Batter's Box Interactive Magazine Batter's Box Interactive Magazine Batter's Box Interactive Magazine
Anyone who has ever implemented a technical upgrade, or been affected by one, knows they can get complicated. We've been tweaking a new design for Da Box for a few weeks now, and after a great deal of testing, we're as ready as we'll ever be to implement it. Please be patient with us tonight and tomorrow, as we go live with our new look. The site may be slow at times, because this will involve several complete rebuilds of the archives. Most glitches will be temporary, but we do appreciate bug reports if you are experiencing technical difficulties. With any luck, we'll be better than ever by Monday.

Joe Drew, who hosts the site on his server, has done yeoman work on this project. If he's the Barry Bonds of HTML, I'm a utility infielder in an independent league. On a test site, Joe has made Greymatter, our blog engine, do several things I didn't know were possible. We are also grateful to the Blue Jays communications department, which allowed us to use some player images for our new banner, and to Aaron "Named_for_Hank" Reynolds for his graphics wizardry.

I hope everyone enjoys the changes. Meet the new Box, same as the old Box...
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The following comments are owned by whomever posted them. This site is not responsible for what they say.
_Mark - Saturday, January 31 2004 @ 02:32 PM EST (#78423) #
Have there been any thoughts about implementing an RSS feed for For those unaware of this, it's an automatically generated file in a special text format which typically contains a summary of current articles and links to them that can be read by multiple sources, i.e. news aggregators. They're great for quickly checking multiple sites for new links. A large number of other blogs have one. As an example, here's a preview of the feed for Baseball Primer.

It's straightforward to make one (instructions). I used to use Greymatter for my personal blog (not baseball-related) but have since moved to b2evolution, which uses a database backend rather than plain text files that Greymatter uses. It didn't take too long to set up, although converting my old entries was a bit of a hassle). There is a bit of a limitation in GM in that it currently supports only displaying the two most recent entries, however people have written workarounds, such as this one which allow a more complete listing of articles.

Anyway, if you guys need some help or would be interested in generating an RSS feed for I would be happy to lend a hand.
_Ben - Saturday, January 31 2004 @ 03:39 PM EST (#78424) #
I know this may sound way out there, but is there a way to get a chat room linked to the site? It would have several drawbacks, such as having to register to use the site but in game chat would rock.
Pepper Moffatt - Saturday, January 31 2004 @ 03:41 PM EST (#78425) #
We can use the chat room on my site. It's not great, but it'd do.


Lucas - Saturday, January 31 2004 @ 05:04 PM EST (#78426) #
Whee! New Site!

Thanks to all who put in the hard work.
_R Billie - Saturday, January 31 2004 @ 05:18 PM EST (#78427) #
I'm sure you guys are aware but it looks like there's an error in the left navigation area under the Jays official site link.
_Jack Cooney - Saturday, January 31 2004 @ 05:20 PM EST (#78428) #
IRC (Internet Relay Chat) is probably the easiest (and most robust) chat solution. I had a blast talking with the baseball primer folks during the playoffs last year. If people are interested, I can see about putting together a HOWTO and setting up a channel when I return from Australia in mid-March.
Coach - Saturday, January 31 2004 @ 05:27 PM EST (#78429) #
So far, so good.

The archives have all been rebuilt, and the new Box Navigation links seem to work. I'm sure there will be a few minor issues, but they shouldn't be too difficult to solve. If you run into something unusual, let us know in this thread or drop me an e-mail.
_Brent - Saturday, January 31 2004 @ 05:55 PM EST (#78430) #
Wow. The new design is even better than I imagined it. I must say that the colour scheme is very attractive, and the new logo at the top looks neato.

I think the biggest upgrade is the ease of finding old material. The archives are very well organized and designed. And another kudos goes out to Gerry for the farm system page. Good well done gentlemen.
_S.K. - Saturday, January 31 2004 @ 06:00 PM EST (#78431) #
Not sure if you guys have noticed, but "10 Hot Topics" on the sidebar has only 3 topics below it =)

The site looks terrific! Love the new categories, makes it very easy to find great old articles...
_Joseph Krengel - Saturday, January 31 2004 @ 06:05 PM EST (#78432) #
Very shiny! I've been perusing this site for a few months now and I'm looking forward to browsing with this new outlook. Well done.
_nate - Saturday, January 31 2004 @ 06:14 PM EST (#78433) #
looks good fellas ...
_Robbie Goldberg - Saturday, January 31 2004 @ 06:17 PM EST (#78434) #
Great job guys. The site looks great!!!
Coach - Saturday, January 31 2004 @ 06:18 PM EST (#78435) #
"10 Hot Topics" on the sidebar has only 3 topics below it =)

Yeah, we're working on that one. That script isn't running at all on the new index pages, like Roster and Analysis, because they end in .htm instead of .shtml, so we still have some tweaking to do.

