First Pitch: The Future of Online News, and Why We’re Switching to a Subscription Site

It may surprise you to find out that I never attended a minor league baseball game until after I started this site. I followed the minors closely, and lived close to Lynchburg for years while the Pirates had a team in that town. But every attempt I had usually ended in the same way. I’d want to go see an emerging pitcher (Zach Duke, Paul Maholm, etc.), and by the time I found a day off from work or school where I could go see them, they had been promoted to Altoona.

I remember the first trip vividly. I was looking forward to the game that upcoming Monday, and looking forward to providing a report for this new blog I had started about prospects in the Pirates’ system (if you’re reading this, you’re probably familiar with that site). But the economy was horrible at the time, and the Friday before the game I was laid off from my job.

There would be no reporting at the Monday game. There would only be drinking cheap beer while watching baseball.

Throughout that summer I searched for work daily, getting rejected in the form of being ignored. I received zero job interviews, mostly because I was fresh out of college with a business degree, a year of sports writing under my belt, a ton of student loans, and living in an area where you needed 3-5 years of experience for any available position. I was either under qualified for anything that needed a degree, or over qualified for anything else because of my degree. I couldn’t even get a minimum wage job anywhere, because there was just nothing available. So while I was searching for a job with no success, I decided to keep that blog running, just to keep up my work ethic.

I’m not sure when it happened, but somewhere along the way I had a crazy idea that could only be brought on by many unsuccessful months of searching for employment: What if I could make a career out of this blog?

I gave up looking for work. I put all of my eggs in this basket. If it didn’t work, I was screwed, but then again, I was out of work for years with a ton of student loan debt. I was already screwed. Might as well go down swinging for the fences. And it worked.

It wasn’t easy. I sold everything. There were times where I searched through my house looking for things to sell, just to make sure I wouldn’t go bankrupt a week or two later. I lived in my now late-grandma’s vacant house for free, on the condition that I deliver lunch to her every day (she was always understanding when I was late because a trade broke around noon, even though she didn’t know what that meant). I was taking short-term loans from family and friends, just to get by rough stretches. And I was annoying the shit out of anyone close to me by repeatedly explaining my spreadsheets of projections showing how the site could work out if it reached X amount of page views per year, and how that number was totally possible.

The site worked. I went from being unemployed, selling anything I didn’t use on a weekly basis, and depending heavily on friends and family, to being in a position where I can live a normal life with the security of a regular income. So why would I throw that away?

I explained my goals for the site in my announcement earlier today. If you haven’t read it, check it out now. I’ve got big plans for the site, and I’m optimistic that the plans will work.

But there are other reasons why I moved away from the ad model. It was unreliable, and I can only see it getting worse in the future. Ad blockers are becoming more common. Revenues are dropping as the inventory in the industry increases. Intrusive ads get the big payday, which means I would eventually be left with a choice between roll over ads, 15 second displays before you can see the site, and a ton of video ads (which are apparently starting to show up already) — or I could just ditch the ad model altogether.

I plan to eventually phase the ads out. For now, they’re going to be insurance as I kick things off. I’ll quickly be cutting down on the number of ads on the site, and when it grows big enough, I’ll be removing them completely. I’m not ruling out that we won’t have sponsors in the future. But I feel that’s a totally different animal than having a ton of ads all over the page.

The ad model also restricts creativity and content. It puts you in position to strive for page views, and if something doesn’t bring in ad revenue, it’s not worth doing.

We’ve been getting questions about having an app for years. I’ve never done it, because an app would kill the business. An app would drive people away from the site, and we’d have no way of getting revenue for those readers. Under a paid site, we can charge a subscription, and you can read the content in whatever way is most convenient for you. We will be adding an app in the future. I’ll be researching that soon. On that note, if you’re a developer, send me an e-mail at tim@piratesprospects.com.

I had a lot of questions today about the podcast. We did one in 2013, and it got decent results. It started out strong, with about 1000-2000 weekly downloads. But in terms of ad dollars, that equals about $4-8. And it would take about 4-5 hours of work for me to put together a podcast. You can see how a podcast wouldn’t be worth the time. A podcast is now an option again, and we might bring it back once everything gets going this year.

