The new MLBlogs Network (and why now)

Updated 12:11 p.m. ET Sunday:

Welcome to your new MLBlogs Network. For anyone just joining us, this is the community blog, and you will be able to find updates on network features and the people who blog here. For everyone else, *thanks* for your patience in our cutover from the first iteration. We at Major League Baseball Advanced Media are excited to start a new regular season with a new blogging environment just as we have relaunched MLB.com, team sites and more.

Some of the most common responses so far include: WHY NOW?#@$&*%@. You know, Bucky Dent spelling. Well, here’s why, for all of you who asked. Because WELCOME TO OUR WORLD. You want to be a baseball writer? Welcome to how this works. At MLB.com, we have relaunched one of the world’s biggest websites every year at Opening Day, and this year we decided to do it at the same time as 30 MLB team site relaunches. We spend the offseason working on it through all of the trades and signings and everything else. We roll out a brand-new look every year, a tradition, and we go a little crazy inside but we just know it’s ****-it-up time because it’s showtime. As a fan, with MLB.com or with your favorite team site, all you have to do is be a site visitor and enjoy everything without operating the publishing system and doing programming and sizing and posting images and multimedia and…you get the picture. With a blogging network such as this very one, YOU are the proprietor, too. You get to enjoy the relaunch joy and the Opening Day craziness that comes with it. That’s the best I can tell you, having been through relaunches every Opening Day week this decade and now seeing bloggers jump on board. It’s Opening Day or never.

We’re working through any bugs/known issues and want to be able to help you all as much as possible, and ask that you hang in there through Opening Day. Good to see that some of you are also helping each other, a big plus. Photos, or “assets”, will take some getting used to. So will Link Lists (formerly “Typelists”). I have turned off the default “approve comments” on this community blog so that you can immediately see your comments and have that exchange with each other in this community. It’s also important to note that this relaunch is just the start in a gradual series of feature rollouts for the overal MLB.com community, and some of what’s ahead this season is going to rock The Show.

Here are some details about our relaunch you will need to know, so here goes…

IT’S FREE!!! No more subscription. (Refund info below.) For the record, the last person in history to pay for an MLBlog was Yes The Cubs Wont Win. Just sayin’.

The old Typepad app we’ve used since the April 2005 launch of MLBlogs is now replaced by a robust Movable Type software app. You’ll like MT much better. It will take some getting used to, but you’re a blogger just like you are a baseball fan, and we have faith that you will find your way around and make yourself at home with the MT features. There will be tips/helpful info here, but you are a bunch of high-tech fans.

Templates: There is more variety of style, ranging from minimalist/clean to a more gaudy “Fan” template. There is also a “Retro” version with an old logo. You will also notice around the network that some blogs have an “MLB PRO BLOG” star shield on them. That is a template available for use by the MLB family, so you will know when someone from Major League baseball is blogging right alongside you. Like CJ Wilson, Tommy Lasorda, Scott Reifert, Joe Blanton, Youk, Steve Stewart, Matthew Leach, Josh Rawitch, the Phillies Ballgirls, Raymond, Big Pupi, etc. Yes, that’s right, we gave a dog one of those things. Big Pupi probably will want to change templates. The main thing is that there are a lot of templates and a lot of bloggers and we’re all in the same place and blogging for free.

Did we mention free yet?

This will be the first phase in gradual rollouts of cool enhancements to the overall MLB community. You’ll see a lot of things you’ve waited for, and there will be some other things you’d like and chances are they are on deck for coming days/weeks. We’ll be making a lot more noise about the new MLBlogs Network once that has happened.

There will be some glitches and bugs and headaches as with any other relaunch. We’ll be working with you on it. The more input the better, as we will make gradual refinements in subsequent updates to the software.

