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Tony-OH

Future of Orioles Hangout

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If the Hangout were to fade away it would have a huge affect on me. In many different ways. This community is very special to a LOT of people. Thank you Tony for the many many years you've provided for ALL of us. The most important thing to me is my family. Tony, you have to do what's best for you and your family however it works out for the HO.

Cheers mate!

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This will veer off course, so I apologize in advance.  This site, Tony and Weams have meant so much to me.  I will be the 402nd person in this thread to say that I spend time every day learning about our prospects and suspects, and their effort (and Luke's) just can be underestimated.  It has been articulated much better than I  what they have done.

But the personal decency, kindness and caring that this gentleman has extended to my family remains foremost in my thoughts.  I met Tony and Weams at an Orioles Hangout many moons ago (Zach Britton was actually the starter, for the second game of the double header, for temporal context).  My wife and I had the opportunity to talk to Tony over a frosty beverage (or 6) before the game, and to learn about what he went through to establish this site was fascinating.  

Two years and autistic triplets later, Weams, Tony and Orioles Hangout have done wonders for my family.  I will spare the details, but my boys have been able to experience baseball at Camden Yards and Tampa, because these gentlemen care.  Roy Firestone has been another person I've met, and I am in awe in how a man so busy is so caring.

I am sorry for the digression, but this site has been  a lifeline.  I have utmost respect for Tony, I am not in his shoes, and the man has earned everything he wants to decide.  Bless him, bless Weams, bless Roy.

This is off course, so back to Zach Pop, and his future as a piece of the bullpen.

   

  

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Not reading through all of these pages (much in the way I haven't for most threads over my time here) so I apologize if this was somewhere else. 

Are there any other local pubs that could absorb this community in some way? I imagine BaltimoreBaseball.com or PressBox could certainly benefit from this type of loyal, dedicated readership. They are already (theoretically) at least breaking even and could bring some established infrastructure such as the servers and other costs. 

Just spitballing here. 

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I'd be interested to know what the level of effort is to keep the message board running. I won't name anyone specifically, but I'd be willing to guess that a handful of folks around here would be willing to pitch in to keep this thing going. Even if we don't have the scouting reports anymore, which would be a blow, as they're always quite good, losing the message board would be a tough pill to swallow. I know my join date says July 2008, but it was probably 6 months prior to that when I first tripped over the Hangout. Crazy that it's coming up on 12 years ago for me, and much longer for others. Like others that have "grown up" over the years, I'm not posting all that much anymore, either, but this site is literally always open in a tab on every device I use, and I pop in and out of here daily. The thought of losing the security blanket that the Hangout provides is saddening. I hope we can find a way to keep this community together.

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12 hours ago, Tony-OH said:

Thanks, but one of the reason I never moved to one of those networks is that I didn't want to charge people that kind of money. Trust me, I feel bad enough about plus memberships and prefer to have ads make this place completely free. 

There is a just a lot behind the scenes that goes on with ad networks bugging me with e-mails, our ad networks adding in crap ads that cause people problems (and then I get hammered for them), upgrades and patches on the message board constantly, and then add in we have a ton of new people in the organization and I'm not sure I have the time and energy to renew my contacts and sources.

Mike Elias has been great with allowing me access to him (More access I've had with a GM since Flanagan/Duquette) but last year was a struggle to get information out of the minor leagues with some people ignoring my texts and others telling me to go to the PR department for easy information. Last year, I spent my own money to spend an extra day to go down to Sarastoa to see the GCL players about a week before their games started and was told to go through the PR department who then told me I could have "fan access" to the players. After doing this for 24 years and having full season credentials to Camden Yards since 2002, that was a slap in the face and told me what the new PR folks think of me and the site.

Some times you have to read the tea leaves to understand when your run is up. Typically when I would get ignored I'd work doubly hard to develop a relationship elsewhere, but honestly, I just don't have that drive anymore when it comes to this. I'm at a point in my real career where I have a lot of responsibility and influence over very senior people in the government (The part not effected by poisonous politics)  yet the PR team is treating me like a fan? Maybe it's a bit of ego or maybe it's because I feel like I've earned more respect than that, but that has left a major bad taste in my mouth.