Then there was a situation that came up last year. I was approached by Baseball America about writing stories for them, and wrote one about Tyler Glasnow’s progress. And I found that I could make a lot more money sending big articles to places like BA, Baseball Prospectus, and other places than by posting them on the site and relying on ad revenues. But that wasn’t a situation I wanted to be in. Why even have the site running if the best content was better off posted elsewhere?

In short, the ad model was preventing me from adding high demand features. It was limiting quality content, just because the work for that content might not be worth what it brings in as far as ad revenues. And it would have eventually led to me having to drive content away from the site, which means you’d have to subscribe elsewhere to read that content. Then there’s the fact that I probably would have only had three more years, maximum, under the ad model due to its lack of reliability. At that point, the site would have either shut down, or made this switch. It only made sense to make the change now.

As someone who has been on the ad side of things for over six years, it’s my opinion that this model won’t be lasting much longer. In a few years, more and more sites and outlets will be forced to go the subscription model, for all of the reasons I outlined above.

I liken this approach to what I did a few years ago with the independent approach. I was one of the early adopters when it came to running a professional independent site and trying to get credentialed to cover events. It was difficult at first to get credentials, because no one knew how to handle a situation where someone had a job writing about sports, but didn’t work for a newspaper or a TV station. It was always a battle to get credentials in the beginning. Now? It’s so easy for small independent sites to get credentials, because it’s a much more common thing.

I think subscription sites will be the same way. The format has been out there for a few years, but it’s still early. There are more and more people making the jump from traditional outlets to the independent outlet, with Dejan Kovacevic being a local example. People are still hesitant to pay for anything on the internet, but I think eventually there won’t be a choice. It’s going to be common to pay a small fee to access content you enjoy, just as it is for television (Netflix/Hulu Plus), movies (Redbox/Vudu), and any other form of entertainment. I’d rather be on the right side of this trend, picking it up early, rather than waiting until it is too late and hurting the future of this site.

I thank everyone who subscribed today, and who plans to subscribe in the future. For those of you who said you won’t be subscribing due to financial reasons, I definitely understand how $2.99 per month can be too much. I was in that situation myself a few years ago. For those who said they don’t want to subscribe out of principle, I hope that you reconsider and decide that the content we produce is worth more than the price of one cup of coffee or two sodas per month. In either case, I thank you all for reading up to this point. We might offer a way for people to donate subscriptions in the future, although I’d rather that be for people who want to subscribe but can’t afford it. And there will definitely be gift subscriptions, so you can put that on your wish list for Father’s Day, Mother’s Day, Christmas, Hanukkah, birthdays, Valentine’s Day, Columbus day, or any of the other big gift giving holidays.

For anyone looking to subscribe, you can use one of the options below.

And now, back to the grind. I’ll have a few articles tomorrow morning from minor league camp, including a look at what Nick Kingham has been working on recently, and a look at the development of the three over-slot prep pitchers from last year’s draft. I’ll also have any news on cuts, if there are any cuts tomorrow.

**Here was the announcement from earlier today: The Future Of Pirates Prospects.

**My friend Dave Bryan, who runs the outstanding site Steelers Depot, has purchased a one-year subscription to be given away on Twitter. I’ll have the details tomorrow on my Twitter account. While you’re at it, you should also follow Dave for great insight and all of the latest news on the Steelers. I haven’t had much time to follow the Steelers in recent years, but anytime I’m looking for an update, Steelers Depot is always where I go.

**Pirates Prospects Is Looking For Paid Writers In Altoona And West Virginia. Part of the site expansions. On that same note, I’ve already planned out some early season travel, which I will announce later in the week when I get everything finalized.

First Pitch

  • Never paid for anything on the internet and wasn’t about to start. Swore I would not read any articles on this site soon as you announced your decision. I made it 1 day. Subscribed this morning

  • Tim I have been a loyal reader for 3 years and I appreciate all the content and information that you have published on the website I truly believe you and your team are talented individuals and I appreciate your insight and work. I was wondering if there are web sites out there with the same type of information for the Pittsburgh Penguins and Pittsburgh Steelers if so would you be able to get a working agreement for subscriptionsthat can be packaged along with the Pirates prospects subscription to those websites? Thank you again for all that you do.

