, and we’ll answer them as well as we can.

Comments

26 Responses to “Some Changes At USSM”

  1. jld on April 19th, 2010 12:14 pm

    Congrats to you Dave, for turning a passion into a career. May we all be so lucky.

  2. Liam on April 19th, 2010 12:26 pm

    Fangraphs is like HFCS, it’s in everything these days. I wake up and it’s in my Hardball Times, at work it’s in my ESPN and during the live game threads it’s in my SB Nation. It’s great to see the site take off like it has.

  3. Carson on April 19th, 2010 12:28 pm

    This is excellent news.

    Selfishly, I’ve been sitting here waiting for the day that you said you’re too busy with other stuff to continue on here.

    Luckily, FranGraphs is an amazing site so if you working there full-time also means we don’t lose you here, then huzzah.

    Congrats on the gig and the next step in yuor career.

  4. drjeff on April 19th, 2010 12:47 pm

    Congratulations on the gig, Dave! That’s awesome news.

    The DMZ farewell really made me think about how it would have felt to lose the whole site, and it was not a pretty thought.

    I’m happy that there will be an ongoing reminder for me to obsessively refresh FanGraphs, too. :)

  5. Alec on April 19th, 2010 1:00 pm

    Congrats Dave. USSMariner took what I loved about Moneyball and turned it into a coherent worldview. This site, along with Fangraphs and LL, helped me get through my statistics courses in college, since whenever I got bored with finding a the relationship between showers and lateness to class, I would go back into these archives or LL’s or start playing with Fangraphs numbers to demonstrate try out a concept or method on something I was interested in. Your work on the economics of wins have also been some of the most illuminating information I have found about sports. I like to think that the work you guys did in creating what I believe is the most educated (baseball-wise) fan bases in baseball (at least the largest saber community) played a major (or at least some) role in Lincoln and Armstrong giving up control of personnel decisions when they hired Jack Z. It wouldn’t surprise me at all if Jack knew all about USSM and part of the Seattle appeal was a dedicated group of fans that would understand and appreciate his work. Now, if only they’ll take your advice about Sweeney!

    In all seriousness though, this blog got me through the rough patch of years between the end of the Piniella era and the new, Jack Z era. I don’t know if I could have stayed interested without the work of the M’s blogosphere. I’m glad to hear that you get to keep doing what you love, and have been ecstatic to see ESPN finally trying to catch up (by bringing in the right people!). When my brother (a D-I soccer player, not a huge baseball fan) called me last summer to tell me about this awesome new stat he saw called UZR that was so much better than errors, I knew the saber movement had finally completely caught on. Keep up the great work, and I’ll keep up singing your praises!

  6. rcc on April 19th, 2010 1:15 pm

    Congratulations. I wish nothing but success for Derek, and I am delighted that Dave can make some real $$$ while maintaining the best baseball blog on the net.

  7. okdan on April 19th, 2010 1:17 pm

    Congrats, Dave. That’s an amazing opportunity with FanGraphs, and you absolutely deserve it. Keep it up.

  8. JMHawkins on April 19th, 2010 1:19 pm

    With Derek… obviously USSM has lost a pretty big asset. We’re not going to be able to replace him, nor are we really going to try

    I was worried that to replace Edgar Derek, you were first going to sign Steve Kelley or Bob Finnigan, then when that didn’t work out trade Jay and Marc to IndiansConfidential for a pair of platoon writers.

    I think the Fangraphs hookup is a much better idea. Congrats on the full-time gig Dave. I already check out Fangraphs regularly, and since you’ve been trying to limit your M’s-centric writing over there anyway out of a sense of balance, I’m glad you could work out a way to write for both places.

  9. vj on April 19th, 2010 1:31 pm

    Congrats on the job at Fangraphs! I think everyone will miss Derek’s contributions to the site but at the same time we’re glad that the good ship USSM will steam on.

    May I make a suggestion: the line “Seattle Mariner and baseball analysis from Dave Cameron and Derek Zumsteg” at the top lefthand corner should be updated to include the new contributors.

  10. IdahoFan on April 19th, 2010 1:42 pm

    Two additional benefits to this.

    1. Dave’s wife, “Honey, are you watching another game”, Dave, “No, I’m working.”

    2. Dave and Geoff Baker are now professional colleagues.

    Seriously, congratulations!

  11. joser on April 19th, 2010 1:43 pm

    Congratulations — this seems like the best possible outcome for both you and the site (other than not having Derek around, of course).

    May I make a suggestion: the line “Seattle Mariner and baseball analysis from Dave Cameron and Derek Zumsteg” at the top lefthand corner should be updated to include the new contributors.

