Batter's Box Interactive Magazine Batter's Box Interactive Magazine Batter's Box Interactive Magazine
Upgrades Ensure Continued High Quality Content

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
February 19, 2005

TORONTO -- You know how some big league ballplayers will kick the chalk line around to re-draw the batter's box to better fit what they want as they step to the plate? Well, it's time for Batter's Box, formerly "Batter's Box Baseball Blog," to kick the technical chalk a little bit, expand its virtual space and continue to grow into its All-Star potential.

"We're pleased to present a key voice for baseball fans in Canada, and as our readership has grown, around the world" said Batter's Box General Manager Jordan Furlong. "Because of our Canadian roots and Toronto home base, the content on the site can focus on the Toronto Blue Jays. But we bring much more to the plate than that," he said.

Furlong noted that four members of the regular "roster" of contributors to Batter's Box have been fantasy baseball columnists for ESPN.com, while several others are currently contributors to the popular Hardball Times site.

Batter's Box has also proved a stopdown for Blue Jays players throughout the organization, as in its two-plus years online, the site has featured exclusive interviews with David Bush, Gabe Gross, Jason Frasor, Reed Johnson, Aaron Hill and Russ Adams, ex-Jay Kevin Cash and brand new Jay Spike Lundberg, among others.

Front office types have also "stopped by Da Box" to chat, including General Manager J.P. Ricciardi, Assistant GM Keith Law, Director of Player Development Dick Scott and Scouting Director Jon Lalonde, as well as current field manager John Gibbons and coaches Brian Butterfield, Gil Patterson and Mike Barnett.

Other interview subjects have included Richard Griffin and Geoff Baker of the Toronto Star, Spencer Fordin of BlueJays.com, Rob Neyer of ESPN.com and minor league guru John Sickels, formerly of ESPN.com, not to mention Jays radio voice Mike Wilner. Both Fordin and Wilner have also been regular visitors to "Da Box," posting unsolicited commentary on any number of topics.

"Stringing all the names together like that really demonstrates the impact that Batter's Box has had on actually shaping baseball from a Canadian perspective online," noted Furlong.

Site Growth Leads to Technical Upgrade
Over the last two years, batter's Box has experienced significant increases in traffic, nearing a total of 1.7 million visitors so far. It's such a wide and frankly unexpected growth, that according to Furlong, "We've lost some of our original feeling of community. We think implementing a registration system will help bring a little of that back, regardless of our current size."

To that end, beginning today, Batter's Box will operate using new software and present a slightly different look. As a result, there will be a number of new features and, as site technical director Joe Drew said, "some additional bells and whistles. We've been calling the new site 'Batter's Box 3.0' and we're hoping it will be the springboard to something better and more interesting -- a better-looking site with more original content and more writing that's worth reading. It will look similar to what we have now," said Drew. "Just better. We're not referring to it as an 'upgrade' just for kicks."

The registration process will be simple; all it requires is a valid e-mail address. Anyone who chooses not to register will still be able to read the site, so habitual "lurkers" need not register at all unless they choose to, or if they eventually decide to post a comment or question, since only registered members will be able to do so. "We've always respected our users' privacy," said Drew, "And rest assured, we will continue to do so. Batter's Box will never release e-mail addresses, or any other information, to anyone -- for any reason at all -- without a registrant's express permission.

The upgrade will also benefit the Batter's Box's regular contributors. "Suffice to say we've outgrown our current software platform," said Drew. "It's become difficult to use. This will fix that."

A New Approach: No Spam, No Ads, More Content
The upgrade will provide several important new features to Batter's Box. The process of registration, for instance, will virtually eliminate spam and troll advertising posts -- Batter's Box has always been a non-profit publication staffed entirely by volunteers and does not solicit or accept advertising.