  • Just bought the year subscription. I’m addicted to your site because of the content and my love of baseball and the Pirates. I was truthfully surprised that it wasn’t a pay site already. If I was a trained writer I would love to cover baseball. But alas..I do not have your skills so I will just live vicariously thru you. I tried to give up baseball a few years back because of the baseball strike. Swore it off for months but when pitchers and catchers reported I couldn’t turn away. Baseball is the most beautiful sport there is.

    Thank you for giving me a place to follow my team and their prospects.

  • I have followed this site for about 2 years now and I have really enjoyed it but I will not be paying to read this. I love my Pirates and it isn’t fair to take them away so I don’t see any reason to pay. I will just have to follow other sites about the Pirates.
    Sorry Tim, but you are going to lose a lot of people with this change.

    • If you like the site, then why would you not pay pennies a day to keep it around for the long-term?

      • I want to but I also don’t want to. The idea of spending money makes me want to say no. Trust me if this happened to any other site it would automatically be a no. I am thinking about paying because you do great work. I don’t have a clear answer as to if I am paying or not, I have thought about it a little. Once I found out it was going to be a subscription site I was gonna say no but I think I decided too fast.

        • I hope you decide to stick around.

          I’m asking the question because I’m trying to get the thought process behind the people who have been saying they love the site but refuse to pay a small fee to keep it going and improve it.

  • HI Tim
    thanks for the notification. I truly enjoy the site and have gotten the prospects handbook last few years. Subscribing today and look forward to more great content.

  • Didn’t realize you’d done a new article on this subject already. Here’s the comment I just made on yesterday’s version:

    Not unexpected news, not sure if I will subscribe or not. I do check the site daily, but don’t read all the articles and rarely comment. The site is blocked at work and I have limited Internet time at home, especially in the summer. I have been around since the early days and have bought a couple of the prospects books.

    My initial reaction was that I would not be subscribing until I (hopefully) retire at the end of 2017 but I’ve been mulling it over. You do provide content that I either can’t find or am not willing to look for elsewhere. If I do subscribe, it would be the 3 year plan.

    Here’s some additional feedback. I’m more interested in minor league coverage than I am you hiring a beat writer to follow the Pirates. I would also hope that a paid subscription would entitle the subscriber to a PDF version of the prospect guide.

    Either way, I wish you well and very much appreciate the content you’ve provided over the years.

    • Minor league coverage will be the first priority. In fact, I’ve already booked a trip for some early-season coverage, and have two more trips that I’m looking at for coverage in May. Plus we’re working on adding the final two writers to give us people in all four full-season cities.

  • Well I just signed up 4 the yearly plan. Good luck.

  • I guess it’s time for me to get an account then and stop lurking.

    I will definitely subscribe. Looking forward to the great additions. Good luck, Tim.

  • Tetrapharmakos
    March 26, 2015 3:46 pm

    I mentioned on the other thread why I won’t be subscribing, but before going I wanted to thank you again, Tim. You saw me through the baseball wilderness. For those year when it was most bleak to be a Pirate fan, this site was an oasis. I can remember when I first found the site. I remember when I rediscovered it. I remember when you were one of the only people seeing the forest through the trees and one of the few who were praising the front office with regards to its organizational approach. You preached, long before it was fashionable, that the front office had a plan and history has born that out.

    I also remember that at that time, the minor leagues really was where all the hopes of the franchise resided. And I remember when the idea of watching (let alone paying to watch) the MLB team felt silly compared to reading your reports about the farm system. At some point though it dawned on me that “Pirates Prospects” ceased to mean “minor league players of the baseball club from Pittsburgh” and began to mean “fortune of the franchise” as in “The Pittsburgh Pirates? I like their prospects of winning the division this year.” In other words, we Pirate fans have been delivered from the desert of maybe-next-year and while I am still interested in the farm system, no longer do the Pirate’s prospects reside in the minor leagues.

    I suppose I will have to get my Pirates news elsewhere. I will miss following the minor league system so closely, but with a bona fide major league club that I can feel proud of again, I just doesn’t feel as necessary to live and die with what is happening in high A ball. I would never have left your site, but I won’t follow down the path to subscription. I hope you know what you are doing, because to me, this feels like an enormous mistake – the fact that DK was your expert counsel does nothing to ease my concerns. I wish you nothing but the best. You built a great community and I hope it continues to thrive. And, again, I wanted to take a moment to thank you for seeing us Pirates fans through our darkest hour. For a while there, you and Pirates Prospects were our only beacon of hope and I won’t soon forget it.

