GM's OFFICE: Turning 20; Thanks to YOU!

by Brent Hershey and Ray Murphy

Let’s Party.

The reason? The (very condensed) story goes that BaseballHQ.com, first known as the Baseball Forecaster Online, made its World Wide Web debut in August of 1996. That's 20 years ago this month.

We (Brent Hershey and Ray Murphy) weren't there. So really, it’s not our story to tell. (We will, however, get a first-hand perspective on those early days, and the genesis of BaseballHQ.com, later this week.) But as current co-GMs of BaseballHQ.com, it is our task to somehow bring these 20 past glorious years together. And so we planned a little party.

Let's just start with this: The world was a different place in 1996. For 20 years, fantasy baseball fanatics/nerds/fans have reaped the benefits. Not only player projections and forward-thinking research and "why not?" gaming strategies, but all delivered with an astute awareness of the non-baseball world around us. Sure, we could get lost in our obsessive little game, but BaseballHQ.com also managed to keep us connected to current events and each other. Hopefully, this legacy lives on.

But for now—in 2016—the one thing we know is that a 20-year anniversary of any type is a big deal—and worthy of a celebration.

Although BaseballHQ.com would not have continued for 20 years without Ron Shandler’s vision and leadership—as well as the many researchers, writers and staff members, both former and current—the real reason we’ve lasted this long is YOU. Our work could be the most ground-breaking and practical in the fantasy baseball marketplace, but if none of you were interested enough to subscribe or purchase our products, we wouldn’t have lasted this long.  

And thriving—heck, surviving—for 20 years in this internet age? Nothing short of astounding. 

So all this week at BaseballHQ.com, sure, we’re going to celebrate 20 years of being the most complete premium destination for fantasy baseball analysis. We’ll have fun with old content, names of old baseball players we’ve forgotten, hear from some old friends and hopefully make some new ones. But most of all, we’re going to celebrate YOU, our readers, and thank YOU for making these 20 years possible. 

We’re Turning 20; Thanks to YOU.

Every party needs a headquarters—a “PartyHQ,” if you will. And this page is it—the control center of #HQTurns20, our social media hashtag. Links to all our #HQTurns20 content will reside here all week (also tagged with the 20YRS blue banner) and updated daily. The details on the special discounts and subscriber rewards (do we have your attention now?) can be found below. Bookmark it, or stop by each day from the homepage link to refill you drink and stay abreast of all the goings-on.

So now that you know where to be. Here’s the activities we have planned, and how you can join in:

SIGN THE GUESTBOOK
We’ve set up an “HQ Guestbook” where subscribers will be invited to reflect on the scope of BaseballHQ.com has had on them over the years. Whether “the years” means upwards of 20, or just less than one, all are welcome to sign-in with a short note of appreciation. Among the topics to consider: How has the site has changed your efforts as a fantasy competitor? Are there certain MLB players whom you took a closer look at, and have an affinity for, due to BHQ? Do you have any specific memories of the early days? Or, do you simply want to offers words of thanks and/or encouragement as BaseballHQ.com fully enters adulthood? All of that, and more, is fair game here.

No matter what your topic, we will collect and review these notes, and publish them for all to view, several times as the week goes on. Follow the link above to submit; links to the pages of the HQ Guestbook will appear below. Come back often to view others’ thoughts and insights on what BaseballHQ.com has meant to them.

HQ Guestbook, page 1
HQ Guestbook, page 2
HQ Guestbook, page 3

TAKE A TRIP DOWN BASEBALLHQ.COM MEMORY LANE
Using the public site called “The Wayback Machine,” we will explore the past of BaseballHQ.com. From Monday through Thursday, one writer will highlight and share interesting links to articles and developments from a five-year time period in the website’s history. We'll work in order from the beginning; the schedule (and links) for these articles:

Monday, August 15: Doug Dennis, Looking back on 1996-2000
Tuesday, August 16: Paul Petera, Looking back on 2001-2005
Wednesday, August 17: Jock Thompson, 
Looking back on 2006-2010
Thursday, August 18: Ryan Bloomfield, Looking back on 2011-2016

But that’s not all—using the Wayback Machine’s BaseballHQ.com archives, linked here, we ask YOU to explore, as well. Starting with clicking on the year (and more black means more archived pages that year), you'll see a calendar with markings when it has a BaseballHQ.com archive to view. Then, it's a click fest. Note that this is not a complete set of all of BHQ’s history, as we mentioned, some years are more populated with links than others. In addition, many of the articles that were originally behind the paywall are not accessible. But, chances are that most archived home pages have a link to one or more FREE articles for you to explore. At the very least, you can see how the site’s web design has changed and improved over the years. 

So, when you find an interesting link for the time period covered that was not mentioned in that day’s article, we invite you to share it with all our subscribers in the comments section below that piece. And believe us, there’s some good stuff for the pickin’s in each of these years. We’ll have instructions/reminders on these articles each day. This trip promises to be a ton of fun.

GIVE A HEARTY WELCOME TO OUR SPECIAL GUESTS
On Thursday, Rick Wilton, who was instrumental in BaseballHQ.com’s early days, will contribute a column looking back at some of the challenges of the early days of the site. And on Friday, site founder Ron Shandler has agreed to pen a retrospective column, that will include the story of the beginnings of the site in all its gory detail. We couldn’t be more thrilled that Ron accepted this invitation to share about the earliest days of BaseballHQ.com. We are all looking forward to it. Links to Rick and Ron’s articles will appear here later in the week.

Rick Wilton: 20 Years of Firsts
Ron Shandler: This is how I remember it

TAKE ADVANTAGE OF TWO SPECIAL OFFERS
First, as a way to say “thank you” for your part—however big or small—for the past 20 years, all subscribers will be eligible for $5 coupon off their automatic BaseballHQ.com renewal in October. Subscribers need to simply complete a quick process to confirm their current credit card information, and the $5 discount will be applied in October. 

Subscribers, follow this link to take advantage. Confirming your information will only take a minute, and the link will expire on August 31, 2016.

Second, everyone, current subscribers or not, are eligible for a coupon for $50 OFF the registration fee for our First Pitch Arizona conference in 2016, which takes place November 3-6 in Phoenix. For more information on our premiere live event of the each year, visit the First Pitch Arizona homepage here. We’ve got lots in store for 2016, as you can see from our preliminary program and speaker list. Just use promo code FPAZ50 at checkout to claim the discount! The last day to use the coupon is Friday, August 19, 2016.

FREE CONTENT ALL WEEK
Not a current subscriber? Don’t fret—we’re celebrating with you, also. We’re offering a week-long extended peek behind our paywall, with one FREE article from our regular rotation from Monday through Thursday. Then, we’ll cap it off with a FREE FRIDAY, where we leave nothing hidden on a full day’s worth of BaseballHQ.com at its best. The week’s FREE schedule is an amazing cross-section of our different offerings, which are so important for those in contention for a fantasy title. The Monday-Thursday details:

Monday, August 15: Starting Pitchers Buyers Guide, by Stephen Nickrand
Tuesday, August 16: AL Facts/Flukes, by Ryan Bloomfield
Wednesday, August 17: AL West PT Tomorrow, by Jock Thompson
Thursday, August 18: The Eyes have it, Minor League Scouting by Chris Blessing
Friday, August 19: FREE FRIDAY

And of course, all of the above #HQTurns20 content will be FREE the entire week as well. 

Well, I think we just heard the first knock at the door. The DJ has the first song queued up, the refreshments are waiting, and guests are arriving.

Excuse us—we’ve got a big party to host.

BaseballHQ.com is turning 20!


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  For more information about the terms used in this article, see our Glossary Primer.