Welcome to the Redesigned Crashburn Alley

At long last, we have unveiled the new and improved Crashburn Alley. Thanks to Randy Neil for all of the technical work and to Marcus Price for the logo concept. If you like what you see, check out their site at Squatch.us.

Overall, the site should work just like it did before, but it should look better across a wider range of platforms, whether you’re using a small or a big monitor, or a mobile device. All of our contact info is up in the right-hand sidebar should you want to reach any of us. The comments are now threaded so you can better keep track of conversations when they diverge. Additionally, you can assign a plus or minus vote to each comment, to either side of the big number on the right-hand side of the comment box.

As for the blogroll in the sidebar to the right, which is something that unfortunately gets neglected far too often, if you or someone you know runs an active baseball blog and would like to be included, just let me know in the comments below, on Twitter, or via email. Also, if you notice a defunct blog or a broken link, please let me know.

If something isn’t working right with the site, if you don’t like how something looks, or if you have any other feedback, don’t hesitate to contact me.

Site Update

We had a bit of unexpected downtime yesterday afternoon. Apologies to those of you who were trying to kill some time on a Saturday afternoon before some playoff football. At the moment, Crashburn Alley is in the midst of a redesign, so if things end up going missing, or looking weird or out of place, it’s because we’re working on the new look.

If you’re having any issues using the site, don’t hesitate to let me know on Twitter (@CrashburnAlley) or via email (crashburnalley at gmail). Thank you for your patience and continued readership!

We Are Looking for a Web Designer!

As you can probably tell every time you load the page, Crashburn Alley dot com is in need of a facelift. Somewhere around five years ago, I shabbily customized the current design you see now but as we enter 2014 the year of our Lord, it’s time to get modern.

If you or someone you know does web design and would like a winter project, please send an email to CrashburnAlley at Gmail dot com with the subject “Web Design”. Include your name, your portfolio, what you’ll charge, and any ideas you may have in mind. You should be proficient with HTML, CSS, PHP, WordPress, and Photoshop. Once we get to talking, I’ll discuss specifics, but here are some general ideas of what I’m looking for:

  • Text-focused — we don’t have any licensing with any photo sites so picture-heavy designs are superfluous for our needs
  • Adaptability with mobile devices
  • Custom banner and logos
  • Red/white color scheme
  • Social media integration
  • Modern commenting system (threaded; upvote/downvote) that isn’t a Disqus clone
  • Room for advertisements, including text and banners

Ideally, I’d prefer to deal with freelancers rather than design firms as a way to limit costs. I will most likely not be able to respond to emails until after the weekend.

Programming Note

The baseball season is a marathon, not a sprint, they say. It’s true. For me, I’ve been covering seven marathons since I started this website. In the time since, I’ve added various responsibilities covering those marathons wearing different hats. After the 2013 season, past six years of covering baseball without stopping to catch my breath, I am officially burned out.

Don’t worry, I just need a small break. I’m taking one now, for two weeks. I’m leaving the site in the capable hands of the remaining four, and I’m taking a break from my writing responsibilities with ESPN and NBC’s HardballTalk for two weeks as well. I am not going to write a single article, though some will continue to be posted in my name as I had written them towards the end of October. Gonna recharge the ol’ batteries, you know? Then I’ll come back on the 15th ready to cover the off-season in kick-ass fashion as you’ve grown used to over the years here.

I have three requests for you, the loyal Crashburn readers: 1) keep the place tidy while I’m gone, 2) treat the remaining four well, and 3) leave me some feedback here in the comments. What would you like to see covered here specifically? It can be a trade idea, a potential free agent signing, roster gymnastics, etc. Is there anything you’d like to see added to the website in terms of functionality? If you have any comments, concerns, ideas, questions, etc., leave them below. I’ll come back on the 15th to read and consider every single one.

Thanks. I’ll miss you.

Thank You for A Great Season

It may have been a disappointing season for the Phillies, but nevertheless, it has been another great year interacting with you, the loyal readers and commenters here at Crashburn Alley. On behalf of Michael, Paul, Eric, and Ryan, we can’t thank you enough for making our site a part of your routine. Just because the season is over, though, doesn’t mean we’re going away. We’ll still be here throughout the off-season providing the most thorough and objective analysis of the Phillies around, so don’t clear us from your bookmarks yet.

On a related note, thank you to the diligent writers on the Phillies beat for making our jobs possible and much, much easier. Matt Gelb, Chris Branch, Todd Zolecki and a host of others have been doing the dirty work so the rest of us don’t have to clean the Cheeto and Dorito dust off of our fingers to find something to blog about.

When we’re not posting stuff here, we’ll be putting our thoughts on Twitter, so make sure to follow us:

Starting on October 1st and running well into November, we will be providing report cards on every player to don Phillies pinstripes this season.