Going from pay-to-free is a good thing. It is the opposite of how it usually works on the Internet. Still, there may be some questions about refunding. There will be a link within your new MT to email our Customer Service, where someone will help you, and especially “Yes The Cubs Wont Win.” But here is what you need to know:

REFUNDS

  • Any annual subscription is nonrefundable if it was placed before 2008. Any annual subscription placed on or after Jan. 1, 2008, will be fully refunded by Customer Service.
  • Any Blog created in the month leading up to the relaunch would be fully refunded, whether monthly ($4.95) or annual ($49.95).
  • If you are owed a refund, then just email Customer Service here. (Do not ask me for it, because I am broke from buying lots of triple-shot Starbucks for our great partners who helped us relaunch this network.)

The MLBlogs.com landing page also has been redesigned. New features will include:

Most Recent posts — more listings than we had before;

Tag Cloud — tagging is going to be a huge part of the new MLBlogs Network. It’s also on the side panel of blogs. This feature is undergoing some last-minute tweaking, so pardon a little construction. Be sure to add tags to the bottom of every entry before you save it. That’s how most people are going to find their way around here going forward. If you are a Yankees fan, click the Yankees link in that cloud on the mlblogs.com homepage and you will get a results page of all MLBlogs entries with “Yankees” as a tag.

Featured Blog — in addition to frequently changing main panel on the mlblogs.com homepage, we will spotlight bloggers. This is not automated and we’ll try to keep rotating in as many people as we can.

Drop-down Indexes — For now, there is a drop-down list of the aforementioned blogs maintained by MLB personnel. Sometime in the next month, we plan to return the Browse by Team capability, so that blogs are indexed by club template choice. This has to be automated for it to happen, because going to free means there are going to be way more bloggers than we can keep up with for manual additions to that page. So bear with us on that, and don’t ask if you can be added to the MLBlogs Active Roster by team in the meantime. It’ll be back.

(Note: We just relaunched the MLB.com homepage, and as you know by now, MLBloggers are being highlighted EVERY DAY right there on a page visited by about 10 million fans a day. No baseball blogging network is found by baseball fans like MLBlogs.)

Help

There will be a customer support email link (as listed above) if you are at wit’s end. It’s Opening Day weekend and just expect some time for response on this end. You also can post comments here, and your fellow users may be able to reply swiftly in answer t
o your questions about functionality. There will be a lot to get used to, and we hope you will enjoy the new season and new blog network.

There also will be a link on MLBlog pages to report/flag any bloggers/commenters for abuse/spam. There will be a more sophisticated method for this in a subsequent phase, but in the meantime, feel free use that email link and we’ll monitor it. That is only for abuse/spam reporting.

Get ready for better, more fun templates…lots of tagging…preapproval of comments…lots of things you expect and some more excitement at the start of a Major League season.

Any constructive feedback (email preferred) about the new MLBlogs Network after the relaunch will be appreciated, added to any known issues. Thanks to everyone who has helped grow this community over the last three years, and here’s to a great season.

Hot dogs still cost you. So will the tickets, parking and stuff. But blogging is free.

Mark/MLB.com

36 Comments

i just have one question. how do i post pics on my blog?

Emphasis on it’s just a start, lots more to come, this will have everything that was doable by traditional Opening Day. For example, at launch there will not be a Browse by Team, but we’re planning to re-add that in a month.
http://www.club-penguin.org/

I dont like the changes. Too many errors, too meny problems… I miss the old blog

I want to thank Steve at http://mybrewers.mlblogs.com for helping me out with my counter/ranking issues. I was able to find a place for them to come up.

2 last issues I have are the list of updated blogs on the homepage….they aren’t updating. I got a comment from a reader of mine who said they had to Google me to find my site, because it wasn’t available on the home page. The second is will there be anyway to customize the look of the blog? I like the sidebar on the left, as we read from left to ride and it’s more aesthetically pleasing. I’d also like to know if there will be a greater range of options when it comes to the overall design of the blog….I’m not a fan of the red, white and blue motifs the Yankees blogs have. I’d really prefer navy and white….like our unis. :-D And bring back the ability to make text a different color.

Other than that, I’m starting to really like this software and the other little doo-dads we have.