    Or, if that gets unwieldy, perhaps truncate the names completely and add a contributors / authors Colophon section — you need to have someplace for emeriti like Derek anyway.

  12. florient on April 19th, 2010 1:54 pm

    Over last couple weeks I’ve been unable to access ussm on my android phone. Too many server redirects… and this bums me out. Anyone else have this problem? Is this due to the site moving?

  13. bigpoppa01 on April 19th, 2010 2:01 pm

    So will you be getting a Hall of Fame vote, or anything like that?

  14. NBarnes on April 19th, 2010 2:13 pm

    Congratulations, Dave! Live the dream, man!

  15. mlathrop3 on April 19th, 2010 2:33 pm

    With the advent of things such as “multi-tab browsing” I don’t think it will be much trouble to follow you on both sites :)

  16. vj on April 19th, 2010 3:01 pm

    Another suggestion if I may: It would be great to put up a post with a link to DMZ’s ten best posts. Some are easily accessible (Bugs Bunny, Evaluating Managers and the Attrition War linked on the left), some a little burried (Evaluating Trades can be found in USSM Orientation at the top) but there are others.
    Here are a few I found worth mentioning:
    five years of USSM
    Safeco Field Ticket Guide
    Unethical!!!!
    One of several posts about the bleachers in centerfield landing
    One of many posts about the team’s creative accounting
    One of the annual comments on the team commercials.
    On the Moose and Coco
    Another one on the Moose

    And I found this gem from a different retired and missed USSM writer: Evil Rick [Rizzs]

    I found these while looking for two classics: Derek’s guide on drinking Beer at Ballgames and the story how he got attached by the Moose. If anyone could pull up those two, that would be great.

    PS: I hope I didn’t mess up the links.

  17. Carson on April 19th, 2010 3:12 pm

    So will you be getting a Hall of Fame vote, or anything like that?

    If I recall, he’d first need to gain admission to the BWAA and then retain membership for ten years.

    To put it in perspective, Rob Neyer, who has written an insane number of words for ESPN.com is only in his first or second year of BWAA membership. So, yeah, it’ll probably be a while yet for Dave.

  18. Milendriel on April 19th, 2010 3:33 pm

    Awesome, Dave! Congrats!

  19. Zero Gravitas on April 19th, 2010 3:41 pm

    Congratulations Dave. You’re putting together a pretty awesome career, as well as the awesome websites.

  20. Marinersmanjk on April 19th, 2010 5:49 pm

    2. Dave and Geoff Baker are now professional colleagues.

    Seriously, congratulations!

    Was comparing Dave to Geoff Baker a compliment? Dave is way better than the buffoon who wouldn’t even vote Edgar into the HOF.

  21. naviomelo on April 19th, 2010 5:50 pm

    This is awesome. I actually cheered when I read that Dave was getting a full-time job at Fangraphs and that USSM would still be part of his duties. I love this blog! Does this mean that, in a sense, you’ll be paid to write content for USSM?

  22. Breadbaker on April 19th, 2010 6:05 pm

    We will know the world is moving in the right direction the day Dave Cameron gets a Hall of Fame ballot. And it may not be as far away as you imagine.

    This is all good news (other than losing Derek’s voice here, which is understandable but still a shame). There are a lot of times when I’m posting and I have to open another window to link to Fangraphs to make sure I’m not making too much of an idiot of myself by checking stats; now it will just be a click on a link.

  23. scott19 on April 19th, 2010 6:32 pm

    Congratulations on the new gig, Dave!!

  24. bill1410 on April 19th, 2010 8:37 pm

    Congrats Dave, that’s wonderful, so glad about your full-time gig and that the site will live on. I too was upset for selfish reasons about Derek’s post (but good for you, Derek, too) and I’m pleased to say that of all the bunches of sites that I have regularly read since blogging first came around — I don’t know, 8 years ago? — this site, and this site alone, has been part of my readership the entire time. And I’m not even a huge Mariners fan lol (actually more of a Phillies fan). But I always come back to USS Mariner thanks to you and Derek, and I hope you guys realize how great you’ve been to us readers.

  25. Greeff on April 20th, 2010 5:13 am

    Or, if that gets unwieldy, perhaps truncate the names completely and add a contributors / authors Colophon section — you need to have someplace for emeriti like Derek anyway.

    Just like they do on Fangraphs!

    And also congrats Dave !

  26. JerBear on April 20th, 2010 9:16 am

    The DMZ farewell really made me think about how it would have felt to lose the whole site, and it was not a pretty thought.

    Same here. I hope you know that we don’t take this place for granted. Things are bound to change and evolve over time, but I’m totally stoked about this development. You get a full-time paying gig with FanGraphs, and we still get top-notch Mariners analysis at USSM. It’s the best of both worlds.

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