Have there been any thoughts about implementing an RSS feed for

Mark, thanks for the suggestion and the helpful links. We'll make that our next project, once the dust settles from this one. If we get stuck, we'll even take you up on the offer to help.
Pepper Moffatt - Saturday, January 31 2004 @ 06:18 PM EST (#78436) #
Not sure if you guys have noticed, but "10 Hot Topics" on the sidebar has only 3 topics below it =)

That'll change once people reply to more threads.

If you do spot any bugs, you should let us know. Joe has done a marvelous job stomping out most of the bugs so far.


Joe - Saturday, January 31 2004 @ 06:23 PM EST (#78437) #
For those who care: the new design is a standards-based one which doesn't use tables for layout. It should also decrease loading time a bit: the data sent out over the wire is less now that we're using an external CSS file which browsers can happily cache.

I have gone through a lot of heartache and hair-pulling to get this site to render properly in Microsoft's Internet Explorer. I hope IE users will not find any bugs, because the standards support in that browser is atrocious and buggy, and it's hard to work around. That being said, if you do see something that doesn't look right, e-mail me.

If you are using Internet Explorer, I think you may enjoy a different browser, Mozilla Firebird. Even if you've used Mozilla before and didn't like it, give Mozilla Firebird a try. It's my browser of choice on everything but my iBook.

Technical details aside, it's a joy working with the roster of Da Box. Kent Williams, our very own Coach, is one of those (seemingly) rare people who are able to, given a pointer to information or a mention of a given piece of functionality, find, understand and use it. This type of person exists in very short supply; I am lucky in that I live with two of them during my school terms in Waterloo and my last work term, at SOMA Networks, put me smack dab in the middle of several such folk. All I ever want when I'm collaborating with people is the knowledge that the work will get done properly; Kent provides me with that knowledge. Thanks for everything you've done, Coach.
Gitz - Saturday, January 31 2004 @ 06:37 PM EST (#78438) #
Hey! This looks fabulous. Thanks for all the hard work, Kent, Joe, et al. However, in looking over the BB Roster, I was shocked to see Burley voted captain. Is this a democracy here or what, because my vote would have gone to Moffatt, for his unflagging good Canadian cheer.
_Gwyn - Saturday, January 31 2004 @ 06:52 PM EST (#78439) #
"10 Hot Topics" on the sidebar has only 3 topics below it =)

My bad. I fixed it.
_Gwyn - Saturday, January 31 2004 @ 07:00 PM EST (#78440) #
By the way Joe's right. Mozilla Firebird rocks.
_Brad - Saturday, January 31 2004 @ 07:09 PM EST (#78441) #
Outstanding! Thank you Joe and Coach and all else who gave their time and efforts!
Coach - Saturday, January 31 2004 @ 07:22 PM EST (#78442) #
Thanks for all the kind words, everyone. Truly a team effort.

On the "old" site, which of course is the same site with different templates, when we used the [pre] command, the font size was rather small. Some authors got around that by including the [big] command as well. I've noticed that in this new format, the [pre] text in Leigh's trade catalogue became "too" big, but in most other archived entries, that text is now more legible. So I'll be editing the [big] tags out of a few more articles (I just did Part 5 of Leigh's series) and it's no longer necessary to use [big] when posting fixed-width text in entries or comments.
Pepper Moffatt - Saturday, January 31 2004 @ 07:26 PM EST (#78443) #
I was shocked to see Burley voted captain. Is this a democracy here or what, because my vote would have gone to Moffatt, for his unflagging good Canadian cheer.

Are you trying to illustrate why democracy doesn't work? :)

I would've voted for that punk Gleeman. I like his style.


_Rob - Saturday, January 31 2004 @ 07:26 PM EST (#78444) #
Very nice guys. I was surprised when it opened (BB is my homepage) and I thought I was somewhere else. I can't imagine how much effort it took. To Joe, Coach, et al, excellent work.
_Mark - Saturday, January 31 2004 @ 07:29 PM EST (#78445) #
Coach: OK!

New site looks great! My only comment is that it's optimized for 800 x 600 resolution. In 1024 x 768 the comments extend to the right past the banner up top.

