No, you haven’t happened upon Extreme Makeover, Internet Edition (why, that Ty Pennington, he’s so smug, I swear I’m gonna…). Er, for the past year you may have noticed that the lights have been on but no one’s been home at Strikethree.com. However, as you can see, we’ve returned, re-made, remodeled, and moved back in.
What happened? Well, the same problem that drove dozens of other Internet publishers out of business – we were undercapitalized and overworked. I remember manually typing in line scores late every night, while our webmaster struggled with a customer-hostile hosting provider and rose at 3 am to try and upload the next day’s content between outages.
Burnout occurred, other, better-funded sites siphoned off our talent (no grudge there — Baseball Prospectus knows a good writer when they see one). Others succumbed to personal issues (i.e., wives, children and day jobs). In the midst of this, the mess known as “the Rivals.com debacle” occurred, giving us a first-hand look at the turn-of-the-millenium enterprise economy: wünderkind starts business, wünderkind gets venture capital, wünderkind overpromises, business cuts corners to make up the gap, wünderkind leaves with golden parachute just before bankruptcy. No, Enron didn’t own them, but the script is awfully familiar.
Then September 11, 2001 came along to chip in. The death spiral was slow, but it was on.
The next logical question is, why are we back? In short: new technology, new possibilities, new passion, and a gap: Inexplicably, good baseball writing is still hard to find. Most of what’s out there is either too serious, too homerish (as opposed to Homerish, which I could live with), or just bad (that last one accounts for 90% of daily newspapers and most of the talking heads who appear on I, Max). Plus I have a hard time shutting up. Sorry about that last one.
The most amazing part of all was the fact that even in its comatose state, Strikethree.com had thousands of readers per day. Maybe leaving dates off our articles had something to do with that.
Can Strikethree.com pick up the baserunning gloves it dropped, and wear them as proudly as we did in our poor-but-spunky heyday? Well, we’ll sure try. As you read this I’m sifting through the Web, looking for new voices you’d like to hear (so to speak…for now). In fact, if in your travels you find a blogger or other baseball scribe you love, forward his or her info to me. Same with cartoonists and animators. Even if they don’t end up as official Strikethree.com employees, we’ll be featuring other sites where you can find baseball writing with brains and entertainment.
We’ll also be pulling some relevant articles out of the thousands in our archive – all of which are still online and free, should you want to know what we were thinking in-between Kozmo.com deliveries in 1998. There are some exciting new features coming, and yes, new Strikethree.com t-shirts.
The most important part of this reboot, though, is you. Your participation is required to make Strikethree.com work. Tell me what you like, don’t like, and would like to see. Just please, no forwarded copies of Numa Numa. It’s played.
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