"Registration will also eliminate the occasional problem any site like ours will have with 'spoofing' -- someone posting information while posing as another person," said Batter's Box co-manager Craig Burley. "And of course, it addresses the similar, entirely innocent problem we see more and more as our traffic grows -- that of there being two or more posters with the same or similar names," he said. "And, because many consistently excellent story ideas have come from visitors," added Burley, "registration will also allow the editorial staff to contact individual posters when necessary."

Furlong added, "Essentially, we're changing our approach to the site. What we want is a constructive, literate, intelligent environment that's interesting, insightful and fun."

Batter's Box co-managing editor Mike Moffatt added, "The changes you'll notice when we upgrade the site will be that it's cleaner, better-looking and richer in content. We intend to continue the site's evolution from our humble beginnings as a simple one-man 'baseball blog' to a full-scale online baseball commentary and analysis publication."

Reflecting that continuing shift, noted Moffatt, is a slight change to the name of the site. "We have called ourselves Batter's Box Baseball Blog," he said, "in part probably because 'blog' is the hot term in Internet publishing these days." However, added Furlong, "We publish as least as much quality original content as most printed baseball publications, and our online home allows us the key additional element of instant and interactive feedback from our readership." Combining those two elements of the site's evolution, the Batter's Box editorial team has re-christened the publication Batter's Box Interactive Magazine.

Pitchers and Catchers ... and a Brand New Batter's Box
The relaunch is set for today, February 19 -- the same day Toronto Blue Jay pitchers and catchers are scheduled to report to Dunedin. The symbolism of the date chosen was not lost on the Batter's Box staff.

"In the same way a young and hopeful team like the Blue Jays looks forward to the first 'thwack' of the ball into a mitt in Spring Training, we look forward to welcoming all our high-quality regulars, and many new faces, back to the new and improved Batter's Box," said Furlong. "We appreciate everyone's patronage of the past few years and thank you all for your patience during the brief transition time necessary for the technical upgrade." No new content was added to Batter's Box, nor were new comments from visitors published, for a six-day period while the site was upgraded and the new software and interface installed.

Future "upgrades" to the site are scheduled to primarily deal with providing still more new content, as Batter's Box offers its second annual detailed team preview for every squad in the majors and follows that with bi-monthly divisional updates for each of the six pennant races, to accompany the continuing game threads and new next-day game reports for each Blue Jay contest.

Also in the works are a Photo of the Week from Box staff photographer Aaron Reynolds, another in-depth look at the annual amateur player draft, a weekly "Notes from Nowhere" feature by Box columnist and West Coast correspondent John Gizzi; a continuation of the popular "Baseball's Hall of Names" whimsical tour of the history of the Great Game; and much more. "We expect to have more than 20 original articles each week, and at least one every day," said Moffatt.

Jonathan Morton, another co-managing editor of the site, added, "Included in that total will again be a daily minor league report for the Blue Jays system. We began providing occasional minor league updates in 2003," he said, "but they were so popular, we went daily last season -- we heard from the family members of a number of minor league players, in fact, and received positive feedback from the Blue Jays organization itself. Now in the new Batter's Box, we'll be providing the same daily updates and end-of-year reviews we did in 2004, but also team previews and monthly summary updates for all six farm teams. We wanted to provide more of what our readership has come to expect from us."

In many ways, that's the bottom line for the upgrade to the "new" Batter's Box ... providing more quality baseball news and analysis -- from a Canadian perspective.

Batter's Box Interactive Magazine is a not-for--profit Web site founded in October 2002 by Kent "Coach" Williams. Though its primary focus has been Toronto Blue Jays baseball, Batter's Box has more than a dozen contributing authors from both Canada and the United States, from Toronto and New York to Texas and Washington state, and hundreds of regular contributors. Visit Batter's Box free on the Web at http://www.battersbox.ca.

