What Next?

Well, if you are reading this I can still post. And, if I can still post, I will continue to post.

I was as shocked as you when I read on Twitter that Phuture Phillies was “shutting down“. I read Gregg’s goodbye post and eventually saw the e-mail he sent me shortly before he posted his goodbye.

Vic Filoromo contacted me last night about keeping the site up and running. I am not adverse to the idea, but Gregg was the last person to have admin privileges. In a later contact with him, I got the impression that they are not his to pass along.

So, while I can still post, I can’t maintain some of the site’s features. I can’t update Transactions. I can’t add new Categories, like adding a new menu option for the 2015 Reader Top 30. I can’t update any file that I didn’t create. I can’t add new writers.

But I can continue to post until some outside force takes down the site. So, I’ll start the Reader Top 30 next week. I’ll continue to post a Weekly Discussion feed. I’ll continue to post transactions.

I have been approached by other sites and asked to consider joining them. This surprised me since I don’t so much write articles as report what I see. Then I realized that my best asset isn’t how or what I write, but more that I’m actually on site during spring training, extended spring training, FSL, GCL, and FIL.

I’ve grown attached to Phuture Phillies and all the readers and commenters here. I like the format and enjoy the interaction in the comment section. I chose Phuture Phillies because of the quality of comments posted here. So, while carefully considering these offers to join other sites, I will continue working here.  Hopefully, Vic will continue to contribute as well.

(BTW, if you rely on Twitter to notify you of new posts here, that account belongs to Gregg.  He’ll probably be taking that with him, so you may want to follow us to receive notices of new posts at @jimpeyton19 and @victorfiloromo.  My account has the extra added bonus of in-game tweets during the season.)

30 thoughts on “What Next?

  1. To echo what Jim has said above:

    I would like to do everything in our power to keep things running, but I never had administrative powers, and even through last year as you may know, was only the occasional contributor to the site behind Gregg, Brad, and Matt. I always saw myself as a 4th or 5th wheel around here.

    That being said, I would hate to see this site just disappear into the ether. To me, any site that can regularly get somewhere between 50-75 comments on a well-written article is worth saving. I know the Twitter account that Jim mentioned looked like it has been changed to Phillybaseballblog.com, but the Twitter account also had about 3,500 followers, something that is not worth throwing away.

    I don’t know what the next step around here is, but I certainly appreciate everyone for reading and commenting here, and always enjoyed the lively discussion in the comments. That’s what made me excited about writing articles for this website.

    Hopefully there is something more concrete to post in the near future, but I would really hate to see this site die off. I don’t know what can be done to save it, and I wouldn’t guarantee that the site would be as active as it has been over the past calendar year or so, but an abrupt end seems unfair to everyone that has been checking this site as part of their daily Phillies reading.

    Will see what can be done about this.

    Hope to talk soon.

    –Victor

  2. Although I’m not a regular poster here, Phuture Phillies has always constituted part of my regular daily Phillies’ baseball reading. I’d hate to see it simply cease to exist. Hopefully, something can be worked out.
    Regards

  3. Hey Guys,

    I am the editor of PhillyBaseballInsider.com (aka PhillyBaseballBlog.com), the site where Gregg will now be writing.

    First, I want to say that I’m looking forward to working with Gregg more closely. He and I have been friends for a few years and have helped each other with ideas, content, etc. during that time, even though we were with “competing” sites.

    I don’t know who has any of the true admin rights to the PhuturePhillies site, obviously, but am willing to help out in whatever way that I can. Here are a couple ideas. 1. If whoever has the domain name rights is willing to either transfer them to me or potentially, sell them to me, I would be interested in helping out that way (provided the price would be fair). I would basically help with the administrative stuff and possibly give Jim and/or Vince the admin rights they need to fully update the site and help them to learn how to do that. The two sites could run as “sister” sites, cross-promote each other and perhaps even share content. 2. Jim and Vince are more than welcome to continue writing and do it on my site. There are plenty of topics to go around and I’ve tried to run my site as a one-man show, but that, combined with my other responsibilities is just too tough, so, the more, the merrier.

    If there are any other ideas that anyone has, just let me know. You can email me at chuck@phillybaseballinsider.com. I’m open to ideas on how the two sites might be able to work together or how I may be able to build a site that you guys would be comfortable with. If anyone other than Jim or Vince are interested in writing, that may be a possibility as well.

    In full disclosure, I did some searches on who owns the PhuturePhillies.com domain and it appears that it’s run through some sort of company that handles domain names and doesn’t disclose who the actual owner is or how to contact them.

    Again, I’m interested in any ideas anyone may have and open to suggestions. We all love the Phillies and have an interest in their minor league organization. Hopefully, something can be worked out.

    Thanks,
    Chuck Hixson
    chuck@phillybaseballinsider.com

    1. Chuck,
      Thanks for coming forward and offering to help and sustain this site and the forum it offers.
      I surely hope you are successful in that endeavor.
      It would be a shame to see the site fade away.
      I visit other sites, and the one aspect of this site I particularly like is the ‘conversational’ chat forum between posters, especially in the General Disc thread.
      In any event thanks again for stepping up and good luck.

