TBC Site Philosophy
Over the years, The Baseball Cube philsophy has evolved and can be summarized by the following categories below. These categories are the pillars of The Baseball Cube. It has been a struggle over the years to build a site that is rich in content, high quality, fast, accessible, profitable, organized, maintainable and esthetically pleasing. For a team of developers and managers, this would be a full-time challenge. For one person, I have discovered that it borders on impossible. But I continue to push forwar.
The philosophy of content is to gather as much historical data for a player as possible so that when you select a player, you will be able to see as much statistical and trivial data about the player as possible. Many other sites dig deep into the math and the analytics and TBC leaves that magic to them. We go longitudinal, trying to amass as much statistical data about a player's history and then we expand into as many pages as possible based on that data. The goal is for you to come way feeling impressed with the quantity, nourished with baseball data and yearning for more. As if, had you paid for a subscription to the data, that you would feel as if you were receiving value.
The latest version of the site has shifted philosophy to something a bit more simple. I have streamlined the programming into a framework which, though invisible to users, will free me up for more data work and will provide an easy mechanism for adding new pages and features. The downside to a framework is the accompanying rigidity of its walls and so you will notice a much simpler display. But in the end, we know the web can build fantastic rich-styled web pages. Its been done. TBC is about data and so the criteria of "Esthetically Pleasing" has been dropped. The benefit is simplicity of display. The data is readable and useabale and speaking of performance...
There is a trade off in ease-of-update and performance. I could have pre-built all the pages (like Retrosheet) but this is not a good strategy for a dynamically updated site and so each page will continue to be database-driven. This means that each page call will make multiple database calls which also means that the pages will not be served as quick as you may like. But I feel it should be in line with most other major sites on the web. The more database calls and the more complex these calls, the slower the page may load. Also note that getting a TBC PREMIUM
account and thus removing the ads from the site, should speed up the page load as well.
The Site Map is built dynamically based on a pre-defined site hieararchy. You can view it any time and print it out to understand where the data is stored. The richness of data on the site cannot be felt on the front page but gone are the convaluted YAHOO-like menu systems. Now, you can navigate the site with ease and intuitively know where data is stored based on whether it is MLB/Minor/College/HS. If you're not sure, just search the Site Map. The "You are Here" bar at the top provides Windows Explorer-like navigational ability. Click the >> and from the resulting dropdown you can jump to other sections. I have always struggled with organizing all the data on the site into categories and so I have come up with a hybrid of a rigid content structure with shortcuts to relevant content on each page. And if you can't find it, shoot me an email and I can let you know if and/or where you can find it.
As a one-man operation, quality can be elusive at times but the goal is always to have the highest quality possible. I would define quality as accuracy of data being primary with completeness of data being secondary. Many datasets on the site are incomplete intentionally ... perpetual works-in-progress. Sometimes completing datasets are like treasure hunts for data where I have to scour available documents and publications. As the code and organization of the site stabilizes, the data will get better as well. If you find quality errors, I encourage you to let us know but I also ask that you do not send condescending and degrading remarks to me about the errors. Please be friendly and respectful.
Let's be honest, I love the site and enjoy working on it but it is still a business and it needs to be profitable. I provide the content of the site for free and there is no paywall. But there are a kazillion hours of work behind the content that you don't see. Consider that the world's default state is chaos, to put into order all of this baseball data takes architecture, coding, storage and collection. It includes creating processes and documenting. It is a company. And so I require some revenue to compensate me. I feel no shame for saying this. Therefore, I often ask for help from the site's visitors. Whether through a Sponsorship or a donation or purchasing data or signing up to the player tracker... Paying a small price for using the site frequently sounds reasonable to me. Advertising is mostly unintrusive and I try to always prioritze user experience. So if you're a frequest visitor, I implore you to pay $10 a year to show your gratitude
By combining peformance, organization, tools for navigation and applications, I have tried to make the content as accessible to you as possible. All the baseball data in my database is available somewhere on the site and is usually only a couple of steps away. And if you learn the search engine and its shortcuts, you'll be navigate even faster.
Not your problem but the site's architecture was rebuilt in 2019 with maintainability in mind. Though it benefits me primarily to make the site easier to maintain and update, it will free up more time and brainspace for me to provide better quantity and quality of data. The idea is to limit the amount of time from data collection to publication and to also provide agility in making smaller updates without long processing times and a high level of oversight. In the end, we both win.
I've had this vision all along but was never able to get here. For sure there were a lot of online and offline influences to the vision but I concatenated them all together to build my own. I've come to grips with my lack of comfort with design and color and my general lack of comfort with visual arts. My strenghts lie in data and words and so I think its best if I stick to that and in the end, if your own goal is to get to the data as fast as possible with as few obstacles as possible, I think I have achieved that goal.