CONTACT:
Jordan Furlong, General Manager
gideon@battersbox.ca

Mick Doherty, Manager-Media Relations
media.relations@battersbox.ca

For Batter's Box Interactive Magazine
Baseball News & Analysis From a Canadian Perspective

Popular Canadian Baseball Web Site Announces Relaunch | 61 comments | Create New Account
The following comments are owned by whomever posted them. This site is not responsible for what they say.
Gerry - Friday, February 18 2005 @ 10:43 PM EST (#102997) #
Congratulations to one and all, the new site looks great.

Blue Jay pitchers and catchers report Saturday, Yippee!
Mike Green - Friday, February 18 2005 @ 10:51 PM EST (#102998) #
A standing O for our technical wizards, Joe Drew and Gwyn Price!

Now let's talk baseball.
sweat - Friday, February 18 2005 @ 10:52 PM EST (#102999) #
I agree. Glad to see an already great site continuing to work hard at making it even better for their readers.
Dave Till - Friday, February 18 2005 @ 10:54 PM EST (#103000) #
Congratulations to everyone who made this happen. The new site is really impressive.

Gibbons was interviewed on The Score today. Nothing startling to report: he plans on running more, defining roles for his bullpen, and giving Speier first crack at the closer's spot. So far, so good.
Dave Till - Friday, February 18 2005 @ 10:57 PM EST (#103001) #
Sorry: I should have saved the sentence about Gibbons for a different topic, when it comes up.
Ben - Friday, February 18 2005 @ 11:12 PM EST (#103003) #
This place looks fantastic, I love the personal preferances and account settings. Everything looks very slick and I like the seperated topics list, makes everything a bit easier to find
Lucas - Friday, February 18 2005 @ 11:17 PM EST (#103004) #
Congratulations to everyone who worked so hard to make this possible.

In other wonderful news, Ugueth Urbina's mother was rescued and is safe.
Rob - Friday, February 18 2005 @ 11:25 PM EST (#103006) #
The site looks terrific. Good job, congratulations, and everything else to everyone.

To 2005!
King Ryan - Friday, February 18 2005 @ 11:26 PM EST (#103007) #
All this and you still haven't updated the FAQ!! ;)

Nah, it all looks great. Love the personalized stuff and the new logo. Excellent work. And a nice surprise for me as I wasn't expecting this until Saturday (It's 8PM Friday my time.)

One very small complaint/clarification: Below where I'm typing it shows a list of "allowed HTML tags" Umm... I don't see an <img> tag. Does this mean we can no longer post pictures? :(
Jim - Friday, February 18 2005 @ 11:32 PM EST (#103008) #
Cool
Brian W - Friday, February 18 2005 @ 11:35 PM EST (#103009) #
The new format looks great. Good job. Wow those four days seemed to go slow with no Box to kill the time :)
Jonny German - Friday, February 18 2005 @ 11:39 PM EST (#103010) #
Bold off?
Jim - Friday, February 18 2005 @ 11:47 PM EST (#103014) #
See, I learned from that. Site looks great. I look most forward to when the Game Thread menu to the left shows (1/0).
Alex Obal - Friday, February 18 2005 @ 11:56 PM EST (#103016) #
It's stunning. A slow clap to everyone involved.
HaloBrad - Saturday, February 19 2005 @ 12:43 AM EST (#103028) #
Looks good from way out West too! Thanks to the tech wizards for making this great site better. A new beggining for the Batter's Box just as spring training brings annual new hope to all us fans.
Play Ball!
Ron - Saturday, February 19 2005 @ 12:47 AM EST (#103029) #
I want to thank all the staff members for all their hard work and dedication. I realize you guys donít even get paid a nickel for your contributions. The quality of work on this site is amazing. I would also like to thank all the posters on this site. IMO this is the best place to talk baseball.

I discovered this site last season and itís really driven up my interest in the Blue Jays and MLB. Iím willing to say Da Box has converted me from a casual fan to a hardcore fan. Unfortunately nobody in my ďinner circleĒ is a Baseball fan, but I do feel like I have an internet home in Da Box.