  4. It seems crazy to me that this site could go by the wayside. There have to be a ton of regular visitors. That alone has to be worth something. I am hopeful that whoever actually holds control over admin powers and the ability to pass them along will put them in the hands of someone willing to carry things forward. It would be a shame to lose something that has been built so well and over such a long period of time.

    I love the minor league dedicated talk and discussions. I have always loved the concept of drafting or signing players and then developing them. It has been eye opening over the last 10 years or so of following this process to see just how hard it is to develop home grown talent and how important it is for the survival of a franchise. The Phils have had some successes and quite a few failures and both have had more meaning to me because of seeing their beginnings through this site. If things end here, I hope I can find a replacement fix. : )

  5. I’m trying to remember who it was who did all the work on the site redesign – I SHOULD remember because it was greate work – but I don’t.

    1. The latest redesign I think was accomplished by Matt Winkleman.
      Prior to that, 2009 or so, may have been James or Alan, not sure.

      1. For some reason I think Bob (@sleepinggiantZZ) had something to do with the technical side of the latest redo. But I’m old and my memory can’t be trusted.

  6. Please keep this site going. I have been a Phillies fan since I started to watch their minor league players play in Williamsport. My favorite play is still Richie Allen. For the few months I could see him in person were unreal. I have never since seen anybody with the ability he had.

  7. @Chuck,

    First and foremost, please note that these are just my personal feelings.

    That being said, this website for as long as I’ve known it (and, from my understanding, since the very beginning) has never been anything but a passion. That is to say, the domain name was paid for solely by the owner (James), and there have never been any ads or donations to cover the cost. It has simply remained a passion. And, from my point of view, transferring the domain rights to anyone else in a monetary transaction would just sully the heart of what this website is.

    It is also my understanding that you (and now Gregg) will be treating your website as a paying job. Which is absolutely fine, don’t get me wrong, but again is not what PhuturePhillies is about. I have no way of knowing how you would think about this website after acquiring it, or what you envision a “sister site” relationship to entail. But it seems to me that there would be some expectation of further monetary gain on your part which, again, just doesn’t sit right with me in the spirit of this website.

    All of this is to say that I, personally, appreciate the offer but would decline if it were my choice. I would like this website to continue being a passion rather than a job or business venture.

    @PhuturePhillies readers/writers,

    Now here is my counter suggestion to Chuck’s: if administrative rights can not be given to Jim and/or Victor for whatever reason, what about a (slight) change of url? I would say just create a new website, with the exact same mission as this one, and just make the last post on here a “we have moved to (insert URL here)” with a hyperlink.

    Now there a couple associated problems with this; the two immediate ones being that we will need to build a new website and we will need someone else to pay for the domain name.

    For the first, I will gladly offer some of my own time. I won’t be able to build from scratch, but I have used wordpress before and (after getting re-acquainted a bit) I am positive I could get a functioning version of the site just to get us off the ground. If someone else with even more skills than I would like to do it, that’s absolutely fine too. But I am happy to give back to the website that has given me so much, so I am offering my services now (and note I would be happy to keep in constant contact with you guys, Jim and Victor, and I would give you administrative rights immediately).

    As for the second part, one option would be, of course, to not buy a domain name. Just using a free hosting website would allow this website to continue. There is also the option to simply use ad revenue for it. But I’m not crazy about either of those idea. The third option that James never used is where I think we should turn; donation.

    James never accepted donations because this site, these players, this game were his passion. Well, it’s all of our passion. Now maybe there’s someone who wants to take over the mantel as far as paying for the domain name, and that’s fine. Personally I would do so myself, but I’m not financially stable enough to do so regrettably. But if there isn’t a single person, why don’t we all just chip in? How much has this website, these writers, given us for no cost to us? I’d like to give back to keep it going.

    So those are my thoughts. If administrative rights can not be obtained for this domain name, let’s just move down the street, as it were. And let’s make this website officially “ours” by all paying to keep it ad-free together.

    Anyways, maybe I’m the only one who feels this way about it all. Whatever happens, thank you all for all your hard work.

    1. And just to put a name to the face, the above is me.

      I’m a regular poster and I used to use this handle for a while, but switched (back) to anonymous for my own reasons. Note that the blog attached to this name is outdated. I was doing it for a class and abandoned it after the class ended. But it does show at least a passing familiarity with how WordPress blogs work.

    2. To make it VERY clear, I will be accepting zero dollars in the move to a new site and compensation plays no factor in my decision making. I simply need to spend less time maintaining things and more time doing what I love to do. This decision has absolutely nothing to do with finances. James was fantastic in simply giving me an opportunity that I never anticipated occurring. Luckily, I need not make money from writing because I am not a great writer. I have a full time professional job that I am quite happy with. The opportunity James gave me will be forever appreciated. I just cant spend the level of time on the more mundane parts of the site and not being able to give it 100% has never been the way I operate.

