Archive for the ‘ Tips ’ Category

A new era for MLB.com/blogs

Now that we are well into the Hot Stove season, another key player in Major League Baseball has just made a big change of scenery: Us.

We are excited to announce that MLB.com/blogs, approaching its 11th season as the leading baseball blogging community, has moved its popular PRO blogs to a terrific new blogging platform at Medium.com. Soon the overall move from WordPress.com will impact our existing fan blogs as well, so this is an update for everyone involved.

Background

First, a bit about Medium. Launched in 2012, it was developed by Twitter co-founder Evan Williams to provide a platform for longer-form writing. It features a full visual editor user interface, can handle multiple forms of embedded multimedia content, and uses a system of tagging, sharing, and recommendations to group and promote articles within its network.

Some of the biggest benefits of the move to Medium are:

royalrundownSame community. MLB.com/blogs dates back to the very first post by Hall of Famer Tommy Lasorda with an ode to his friend and former teammate Jackie Robinson — and the community is going to be stronger than ever around that hub. We’ve included a roster of all of the PRO blogs that moved over, and just some of the examples there already include the Our Game blog from MLB Official Historian John Thorn, Tigers beat reporter Jason Beck, Dodger Insider, the official MLB.com Books Blog with a new review from Hall of Fame writer Paul Hagen, From the Corner of Edgar & Dave, Cardinals Insider, MLB.com columnist Richard Justice, Twins Pics and many, many more. There will be some new looks, led by Kansas City’s relaunch of Royal Rundown.

You’ll recognize the familiar MLB.com logo and our familiar slogan we’ve always featured for baseball blogs: “Official Affiliate / Unofficial Opinions.”

Networking. The odds of your blog surfacing to a fresh set of eyes will be higher than ever before with Medium’s expansive reach. The new platform excels at placing links to your articles on related articles within the network, where it’s likelier to find greater exposure. As a result, Medium expects to provide nearly a 40-percent traffic bump to content on the network.

A culture of reading. Other platforms are geared more to publishing than being read. Medium’s audience skews younger and is engaged and well informed. Readers come to Medium to consume meaningful, quality content. And their growing audience is “sticky,” meaning readers spend a considerable amount of time on the site, consuming a series of related articles.

The neighborhood. The new Bill Simmons venture, The Ringer, launched earlier this year on Medium, joining SI’s The Cauldron and the NBA. The Italian football club AS Roma is on board as well. We will be positioned alongside these high-profile sports entities as Medium continues its push to become a hub of sports content.

What it means to you

We invite you to move your own blog over to Medium as soon as possible and continue to be part of our new MLB.com/blogs community. Just create one using your Twitter account, the easiest way to get started. If you do, please by all means leave a comment on our hub blog at MLB.com/blogs simply listing your URL. Then we will continue to help promote your blog as we always did, surfacing PRO and fan blogs regularly. That page is promoted across MLB.com.

Only the pre-existing PRO blogs will keep their familiar “mlblogs.com” domains from this point forward. Between now and the end of 2016, any fan blogs with those domains will revert to a “wordpress.com” domain. WordPress is directly messaging bloggers who will be affected. The old addresses will continue to work for some time after the switchover there.

In addition, the four MLB themes used in recent years at WordPress (PRO, Fan, Modern and Retro) will be retired. Bloggers who stay with WordPress will need to choose new themes from them.

You’ll immediately notice some slightly different lingo when you blog at Medium. Your WordPress blog becomes a “publication” on Medium, and your blog posts now are “articles.” The visual editor ultimately is very similar to what you’re used to, but some things do operate slightly differently and you’ll notice some unique functionalities the first time you write on Medium. We’ll make sure you have a guide to writing on Medium to make your transition as seamless as possible.

Even if you aren’t planning to blog at Medium, it’s a good idea to start an account there just so you can continue to follow certain PRO blogs so that you are notified immediately when a new entry is saved. While the URL for that blog will not change, you will need to start a Medium account in order to continue receiving such notifications. To do so, visit Medium.com, click on the “Sign In / Sign Up” button in the upper right corner, and sign up using Twitter, Facebook, Google or by using your email address. After creating your Medium account, please visit that blog at the familiar URL, click “FOLLOW” and make sure to check the box next to “Receive Letters in your inbox.”

We’re excited about moving MLB.com/blogs to a new platform, and we think you’ll enjoy using Medium. If you have any questions at all about this process or Medium in general, please don’t hesitate to ask us right here.

– Mark

Top 100 MLB.com/bloggers: Get your badge!

