Hi! You may have noticed that things look really, really different now. Here’s why.

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Well, this is different. But that’s OK. Welcome to the significantly redesigned NBC Sports Digital and, of course, the new HardballTalk.

Don’t freak out. It’s still Aaron, D.J., Drew., Bill, Matthew and me giving you the same stuff you have known and loved since 2009 (Or hated. Some of you come back constantly simply to yell at us and that’s OK, even if it’s weird. All are welcome). Only now we’re no longer employing a 2009-era platform, and that’ll be good for you. I promise.

First, the stuff that should make you feel better about all of this in the event that you’re shocked by the new look and/or don’t like change:

  • Yes, the HardballTalk home page, at least as you knew it, is no more. If you have it bookmarked that’s OK, though, because your bookmark will now go to the most recent HBT post. And from each HBT post, you can scroll through HBT posts infinitely, so it’s just like having your old HBT feed. And the story explorer that used to be across the top, allowing you to jump from story to story as you see fit, is still there. It’s just on the side. The upshot: you can browse through our stuff just like you always did.
  • HardballTalk will now work WAY better for you on all of your devices: desktop, tablet (in both portrait and landscape), and mobile devices too. It was sort of a mess in that regard before. No one was really designing sites primarily for mobile in 2009 and now more than half of most sites’ readership is via mobile devices. Now it should be seamless for you across all of your gadgets, particularly with video, which we know has been a mess for a while.
  • And there’s a drop-down menu (just below the scoreboard, to the right of where it says “Hardball Talk”) that lets you sort news by team.

Now, the stuff that will be different but which should improve your experience here:

  • There is now a scoreboard ticker with team- and sport-focused stuff, again, optimized across desktop and tablets. And the tagging is way better now so if you want to simply get a feed of stories about the Yankees or the Red Sox or the Phillies or the Blue Jays or whatever your favorite team is, you can do so with one click;
  • Our video stuff, NBC Sports Live Extra, will be prominently featured within the new site experience, including a site-wide live streaming schedule, direct links, and a TV listings, all way more easily accessible than before. So, if you’re perusing baseball posts but, oh yeah, you wanted to go watch ProFootballTalk Live or Men in Blazers or any of our other video properties — bam! — they’re right there for you, with no need to navigate your way out and then back in; and
  • Player news, including injury reports, transactions, and stats that you get from Rotoworld is now accessible in a dedicated team/player news section and integrated throughout the site. In case you were unaware, Rotoworld is our sister site and D.J., Drew, Matthew and Bill (among others) write the Rotoworld entries and have for years. If you’ve been using anything else for that kind of news and/or fantasy content, you’ve been making a grave mistake. Now it’s way closer to HBT and the other NBC Sports site.

The big reason for all of this, apart from what I mentioned above, was so that we had a consistent look and feel across all of the NBCSports.com sites, including the “Talk” sites, NBC SportsWorld, our longform storytelling site, NBC Sports Live Extra and the scoreboards and stats and things. We’re not gonna lie to you. We’re a business and we’re proud of what we do here and we’d like you to explore all of what we do here. So we’ve made that easier to do. That’s the point.

Of course we realize that change can be jarring. But change can be good if it’s handled thoughtfully, and we think we’ve handled this thoughtfully. Perfectly? Nah. We’d like to pretend that we’re the first website to do a major change and not have some bugs and unexpected snafus, but we are men of action and lies do not become us. So let us just promise you that we’re gonna fix whatever happens as soon as we can and do our best to make sure all of the reasons you liked coming here before remain and all of the new things we’re excited about are integrated as seamlessly and unobtrusively as possible.

It’s a holiday weekend, so you have some time. Play around with things and get used to the new look and feel. I bet that by Tuesday morning you’ll be comfortable enough with the new HBT and the new NBC Sports.com that you’ll not miss a beat in your usual waste-time-at-work-reading-about-sports schedule.

— Craig