As of right now, I have to agree with some bloggers here who say that the old site was better. Firstly the help section, and secondly the ability to literally customize everything you wanted to in terms of layout. right now, all we have are just a couple templates, with no ability to actually arrange the pages the way we want to, and add in stuff. Also, my photo gallery has gone, and many of the lists that I created I have forgotten and are also gone. Will there be a help section created soon and will we have the ability to customize our blogs more? I appreciate the hectic timing of this new launch, and I’m willing to wait, but whatever you can do would be appreciated.
And for the record, I’m not against the change, in fact i kind of like the idea the site gets a re-up once a year, but a little help would work wonders right now!

neil

http://whosyourtiger.mlblogs.com/

“So you want to be a baseball writer? Welcome to how this works”- that might fly in some 1950’s newspaper office, but not really the line to take with bloggers.
You seem excited by the fact that there will be a number of new bloggers on the site, but how am I going to find them? My only hope is to catch them in the short time that they will be on the “recently updated” list. My guess is that they will soon become disillusioned at being invisible on the site and move elsewhere. The difficulty in finding blogs (at least those that aren’t linked to MLB in an official capacity) is a MAJOR flaw, and I doubt that people will be content to wait a month for it to be fixed.

http://arizonaviaslough.mlblogs.com/

I’m ok on both IE8 and Firefox (Jon, just trying for you)…but I’ll try IE7 as well soon.

What blog name is yours?

I’m having huge problems with this new platform.

I cannot even sign into, or even pull up any MLBlogs pages on my regular computer (I had to go to a friends house just to sign in and post this comment). Whenever I try to pull up an MLBlog page, I get an “Internet explorer cannot display the webpage” message.

I was able to sign in yesterday, and I was on my dashboard, trying to change my blog’s template – when I clicked “update” I got the “cannot display webpage” message for the first time, and I have not been able to pull up any MLBlogs page on my home computer since.

Please give me an idea what the problem is – is it my browser? I’m extremely frusterated, and currently contemplating a move to blogspot or the like if I can’t get MLBlogs to work on my computer.

– Jon, from Lonestar in California

What happened to the index of blogs?
Also, the most recent updates thing hasn’t changed at all since yesterday…I put up some exclusive and unique coverage of the Civil Rights Game but no one knows about it because the index is gone and it never showed up on most recent posts on the main MLBlogs page.

Overall though, I love the new design of everything!
-Brady

http://cardinalskingdom.mlblogs.com

Oh-and the order of comments going from bottom to top seems counter intuititive to me.

Just used this for the first time and was reasonably easy and there seem to be a lot of good things about it.However it’s really annoying that some of my lists seem to have ceased to work and the “find blogs by team” function really should have been up and running at the start (this seems possible with the “pro” bloggers). The “most recent” list doesn’t seem to be updating, and whilst I recognise that overall the system will be an improvement, at the moment it seems to be virtually impossible to stumble across an enjoyable blog by accident. It’s important to remember that the technological advances are a means to an end (sharing opinions and differing points of view) rather than the end in themselves.

“I have turned off the default “approve comments” on this community blog so that you can immediately see your comments and have that exchange with each other in this community.”

So it can be done? Can you or anyone share how we can turn it off on our own blogs b/c I’ve even “trusted” myself and still have to approve my own comments? If not now with all the craziness, when? Will there be any kind of user-friendly FYIs b/c the “blogging 101″ tips aren’t very helpful. Any help would be appreciated.

J

Hey Mark! Thanks for the “MLB Pro Blog” template. I think I’m going to keep it since I’m hoping the Red Sox are going to pick me up to play SS before the trade deadline. Good job on the new interface, it looks delicious.

Big Pupi
http://bigpupi.mlblogs.com

Thanks Steve. I can’t even get the links to show in my dashboard to know what they are to put them into excel. I also get page errors when trying to create new link lists.

I also still haven’t figured out the comment thing. It even makes me approve my own comment.

So far this is more of a hassle than it’s worth, and considering it’s free, that’s saying a lot. I understand the growing pains but the issues we all seem to eb ahving seem to be so basic as it was very easy in the old version to figure things out and customize the sites to one’s liking. That seems to be missing. There isn’t even a spell check, that I can see, for the entries? How is that not a standard feature? I’m really hoping all these kinks get worked out and that it remains as user friendly as the old version. It’s just too bad that this is all going down on Opening Day.