2015MLBcomBlogsTop100Congratulations again to all our Top 100 MLB.com/blogs for 2015. If your blog made the list you’ve earned a Top 100 badge to proudly display in your sidebar. Here’s how to make it happen:

1. Log in to your blog’s dashboard.

2. Go to Appearance > Widgets.

3. Grab the Image widget from the list of available widgets in the left side (they’re in alphabetical order), and drag it over to the top of your active widgets on the right side.

widgets

4. Enter ONLY the following information in the Image widget.
Image URL: https://mlbcomblogs.files.wordpress.com/2016/01/2015mlbcomblogstop100.png
Alternate text: 2015 Top 100 MLB.com/blogs
Width: 300 Height: 50
Link URL: http://mlbcomblogs.mlblogs.com/2016/01/11/2015-mlb-comblogs-top-100/

Screen Shot 2016-01-11 at 1.50.12 PM

5. Hit Save and you’re all set. The badge should display at the top of your blog’s sidebar, just as it does in this blog.

Picking some new blogs out of the rack

Picking a bat is kind of like picking a blog. Sometimes the other ones have more hits.

Picking a bat is kind of like picking a blog. Sometimes the other ones have more hits.

Happy Holidays. I’d like to take this opportunity to re-introduce MLB.com Blogs Central, the community blog for MLB.com and MLB.com/blogs. When you see the new array of bats in the custom theme here, just think of approaching a batrack in a dugout and the fabulous choices at your fingertips. That represents the array of choices you should find as a regular right here.

As you’ve probably noticed lately, we’re now using this blog to highlight much of the excellent, topical content around here with Reblogs of select posts from both MLB PRO and FAN blog themes. We’ll showcase some deserving blogs in this community much more dynamically — in real time as opposed to just once a month. It’s a great way to stay on top of what’s happening around baseball while discovering some quality blogs and growing your own.

So first of all, make sure you’re Following this blog. If you are logged in, you should have a Follow option in the top toolbar. We also recommend subscribing to our email updates via the button in the widget to the right so you don’t miss a thing. Posts from here will naturally become more frequent as a result, and I’ll no longer compile Latest Leaders rankings.

If you come across a blog post you think is outstanding or have a post of your own that you’re particularly proud of, by all means please leave a comment here and make sure to include the Permalink URL so others can find you. (Just don’t list your own blog here every single post, though, or your commenting would be treated as spam and require subsequent approval.) And definitely continue to use your community blog as you have all these years, whether you are a rookie blogger saying hello with an introduction or a veteran interacting with longtime friends.

April will mark the 10th anniversary of the best baseball blogging community here at MLB.com/blogs, a place where we at Major League Baseball Advanced Media partner with our friends at WordPress.com to provide the most cutting-edge blogging software anywhere. We hope you will find this community blog helpful to your discovery of other bloggers and in surfacing cool posts, as part of the total MLB.com experience. A good blog is kind of like one of the bats in this picture — a trusted companion, but you still want to try some others out.

– Mark/MLB.com

Fighting spam

You may have noticed a recent increase in spam comments in our community. WordPress.com has confirmed an uptick in spam activity and asks everyone to help the anti-spam effort by marking any spam messages in your blogs as such. You can do this in your dashboard, under Comments. The Akismet system that identifies and removes spam from the system uses an automated learning process, so every successful identification of a spam comment makes the system smarter.

Also, if you regularly monitor comments in your blog, you might want to select the “Before a comment appears: Comment author must have a previously approved comment” option under Settings > Discussion in your blog’s dashboard. This will require you to approve all first comments from new commenters on your blog, but once a commenter has a comment approved and they are “trusted,” their comments will appear immediately with no need for approval on your part. (As I’ve just done here.)

If you haven’t already done so, we recommend installing the free WordPress.com app on your mobile device. You can receive notifications of new comments and conveniently mark comments as spam in the app.

Top 100 MLBloggers: Get your badge!

2013Top100Congratulations again to all our Top 100 MLB.com Blogs for 2013. If your blog made the list you’ve earned a Top 100 badge to proudly display in your sidebar. Here’s how to make it happen:

1. Log in to your blog’s dashboard.

2. Go to Appearance > Widgets.

3. Grab the Image widget from the list of available widgets in the left side (they’re in alphabetical order), and drag it over to the top of your active widgets on the right side.

widgets

4. Enter ONLY the following information in the Image widget.
Image URL: https://mlblogsmlblogs.files.wordpress.com/2014/01/2013top100.png
Alternate text: Top 100 MLB.com Blogs
Width: 300 Height: 50
Link URL: http://mlblogs.mlblogs.com/2014/01/07/top-100-mlb-com-blogs-2013

image

5. Hit Save and you’re all set. The badge should display at the top of your blog’s sidebar, just as it does in this blog.