I look forward to all the new content each day/week.

The regular season is just around the corner, and Iím hopeful I can make road trips to Toronto and Seattle this summer to cheer on the Jays!
Pete Warren - Saturday, February 19 2005 @ 12:51 AM EST (#103030) #
Hey guys, great job. Glad to see the Batter's Box looking brand spanking new. Here's to years of Canadian baseball talk!
Michael - Saturday, February 19 2005 @ 01:01 AM EST (#103031) #
I like the new look and feel. Now if only the Jays team looks this good this year!
JackFoley - Saturday, February 19 2005 @ 01:04 AM EST (#103032) #
/Obligatory complimentary compliment.
TamRa - Saturday, February 19 2005 @ 01:37 AM EST (#103035) #
Great work!

Looking forward to the continued evolution.

rtcaino - Saturday, February 19 2005 @ 01:42 AM EST (#103036) #
Does anybody know whether it would be worthwhile for me to swing by Jays spring training this week? Iím going to be in Orlando for reading week and I have a car.

Whoís reported so far? I know Pitchers, Catcher, Vernon and Koskie.

It could be a fun time. I havenít been down there for spring training for a long long while. Just a shame my trip doesnít coincide with the preseason games. O well, any advice would be greatly appreciated.


Iím glad you guys are back... Itís been a long week. :)
Mick Doherty - Saturday, February 19 2005 @ 02:03 AM EST (#103038) #
You won't see much ball, but this would be the time to go if you are set on meeting players. Chatting up Koskie will be a lot easier if he's looking to get his breath between bunt drills than in between innings of a spring game with the Marlins.
Ryan C - Saturday, February 19 2005 @ 02:13 AM EST (#103040) #
Great jorb guys! Battersbox re-opens and spring training begins tomorrow. What a country!
Jobu - Saturday, February 19 2005 @ 02:20 AM EST (#103041) #
The upgrade has been a long time comming. It was killing me seeing the preview but never getting to join the fun. I am positively gitty thinking about the new Jays, the new Box, and all the fun the Cheer Club will have this season.

We're going to make beautiful music together... even if it does consist mostly of "WE LIKE BASE-BALL" chants.
jsoh - Saturday, February 19 2005 @ 03:13 AM EST (#103042) #
woohoo!

That is all. Carry on.
Dan - Saturday, February 19 2005 @ 05:53 AM EST (#103053) #
Hey guys. I've been a long time lurker, but the new resgistration system has convinced me to sign up. Looking forward to sharing my opinions with you all.

On another note, allow me to say that I'm very appreciative of not just this site, but that quality discussion and fan support exists for this team. I'm sure most baseball cities don't offer this level of analysis and blog. Great work and continued success.
jim854 - Saturday, February 19 2005 @ 08:41 AM EST (#103054) #
It is so great to have you back on line especially as the Jays pitchers report to camp today.

The look is great!! Congratulations to all for the excellent work!

Now its time for baseball!
Matthew E - Saturday, February 19 2005 @ 08:48 AM EST (#103055) #
Checking in. Have uniform numbers and lockers been assigned yet?
H Winfield Teut - Saturday, February 19 2005 @ 09:27 AM EST (#103057) #
The Doctor of meaningless trivia, loves the site. Good Job to all.
Coach - Saturday, February 19 2005 @ 09:53 AM EST (#103059) #
Superb banner, NFH! Kudos to Joe and Gwyn for their tireless technical efforts. Thanks to everyone on the roster who has been a part of the migration. Though I haven't been much help around here lately, and remain on sabbatical indefinitely, the Box couldn't be in better hands.

Welcome out of the closet, de-lurked Dan. I hope the PeŮa attracts other new members in its new and improved format.

Have uniform numbers and lockers been assigned yet?

Elmslie, step into my office for a minute...
Pepper Moffatt - Saturday, February 19 2005 @ 10:04 AM EST (#103060) #
Coach!!!!