    Thank you.

    • I mentioned DK, but there have been a few team prospect centric sites that also made this shift. I also talked with them about why they made the change, and how it has been working. Since they were in the same situation, their advice was very relevant.

      • Tetrapharmakos
        March 27, 2015 12:35 pm

        I find it odd that out of all of that whole comment, it was the incidental mention of DK that you chose to respond to. I only mentioned him because 1) screw that guy, and 2) I assumed he lost his job; I had no idea he even started a subscription service. Make what you will of that.

        Okay, so you talked to a bunch of people about changing the site to a subscription model. I think that about exemplifies up my frustration with this entire announcement: you discussed the change with everybody but the people you hoped for, nay, depended on to support you.

        I will miss your work, but I’ll get over that easily enough. I’ll just wait for free previews or listen to your segments on David Todd or whatever. (I’ll just point out that subscription radio has yet to kill broacast radio). I will miss the regular commenters, i.e. the PP community far more. They won’t so easily be replaced. I guess when it comes down to it, I am bitter that you have erected a paywall between me and my fellow Pirate fan/friends all without any input from the very people that made this place truly special. It’s okay. I’ll get over it and hopefully before too long I’ll find the next Pirates Prospects.

        It was fun while it lasted. Good luck, Tim.

  • pilbobuggins
    March 26, 2015 3:12 pm

    Did anybody see or hear what happened to worley in the first, I missed the first couple of innings. Looks like he settled in after that.

  • Tim. I am a writer. Ad copy for vocation. Blogging for fun. The collapse of the publishing industry has had a torturous effect on the profession. I am happy for you and expect this to be a success because you have built a community as well as a unique product. I certainly will be subscribing as soon as I can find my CC. my son probably has it and is buying a $30 computer game on steam which he will master in 4 hours. The same $30 will buy me a year of must read infotainment.

    Best of luck but I know this will be a great success.

  • pilbobuggins
    March 26, 2015 1:26 pm

    Tim has just saved me 4 dollars, as I mentioned earlier I canceled netflix in favor of pp which is a net gain of roughly four bucs;) so I’ve decided to use my savings to upgrade my pooch to milkbones instead of the generic brand. His name is tiny tim (he is a handicap pooch, just don’t tell him ok) and as soon as I told him to thank his namesake for the dietary improvement his tail wagged and he went around in circles a few times in thanks. On a side note with his stiff back leg he makes a great pirate at halloween and the pup nights at the ballpark, and finally tiny tim says arh! me buccos it’s the world series or the plank ya scurvy dogs!

  • Tim- As someone who usually reads your site via Feedly, and likely on my smartphone, I am sure I wasn’t driving a lot of ad revenue your way, because I barely ever saw ads. The subscription model makes sense if you offer outstanding content and are reliable. You are both, so guess what? Subscribed. I think the gradual shift to subscription-based models will also phase out some blogs/sites that churn out tons of mediocre content just for page views. People won’t pay for it.
    Consider yourself the “Pirates use extreme defensive shifts and emphasize catch-framing” of MLB sites. You’re ahead of the curve and are bound to see success. And I’m yelling Cuuueeetttooooo

  • John Dankosky
    March 26, 2015 11:03 am

    Tim, just wanted to let you know I just signed up for 3 years, and I wish you luck and success. I jumped on with Dejan right away when he started his site, too. I work in the news business, and I know how hard it is to fund work in this way. Your description of your thought process was compelling, and you’ve “sold” this idea very well. Here’s to a great season and new frontiers for your site.

  • Lee Foo Young
    March 26, 2015 10:22 am

    I was already contributing to this site on a monthly basis….more than the sub rate. If it is alright with Tim I would be more than happy to add a couple of bucks to it for someone who can’t afford to subscribe.

    Just email Tim and make your plea (Westonian420….don’t apply) and I will let him pick one. Or, first come, first serve. And please…be honest about it. If you REALLY can’t afford this site, I will pay for one. I have been blessed in life and am quite comfortable, so I just want to share…even in this small way.