J

http://boogiedownbaseball.mlblogs.com

Note to all….

Your links should all still be there even if they do not appear on your blogs. If there is HTML code in any of the links, the system doesn’t seem to want to display any of the lists. What I did was copy all of the links to an excel spreadsheet for when the link lists are more like they used to be (hopefully). I then deleted each list and created them from scratch, which really only took about 10 minutes because I had them all in excel. After I was done with the ‘new’ link lists, I saved them and they did not appear…. until I changed templates.

I really tweaked my old links with HTML, including pictures for links, etc, so I hope that ability comes back soon!

As far as comments, I found that you can always approve messages from specific users. I don’t remember exactly where… I know it was in the lower right hand corner of the comment screen. As to whether it can be done across the board, I don’t know. I have never had a problem with comments, so I would love that.

Folks… as much as I dislike some things, I realize there are going to be growing pains. I work for a software company and every new release gets hammered by users because it is different, but within days/weeks/months (depending on the user) it is better than ever because the options are far better than the previous release…. let’s hope that is the case here, too!

Mark… you have my support…. for now! :)

Steve
http://mybrewers.mlblogs.com

I’m sorry, but I don’t like this format at all. All my Link Lists are gone, and I don’t remember a lot of the sites I was linked to, so I don’t remember how to go back and find the images. Especially my blog ranking and the number of visitors I had….those two especially meant something to me personally….and now they’re gone.

I appreciate that it’s free now and things are working well for you and others, but right now…..I miss the way my site used to look. I hope that my concerns are quashed because I want to enjoy blogging for my 3rd season now.

If anyone knows how to get the links to show up, please let us know. Still can’t figure it out. And is there a way to turn off “comment review” so they just post. If you know how to do that, please share.

Thanks!

I have to agree with EMC. All my links are gone, my pictures are gone, and this seems to be more effort than it’s worth. I liked the simplicity of the old format. I don’t have a ton of time to be trying to figure out html/computer code/ whatever. Couldn’t this have been done during the winter, when interest in baseball isn’t high? Did we have to do this the weekend right before Opening Day? Hope someone over there figures something out quickly. Am getting more frustrated by the second.
Crawly

The new site looks pretty interesting. The page backgrounds don’t please me though. I wish there were more options. I actually like the old ones better.

Mark –

I don’t care about free – I just want something that works.
All of the links on my page are gone – and the picture galleries are showing up as indvidual entries instead of a gallery on the sidebar. When I finally did find the entry page (when you click on MLB Blogs on the upper left it doesn’t take you to the front page of MLB Blogs as it used it to – just gives you an error message) – I tried to update my links – it won’t even let me get there – another error message – when I try to figure out the “tag” thing – another error – and there’s no “help” page – no instructions – I can’t even begin to tell you how much I hate this new format – it may be user friendly for you – but it’s not for me – and I’m seriously thinking of deleting my blog permanently.

EMC
http://emc.mlblogs.com/

Mark,
Ignore my last comment about my link lists. I figured out that the HTML I used for graphics I linked to is not supported like it was using the other Blog software.
Steve

What happened to all my typelists (links) and how do I get them back? Is this one of the growing pains?? Also, will we be able to customize the look of the blog like we could on the old software. Right now I’m not digging how it looks.

J

http://www.boogiedownbaseball.mlblogs.com

Mark – I can’t wait to blow these guys away with some of the tricks and treats we have in store for the coming months. These growing pains are going to be a small price to pay for the fun MLBlogs will be delivering…

Y’all ever wonder why MLBloggers have never had access to awesome MLB.com content and technology? Maybe somebody should do something about that. hmmmmmmm…………………….

Hey I’m liking this new MLBlogs look and feel. Good job on the mlblogs.com site as the old version was a little dark and depressing.

Free? Alright! Nice and I hope you get a lot more bloggers, Mark.

I see my own entries are there and also the old comments, so very good start!