Happy Holidays from MLB.com Blogs!

Happy Holidays from MLB.com Blogs!

As you can see by the animated snowfall here on the MLB.com Blogs community hub, there are no baseball games today.

We are here with our 553rd career post (two shy of Manny) to welcome Winter and Christmas and what is regarded in popular culture as “the most wonderful time of the year.” Opening Day probably can stake a legitimate claim for that title, but hey, we are caught up in the holiday spirit right now and we just wanted to wish the best of times with family and friends to you here in the Major League Baseball blogging community.

King Bingley and his ornament friend wish you good tidingsWant to see the flakes fall on your blog? Just go to “Settings” in your WordPress.com dashboard, and at the bottom select “Snow.” It will drop the white stuff on your blog until Jan. 4, and the best part is, you won’t have to do any shoveling like I already have done twice so far in the New York City suburbs, breaking one shovel in the process. No one ever says, “How can you not be romantic about shoveling snow?” Plus, my English Bulldog King Bingley gets a kick out of trying to chew the shovel blade each time I plunge it at the sidewalk, so it goes twice as slow. He thinks I’m playing.

I hope you found nice gifts for everyone. I have been dishing out MLB.com Shop tips since before Black Friday as the annual MLB.com Gift Guru, and once 9 p.m. ET arrives on Monday (deadline for overnight shipping), the best advice I can give you is an MLB.com Online Gift Certificate, 2014 MLB.TV Premium or our ridiculously popular At Bat app.

Safe traveling if you are among the 70-million-plus Americans expected to hit the road. We don’t have groundskeepers like Murray Cook to follow you around so watch out for yourself. I had to race to beat the Thanksgiving-week weather system that pushed north from the Gulf of Mexico, so I found myself driving the full state of Pennsylvania starting at 8 p.m. that Monday and diving into a motel at 5 in the morning. We made it into Ohio before most of that ice moved in. It was nice to drive through Cincinnati and see Great American Ball Park in offseason slumber along the highway. Our bulldog hated the trip and spent back-to-back nights at an all-night pet hospital due to upper-respiratory infection. We tend to be way too much like Chevy Chase “Vacation” movies in real life so the next couple of weeks it is time for chill mode at home in New York and somehow stick to a 12-week training program for the ASICS LA Marathon on March 9. What about you?

We’d love to see any holiday-themed posts you have, so please feel free to leave a comment here with the full URL so everyone can find their way to your blog. Once they get there, you should have the “Follow This Blog” widget prominently displayed high on your side panel, so we can all subscribe and then be notified whenever you post. That’s my top tip to everyone.

As a general housekeeping note, please be on the lookout for our annual MLB.com Blogs Top 100 rankings roughly around Jan. 6, give or take a couple of days. As usual, it will be accompanied with a handy-dandy badge like the one you see in the side panel of this blog, so anyone who makes the list can proudly show off their accomplishment. We will rank in a variety of categories as always. I will pull our Omniture page-view data from Jan. 1 to Dec. 31, and once we’re back to work we’ll start compiling the lists. Be sure you enter your email to follow this blog on the right so you will see that post immediately!

HOLIDAY FARE

Enjoy these posts below while you warm by the yuletide log…and Happy Holidays again! – Mark

http://groundskeeper.mlblogs.com/2013/12/21/a-christmas-groundskeeper-story/

http://ramsey.mlblogs.com/2013/12/20/day-four-of-the-umpteen-days-of-christmas/

http://dicomo.mlblogs.com/2013/12/17/the-mets-and-the-curse-of-kris-kringle-2013-edition/

http://philliesinsider.mlblogs.com/2013/12/17/holiday-batting-lineup/

http://brewers.mlblogs.com/2013/12/13/the-womans-guide-to-choosing-the-perfect-holiday-gift/

http://phillies.mlblogs.com/2013/12/13/your-true-love-gave-you-what-now/

http://curlyw.mlblogs.com/2013/12/10/adam-laroche-checks-in-from-2013-chairman-uso-holiday-tour/

http://tribevibe.mlblogs.com/2013/12/13/favorite-holiday-treats-from-the-tribe/

http://pitchinginthecommunity.mlblogs.com/2013/12/21/dodgers-kids-holiday-party-1211-2/

What are you waiting for?

On a hot day in August, I am waiting for October. And as I just wrote on MLB.com, I am waiting for a lot more than that as a Baseball fan. I am waiting for a Cubs parade, my loaded Hall of Fame ballot this December, another Dodger Dog and more. I hope you will read my own list, share that story and then blog about what YOU are waiting for as a fan. A title for your team? Of course. An autograph from your favorite player or legend? Sure. But you are waiting for more than that. It’s what makes you a fan, what makes you blog, what you love about the game.

