Sports Reference Blog

A New Chapter at Sports Reference

Posted by sean on April 1, 2018

I've been at this for 18 years now. Baseball-Reference.com launched in early April of 2000, and 18 years is a long time. We've gone from pre-formatted plain text tables to html tables, through various logos, and several redesigns involving mobile designs. Along the way, the only consideration has been what would work best for the user. That's why, after months of extensive research, I'm very pleased to announce:

We're Pivoting to Video. This isn't a decision we made lightly, however, we can't help but notice the universal acclaim that has been showered on other websites that made a similar pivot. We see that users prefer short 2-3 minutes videos they can consume both at home and on the run, as mobile phones and tablets have turned things like "reading" into a relic of the past. You'll also notice that's the perfect length for commercial breaks during sporting events. This isn't a coincidence; our studies have found users like to look up stats on the site during games. This way, you'll still be able to do that, but rather than going through the difficulty of reading the page to find the number you need, you'll be able to sit back and watch a video read every single stat to you, until arriving at the one you need.

There will inevitably be a few people out there who will accuse us of doing this simply because we can monetize these videos easily. However, once you experience the ease, convenience, extremely high production values and pulse-pounding excitement contained in these videos, we think you'll agree that this is the future of sports stats. Unfortunately, we haven't yet figured out how to get the videos to play automatically for you or how to make them loud enough for everyone in the room to hear them easily, but rest assured we are working on that. Also making these videos is kind of a pain, so we've only switched over two pages to the new format so far, but you can see them on the site today.

Here is our new Mike Trout Page:

That's what the basic page will look like. However, we're also adding the option to include filters. These filters will allow us to connect with younger users by presenting the stats in a exciting and new ways that can be personalized, shared, Snapped, and Instagrammed. To see how this works, here's Michael Jordan's new page, with a demonstration of just a few of the filters we have in development:

We hope you enjoy our new direction, which we believe will guarantee we'll be here another 18 years.

25 Responses to “A New Chapter at Sports Reference”

  1. Greg Bouris Says:

    Sean:

    Great addition, and wish you the best!

    Good luck!

    Greg Bouris

  2. Scott Says:

    This is what we've been waiting for. Can I request that players be read in their native languages?

  3. Bob Says:

    You should have used the Sidd Finch page as an example ... 

  4. John Says:

    Well, I guess I now officially am an "old man". It happenned to my dad, and my grandpap, and it happens to everyone, I suppose. The idea that
    young people have trouble

    "going through the difficulty of reading the page" makes me realize that I have become my grandfather, who thought that televisions and lawn mowers were just passing fads. Reading has been an integral part of my life, and I guess I just assume that everyone else knows how to read also. But, I'm realizing that young people don't read anymore. So, the videos are fine, as long as you don't delete all the tables and info that requires me to "read". As long as all the info is still available on the site, I will just ignore the videos and not play them. But, please, leave all the info on the site for me to "read", even if no one else knows how to read anymore.

  5. Nick Says:

    Videos are fine. Just please include the text summaries. People do still read or cannot listen/watch always.

  6. Hansen Says:

    April Fools!

  7. Darin Says:

    nicely played.

  8. Dan Says:

    Not impressed. I like reading about the players and teams. Sometimes I am in an area where listening is not an option.

  9. Joe Says:

    I was going to be so mad at you guys. Great joke.

  10. Paul Says:

    lol. HAS to be April fools. I mean...my jaw hit the floor...and wasn't able to retract until I got to about here...

    "Unfortunately, we haven't yet figured out how to get the videos to play automatically for you or how to make them loud enough for everyone in the room to hear them easily, but rest assured we are working on that..."

    THEN I had a huge LOL moment. well SR, well played.

  11. Tony Sottile Says:

    April Fools.

    Video is for the lowest common denominator - ESPN and NFLN come to mind.

    We're better than that, lol.

    Happy Easter.

  12. Most April Fool’s pranks are pure shit. – Frisk Says:

    […] April Fool’s pranks are pure shit. This one, from Sports Reference, is actually pretty funny: the dependable sports stats resource today announced an upcoming pivot to video. Worth checking […]

  13. Steven Roseboro Says:

    Congrats on your conversion, I’m sure it will propel you into the future..I unfortunately am a child of the seventies who uses your site extensively for my Continued research of NBA Players and teams of the Eighties. It has been invaluable and for quick cross referencing as I will have up to 5 windows of your site open at the same time. I hope your site can continue its current content for readers as well.

  14. Joe Garrison Says:

    Well Played. This was the best April Fool's gag I saw all day!

  15. birtelcom Says:

    Had me going until I got to "Here's what the basic page will look like." Then I remembered today's date. Nice!

  16. Jim Says:

    Excited for the autoplay update.

  17. Rob Mains Says:

    80.

  18. Josh Says:

    Wow. You guys really got me going there. My heart was dropping until you said how hard making the videos were. Nice satire regarding ESPN and other sites persistence for video.

  19. Charles Saeger Says:

    I especially liked the Edwin Starr album cover when giving Wins Above Replacement. What else is it good for?

  20. art kyriazis Says:

    i'm unfamiliar with the economics of running a website, but here's the thing; video eats up bandwidth, and with the end of net neutrality, bandwidth may come at a cost in the near future.

    i'm actually in favor of old style text sites that eat up as little bandwidth as possible, not because i'm old style or old school, but because as a business proposition, it seems to me, in the new era of net neutrality, such sites actually operate at a great advantage because they do not eat up much bandwidth.

    if i had VC to deploy, and i do put biotech companies together for a living, i'd deploy them on low bandwidth sites.

    In any event, baseball stat guys--they don't exactly look at photos, do they? at video, do they?

    Are you going to start putting together relational databases and videos showing us in real time how fielding range numbers relate to a SS by showing us how various SS's can or can't get to various balls?

    In any case, those of us who have been to say a 1000 bb games already can see that in our minds. we don't actually need video to see that.

    art k, philly

  21. art kyriazis Says:

    wow. I just realized this is April Fools. The Mike Trout video is very funny.

    well played.

  22. Bob W. Says:

    You couldn't get Morgan Freeman?

  23. Mike Powers Says:

    I almost fell for it... then saw this article was published on April 1st. I sure hope it was an April Fool's prank, because if it's for real... the first time I see an ad displayed while I'm in the middle of searching a player's stats, I will drop Baseball-Reference like a hot potato.

  24. Triston Says:

    I kind of want those 80s and Vintage filters to be real.

  25. Gordy Says:

    to bad you can't have video and smell too, make it smell like an old glove!

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