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1/3/2018

Wait, it's 2018 already!!?


Edit: this blog post is now in audio form on the first podcast of the year!

Wow - it’s 2018. How did that happen? I guess that’s not a surprising statement from someone who hasn’t blogged on Pennant Chase since last April, and didn’t manage to podcast at all in the second half of 2017. For one, I sincerely apologize for those few fans who look forward to my updates. One of my resolutions is to find more time for PC in 2018.

Not that it will be easy, but it can be done, and frankly it’s something I miss. Last year was an incredibly challenging year. I feel like I’ve said that in past years, but I had no idea how challenging life can really be when you have a new baby and a demanding job. We also moved into a new home in 2017, just a couple months after Avery was born, and I don’t recommend moving into a new home after having a new baby, in case anyone was curious!

On top of the absolute insanity of caring for a new human under a year old (without any family in the area to help) I was dealing with one of the most challenging years of my professional career. All of this added up to a lot less focus on Pennant Chase last year.

I was still able to get a few important things done - the site is now 100% secure, I did a lot of work behind the scenes to prepare for future growth, started the podcast, and got a pretty decent amount of new users thanks to better ratings on the app stores and things like GM Games.

Speaking of Users…

The annual update of users is going to sound a lot like last year. At the end of 2017 we had just over 12,000 users. After purging anyone who has not logged in for over four years, we are down to about 9,500. That’s actually better than last year when, after the purge, we ended up with 9,000. It also means we gained over 3,000 new registrations in 2017, which is pretty solid.

I see a lot of potential avenues to bring in more users, but I feel the features of the site need to grow a little bit before we can really attract large numbers of people. We continue to lose a lot of good users, so evolving to keep more of the good people around is always a good thing.

I know Ads were a huge topic this year, so let’s discuss that briefly. I hate Ads as much as everyone else, but we can’t survive without them. Most of our users are here because this site is free. When I run polls asking if people would consider a paid site, around 80% say no. Therefore, I have to continue to explore various ways Ads can support us. We tried a few things and you all responded with what worked and what didn’t. The pop-over banner ads at the bottom of the page were not well received, so we dumped those. Mostly now we have the one silent video on the right side. This really is not much compared to most sites on the web these days.

We had some really generous holiday donors, who I gave a shout out to on the Public Boards (not by name, because donating is a private decision). Thanks to everyone who donated, even if it was only $2. It all goes back into the website. Any savings I have from this site remains in that account so that I can grow and expand as more people join.

What’s coming next?

I know there have not been many new features recently - most of my focus has been on rewriting the code base so the site can be built on modern technology in the future. But I do want to make some changes in 2018. One thing that has been on the list for a while is more control over individual players in regards to who can surprise bunt, steal, etc.

I hate the catcher’s arm rating and want to import true caught-stealing stats for catchers. I’m also not a big fan of range factor (RF) and thinking of ways to make defense better. Finally, I’ve noticed stat levels have gotten out of whack in some custom leagues where commissioners haven’t adjusted their levels on a regular basis. I think there’s a better way to adjust the levels for individual leagues, so more to come soon.

And then of course there is the coming arrival of Mr. Ohtani, which will present an interesting challenge if he is an effective two-way player. I have not yet decided how we’ll handle that. But that will be a future topic of discussion.

As always, you guys make the site - your feedback, your reporting of issues, your ideas and your suggestions are really the heart of this site. Even if I don’t respond to your feedback, please know I read every single one and add it to the backlog or “wishlist”.

Thank you for a great 2017 and here’s to an even better 2018.

Logged in users can send feedback via the feedback form or make a comment on the public board.