    Lee “Foo” Young

  • Tim: Just joined for three years. Having trouble commenting, for some reason. My last effort seems to have disappeared into the ether. I have the highest admiration for the business you’ve built and the way you’ve gone about it. And your content is first rate!

    • Thanks Lino. I’m not sure what the deal is with the comments. I don’t see your other one, but sometimes they disappear then show back up for whatever reason.

  • Hi Tim. I remember the day that I found this site. It was like a whole new world of Pirates baseball was introduced to me. This site provides great content and is well worth the low subscription fee. I’m actually surprised you didn’t do it sooner. Also, it was nice to read the story of this site and the personal struggles you went through to get her. It gave a human touch to it.

    I just signed up for the three year subscription! Keep up the great work!

  • Long time reader, first time commenter,

    I 100% understand the move to a subscription based service and hope it works even better than you plan. As a student, it wouldn’t be fiscally responsible for me to subscribe now, but I probably will when I graduate and get real income.

    Anyway, I was wondering if you had considered a split subscription system. The idea would be that some content (less in depth analysis, such as on newly acquired player before you can really delve into them; rumors/news; anything that focuses on the major league club rather than prospects) would be available free. Your top tier material (in depth prospect analysis, if you do a podcast exclusive interviews, etc) would fall behind the subscription. This system would provide a free taste that could eventually generate more subscribers. Also, this would be beneficial for people like me, who, for whatever reason can’t subscribe now but want to in the future. I know if a website falls out of rotation, I forget about it even if it is top tier quality. I don’t want that to happen; like I said before I plan on subscribing when the time’s right for me.

    Just a thought. You know more about running a successful site than I do. I love your work and wish you luck.

    • We’ll be giving some previews when the site switches over. But most of the content on the site will be behind a paywall. Similar approach to Baseball America and Baseball Prospectus.

  • I’ll definitely be getting a prescription. I’ve been waiting for this to happen and I was hoping it would. This will take Pirates Prospects to another entire level in the long run. Tim deserves this and as readers we deserve it. 29.99 for a year is nothing for the time I spend on this site every day. Good Luck Tim.

    • Lee Foo Young
      March 26, 2015 10:23 am

      Chris….I have a ‘prescription’ for your ‘subscription’……….MORE COWBELL!!!

      🙂 🙂 🙂

  • So long, and thanks for all the fish.

  • Well thanks for all you do,but I won’t be subscribing either..It’s people like me who share your post EVERY DAY that got you where you are.That’s NOT saying your hard work didn’t pay off,but the fans of your site who share all your updates have a lot to do with it too.I would if I could,but like you having trouble finding Full-time work.Im on that boat now and have been for the past 4 years.This site and all the rest that of the sites that I share and read news from is the only thing I have(when not looking for work)that keeps my head straight from all the worry(Im sure you have lived it too,as you were out of a job)..Thank You.

    • Lee Foo Young
      March 26, 2015 10:35 am

      Todd…email Tim….I am footing the bill for one more guy and you sound like a viable candidate.

      And, good luck with your job hunting.

    • I definitely appreciate everyone who shared posts and got the site to where it is today. That was big, especially in the early days. Unfortunately, as I outlined, we’re at a point with ad revenues where I’d either need to drastically grow the site just to keep up with previous years, or the site would start to see a decline. I didn’t see either as a good solution for the future of the site.

      I’m sorry about your situation, and hope that you find something. That process of finding work over a long period of time can be soul crushing.

    • Hi, Todd, I’m sorry for your Bad Luck, buddy. May it not last too long! The reason you and I and the rest of us forwarded Tim’s articles (which, as you pointed out, did help to increase his reputation his reach and viability) was their content and quality. We found them to be pertinent. Worthwhile. You helped Tim get this far, and I’ll bet he’ll be here when you’re able to come back. Be well!

  • Westonian420
    March 26, 2015 8:53 am

    And have you considered people that don’t use hulu( never heard of it) or red box, netflix or voodoo wtf is that lol. I do not know a single person that has any of these other than netflix. And you know how that works one person subscribes then gives there info to anyone and everyone? Tim you sold out and want the money just say it. Good site bout to go to shit.