<i>Elmslie, step into my office for a minute...</i>

Ooooh.. that's never good!

Thanks to everyone who has signed up already, and the Roster members who worked so hard to make Box 3.0 possible (that's not self-congratulatory because I had nothing to do with it) :) To celebrate the changes, I've one again changed my user name.

That won't be the only change around here. I think everyone is going to be pleasantly surprised by all the new features we'll be adding over the next few months, such as the divisional reports and photo of the week (as shown by the topics on the left hand side of the screen). That being said, if you spot a bug somewhere, don't be afraid to report it.
Chuck - Saturday, February 19 2005 @ 10:11 AM EST (#103062) #
That being said, if you spot a bug somewhere, don't be afraid to report it.

Not a bug, but a question. Shouldn't the default posting method be HTML (as it was in the past) so that we don't get posts like Mike's, er, Pepper's, last one where the HTML tags were ignored?

Pepper Moffatt - Saturday, February 19 2005 @ 10:17 AM EST (#103063) #
No, I should just post after my 2nd cup of coffee, not my 1st. :) Let's try this again!
Chuck - Saturday, February 19 2005 @ 10:25 AM EST (#103064) #
If you ditch the handle Pepper, you can always try this.
Keith Talent - Saturday, February 19 2005 @ 10:51 AM EST (#103068) #
Hey now, welcome back!

I just thought I'd report that I just bought my 2005 Toronto Star Season's Pass for $166 (tax included). So I guess I'll be seeing some of you up in SkyDeck (or is it RogersDeck?).
Kieran - Saturday, February 19 2005 @ 10:56 AM EST (#103069) #
Good job with the site guys. Still feels familiar, I like that.

For those that receive the weekly "Inside Pitch" email from the Jays, there is a link to purchase single game tickets one week ahead of the general public. I picked up my opening day tickets yesterday. Section 128, close to Mr. Koskie!

Who else is planning on attending?
Keith Talent - Saturday, February 19 2005 @ 11:05 AM EST (#103070) #
I'm sure to be there. I'm waiting on hearing who will be with me, will probably get tickets on Monday. I don't think my sparkling new "Star Pass" will get me through the door on that one. It's sure to be a sell out, right? I might go for seats in that same section.
VBF - Saturday, February 19 2005 @ 11:27 AM EST (#103074) #
I'll be there in section 141 row one (right beside the batters eye) with the rest of the cow-bell ringing, 6 foot flag waving Wells fans. If you wanna cheer on Vernon, come one down!
Magpie - Saturday, February 19 2005 @ 11:46 AM EST (#103076) #
Pepper Moffatt You just couldn't get Professor Mo Phatt to fit. Fess up.
Mylegacy - Saturday, February 19 2005 @ 12:09 PM EST (#103079) #
The new site looks FAB!

Welcome Back!

You can't believe the withdrawal symptoms I've had since you cocooned. I came back every day once or twice to see if you were back on before the 19th!
Dr. Zarco - Saturday, February 19 2005 @ 12:46 PM EST (#103088) #
Awesome stuff guys. Four days off made me wake up and immediately think of the new Box.
Craig B - Saturday, February 19 2005 @ 12:47 PM EST (#103089) #
Checking in. Have uniform numbers and lockers been assigned yet?

You're 74 and you'll dress next to Leigh Sprague. Watch out for the tobacco juice on the floor, he dribbles a lot.

BCMike - Saturday, February 19 2005 @ 01:43 PM EST (#103100) #
Looks great!