I guess I feel my time, like many people in this organization over the years, may be up. I really don't know. I'm just trying to be as open and honest with you all since I respect each and every one of you. 

Weams has always made things as easy as possible for me and Luke has been breath of fresh air for me and the site, and has taken a lot of burden that I felt to keep you all up to date and answer questions. Without them, and Shane from a technical side, this site doesn't continue.

Honestly, the business and technical side is more of the pain then anything else. I can do a ton of scouting at home on my laptop sitting in my recliner while watching the Orioles game, but I feel like I'm not doing my due diligence if I don't get out more and talk with more folks like in the past. I just need to work through all of these things and also realize I usually get more excited come spring time.

Thanks again for the notes of support.

 

 

 

Thanks for filling in with that story about being spurned by the Orioles bureaucrats. Obviously those newbies(?) didn't really know who and what they were dissing.

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12 hours ago, Frobby said:

Thanks for the insight into what’s been eating at you, Tony.     I’m kind of amazed at the way the team’s media relations folks have been giving you the cold shoulder. I’d hope that with the new hires announced in October on the business side, maybe there will be some clearer thinking about the value of this site to team marketing.    It seems to me the OH is pretty visible due to your frequent radio appearances, and I’d think they’d be generally aware of the more highly trafficked sites that cover the team.    

They obviously need to do more analytics on the fan side of things!

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I'm in the boat with the guys who have been paying for a long time. I'm with you either way and wouldn't mind paying more. There's simply no better place to talk Orioles Baseball. In the other places you have to deal with constant trolling, profanity and other bull 💩

I do admit to discussing the Ravens elsewhere as that section lacks participation and content which I think would bring additional membership. But that's a discussion for another day. 

Thank you for having a great site and being a class act. Thank you for all the great staff guys and interesting content.  I will be here as long as you have the site 

Best Regards,

JohnnyK

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9 hours ago, Roll Tide said:

I'm in the boat with the guys who have been paying for a long time. I'm with you either way and wouldn't mind paying more. There's simply no better place to talk Orioles Baseball. In the other places you have to deal with constant trolling, profanity and other bull 💩

I do admit to discussing the Ravens elsewhere as that section lacks participation and content which I think would bring additional membership. But that's a discussion for another day. 

Thank you for having a great site and being a class act. Thank you for all the great staff guys and interesting content.  I will be here as long as you have the site 

Best Regards,

JohnnyK

I really appreciate all you guys who have helped keep this afloat. Many of you are my very good friends. I hate to see this community dispersed as it will surely seek to find some place to satisfy their constant Oriole itch. And make no mistake, the stadium will be shaking like it did when we all jumped up and down for Delmon again. 

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9 hours ago, Roll Tide said:

I'm in the boat with the guys who have been paying for a long time. I'm with you either way and wouldn't mind paying more. There's simply no better place to talk Orioles Baseball. In the other places you have to deal with constant trolling, profanity and other bull 💩

This place is just vastly better than most other boards I've been exposed to.  Other boards quickly devolve into name-calling, insults, political BS... The Hangout is wonderful for keeping things policed without being heavy-handed.

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23 hours ago, Tony-OH said:

Thanks, but one of the reason I never moved to one of those networks is that I didn't want to charge people that kind of money. Trust me, I feel bad enough about plus memberships and prefer to have ads make this place completely free. 

There is a just a lot behind the scenes that goes on with ad networks bugging me with e-mails, our ad networks adding in crap ads that cause people problems (and then I get hammered for them), upgrades and patches on the message board constantly, and then add in we have a ton of new people in the organization and I'm not sure I have the time and energy to renew my contacts and sources.