I'm also a Mozilla Firebird user (and have been for seemingly ages now) as well and it totally rules. No more popups or ads (Adblock), tabbed browsing and all sorts of great extensions are available (like Web Developer and Googlebar). Once you switch you can't go back.
Thomas - Saturday, January 31 2004 @ 08:01 PM EST (#78446) #
I thought my bookmark had been corrupted for a second. Great job you guys, I think it looks very good and I'm quite impressed.
_Andrew Edwards - Saturday, January 31 2004 @ 08:10 PM EST (#78447) #
Looks really great guys, congratualations.
_Rob - Saturday, January 31 2004 @ 08:21 PM EST (#78448) #
And thanks, Joe, I just switched to Mozilla. Much better than Microsoft...but isn't everything?
Craig B - Saturday, January 31 2004 @ 08:24 PM EST (#78449) #
We don't vote for captains here, Gitz. Keep your mouth shut or I'll bust you back to waterboy.

Seriously, "Captain" was forced upon me by Kent and Jordan. I'd be just as happy being the Minister Without Portfolio in our three-man cabinet, but it would be unbecoming to turn down such a singular honour.

As for the redesign, we're thrilled that so many of you are happy with our new look. Thanks for keeping that counter spinning, and by all means, let us have it if there's something you don't like.
_Mark - Saturday, January 31 2004 @ 08:44 PM EST (#78450) #
For anyone new to Mozilla Firebird, get yer ice-cold extensions at

I particularly recommend the following:

Everyday users

* Googlebar (better than the Google's own IE extension)
* Adblock (block ads)
* IEView (adds a right-click menu option on links to display page in IE, if needed)

Web developers
* Things They Left Out (advanced options such as certificates and MIME types)
* Web Developer (amazingly useful tools for designing web pages)
* User Agent Switcher (for spoofing other browsers)
Coach - Saturday, January 31 2004 @ 08:55 PM EST (#78451) #
it's optimized for 800 x 600 resolution

That's just one of the issues where we made a "lowest common denominator" decision, and I'm sure there are a few 640 x 480 users out there who will think the banner is too wide. :)

Joe understates the case when he talks about "a lot of heartache and hair-pulling" getting this to work in older versions of Internet Explorer. We didn't want to leave any readers behind, but making the improvements work in IE 5.x took creativity and determination.

"Captain" was forced upon me by Kent and Jordan

If only Craig knew the other titles we considered...
_the shadow - Saturday, January 31 2004 @ 10:31 PM EST (#78452) #
WOW. I'm amazed and very impressed
_Willys Family - Saturday, January 31 2004 @ 10:36 PM EST (#78453) #
Fantastic job, I thought I'd gone somewhere else or the box
had gone somewhere else. You guys are really something with the
time you all put into this new change let alone the site itself.
_Spiffy - Saturday, January 31 2004 @ 10:44 PM EST (#78454) #
Heya guys.

Been lurking here for a while, and I just came home from work, loaded the page, and HAZAAH!

I gotta say, i like the new look a lot. Simple, but sleek.

Good work, folks.... as always : )
_Roger Davis - Sunday, February 01 2004 @ 12:42 AM EST (#78455) #
I've been a Jay's Fanatic since '83 but only found your site about three months ago. It was terrific. The new clothes are superb! Congrats on a brilliant site now brilliantier... you know what I mean.
_Akira - Sunday, February 01 2004 @ 01:35 AM EST (#78456) #
everyone else has already said it, but i think you need to hear from everyone who loves "da box" and just know what an amazing job you've done with the site and the new layout. It looks fantastic! Congrats to everyone involved, it is very evident that this is truly a labour of love.
_Johnny Mack - Sunday, February 01 2004 @ 02:12 PM EST (#78457) #
The new look does rock, says another committed (certifiable?) Firebird user.
_Donkit R.K. - Sunday, February 01 2004 @ 02:33 PM EST (#78458) #
I just downloaded and installed Firebird and am pleasantly surprised. Looks like a keepeer
_Matthew E - Sunday, February 01 2004 @ 02:54 PM EST (#78459) #
Looks good. Congratulations.
_Jabonoso - Sunday, February 01 2004 @ 03:14 PM EST (#78460) #
Congratulations for all improvements!
Nice job.
Dos centavos: What about having the capabilty to go down to last post with one click or to have posts in rounds of twenties for a page. Some threads are like a minute long to scroll :)
Saludos afectuosos.
_Rob - Sunday, February 01 2004 @ 03:27 PM EST (#78461) #
Buen pensamiento, Jabonoso. (I apologize if that Spanish is wrong, I just used the Google translator) It does take a while to scroll through long threads, especially the Hijack Centrals.
_Jabonoso - Sunday, February 01 2004 @ 04:08 PM EST (#78462) #
Spanish lesson: Pensamiento is a tought in your mind and an Idea is when you express it, so it should be: buena idea ("eedaea" pronun. )
Just read a 1955 winter league series recap: Willie "The Player" Mays won the most valuable in that series (3hrs 9rbi's) over slugging SS Don Zimmer and fellow OF Roberto Clemente. ( Zimmer a player: that's history... )
_S.K. - Sunday, February 01 2004 @ 06:11 PM EST (#78463) #
Zimmer was a SHORTSTOP? Dude is built like a fire hydrant...
Dave Till - Sunday, February 01 2004 @ 07:57 PM EST (#78464) #
It's hard to believe Jim Fregosi was once a shortstop too.

