What Happened?

The number of entries on Diary of a Diehard was quite consistent for nearly two years then suddenly at the end of the 2008 season they ground to a halt. Over the off-season my email inbox was littered with equal amounts of get well cards and messages questioning what was going on. In the immortal words of Mark Twain in a letter to Frank E. Bliss in 1897, “”It has been reported that I was seriously ill–it was another man; dying–it was another man; dead–the other man again…As far as I can see, nothing remains to be reported, except that I have become a foreigner. When you hear it, don’t you believe it. And don’t take the trouble to deny it.” I would love to come up with an incredible tale where I found the secret to time travel and have spent the better part of the off-season travelling through time looking for the exact origin of baseball and if it did indeed evolve from rounders rather than been the invention of Abner Doubleday. The problem with that theory is that if I really had a time machine I would be able to go back in time to the end of the 2008 season and resume posting without interruption. I seriously hate when logic ruins a perfectly good blog entry.

Unfortunately the truth is substantially more boring than that. The fact is that I have spent the better part of four months trying to get a handle on Now Hitting and how I could migrate it to a new server. Now Hitting began shortly after the Arizona Diamondbacks and went on line during the Inaugural Season. It began as a way to try and keep me sane (a noble yet unobtainable goal). At that time there was very little information online about the Arizona Diamondbacks and what did exist was spread across so many places that it took a tremendous amount of time to find it. This was very frustrating to me especially given the lack of good online tools to manage bookmarks and information. I would no sooner find a useful site then lose the address because I didn’t write down the URL correctly. So rather than take the easy route and create a bookmark utility I decided to take on the more difficult task of creating a centralized location I could go to get Diamondbacks information and historical facts.

I would love to say I did this as a way to earn a living and make enough money that I would never have to pay for season tickets again but I’d be lying. I’m not even smart enough to add advertising to the site. Instead I did it quite selfishly to keep track of details I thought were useful. Along the way I opened the site up so that others could likewise access the data I had collected.

The site has gone through several iterations usually because I had outgrown the tools I was using or in the case of the last update because the Diamondbacks changed their color scheme and I felt guilty having a Purple and teal site when the team was now Sedona Red.

At the conclusion of the 2008 season I realized that these various migrations and growth periods in the site history have made the data less than coherent even to me. I therefore decided that instead of migrating the information to a new server intact I would instead go through each page and determine where the information should go or at least where it made more sense. I’ll be the first to admit that I am not the most organized person in the world. I have to have a special drawer just to put my car keys otherwise I can’t remember where I put them. So for me to take on a task of actually organizing the information on the web site was well outside my comfort zone. The other issue I neglected to take into consideration was the fact that I had accumulated a lot of informational crap over the past 14 years. I vastly underestimated how many pages of information I actually had on NowHitting. I had guessed somewhere around 200 pages and figured it would take me until the World Series ended to complete the data review. As I started digging into the site I found that I had underestimated the number pages slightly. By slightly I mean by orders of magnitude. I soon realized that I had over 1,500 pages of information stored on NowHitting in various formats and probably double that with the data I had locally that had not quite made it to the web site.

Going through each page and trying to put it into a usable format became a much more time consuming task than I had anticipated. So for the past several months I have been wading through volumes of Diamondbacks trivia trying to put things into places where 1) I could find it, and 2) where I could update it where necessary. Instead of getting done by the end of the World Series, the new and improved goal was to finish the migration before Opening Day. It’s questionable whether even this is a realizable goal but it is a lot closer than my first estimate. I’ve now consolidated a bulk of the information and I have been testing the new site along with a few loyal friends and fans. Over the next week I will be backing up the existing NowHitting site and moving it to an off-line archive. Once that is completed I will move the new site redesign into its place. My goal is still to finish before first pitch on Opening Day but it may require a few all-nighters to meet that goal. As for Diary of a Diehard, you should soon begin seeing more consistent postings leading up to the season. I’ll end with one of Mark Twain’s more famous quotes “The reports of my death are greatly exaggerated”; I’m still here and that in itself is probably not the best news you have ever heard.

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