Please include your Permalink in comments here so we can find your own list!

Do this to increase your blog’s traffic

It’s important that everyone can find your MLB.com Blog posts in social media, and unfortunately it requires a manual intervention by each blogger to add that capability to your blog. It’s really easy, and you are just losing traffic by not taking a moment to make it happen.

In your dashboard, go to Settings–>Sharing. Then just drag all of the Share icons and then hit Save. Then each of your individual posts (Permalink) will display those icons at the bottom, so that your readers can instantly share/email/print/etc. As admins, we’re going to be doing that immediately for all of the Latest Leaders (unless it’s already done) immediately after we post the new rankings.

– Mark

Video embedding update

Embedding MLB.com videos onto your MLB.com Blog is back to normal, and thanks for your patience.

Want to blog about Homer Bailey’s latest no-hitter? Watch the video on MLB.com and click “Embed” there and copy the embed code. Using the Text tab of your dashboard’s New Post field, paste the code as I’m doing here:

Tip: To make the video fill the entire blog column width, as you see here, change the width in the code from 400 to 550, and change the height from 224 to 318.

And while we’re on the subject, see my story on MLB.com to find out how to get a free Domino’s pizza thanks to Homer.

Looking out the window

Just looking out the window and waiting for Spring Training. You?

Everyone is buzzing about the Brothers Upton in Atlanta, an acquisition reported by Mark Bowman. What did you think of the Atlanta-Arizona trade? The Cutoff ManMiLB.com PROSPECTiveDugout PonderingsThe Unbiased MLB FanBrave Fan in Illinois and The Baseball Haven give you their takes.

Fresh posts are in at Dodgers HistoryThe Brewer NationThe Rays RantMLB Urban Youth AcademyBalls and StrikesSF Giants Photos, My Serendipitous Life as a Baseball Wife, Minoring in BaseballHillsboro HopsBen’s Biz Blog and The AustralianBaseballDigest.

Blogger Terry Nelson says on Balls and Strikes that he is “not a winter person.” I agree with you, Terry. For full disclosure, this blogger is wearing warm Cardinals pajamas under his work clothes as this will probably be the coldest night of the year in New York City and I am headed over to Joe Torre’s Safe at Home event tonight at Chelsea Piers, to fire questions at guys like Brian Cashman, Gerry Cooney (!), Hideki Matsui, Tony La Russa, Goose Gossage, Jorge Posada, Tom Coughlin and more. I believe this is the last in a long string of offseason dinners I cover for MLB.com during that wait between World Series clincher and pitchers and catchers reporting.

The most recent dinner story I wrote was the most-shared MLB.com story on Facebook: Yogi Berra’s tribute night at the Baseball Assistance Team’s 24th annual Go to Bat for B.A.T. Fundraiser Dinner. We have since posted the clip of Yogi’s 65-word love letter to his lifelong sport, so I encourage you to embed it on your own blog and share it widely.

Hopefully you already know that you can show MLB.com videos. It’s a great addition to your blog. Just click the gray Embed button on just about any of our videos. (Game footage video has a time delay for embed availability during the season.) Please leave comments here whenever you include MLB.com video embeds within your posts, as I would like to highlight that capability within our community here.

We just introduced mlbpipeline.com — the go-to place for all prospect tracking and Draft analysis year-round, whether you’re looking for your organization’s pipeline talent or prospecting for your Fantasy roster. MLB.com senior writer Jonathan Mayo is our longtime prospect and Draft expert at MLB.com, and in addition to anchoring that, he is posting regularly at B3 – Big, Bald and Beautiful.

Game times for this season were announced today. Where Everyone’s a Giant posted about it, good topic for you to blog about. My MLB.com colleague Jesse Sanchez recently posted a great entry about late author Richard Ben Cramer and how he influenced him. Remember to post your Top 100 banner if you made our 2012 list like Wrigley Regular.

Welcome back to one of our earliest MLB.com Blogs fan posters, Joe Boesch. His latest post on Dugout Diary is a Pete Rose autographed card, check it out. Jamie Ramsey is blogging the Reds Caravan. The MLB.com Fantasy 411 crew is getting spring fever. We found short and sweet words from just-started Let’s Play Ball! Gotta like how Broke Mets is rockin’ the pitchers and catchers countdown clock in its side panel. Leave comments here to let you know you’ve posted something new and don’t forget to include your full URL. We’ll be surfacing MLB.com Blogs in a new way this season, just one thing we have to look forward to looking out the window…

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