Site Updates and a New Guy (and latest 3 Flags Flying Podcast)

Photo taken by Braves Legend Jonathan Schuerholz

Note from Ryan: Latest 3 Flags Flying podcast has dropped and Braves Journal loyalists will find the Keltner Test most intriguing! Give it a listen here.

What’s Going On Here

Let’s dig right in. My name is Matt Langford, and I’m here to provide any help or expertise I can in the operation of Braves Journal. Currently, that means fine-tuning the site design, squashing as many bugs as possible, and cleaning up the site engine that powers this whole community.

I first became interested in web design as a sophomore in high school. I attended one of those schools that offered ‘trade expertise’ as electives. However, the only ones my school actually offered were jewelry manufacturing and web design. Guess which one I chose.

That was 20 years ago. Back when people thought the future of web design depended on Microsoft Frontpage and Macromedia Flash. A lot has changed since then.

If you go back farther than that, you’ll see a little boy anxiously sitting on the edge of the couch praying that Terry or David or Mark or Jeff or Tom or Greg or John or Otis would do something amazing. Also, why am I just realizing how boring all of their names are? I mean throw in a Dansby or Johan or something.

The rest is history. That one World Series title. A lot of disappointment. Despite it all, I couldn’t possibly give it up. I guess I’m just that loyal. Or perhaps a glutton for punishment. Both?

Let’s Get Back on Topic

Braves Journal has an incredible history, stretching back two remarkable decades. Let’s take a look at some of the interesting numbers:

  • Over 136,000 users have registered on the site (some of these are spam)
  • Over 540,000 comments have been written
  • Over 6,800 posts have been published
  • 500,000 unique page views in a year would be a down year

As you can see (and probably already know), this isn’t a small blog in a hidden corner of the internet that needs a lot of help. It doesn’t need some tech guy coming in and completely changing everything on a whim.

Improvements, not Changes

Over the years, from one editor to another, from platform updates to theme changes, etc…the site has been through a lot. As a result, there were some backend (not visible) and front end (very visible) improvements that needed to be made. As a type of full disclosure and openness, here is what we have done so far:

  • Modified the sidebar to work in full and look much better
  • Modified the nav bar to show all links properly
  • Removed meta cruft from the footer
  • Improved the layout of the comment form
  • Added badges for certain commenters
  • Removed superfluous image icons
  • Added short author biographies on their posts
  • Optimized spacing on mobile devices
  • Increased the logo size
  • Removed unused plugins
  • Replaced outdated plugins with modern versions
  • Made SEO improvements
  • Compressed and optimized images
  • Improved the speed and caching properties*

That Dumb Asterisk Above This Line

(Caching is basically a website’s way of storing and serving the site faster for viewers instead of rebuilding the entire site every time someone visits.)

When I made caching changes, I introduced a temporary bug that affected some users. Basically, the site wasn’t updating properly for them. If you’re experiencing this problem, the easiest fix is to clear the cache in your browser. You can also feel free to shake your fist angrily in my direction.

Wrap This Up, Man

If you experience any problem with the site, have a feature request, or just want to say Hi…leave me a comment below. If it’s really important, shoot me an email → MLangford at pm dot me.

Author: Matt Langford

Hi, I'm Matt Langford. I'm a web designer with a passion for baseball and the Braves in particular. Based in Lafayette, LA (the heart of Cajun Country), I'm surrounded by crazy Saints fans but I manage to survive. Follow me on Twitter and Instagram. Go Braves!

36 thoughts on “Site Updates and a New Guy (and latest 3 Flags Flying Podcast)”

  1. Matt has provided expertise on the inside that has been much needed. He’s spent countless hours making the site better and communicating with a bozo like me. He’ll also take over the Braves Journal Twitter account which is a huge weight off my shoulders as I’m already running my own and the 3 Flags Flying account.

  2. Welcome Matt. Although I am in the FL panhandle now, I grew up in New Iberia, and both my parents graduated from what was then USL, so you are not alone. Thanks for your work on improving the site, much appreciated.

  3. Welcome, Matt. But if we’re going to start having competent people doing stuff here, my days are numbered.

  4. @7, Matt,

    Why would you assert such a thing. Isn’t it clear that it is a Venn diagram with a tiny sliver where the two circles meet?

  5. Newest buzz is that Colorado is willing to listen on Arenado. I just don’t know on him, I mean, he’s great, but he’s still owed $234 for 7 years, with an opt out after 2021. He’s being paid market, so giving up a ton of surplus value for him doesn’t make sense. That said there are only so many MVP type players in the game.

    It seems like if you aren’t interested in Rendon at 8/$240 or whatever, then why would you want Arenado at 7/$234?