– Marc

http:baseballramblings.mlblogs.com

My link lists do not display on my blog no matter what I do. Any suggestions?

Steve
http://mybrewers.mlblogs.com

Hi Mark:

I’m posting a few quick questions because I’m having trouble (with error messages) sending a Help Ticket. Two are more minor but one is more significant. First, how can I change my user name back to Jason instead of heartlandpinstripes, to which it’s been changed?

Second, I haven’t found a feature under Manage Link Lists to rearrange the order in which the Lists appear on my blog. If there isn’t one added, adding one would be very helpful.

Third, and most significant, will it continue to be necessary to approve of every single comment, sent via e-mail, before it appears on the blog? This will be both time-consuming and cumbersome, especially since friends and I often comment with each other during games in the Heartland Digital Living Room. If there would be a way to circumvent this, especially since we have power to report abusive commenters and delete abusive comments and spam, that would be most helpful.

I know you’re busy with a ton of things with the change over, but if you could e-mail me at kozmo@yankeesmvp.com with some answers/solutions, I’d be most appreciative.

Many thanks,
Jason from Heartland Pinstripes

First question: I use Windows Live Writer to post. It is asking for the path to the xmlrpc (http:////mt-xmlrpc.cgi) — the MT guys will know what this is. Can you ask them while they are there?

Thanks,
Michael Norton – Some Clubhouse
http://mlblog.someclubhouse.com

Apologies for the delay, folks — was writing MLB.com story and of course just remembered I have to approve comments…am going to turn off that function. Hope everyone else who learns/knows answers to all of your comments will feel free to reply to your fellow users. In the meantime…

Michael of Some Ballyard: I have forwarded your question to our partners who know lots more than me. Will update.

Steve of My Brewers: Sounds like you figured out that you have to save an entry to make certain things publish, such as getting Link Lists to show up. Am learning this on the fly here as well. Keep the feedback coming.

EMC: Hang in there, I feel ya. Let’s all get through Opening Day. Crazy weekend! Will email you a tip sheet and see if anything on that helps you in the meantime.

More responses/updates to come.

Mark/MLB.com

I love the changes on her . . . especially the Red Sox logo in my background.
-A
http://catchingredsox.mlblogs.com

Matt — you should have said something, dude. Anyway, here’s to big changes.

Dan — you and me both.

J — lots will!

Mark

I like the not paying part….

http://soxangst.mlblogs.com

Mark, this sounds like exciting stuff. Can’t wait to see it all.

-Dan

http://fansonthefield.mlblogs.com

Appeciate the info, Mark, but would’ve appreciated it more had you shared the basics before (not after) my blog was taken offline, sometime Wednesday nite/Thurs. AM.

Dont get me wrong – I’m excited about the enhancements and understand there’s alot to do and communicate, but being down for 72 hours straight (maybe longer) without advance warning (other than trumpeting “change”), is a big – and I think avoidable – dissatisfier.

That’s my constructive feedback so far. Here’s to a new & improved MLBlogs in 2008!

Sincerely,

http://azdiamondhacks.mlblogs.com/

Jon: I’m going to post an MT Basics entry shortly, and hopefully that will be of assistance when everyone sees their new software.

Michael: We’ve been through a lot with the first iteration I know and I am confident there will be a lot more to like with the new blogging world here. Emphasis on it’s just a start, lots more to come, this will have everything that was doable by traditional Opening Day. For example, at launch there will not be a Browse by Team, but we’re planning to re-add that in a month. It has to be automated; making this place free means we’d have no prayer of manually keeping track (hopefully).

Mark/MLB.com

Glad to see it. For those who don’t know TypePad was like MoveableType Lite…real lite. MT will be much more robust.

Good job!

Michael Norton – Some Clubhouse

http://mlblog.someclubhouse.com

Sounds like this is gonna be fun… I admit, I’m a bit nervous, because I just kind of got to feeling that I knew the ins an outs of MLBlogs – but I’ll be looking forward to the update. Can’t wait to log on Saturday, and see how things look. Thanks for the heads up!

http://lonestarincalfornia.mlblogs.com/

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