By Sean Gallagher
Look, I've been looking for a reason to post a 2Pac video for a long time, so "Changes" is gonna have to be it for now. Just go with me for a couple minutes. Trust me, it'll be an Embrace video next time.
This website has gone through a lot of changes since September of 2005. Initially there was just my poorly thought out ramblings on blogspot which were linked to our Game Time site. Then there was my site, Brad's blogspot site and Brian Weidler's standalone site all linked to the Game Time site. Finally, we pulled all three sites together under this roof, upgraded our software and brought in all of our writers.
Since then, the site has become what it is at this point. On top of the posts by our regular guys who all write for the game-day paper, we have brought in a few others who have given us some inspired bits of fun (Sweden, I'm looking in your general direction).
But better than all of that, your comments have exploded on this site. As of this writing, we have well over 800 posts but way over 14,000 comments. The comments in some cases are better than the original posts. At the very least they increase the level of insight or humor that the original post brings.
Not only that, your comments have inspired some of the best recurring jokes we have at our disposal. Where would we all be, for instance, without the all-purpose "Fuck Detroit" that we've come to know and love? Your grabbing onto and using the nicknames of Dutchie, Fragile Jay, The Robot, The Visor and more have made visiting here a great experience for Blues fans, if somewhat baffling to new users.
OK, great, but what, you must all be asking, exactly is Gallagher trying to butter us up for? I'm trying to get to that.
Just like the game-day paper that spawned this site, we have always maintained a fierce independence here. We've been approached by lots of 'networks' and other sites that wanted to 'link up' as well as other people who wanted to help us 'blow the doors off' our visibility. To each of them we said, Go Fuck Detroit.
That changed about a month ago when we were approached by James Mirtle to join his group of hockey sites. For those of you who don't know Mirtle, he's one of the few hockey bloggers who is actually respected around the internet. Beyond being the owner of a very popular site of his own, he now heads up all of the hockey sites for SB Nation. Unlike everyone else who had approached us before, Mirtle and his network boast real clout. Beyond just his personal blogger cred, the SB Nation, which may not be totally recognizable to hockey-first guys, has some powerhouse sites housed there, especially on the baseball side.
Mirtle hopes to make the hockey side just as big and bad, and he wants us to be part of that building program.
Which is why I spent all that space kissing your asses. Without you, we just aren't the same Game Time experience. In bringing us on, they're also hoping to bring you on. We hope you'll continue to support us as you have for the last three years, no matter if the font has changed or that there are now a couple ads on the page.
And by now, I'm sure you're wondering, what exactly is going to change? Well rather than list out a bunch of propaganda, I thought I'd try to anticipate your questions:
Dude, can we still swear and say Fuck Detroit and shit? Abso-fucking-lutely. In fact, that was one of our first questions. We've never censored anything posted by any of our writers and we encourage the use of the more flavorful words in our writing and in your comments. Let's admit it: sometimes swearing just makes the point better or the joke funnier. It's not my fault, blame Redd Foxx or George Carlin or Richard Pryor.
Are there going to be ads everywhere? No. Yes. Maybe. Depends. I mean, what do you consider 'all over the place' exactly?
Compared to what you see on the current site, yes, there will be ads. The sites all have a banner ad at the top and one on the right column. At first I thought they were a little encroaching, but if you notice the wide blue bands we have on each side of our main text, that will remain basically the same size. The ads will appear on the wings where we currently don't have anything. You'll notice some other stuff there, too, but I'm sure we'll get to that later.
Is there some new crap-assed new site name that I have to link as a favorite? No. The site you come to now will continue to be the place to be. The sites that are in the SBN all link each other and try to help one another out, but they aren't only going to link each other, anything good will get linked, regardless of where it originates. On the plus side, you're just on eclick away from guys who have supported us before, like our Hawk buddies over at Second City Hockey/The Committed Indian paper and the maniacs/new Dutchie fans at the Leafs' site Pension Plan Puppets.
I've been a commenter here for two years, am I going to have to re-register and bullshit? Yes, unfortunately you will. But there is a payoff and I think you guys and gals will like it.
The SB Nation commenting system gives you the ability to add icons and signatures to your profiles which will appear on every comment. On top of that, you'll have the ability to post your own 'threads' which will appear on the sides of the main page. You can also post pictures and video, not just links. You'll be given the opportunity to add content to the site in a way that just isn't possible right now.
There's also a comment counter, so you hardcore guys can establish your dominance in numbers, too.
Did we mention that you'll still be able to Fuck Detroit all you want? Yeah, thought you'd like that, too.
Is this going to make the site bigger? Are there going to be a bunch of newbies in the comments now? Yeah. Yeah, that's gonna happen. But again, we're going to rely on you old guys to teach the new guys. This site has always been very accepting of new commenters and we expect that to continue.
Part of the advantage of the SB Nation is that it will likely bring us a lot of new readers. Yes, some will be total morons. Some will be annoying. It is our job as the administrators to keep those people out, as we do every day right now by not approving commenters who we consider to be unfunny, uninteresting or not adding anything to our community. That will remain the same.
On the other side, we'll get some new, funny people to add to the group who have somehow never found us before. Try to be gentile when you explain why he's The Robot or why we yell 'Dutchie!' at that one guy from Toronto.
Dude, doesn't this make you a sellout? Uh, yeah, that's the question that hurts the most. Honestly, internally, we've often discussed our paper and website as being very punk rock. We've been so far underground that when people do find us, they don't want to tell their friends for fear that we become too mainstream. We've encouraged that kind of behavior.
It's the reason why we've never joined any other group that could 'help' us. It's the reason why we constantly tell the douches over at that popular Red Wings-linked site to keep our name out they mouth.
It's also the reason that I had to start drinking on a Monday just to write this post.
And to tell you all what's up, I've had enough beers at this point that they've become like a truth serum and I can admit it: this is the hardest thing I've ever had to do with our product, both the paper and the website.
Are we selling out? If so, it's the weakest sellout ever, because we ain't exactly quitting the day job for this. Hell, what we're getting for the year couldn't pay for the gas to drive to the day-job boss' house to tell him that we quit. Literally.
We're doing this because we really believe that we're doing the right thing. We dragged this out for a month when a guy like Mirtle literally gets yes answers from people the same day that he asks them to join him. We feel like the tradeoff of having a couple ads and a little different look to the site is a fair enough give for the take of getting our writing a bigger audience. It's also a fair enough give to get all of your comments a better audience. I also believe that the experience you'll all have will be better, where you can contribute more in pics and videos and avatars and all that shit.
Maybe I'm no Fugazi, but I think that at the very least, we can be the punk rock scene on a bigger stage.
You guys have the comments, let us know what you think. Also, any questions you ask will be addressed by myself or by Brad, whose cellphone minutes I have personally destroyed this month while discussing this topic.
We aren't Game Time, WE ALL are Game Time. Let's hear your opinions.