Mike Elias has been great with allowing me access to him (More access I've had with a GM since Flanagan/Duquette) but last year was a struggle to get information out of the minor leagues with some people ignoring my texts and others telling me to go to the PR department for easy information. Last year, I spent my own money to spend an extra day to go down to Sarastoa to see the GCL players about a week before their games started and was told to go through the PR department who then told me I could have "fan access" to the players. After doing this for 24 years and having full season credentials to Camden Yards since 2002, that was a slap in the face and told me what the new PR folks think of me and the site.

Some times you have to read the tea leaves to understand when your run is up. Typically when I would get ignored I'd work doubly hard to develop a relationship elsewhere, but honestly, I just don't have that drive anymore when it comes to this. I'm at a point in my real career where I have a lot of responsibility and influence over very senior people in the government (The part not effected by poisonous politics)  yet the PR team is treating me like a fan? Maybe it's a bit of ego or maybe it's because I feel like I've earned more respect than that, but that has left a major bad taste in my mouth.

I guess I feel my time, like many people in this organization over the years, may be up. I really don't know. I'm just trying to be as open and honest with you all since I respect each and every one of you. 

Weams has always made things as easy as possible for me and Luke has been breath of fresh air for me and the site, and has taken a lot of burden that I felt to keep you all up to date and answer questions. Without them, and Shane from a technical side, this site doesn't continue.

Honestly, the business and technical side is more of the pain then anything else. I can do a ton of scouting at home on my laptop sitting in my recliner while watching the Orioles game, but I feel like I'm not doing my due diligence if I don't get out more and talk with more folks like in the past. I just need to work through all of these things and also realize I usually get more excited come spring time.

Thanks again for the notes of support.

 

 

 

Tony, 

I am a long-time lurker, but I started posting a little bit last year or the year before, can't remember exactly though.  I am also a long-time forum user and site owner/admin, going back to 2004 and the old days of CBS Sportsline.  It's a medium that is slowly dying - I can attest having owned some of my own places, and I currently am a community manager for one of the biggest forums for sports still left.  However, for something specialized that is not offered elsewhere- an Orioles fan forum, as well as the scouting reports- you are still positioned well to continue this success.  I do think there are some things from my experience that could be done differently on the forum, but having this kind of community for any team, much less our Orioles, is a success.  

One of the things I have to think about is are you partnered with a web host who is offering the best level of support?  When I was actively running my own sites, I knew the back-end of the software we had very well (vBulletin) but was not good with the technical aspects of it, such as the updates and patches, so I partnered with a host who specialized in forum hosting and they did all of that for me.  

I can't speak to the advertising pieces, but I always felt that, unless someone is getting porn links, redirected off the site, or something egregious like that, that they can put up with a few advertisements.  

I completely understand your frustrations towards the organization, and if those thoughts don't clear up, well, you've got to make the decision that is best for you.  I hope you would reconsider, because you are offering something extremely unique that the other fan sites don't.  If there is any way I can assist with the site, I'd love to help out as well, even if it's just some advice over PM or a meeting.  

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I just want to echo what everyone else has said.   This is one of the best sports sites I have ever seen, and a great community of people.   I'm extremely fortunate to be a member of two of the very best sites out there, this site and the Virginia Tech site/community I have been a part of since 1996.   And in both cases it's because one person, in this case Tony, had the vision to create a place with incredible content, and set up a great discussion area that led to the formation of a true community of fans.

As others have said, if it comes down to money, I'll pay more.   But there are obviously other factors involved, and Tony has to do what is best for his life moving forward too.

I first came here the day in January 2006 that we traded for Kris Benson and I wanted to find fellow Oriole fans to debate the merits of the deal.   And there have been very few days since where I have not at least checked in and read a bit of whatever discussion was going on.   And we have others who have been here even longer.   Will certainly miss the Hangout of circumstances force it to go away.

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12 hours ago, now said:

Thanks for filling in with that story about being spurned by the Orioles bureaucrats. Obviously those newbies(?) didn't really know who and what they were dissing.

Looks like we're going to have to start calling the PR people....

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