  6. There’s a rumor out there that my baseball crush, Kyle Tucker, could be headed to the Mets. I’m not cool with that.

  7. Thanks for the clean up, Matt. Much appreciated.
    136.000 registered users over all the years? Wow. That’s awesome.

  8. One minor squabble about the 136,000 users statistic. The vast majority of them are spam accounts if you look at the user names and emails. The number of registered users on Braves Journal is still significant, but it’s not quite that number.

    I do agree with the overall point, however, that optimizing some of these website functions and issues will make the site more enjoyable for everyone.

  9. I am glad that the Braves don’t mess around with all of this deferred money stuff in their contracts, though aren’t we still paying Bruce Sutter or someone?

  10. @13 I honestly just looked at the number, not the quality. May put a note about that up there.

    @14 I believe that’s paid through an annuity so doesn’t affect the current payroll or budget. I think.

  11. 15-I think you are correct on Sutter, you can basically think of it like the Braves paid him at the time and just invested the money for him (not sure if that is the same as Bonilla and the Mets).

    Still glad when I read about deferred money (especially the Nats) that the Braves don’t mess with that stuff.

  12. I wonder if Boras’ guys got off the board much earlier this year since last offseason’s debacle hurt his marketing pitch to players.

  13. I hold a more complicated view on salary deferrals. It’s not always bad, and, no, the Nationals probably won’t suffer as badly as you all hope they will. If the Braves truly believe they will increase payroll going forward, then I don’t see why they couldn’t spread out the 4th year of a Donaldson salary to lessen the impact.

  14. Matt, can we link a GoFundMe to help resign Josh Donaldson?

    Seriously though, great work on the site! The changes are smooth looking.

  15. I’ve got an inside source again!!!

    Notes from the source:
    1. Braves have checked in on young 3Bs. (I have names but he wants me to keep it to my chest for now).
    2. Source thinks Braves have moved.on from Donaldson.
    3. Source told me about the Cole signing about 1.5 hours before it happened, exact years, exact $, but said was to the Angels. Yankees matched it. Yankees got him.

  16. ‘After the Ball is over
    after the hittings hushed
    after the umps are leaving
    no one can say we were rushed
    many a bat is breaking
    if we could count them all
    but the seams are still there for the taking
    After the Ball.’

  17. hey Matt

    well, i finally got it done with one major casualty..my cached passwords – forgot about them..gone.jeez.

    since posting with the new set up, see above, i am not able to get my edits to transfer in the 5 minute period. And clicking to go on the site i do not get the very latest posts. I have to refresh each time.

    But, hey, that’s just me and my very dated PC. People like me and coop should probably not be allowed to join in this sort of thing! Thanks for your efforts.

  18. Wearing his Boras cap on the field ten minutes after the end of game 7 I hope he and the Yanks choke on that contract, exquisitely slowly. So much time, so little class.

  19. The latest I saw was that Donaldson “all things being equal” would love to stay in Atlanta, which is a phrasing that suggests that both he and the Braves are publicly posturing like they don’t think the Braves will go the distance when it comes to years + dollars. Given that this is going to be the only real payday of Josh’s career, I don’t think he can afford to accept fewer than four years and AA clearly hates giving long-term contracts.

    If Josh stays out on the market through February, and our 3B remains unfilled by then, I could see us swooping back in. But I’m guessing that AA is basically stepping back in the post-Rendon rush and letting the market play out.

    I don’t believe for one moment that Arenado is actually remotely possible. But I wouldn’t say no to the kid.

    To me, the Braves “checking in on young players” means Andujar. With the LeMahieu breakout, the Yankees have too many 3B anyway. He seems like a great target, if you believe that he can improve from horrifying to mediocre with the glove.

    EDIT: Also, welcome, Matt!

  20. Pipe-dream young third baseman would be Matt Chapman. Brian Anderson, maybe? Maybe Andujar, but has he really proven anything beyond what Riley and even Camargo have?

  21. Have zero interest in Andujar, but yes please on Chapman. He’s actually the guy you save up your prospects to go and get.

  22. I guess I figured no chance Chapman (or even Anderson) is available. Are you naming them based on any particular info?

    Andujar has had a full year of being a very good starter in the major leagues, which is more than Riley or even Camargo has done; Camargo had only 524 PA in 2018. And he also had a much better prospect profile than either one of them. I like him as a post-injury target caused by positional surplus, which I figured meant the price might be within range.

  23. I love the changes to the website. However i miss the “House that Mac Built” header. Any way we can get some kind of tribute to him on the site? I know I’m not alone in saying that his writing is what got me hooked on this blog in the first place.

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