One question, is there anyway to jump to the first new comment since your last visit?
Mick Doherty - Saturday, February 19 2005 @ 02:04 PM EST (#103107) #
You can go into "preferences" and set the sort order from its default, "Oldest First" to "Newest First," then the latest comment will appear at the top of the list, followed by all comments in reverse order. I opted not to do that because I think it could be confusing if I initially open a thread after a hefty number of comments have already been posted.
Brett - Saturday, February 19 2005 @ 02:06 PM EST (#103110) #
Congratulations to everyone involved, the site looks great. I've been involved in a few web redesigns in the past, of varying quality, and from what I've seen so far, this one gets an A+.
C. Oliver - Saturday, February 19 2005 @ 02:47 PM EST (#103117) #
Simply outstanding, and just in time for Spring Training! Thank you to everyone in the "Batter's Box" family.
Paul S - Saturday, February 19 2005 @ 03:23 PM EST (#103127) #
This is faboo. Good work, gents.
BallGuy - Saturday, February 19 2005 @ 03:40 PM EST (#103129) #
Looks good, reads good, is good! Looking forward to a great season of baseball and talking about it!
Heraclitus - Saturday, February 19 2005 @ 04:21 PM EST (#103131) #
I don't think my sparkling new "Star Pass" will get me through the door on that one. It's sure to be a sell out, right? I might go for seats in that same section.

Last year you could pick up the tickets for Opening Day in advance. Hopefully they'll do the same this year...

Anders - Saturday, February 19 2005 @ 06:39 PM EST (#103144) #
The future is now... and its fantastic.

This is the best february 19th this year
Wayne H. - Saturday, February 19 2005 @ 08:28 PM EST (#103148) #
The date when pitchers and catchers report is the real New Year's Day.

Symbolizing a brand new beginning, and a casting away of the previous year, Spring Training truly means a fresh start.

The day also provides a symbolic reference and backdrop for the relaunch of Batter's Box.

Congratulations on the new look of Batter's Box.
GrrBear - Saturday, February 19 2005 @ 08:29 PM EST (#103149) #
Another lurker checking in and adding to the many words of praise and congratulations. I am particularly looking forward to more photos by Aaron Reynolds - he IS the man. Thank you guys for providing an invaluable service to the knowledge-seeking and fun-loving Jays fans.
Named For Hank - Saturday, February 19 2005 @ 09:17 PM EST (#103151) #
Woo! Thanks, GB.

First photo of the week will be in a couple of days.

I'm glad to see nothing has broken or fallen down yet. ;)
Leigh - Saturday, February 19 2005 @ 11:23 PM EST (#103154) #
You're 74 and you'll dress next to Leigh Sprague. Watch out for the tobacco juice on the floor, he dribbles a lot. Yeah. I'm always chewing Skoal, watching Nascar, and supporting the privatization of social security. Site looks great. Big giant kudos to all of the responsible roster members (Joe, Gwyn, etc.) from the more passive, do-little roster members, such as myself.
StephenT - Sunday, February 20 2005 @ 12:00 AM EST (#103156) #
I like the new format. Logging in is not as obtrusive as I thought it might be.
alsiem - Sunday, February 20 2005 @ 12:22 PM EST (#103168) #
Good luck. I'll support any changes that keep the quality of the content high
Braby21 - Sunday, February 20 2005 @ 02:30 PM EST (#103182) #
My first post in the new Box! Thanks for the hard work boys,I can't wait for the games to begin in Florida.
klaw - Sunday, February 20 2005 @ 06:33 PM EST (#103207) #
Congratulations on the site launch, everyone.
DeMarco - Monday, February 21 2005 @ 05:38 PM EST (#103280) #
WOW! The Site looks great! Nice work.
Thomas - Tuesday, February 22 2005 @ 03:47 PM EST (#103344) #
Big giant kudos to all of the responsible roster members (Joe, Gwyn, etc.) from the more passive, do-little roster members, such as myself.

I agree entirely.

Matthew E - Friday, March 04 2005 @ 10:31 AM EST (#104354) #
So are there any regulars who haven't shown up since the relaunch? Has anyone been driven away?
Popular Canadian Baseball Web Site Announces Relaunch | 61 comments | Create New Account
The following comments are owned by whomever posted them. This site is not responsible for what they say.