    • Maybe you haven’t heard of these. But I’m sure you have heard of the concept of paying for entertainment services that you enjoy?

      • Tim, you might want to consider getting “guest post” on the site also. People with similar Pirates, might give a different perspective on a Pirate topic. In return, you post an article on their blog. Getting a link from a Google rating of PR4 is pretty good. Just a thought

      • Westonian420
        March 27, 2015 7:56 am

        Really entertainment ? Maybe I don’t know. More like something to pass the time. Good thing I still have my library card

    • We heard from you already. You won’t pay, then why are you still hear? Tim, I’ve been with you sinse the begining and I will stat with you. I pay 40bucks a year for ESPN Insider and don’t get as much info on the Pirates. If you a Yankee or Red sox fan, then yes Insider is worth the money. I’ll stick with my Pirates Prospects.

      • Westonian420
        March 27, 2015 7:55 am

        Of course I’m gonna play til I got to pay ? That’d be just fukn stupid to leave before April 13th lol

    • I suppose you spent your entire adult life working for free.

      • Westonian420
        March 27, 2015 7:59 am

        No of course not. I have spent it seeing businesses do whatever they could to make that extra buck. When in reality the product goes down. It’s just a never ending cycle of wanting more and more.

  • lonleylibertarian
    March 26, 2015 8:46 am

    Good luck Tim – I am on board at the three year level. One thing you may want to consider going forward is creating bundles – book plus subscription – or three years of book plus subscription. I wish you well and look forward to seeing things get better as you build your future.

    • Thanks Lonely! We’ll definitely have discounts on the books. I just need to get an idea of how much the book will expand next year, and how much production will cost before I can release that info.

  • I will be a subscriber. Though I must admit, I’d personally rather keep the content as is but free than add content and have to pay. Perhaps I’ll change my mind when I see the new content, but for now that’s how I feel. I only have so much time for reading the stuff now, and I am perfectly happy with the content I get today. But $3/month isn’t much, and I enjoy the content, so I will pay.

  • Westonian420
    March 26, 2015 8:30 am

    I’ve followed this sure prolly three years. I’ve followed a site like bloody elbow which has probably equal to or better writing and way way more content. I just don’t know how you justify it without saying you got greedy.

    • I’m not sure how this is greed? Wanting to stay in business for the long-term. Wanting to generate revenue to give other people jobs and give customers higher quality content. I don’t think any of that involves greed.

    • Dude if he wanted to become a rich man there are a thousand better ways to go about it than this. Just stick with ESPN & MLB for free and shallow, easily digested content for free.

      • Westonian420
        March 27, 2015 8:05 am

        I don’t go to espn or mlb websites. Really 1000 better ways? The dude just said he couldn’t get the jobs he wanted and wouldn’t accept a job if he felt he was over qualified. Comes off to me as entitled. I’d line to hear these 1000 other ways ? Which one did you use? That was easier than putting information that already exists on a website and trying to come off as an expert lol.

        • Go away.

          • Westonian420
            March 27, 2015 8:36 am

            Why because I wanted to respond to your statement? Ahhh at last I will admit I am just butt hurt that I refuse to put any plastic on the inter web lol, even for one of my go to sites. So I tried my hand at trolling and admit I liked it a lil too much. I am done tho. I leave you with an EAT SHIT PITT! not bucs, steelers, or penguins obviously. But those glory hole enjoying panthers

        • “The dude just said he couldn’t get the jobs he wanted and wouldn’t accept a job if he felt he was over qualified. Comes off to me as entitled.”

          That’s not at all what I said. I said I couldn’t get some jobs because I was over qualified. I had a college degree and was applying to cashier jobs and other minimum wage positions, just to pay the bills, and wouldn’t get an interview. How is that entitled?

          Maybe learn how to read.

          • Because there are a shit ton of college grads working minimum wage jobs or putting their back to use with a shovel. Now if you didn’t want to start at the bottom that’s on you. Sounds like you wanted to be the boss when ya filled out your applications. I love to read and sometimes even pay to do so. From a book. Something that I can have and hold on too. But not blow 79 bucks or however much on a website that probably won’t be around in three years lol. Who would of known the big shot creator of his own website was so sensitive. Little bitch bahaha

            • Once again, you have no idea what you’re talking about. And since it seems your only purpose here is to be a troll, this will be your last comment. I wish you well. I’ll still be here in three years.

