Feb
04

State of the RAB

By

Fellow dwellers in the series of tubes:

As we near the three-year anniversary of River Avenue Blues, I’d like to take a few moments to greet and thank everyone who has visited and supported us since our inception in February of 2007. We’ve come a long way since then. Our posts have grown greater in number and deeper in thought. Our audience has grown from few and quiet to many and loud — through not only comments, but emails, instant messages, our web form, and even in real life. For those of you have ambled by here recently, and even for those who have been here for years, this is who we are.

While this particular site launched in 2007, Ben, Mike, and I go back a bit further than that. We all started up our own baseball writing projects in the mid-00s, just because we loved writing about baseball. Sure, at times we each had aspirations of attracting a large audience, but none of us really expected it. It was more a form of catharsis, a way to deal with the day in, day out stress of the baseball season. The players get to vent that stress through physical performance. For us less athletic types, writing sometimes does the trick. It does for us, at least.

The baseball season is, thankfully, fast approaching, and changes will come with it. This seems to happen every year. A certain percentage of the audience checks out after they stop playing games, only to return six, but hopefully only five, months later, just in time for Opening Day. Some readers, intrigued by our non-stop hot stove coverage, tune out during the season, opting to enjoy the game for itself and not getting caught up in the tangle of daily analysis. We do keep many of those who discovered us during the hot stove, and that means the composition of our audience will change.

That won’t change the content. We’ll continue to write stories that interest us. Sometimes that involves a prospect. Sometimes it involves breaking down data. Sometimes it involves comparing players with various statistics. If you particularly like something, but especially if you don’t, email us and let us know. We also appreciate emails in regards to typos and other small errors. We aren’t to the point of hiring a full-time editor — hell, we don’t even really pay ourselves — so any corrections from the crowd are appreciated. If you have an issue with the data we used to analyze an issue, or a conclusion we drew from the data, that’s perfect for the comments section. It might make us think of the topic in another way, perhaps making our posts more complete in the future.

What will change, undoubtedly, between now and Opening Day is the comments section. Again, it happens all the time. It’s happened over the past year, and it will continue to morph and evolve. We have an excellent core of commenters who not only know baseball, but also know how to lighten the mood. As we get more and more comments, however, it becomes increasingly difficult to monitor them. We want nothing more than a robust baseball discussion, but unfortunately there are others who do not. Allow me to elaborate.

Baseball incites argument. That’s good. We can all learn a lot from people whose opinions differ from our own. But, contrary to what many people think, not all opinions are created equal. The opinions which count for the most are those which are supported by evidence. As Tango likes to say, an opinion without evidence is bullshit. You can still hold said evidence-less opinion, but don’t expect it to garner much respect among our commenters.

If you hold an opinion and cannot back it up with evidence, we ask that you not act like a jackass about it. Accept it as just your opinion, with no basis in fact, and move on. There’s plenty to discuss. If you do continue to post evidence-less opinions, well, good for you. If you feel the need to do that, again, we just ask that you not act like a jackass about it. That’s the most important point, as you can see.

For the core commenters, we’re asking a bit more. By responding to jackasses, you’re legitimizing them. Over the past few weeks I’ve seen plenty of this — ashamedly, have been part of it once. It takes the focus off the baseball discussion and puts it onto the jackass. We do not want this. It generally leads to everyone acting like a jackass, and the comment thread devolves into an unreadable mass. Remember, we’re here to talk baseball, not act like tough guys on an internet message board.

As we specify in our commenting guidelines, we really appreciate you keep comments true to the topic of the post. If a conversation moves a certain way, keep it within that particular thread within the comments. Even then, we ask that it not get too far out of hand. For off-topic comments, we have an open thread every evening. We’ve also added an off-topic thread, which you can find in the navigation bar, and by clicking here.

To our readers who don’t use the comments section, we thank you every bit as much as our regular commenters. You’re welcome at any time to drop in and add to the conversation. We hope our threaded comments layout makes it easy to follow different conversations within the thread. We’re also working to make improvements on the layout, including re-adding the ability to see unread comments. Again, if you have any suggestions please contact us. We make it ridiculously easy to do so.

We’ll leave this post up overnight. Baseball will be back in the a.m. Thanks again for reading.

93 Comments»

  1. Accent Shallow says:

    I don’t want to see like a kiss-ass, but bravo.

    (Not that I haven’t been guilty as well)

  2. Master of all Trades says:

    Congrats on a great 3 years.
    If there is a better Yankee Blog, I have yet to find it.
    I look forward to sharing some good times on here during the 2010 season. Congrats again!

  3. pat says:

    I can deal with people being uninformed. I cannot deal with people parading around their ignorance and trying to pass it off as fact. That shit burns my biscuits.

  4. Drew says:

    this is who we are

    You are who we thought you were.

  5. Ray Fuego says:

    This is the most amazing Yankee blog I’ve found on this electronic mass called the internet. Keep up the good work. Also, I read a lot and only comment once in a while but I completely agree with what you said, ignore the fools and they will leave.

  6. Salty Buggah says:

    An off-topic thread? That’s awesome. What happens to open threads during the offseason/non-gamedays then?

  7. Rey22 says:

    +28 to RAB!

    (Yes, 28. I went there.)

  8. bexarama says:

    I feel totally weird that this popped up pretty much a few days after I decided to start commenting. o_O

    But anyway, I’ve been a lurker for a while and this site is really great. You all do a fantastic job and I can’t wait for #28 and beyond with you guys.