    3. Hey Dan,

      Actually, I’m aware of the commitment to keeping the site free of advertising and would be willing to continue that commitment for the Phuture Phillies site.

      As for Philly Baseball Insider, I’ve run the site for over ten years now and have often considered selling advertising, but just haven’t acted on it. In the past, my site was associated with an online network operated by FOX Sports and they operated the network on a subscriber basis. I never felt completely comfortable with that plan and left the network over a year ago.

      It’s very possible that in the future, I will look to make a few bucks off of “Insider” and if I do, would be willing to share that with the writers who would be contributing to the site. Honestly, I haven’t made any decision on trying to sell ads for the site, mainly because sales isn’t my strong suit.

      Anyway, just wanted to reiterate that I’m open to helping resolve things in whatever way would be best. I’m also willing to simply mind my own business and tend to my own site. Again, feel free to give me any ideas or suggestions you have.

      Chuck
      chuck@phillybaseballinsider.com

  8. For these many years the “operators” have run this site which involved much time, effort, and energy beyond any expectations.

    Posters have enjoyed this site steadily, and we should all be grateful for its existence.

    The threat that we would lose PhuturePhillies is significant enough to draw support from us in the form of a moderate yearly fee, perhaps $25…which I would be glad to pay to keep the site open and active.

    Thus, whosoever does assume responsibility would be paid (very little) to reward him/them for their efforts. It is a small amount IMO to pay to keep this “essential” site up and running.

    We have been the beneficiaries of people who have run this site over these years; it is time we acknowledge all their efforts and stop expecting such “goodies” for free…at a small acknowledgement.

  9. I along with a number of others have been lurking and posting on PP for 5+ years. It’s been the best source of Phillies minor league content on the web, and it’s not all that close. That said, since about the year before James gave up his responsibilities with the site I’ve wanted to see the content and quality be taken up a level. I get the time commitment required to maintain this site, and while the comments section is an amazing aspect to this I have learned 90% of the what I know about prospects from articles posted over the years by James, Matt and some of the other writers.

    I’m not sure how to expand the quality and frequency of the articles outside of having this be someones full time job. And to do that, it’ll have to be paying. More then happy to pay $10-20/month subscription fee…

    Another option could be a college internship to post game day scores, maintain the site and the general discussion (They’re cheap!). Then for the scout content have paid “assignments” where we pay per “article” to have people write amazing articles. Say $150/article with 50-100 articles a year in addition to “fan posts” which I’ve seen on libertyballers.com. Which captures in essence the “passionate” side of things we’ve seen over the years here.

    The college internship would be 20h/week at $10/hour.

    So long story short, I figure 27-35k a year and this site could really go to the next level. How to pay for that, well ads are probably the simplest way to do it. We could provide unobtrusive ads with donations and probably cover most of the cost.

    I’m rambling, I’ll think about this more and post under James’s last post.

    1. I agree with having ads. There are so few sites online nowadays without them, and since the viewership is so high and so loyal, it would go a long way toward writers’ efforts and reducing the turnover.

      I also think having ads usually drives more revenue than memberships with exclusive content.

  10. I’ve been off net for the past 20 hours and am just now catching up. It looks like Phuture Phillies is safe. I would like to respond to some of the comments in this thread.
    1.) Dan K. – before joining this site, I had created my own (without a domain name) that looks a lot like Phuture Phillies before it was upgraded. It was my second attempt, so I “stole” everything I could. If it had come to a new site, I certainly would have appreciated any help you would have offered.
    2.) Chuck and others who reached out with offers – thank you, but since Phuture Phillies is going to continue, I am going to stay put if James will have me.
    3.) to the $ guys – I am opposed to subscriptions and ads. I think subscriptions would discourage new readers. I don’t need to be paid. I have the time. I’m on site in Clearwater, passing on my observations to those who were interested in what I saw was just the next logical step for me. And honestly, I probably would have never discovered how great Phuture Phillies is if a subscription had been required.
    4.) to all – You’ve seen my contributions to the site. I’m sure some of you have noticed that I’ve been reticent to express a negative opinion about a young prospect. I’ve been more comfortable reporting what I see and allowing you to form your opinions. To maintain the integrity of Phuture Phillies that would need to change, whether with more accurate appraisals by me or more writers with the necessary skills.

    1. Jim – Thanks for considering us and good luck to you and everyone associated with Phuture Phillies. As I’ve said before, Gregg and I often shared ideas and information and while we are “competitors,” I wish nothing but the best to you guys and of course, hope we all have some meaningful baseball in not too distant summers!

  11. Good points Jim. I agree with you on #3 but if the decision came to be as a subscription service I would pony up to get the level of info that I have become used to.
    On #4 I appreciate your work as it is. You are right to “just give me the facts”. I can form my own opinion of a prospect based ON THE FACTS as I read them. Others in here will offer negative and positive opinions on a player and I can balance all of that as long as I have some facts to help me figure out which way to lean regarding said player.
    Thanks again for your incite and time.

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