A brief history of the site.
Being a new workmate of David Dorey back in 1996, I soon joined his local fantasy football league. After a while I learned of his football site. Within a couple of years TheHuddle’s readership had grown to be very large. They transitioned from a free site to a pay site and David and his partner Whitney Walters took on the task of running the site fulltime. I spoke with David about starting a baseball site. He had already thought of doing so but admitted he knew little about the sport and was waiting for the right person to come along. We struck an agreement to start The10thInning.
The original plan was to create a site for fantasy baseball similar to what TheHuddle is for football. The idea was to pay our dues like TheHuddle staff did an eventually grow by word of mouth, much like TheHuddle did and then hope to turn a profit. Fortunately, back in the late 1980’s and early 1990’s there was little competition and none of the mega media companies gave the game of fantasy sports any thought. Prices for things were extremely affordable. Today, the opposite is true, everyone is involved and the MLB Player’s Union is trying to control the baseball industry. Prices are prohibitive as the companies with the means and the data needed are the very media moguls that are now the competition. This past January, after the 2004 football season, David and I discussed, as we always have, the plans for the new season. This year it was believed that The10thInning, while having loyal readers and by all feedback received, has been a rousing success as far as helping others to be competitive and win their leagues, was not growing fast enough and would never become profitable. It has been running in the red to the tune of four figures… and it is getting worse. This off-season, right before the end of spring training, I was contacted by sources that had been providing free information. The message was that they were now charging and I had two weeks to cough up the fees or lose their service. Not very professional, but effective. Just like America’s company plans seem to be nowadays. Since The10thInning generates negative income I could not afford to pay.
Too add to the financial woes, the staff who had been researching and writing into the wee hours every day also had ceased work until payment was realized. This was an agreement from the beginning. The first two seasons were to get our name out there and pay our dues, the third was to realize a return on the effort. I was very fortunate to have Bob Cunningham, a member of the prestigious Baseball Writer’s Association of America, writing for the site… for free. This is what he does for a living. Jim Crimmins then jumped in and offered to cover content I was unfamiliar with, the points style leagues. And he offered his expertise in media, another aspect missing from the site.
Add to the fact that the server that The10thInning is located on will soon be wiped clear and revamped for TheHuddle. The10thInning needed to find a new home. Since I am not wise to the ways of webmastering and have no more disposable income to put into the site, it was decided that we would close up shop. As I was drafting a letter much like this one, I received three inquires within two days of each other. My excitement grew and the future seemed brighter.
I worked to secure free advertising with national and local baseball-related radio stations. A webmaster whom I now work with at my day job offered up his services. For the past two months I have been in negotiations and planning to transfer the site and then transform it into a lean mean and much more automated machine. I was then on the path to learn how things would work on the new site, how to draft and publish using different tools, dealing with how to replace the news application and site forum and transferring the domain to my name. I held discussions with Bob and Jim to see if they had any interest in the future of the site as partners. Things were looking up.
But when it came time to actually perform the transfer, this past week, the new webmaster announced that he had no time to perform the necessary tasks. With the current server about to be no more, I have no choice but to hang up shop, for now, as I don’t have the time to learn all that is needed to set up a site nor do I own many of the tools necessary for such.
I do have the site downloaded to my hard drive so the content is not lost. I do have the forum files so if there is a future for the site a conversion from the current forum application to whatever application may be available in the future may be possible.
I would like to thank David and Whitney for giving me a chance and for flying me to Las Vegas to draft against the industries’ top names. I much appreciate the effort and advice put forth by Bob and Jim. I'd like to thank Brian Harrington and the Baseball Central staff, David Volin of Roto-Rooting, Steve Webster of KGSO and Al O'Harra of the FSIC for their sponsorships. I also thank those of you who have sent in team correspondent pieces. Last, but more certainly not least, I thank you all for reading and commenting. We hope that over the course of the past two years plus we have been able to provide you with sound advice and make you more competitive in your leagues.
My plans are currently to learn the ways of the webmaster and to re-launch the site next season. While I expect it to retain the properties that have proven to be so popular, no ads/banners/pop ups/spam and a simple, easy-to-use, layout, I also expect more automation in the way of news feeds, syndication of our articles (RSS), better use of media as well as stats and user interfaces that will allow for instant player rankings designed to be fully customizable so that all league scoring formulae can be referenced.
Another aspect that was brought up in earlier discussions, was one-on-one personal support. Of course, in order to do such things, compensation will be necessary as the tools and services are no longer cheap. I envision a discount to our current loyal readers.
Once the site goes down, the E-mail addresses associated with the site will no longer function so I set up an interim address in case. If you have any questions or comments please use the following addresses until such time as the site is back in business.
mike_the10thInning@yahoo.com subject Comments
mike_the10thInning@yahoo.com subject Questions
mike_the10thInning@yahoo.com subject Loyal Reader Discount (send a message with your contact information if you would like to receive a message once the site re-launches along with a discount code).
Thank you again, it has been our pleasure serving you. Here’s wishing you continued success in your leagues.
For The10thInning staff,
The 10 th Inning