  9. A.D. says:

    Here here to RAB, thanks for all the great work guys & many of the great core posters that help the site.

    As always, don’t feed the trolls, better to spend the effort feeding the commenters who care.

  10. PaulF says:

    This blog’s commenters restore my faith in humanity after readings lohud’s. I don’t comment much but this blog is great.

  11. BigBlueAL says:

    I still miss alex gonzalez.

  12. JMK the Overshare’s Mystique and Aura says:

    Unfortunately, part of the fun of the community here is baiting and cracking on SBGL, mryankee, Brazilian Yankee, Mo, alex gonzalez, barry, Steve B., and other like-minded trolls folks.

    I think it’s exacerbated by us not really having much else to talk about during this point in the year.

    Just the same, I’ll make more of an effort not responding.

    Perpetual thread is awesome. Really happy about that!

    Seacrest out.

  13. Infamous Richards says:

    For the most part, I think the people who comment here are very knowledgable and it shows. I just dont want it to become like the comment threads at nomaas or other sites

  14. Dan Novick says:

    Whatever happened to the commenter that had the obscenely long handle about Don Mattingly being in the hall of fame?

  15. Esteban says:

    Wait, where’s the link to the perpetual off topic thread?

  16. Januz says:

    I have to say RAB and MLBTR are the best sources for baseball online (Not just Yankee coverage). Do it mean I agree with everything? No it does not (Particularly as it related to the New Yankee Stadium). But you guys offer an invaluable service (Far better than the other blogs), and you deserve a big THANK YOU for that.

  17. Jake H says:

    Congrats on the 3 years being up and running. What your asking isn’t too much to ask.

  18. pete says:

    Off-Topic thread shall be awesome, thanks guys! One possible suggestion – a RAB “urban” dictionary? So that when words slowly make their way into the RAB commenting lexicon, the newbies will be able to look them up?
    For instance:

    Oaktag
    Bandwagon (RAB definition)
    Boversimplification
    Bobait

    Im sure there are a ton more that i’m forgetting

  19. miketotheg says:

    I feel like this post is one of those, “we are taking over your country because we planted a flag. what? you have no flag? well there you go then.” (eddie izzard reference).

  20. Sam P. says:

    Congrats on three years, guys! This has been a part of my daily online life since pretty much the beginning when I stumbled onto your site. Keep up the great work and here’s to a great 2010 for RAB and of course the Yanks!

    Sam

  21. Wilcymoore27 says:

    I just started reading this site last season, so this is my first “off-season” reading RAB. I’m even more amazed at the quantity and quality of your posts when no baseball is being played, than I am when the baseball season is on.

    Congratulations on running an absolutely terrific website. And, of course, Thank You!

  22. BigGuy says:

    Congratulations guys, and keep up the great work. Great blog.

  23. Steve H says:

    I just want to thank Rob Neyer for mentioning you guys a few years back and pointing me to this blog. As a Yankees fan in Boston there aren’t many fans I get to talk baseball with, unless it’s a knockdown, drag out Yankess-Sox fight (which are always fun). You guys do a great job of reporting the news, analyzing the news, and then discussing the news in the thread.

  24. donger says:

    Congrats! Over the last few months, RAB has become my primary source for Yankees analysis and information. Keep up the great work.

  25. Rose says:

    Just like to say that I’ve been on both sides of the fence, as a lot of you may know. In all fairness, when I first got here I really didn’t understand what it was all about…I viewed it as just another message board type site and treated it as such, unfortunately. I would toss out the evidence-less opinions throughout…and have the commoners slam my face into the turnbuckle a bunch of times…only to respond defensively as if I were being attacked. Because, unfortunately, that’s how I viewed the site when I first got here. I didn’t quite understand what it was all about.

    Not that this is any excuse. I’m not condoning “jackass” type posters or cutting slack for those who may have or may someday take a similar approach. But unfortunately, you get these types…as well as the types who just never learn.

    I appreciate everyone for being patient with me, even though they didn’t have to be…and despite the differences along the way…I always enjoyed reading each thread as I’m a baseball fan like mostly everyone else here.

  26. Marsha says:

    I HEART RAB.

  27. cr1 says:

    I read several baseball blogs daily and choose them on the basis of two elements:

    First is the blogger(s)’s entries. Whether they focus on info or on analysis, I want to see some depth of knowledge and some variety of perspective, and RAB offers both. I like having a few regulars — enough for variety, not so many that there’s no defined personality. First-rate in this dimension!

    Second is the comment section, and here I’m afraid RAB is not so stellar (though never as awful as LoFluff or the various HaterBlogs). When the focus is on baseball I read, enjoy and even sometimes comment. When it turns cranky, pointless, juvenile, I bail. The balance between these elements seems to have moved in the wrong direction, but I’m hoping the return of actual baseball will help.

  28. NZYFan says:

    Long time (3 years) reader, first time poster, all the way from New Zealand! You really are a global phenomenon.
    I just wanted to take this opportunity to thank Ben, Mike and Joseph for setting up and running this wonderful blog, and to all of the regular posters for making this such an educational and entertaining place to visit. I even appreciate some of the idiots who post (no names) – their posts are funny and the replies are even funnier, so that’s a win-win in my book.
    My love of the Yankees, and the ability to read so much (mostly) informative stuff about them has helped me to get through some boring times at work and a rather down time in my personal life, so again major thanks to one and all.

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