Adventures In Extreme Makeover, Blogging Style

We all can relate to this, I’m sure. You’re at a party or at the office and the topic of someone’s recent… shall we say… makeover… comes up. Then someone (hopefully not you, but hey, it happens) says something clever about the new [insert “clothes”, “facelift”, “tummytuck”, or whatever has been “made over”] and then everyone realizes it might have been said a little bit too loud and that the recently “madeover” person heard the comment. Now, this can go one of two ways, depending on the particular personalities of the parties involved.

Feelings could be hurt, harsh words could be exchanged, friendships could be ruined… or the person could take the comment in the spirit it was intended, everyone can have a good laugh, maybe make a new friend and, if you’re really lucky, maybe you find out the person who made the comment is in the business of doing “makeovers” and you learn something that helps you improve your appearance!

“What does this have to do with the Twins?” you ask. Well, nothing. This post is entirely about this blog. (That loud clicking noise you hear is 150 people simultaneaously exiting this site.)

Those of you who have been stopping by for a while are aware (I hope) that we’ve been undergoing a few cosmetic changes over the past couple of months. It started with a change in “theme” (that’s a fancy blogging term for the look and style of the site). We chose EvoLve. It has a ton of customization options, it’s generally easy on the eyes, it made transitioning from our old theme almost completely painless and, best of all, it was free.

We also found a new blogroll plugin that lets us list the most recently updated Twins blogs, rather than just listing them all alphabetically. (The downside to this is that K-bro’s Baseball Blog and Curve for a Strike will notice a significant drop in “hits” as I used to click those sites several times a day to find out which blogs had been updated recently… sorry k-bro and Topper).

Which brings us to the final (for now anyway) cosmetic enhancement here at Knuckleballs… our new banner. Funny story how that came about…

You may remember this post that CapitalBabs put up a while back about a cool “What baseball team should I root for?” flowchart developed by Paul Caputo over at Interpretation By Design. It’s one of the most clever things I’ve seen in a long time. In fact, it’s so clever, you probably saw it posted and linked to by several blogs, tweets, etc. Actually, there were so many of us linking to their site that all the hits crashed their site!

I’m certain there wasn’t much humorous about that to the folks at IBD at the time, but as tends to be the case, passage of time allows for those involved to reflect on the event and smile a bit (if not quite laugh, perhaps). And that’s what Paul did recently. He put up a post on the site about what had happened and how so many sites had said such great things about the flowchart and how much he appreciated all of that. Here, let me paste a paragraph from that post:

I’ll admit that it was a thrill to see something I created shared so extensively. Because the Internet mob tends to deal in extremes, the words “genius” and “hilarious” were thrown around next to my name on Twitter and on various blogs (trust me, I have screen captures of all of them). Though some of the nicest comments came from a site that uses both type on a curve and Comic Sans in its banner, so I’m a little conflicted.

Yes, he was referring to us in that last sentence.

Now… those of you who haven’t yet started your own blogs may not be aware of this, but a funny thing happens when someone links to your site… you get a “pingback”. I’m sure really popular sites get a ton of those, but here at Knuckleballs it’s enough of a rarity that we notice. We also click the link to see who’s linking to us. And we read what they say about us.

I have to be honest here… while I recognized the reference to “type on a curve”, I have NO idea what Comic Sans is. But I’m bright enough to recognize that Paul wasn’t a fan of the use of either in our banner.

Obligatory Picture of Joe Mauer's Swing

Normally, I’m one of those “I don’t give a hoot what you think” kind of people. Most of you know that if you told me you didn’t like our banner, I’d respond with some sort of smartass retort that would clearly communicate that I don’t give a hoot what you think. But this was a guy who runs a blog about web design and stuff. I mean… I wouldn’t care what any of you thought about the way I swing a baseball bat, either, but if Joe Mauer told me I’m doing it wrong, I’d listen (probably, anyway) or I would at least try to explain to Joe WHY I swing the way I do (“Joe, I know you don’t have this issue, but I’ve got a 38 inch waist I have to get the bat around.”)

So I did leave a comment on Paul’s post, letting him know WHY we used the “type on a curve” (after all, STRAIGHT text on a site named for a pitch that changes direction several times on its way to the plate just seemed wrong). Having done so, I merrily went on my way.

Well Paul responded, both in a follow up comment and in a personal email. He explained that the references to the type styles we used were a bit of a running joke over at IBD and he apologized for his snarky (his word, not mine) reference to our banner. This is where, like with our friends at the party from the opening paragraph, things could have gone one of two ways. If we really took ourselves seriously around here, I could have lashed out at Paul (“you may know web design but I bet you pitch like a girl!”) and things might have deteriorated from there. But as you all know, we really don’t take ourselves all that seriously… and I assured Paul such was the case.

Actually, I did a bit more than that. In an email back to him, I mentioned that he was welcome to take a swing (note clever baseball reference) at improving our banner.

A few hours later, our new banner came back to me in an email from Paul.

I admit I wasn’t really expecting him to take me up on my offer/request, any more than I would expect Mauer to take an interest in correcting my swing. These people are professionals, after all.

I love the banner. I’m grateful and I’m honored that the guy who came up with that website-crashing flowchart (or as it has become known over at Interpretation By Design, the “Information Design Example That Shall Not Be Named”) thought enough of our blog to design a new banner for us.

But… in the back of my mind, part of me wonders if he did it just because he really was so offended by the type on a curve and Comic Sans font (or our dominant use of the color red in the old banner… which, as it turns out, is also not a recommended thing to do. Who knew?). In the end, though, it really doesn’t matter.

What matters is that we’ve made a new friend (even if he is a Phillies fan). Thank you, Paul!

– JC

GameChat – Royals @ Twins #2, 12:10 pm, FSN, MLBN & am1500

I’m glad enough that I got to WATCH the end of last night’s game because it was pretty much a classic Twins ending. I really do wish the boys didn’t always have to make everything so dramatic though. Today, I would appreciate if our boys took advantage of the fact that it’s not raining yet and hit early and often so as to not need extra innings this afternoon. Please?

Kansas City @ Minnesota
Getz, 2B   Span, CF
Cabrera, Me, CF   Tolbert, SS
Gordon, A, LF   Kubel, RF
Butler, 1B   Morneau, 1B
Francoeur, RF   Young, D, LF
Betemit, DH   Thome, DH
Aviles, M, 3B   Cuddyer, 2B
Treanor, C   Valencia, 3B
Escobar, A, SS   Butera, C
  Davies, P     Liriano, P


  1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 R H E
Kansas City 0 0 0 6 0 1 0 0 3 10 14 1
Minnesota 1 0 0 0 4 0 0 0 0 5 12 2


I have definitely enjoyed afternoon baseball more than this in the past…  There was quite a bit of discussion in the digital world before the game started that the team was trying to get Liriano to “pitch to contact” a bit more in an effort to extend his outtings to more innings… I don’t really think that particular method workd for Liriano – at least not today.

We did get to hitting early but once again, the LOB monster struck again.. I really do have to get Kbro to make that shirt for me.  The Twins aren’t scoring many runs this year but they are hitting more than it looks like.. the numbers of LOB are purely ridiculous.

But I’m hoping that as hits pick up, so will runs.. seems like a numbers game to me and it’s early.  Besides, we’re still doing better than the Red Sox right? I think?