Thanks for 2016 - and here's hoping for an even better 2017 at BaltimoreBaseball.com - BaltimoreBaseball.com

Dan Connolly

Thanks for 2016 — and here’s hoping for an even better 2017 at BaltimoreBaseball.com

Happy New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day to all of our BaltimoreBaseball.com readers.

It’s typically a slow week or two in the baseball world from around Christmastime to shortly after New Year’s Day, and we’ve taken advantage of that down period to spend a little time recharging the batteries. We’ll get back to daily coverage later this week.

Meanwhile, all of us at BaltimoreBaseball.com wanted to thank you for your interest in 2016 and wanted you to know that we will be back in 2017 for our second calendar year covering the Orioles. And we really hope we can build on what we started in 2016.

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For those of you who are newcomers to the site, or just came to us midswim earlier this year, here’s a little background:

In December 2015, I took the buyout from The Baltimore Sun after nearly 11 years as a baseball writer there and 15 total seasons covering the Orioles on a daily basis. I had no idea what I was going to do. I just knew that I needed something different, something where I could have a little better control of my schedule and be able to spend more time with my family.

In March 2016, I found it.

I agreed to a partnership with Steve Cockey, a local internet advertising specialist and huge Orioles fan who wanted to mix his passion with his skills. Together, we created a website that would cover the Orioles in a slightly different way: More commentary; no game stories; more podcasts and videos; less minutiae.

We know there are other good sites out there for Orioles news. Several do a great job with that. So, we figured we needed to be a little more big-picture to survive.

We have a presence at most home games, and the occasional road contest. Our photographer, Joy Absalon, does a tremendous job providing us with Orioles images to use with our daily blogs — pieces you can access through our free mobile app or on the website.

What we’re hoping to do is fill in the blanks a little bit and explain why things are happening or what they mean for the team. And give you fresh insight into your favorite team and players, like the “Know Your O’s” video feature, in which I sit down and BS a little with an Oriole.

We also wanted to enhance coverage in and around Baltimore on subjects that don’t get as much media exposure. We put a spotlight on the Orioles’ minor league affiliates with our “Minor League Podcast with Adam Pohl” and “The Dean Jones Report.” We also added some high school baseball coverage with our “Prep Ballplayer of the Week” feature and weekly vote, which was exceptionally popular (we had 53,000 votes recorded in one week last year).

We’ll be continuing those features and hope to add a few more in 2017 (I’m kicking around the idea of a segment focusing on local college baseball, for instance. If you have any interest in writing it, drop a line to [email protected] and we can explore it further).

We’d also like to step up our interactive game. We have “Connolly’s Tap Room,” which already has a loyal following and hopefully will continue to grow in patrons (all you have to do is register – it’s cost-free and hassle-free – and you can join in any discussion).

We’re always open to other coverage or interactive ideas, so let me know if there is something you think we are missing. No suggestion will be ignored.

And if you have a business and want to advertise with us – giving you a chance to get on the near-ground floor of something that is definitely trending upward while helping us continue that trend – well, that would be fantastic, too. Contact Steve at [email protected] to get more info on that.

Steve’s and my goal when this site started in late March was to provide something unique, something that diehard Oriole/baseball fans would love, but also casual fans could access easily as well.

Frankly, we weren’t sure if it would work. If there’d be an appetite for another Orioles site or, really, if anyone would care what I have to say about the team and Major League Baseball now that I’m no longer employed by the city’s newspaper of record.

Well, the response has been tremendous – and humbling. We were pleasantly surprised by our first month’s results in April: 150,000 page views. That tripled the next month. And did 10 times more per month by July. In our first nine months of existence, we’ve had almost nine million page views. At the outset of this endeavor, Steve and I thought if we could get 10 million page views in the first year, we’d be thrilled. And, now, it looks like we could easily surpass that lofty goal in our first 12 months.

Our podcasts are easily to find (and free) on iTunes. Our Facebook page has more than 10,000 likes and my Twitter account (danconnolly2016 – I’m not quite sure I want to change it after the luck we’ve had with it this past year) is closing in on 25,000 followers.

This all comes back to you people. Those of you who have read and watched and listened and commented at BaltimoreBaseball.com. Thank you so much for your support in 2016. Keep it up, and keep telling us what we should be doing better and how your experience with the site in 2017 can be improved.

For many, 2016 was not a banner year. For us, it was a great one, albeit a little scary.

We’re hoping to crush it in 2017. With your help. And with your interest in our always-evolving product. Happy 2017.

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