Congratulations on the site redesign - great work, everybody.

I've been using Mozilla for a long time, but I think I'm off to go install Firebird. :-)
Craig B - Sunday, February 01 2004 @ 11:30 PM EST (#78465) #
Zimmer was a SHORTSTOP? Dude is built like a fire hydrant...

Not just a shortstop, but also an all-star second baseman. Zim was a really versatile defender and a pretty decent defender at all his positions. He had pretty decent power, but couldn't hit much otherwise.
_Blue in SK - Monday, February 02 2004 @ 05:59 PM EST (#78466) #
Congrats fellas. Site looks great, just in time for those hallowed words "PLAY BALL!"
_Matthew E - Thursday, February 05 2004 @ 11:34 PM EST (#78467) #
Your new banner.

I can't put my finger on how this works, but if I catch it out of the corner of my eye, I could swear I see Spider-Man instead of two ballplayers and a maple leaf.

Is it just me?
_Jordan - Friday, February 06 2004 @ 02:06 PM EST (#78468) #
Yeah, I can kinda see it too. Of course, I've been a huge fan since Peter Parker, the Spectacular Spider-Man #3, so I could simply have Webhead on the brain.

I think it's the effect of the two stripes of red separated by the stitching -- it gives the impression of a mask.

Anyone know who's playing Doc Ock in the sequel?
_Matthew E - Friday, February 06 2004 @ 02:21 PM EST (#78469) #
Yeah, I heard it was Alfred Molina. COMN for more on Molina.
_Jordan - Friday, February 06 2004 @ 04:46 PM EST (#78470) #
Matthew, that is one cool site -- the JT Walsh Memorial section alone contains Sean Bean and Clancy Brown, two of my favourite actors. Consider it bookmarked.

Molina should be fine -- I imagine his German will be as convincing as Alan Cumming's was in X-2. It could be a lot worse -- back when James Cameron was briefly set to direct Spider-Man, Doc Ock was slated to be played by Ahnald.
_Matthew E - Friday, February 06 2004 @ 05:08 PM EST (#78471) #
Matthew, that is one cool site [...] Consider it bookmarked.

If you're browsing through the forums there, I post as 'majael'. Actually, if you see a 'majael' on just about *any* internet forum, chances are it's me.

I mostly remember Molina from the Maverick movie. He played the heavy.
_Matthew E - Friday, February 06 2004 @ 05:29 PM EST (#78472) #
Actually, people here might be interested in this. The site I linked to above, Fametracker, is part of a family of websites known collectively as Damn Hell Ass Kings ( Among the worthwhile sites in this family are Tomato Nation (run by a Yankee fan; there are several baseball-related columns in her archives), Television Without Pity, and Chicklit (book-focused website, primarily but not exclusively aimed at women). Anyway, I wrote an article for Chicklit once, a set of baseball book reviews aimed more or less at the female non- or semi-baseball fan (I'd include [i]Moneyball[/i] if I had it to do over). COMN if you want to read it.
_Matthew E - Tuesday, February 17 2004 @ 09:28 AM EST (#78473) #
By the way, what's the icon that shows up in my bookmarks list beside this site? It looks like a little black smudge of some kind. I can't tell what it's supposed to be.
_Steve Z - Wednesday, February 18 2004 @ 10:49 PM EST (#78474) #
With the current flood of threads, might I suggest having 20 Hot Topics on the left, instead of 10? I'd also like to take the opportunity, finally, to thank Joe, Coach, Jordan, and all of you who continue to make this the best online baseball/Jays community around!
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The following comments are owned by whomever posted them. This site is not responsible for what they say.