I don’t mention this often enough, boys and girls, but you all are really great. May was a fabulous month for HardballTalk. We set our all-time record for traffic and tripled the clicks we had in May 2009 (back when the blog went by the name “The Quarrymen”).
We’ve got a lot of great stuff rolling out in the coming weeks and months. One of those things is a redesign of the joint which will help keep older content from getting buried like it currently does and will make our other NBC blogs more accessible for everyone. Yes, some of you will moan about it at first because people have moaned about every redesign since the invention of the Internet, but I can assure you, this one will make the blog better.
Another change will be the addition of some video content featuring a pasty, bespectacled bald guy with a nasally Midwestern voice hating on all of your favorite teams. Sure, that will likely cause us to lose all of our traffic gains but it will hopefully be fun anyway.
But let’s be clear about something: everything we’ve been able to do with HardballTalk has been a function of one thing: you guys coming back and spending your free time and mouse clicks on us.
We realize you have a lot of choices when it comes to blog surfing, and we’d like to thank you for flying HardballTalk.
MLB.com’s Brian McTaggart reports that umpires Bob Davidson, John Hirschbeck, Jim Joyce, and Tim Welke have retired.
Davidson, 64, was known as “Balkin’ Bob” for his tendency to call pitchers for balks. Davidson has also made a name for himself picking fights with players and managers, as well as unnecessarily escalating situations.
Hirschbeck, 62, didn’t quite have the reputation Davidson had, but he had a couple of notable incidents on his profile as well. Last year, when ejecting Twins slugger Miguel Sano, Hirschbeck said, “Get the [expletive] out of here.” In 2013, he threw a drum of oil on a fire that very easily could’ve been snuffed out with Bryce Harper.
Joyce, 61, was a well-liked and well-respected umpire who will go down in history for one mistake. On June 2, 2010, Tigers starter Armando Galarraga was one out away from a perfect game. Indians second baseman Jason Donald hit a weak grounder about halfway between first and second base. Miguel Cabrera went to his right to field it and flipped to Galarraga covering first base. It was a close call, but Joyce incorrectly ruled Donald safe, ruining Galarraga’s perfect game. To both Joyce’s and Galarraga’s credit, both handled the mistake with the utmost class.
Craig also wrote in detail about Joyce a few years ago. It’s worth a re-read.
Tim Welke, 59, actually announced his retirement last year, but I guess it wasn’t made official until recently. He underwent a left knee replacement procedure in January last year and then had his right knee replaced five months later.
CNBC, citing Reuters, reports that Facebook and Major League Baseball are in discussions to stream one game per week.
Streaming is becoming more and more ubiquitous as it’s a more convenient way for people to access media they like. MLB Advanced Media, which handles MLB’s streaming service, is worth several billions of dollars. Last year, Disney paid $1 billion to purchase a 33 percent stake in BAMTech, the independent company MLBAM launched for its streaming.
Millennials and “Generation Z,” in particular, are driving the streaming trend. Forbes, citing the Digital Democracy Survey in 2015, reported that 56 percent of millennials’ media consumption was done via computer, smartphone, tablet, or gaming device. Those 30 years and older rely on television to watch film and TV shows at a clip higher than 80 percent.
Twitter is already in the sports streaming arena. It streams MLB, NFL, and NHL games as well as the PGA Tour.