We’re Back

Apologies for the sudden disappearance over the last few days. Since the Charlie Manuel news broke, we have had a surge in traffic, which suffocated the servers and forced me to make an upgrade. The transfer took a bit longer than expected, but everything should be back in shape now. Let me know if you are experiencing any issues going forward.

Joining Up with HardballTalk

I will be contributing over at the NBC Sports baseball site HardballTalk for the 2013 season. You can catch me there every evening on Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays. This will have no effect on the content here as the partnership with ESPN remains intact, and I will still be contributing content on the Sweet Spot blog every weekend as well. I just published an introductory post over at HBT, which you can find here if you are interested.

Happy New Year from Crashburn Alley

2012 may have been a disappointing year in Philadelphia sports, but all of us here at Crashburn Alley have had blast writing for you and interacting with you on a daily basis this year, whether here in the comments, on Twitter, on the podcast (to be resumed at some point in the future, by the way), or elsewhere. We hope you’ll stick around for a great 2013 that maybe, just maybe, ends with another Phillies championship. Hey, you never know.

From the five of us here at Crashburn Alley — Bill, Paul, Ryan, Michael, and Eric — we wish you a happy new year to you and your loved ones. Please be safe and responsible tonight while celebrating.

Crashburn Odds and Ends

The Phillies will wrap up the 2012 regular season this afternoon against the Washington Nationals with but one thing left to play for: finishing above .500. The difference between 81 and 82 wins is effectively meaningless, but it would be a nice token nonetheless, ensuring the tenth consecutive season of above-.500 baseball. 2012 was a rollercoaster, starting with some frustrating April losses, followed by a seemingly neverending rash of injuries, a terrible June swoon, and selling in July. As the Phillies are wont to do, however, they heated up tremendously in the final two months, giving us exciting baseball well into September. We certainly didn’t expect the Phillies to be making golf plans in October, but if you ask me, the 2012 season was still fun and interesting.

I would like to thank all of you who loyally stop by Crashburn Alley regularly for your Phillies analysis. The success we have had over these many years (since August 2007!) couldn’t have happened without your support, and 2012 was another banner year for us. We’ll continue to provide Phillies insight and analysis throughout the off-season, so don’t take us out of your bookmarks yet. In fact, to ensure a strong off-season, I’m happy to announce that we have added another writer to the blog: Eric Longenhagen, who has worked for Baseball Info Solutions as a video scout. Eric has a wealth of knowledge about the Phillies’ Minor League system and scouting in general, so I am very happy that he will be lending his unique perspective here. Unfortunately, due to time constraints, Bradley Ankrom wasn’t able to juggle his many responsibilities, which includes covering the expanse of Minor League baseball at Baseball Prospectus. We wish Bradley all the best as he does great work.

Before I wrap up, I’d like to briefly go over a few more topics. First, we recorded a podcast with Jon Bernhardt and Lana Berry last week, but we ran into some audio troubles, rendering our guests’ microphone feeds more or less unlistenable. We are doing our best to perform a miracle, but it looks like that podcast is going into the garbage bin, sadly. However, we intend to put out several podcasts throughout the off-season, so expect more from us in the not-too-distant future. Secondly, the first and second place prizes for both Crashburn fantasy baseball leagues will be awarded at some time during the off-season, hopefully sooner rather than later. I will send out some emails when everything has cleared. On another note, I will be accepting guest posts throughout the off-season, so if you have a unique perspective you’d like to share, feel free to submit a guest post to my email (listed below). Make sure to include relevant links to your website and social media so people can find you if they like your work.

As always, if you have any suggestions, questions, or concerns, please leave a comment below or contact me via Twitter, Facebook, or email (crashburnalley at gmail). Make sure you’re following everybody else on Twitter as well: Michael Baumann (@MJ_Baumann), Ryan Sommers (@Phylan), Paul Boye (@Phrontiersman), and Eric Longenhagen (@Longenhagen). Finally, if you’re fearing pending boredom throughout the fall and winter, consider grabbing a copy of my book “100 Things Phillies Fans Should Know and Do Before They Die,” which was released back in January. You can order it online or find it at a local bookstore, including Barnes & Noble.

Now on to the end of the regular season, the new landscape of MLB’s post-season, and a potentially exciting off-season for the Phillies…

Feedback Needed: Game Threads

Going into the season, we decided adding game threads for every game would be a great way to get more of you involved. There appeared to be a good amount of interest in April, but as the season went on, the participation waned. Last night’s game thread had less than ten responses, perhaps the ultimate justification of the 90-9-1 rule. However, The Good Phight’s thread had over 500 responses for the same game. Not that we’re competing, but 534-10 is very imbalanced and indicates that we could be doing better. The threads tend to have life when I am participating, but I can’t always be in front of my laptop while watching the game, and they should be self-sustaining anyway.

As a result, we are discontinuing the game threads and Cover It Live chats until further notice.  However, we want your feedback on what you liked and didn’t like about the game threads. What would get you to participate on a regular basis? Feel free to leave feedback on anything else about the blog as well. We can’t improve without your constructive criticism.