  • Westonian420
    March 26, 2015 8:27 am

    So my last comment was removed lol. What about the older people who don’t want to put their debit or credit card info online? Where do they send the money ? I’m sure that’s not possible. Just another reason this is shit.

  • Tim, I subscribed as soon as I read the earlier article. While I do like the site and I think the content in general is worth paying for, I subscribed to simply support you and the risks you are/were willing to take to make your dream a reality. I am supporting you because without people willing to doing so sites likes yours will not exist and we will be stuck reading what larger corporations are pushing at us. I think it is important to support small businesses so the whole world is not run by corporations. It is clear to me that a quality product is the most important thing to you and I will support that, including even the content that I have no specific interest in myself because I know there are others interested in the stuff that I am not.

    • Thanks John! I’m a small business supporter myself. I try to avoid chains and bigger brands and go for the local option for a lot of the same reasons you mention.

  • Westonian420
    March 26, 2015 8:14 am

    Wow you’ll see the interest in this site plummet. Damn this sucks but gotta make that buc huh man? I guess the books aren’t selling well enough. Dude this didn’t work for rivals it won’t for this site smh. I also think it’s kind of interest and pretty arrogant that you think this site is worth paying for? Just go somewhere else for my box score. Sell out

    • pilbobuggins
      March 26, 2015 8:50 am

      I’m pretty sure tim does not have box scores, maybe you got confused and forgot which site you are on. Never mix nyquil with your scrips and you won’t have this problem anymore.

      • Westonian420
        March 27, 2015 7:54 am

        My fault not box scores. I mean the stats for the top twenty players and shit. Won’t be hard to find somewhere else I mean. I’ve never taken NyQuil. Got plenty of scripts tho. You sound like you know from experience tho.

        • Your right I have dealt with plenty of doped up morons over the course of my life, your just the latest in a long line. Best of luck to you I will be praying for you and don’t worry be happy.: )

    • Compelling argument from the gentleman with “420” in his handle. Noted.

  • Do you think Colin Dunlap will buy a subscription?

  • Just purchased a yearly subscription. I do not typically pay for online either but your site is well worth it Mr. Williams!

  • pilbobuggins
    March 26, 2015 7:32 am

    Hmm? I wonder if tim waited for a pirates off day to announce this change or if it was just coinkidink? We are waiting with belly all knotted up to know the answer. Yet much like a tootsie roll pop the world may never know. ; )

    • Are you asking if I pinpointed the exact day where there would be no breaking news (well, unless you count a haircut), and very little Pirates content, giving me the biggest possible spotlight for this news? I’m not going to answer “Yes”, because I’d rather not say. I’m not going to answer “No”, because I’d rather not lie.

  • OK Tim I’ve thought about it, and I’ve decided to get on board. I cancelled my Netflix subscription to pay for it. Since I’ve gotten a TV in the past few months, I hardly ever use it anymore, and I’ve decided I don’t really need it. I signed up for the three year subscription.

    I appreciate the sacrifice you’ve made in your life and I want to support you, regardless of my own particular financial struggles at the moment. I have faith things are going to get better for me like they did for you, and I feel a lot better about spending my entertainment dollar here than with a nameless faceless company like Netflix.

    Your story is compelling and I have to admit, this second article swayed me. Like I said before, it’s really the American dream, played out. I was out of work for three plus years recently, I know your struggle being somewhat overqualified, and I applaud your creative thinking. I have a job now, it’s not full-time, but God is providing for me and I am thankful.

    I look forward to the next three years together hopefully celebrating a Buccos World Series victory (or two).

    All the best-

    Doug

    • pilbobuggins
      March 26, 2015 7:26 am

      Hey I canceled my netflix for pp too and for much the same reason.

    • Thanks Doug!

      By the way, pro tip on saving money on TV. Get an indoor HD antenna. You can get it for like $40-50 on Amazon, and you’ll get all network and local channels at HD quality for free. I currently have that, Hulu, Netflix, and Sling TV. Total cost per month is $35, and I get everything that I’d want with a $100+ cable plan. Most of that cost is for Sling, and that’s because I wanted to watch shows on AMC.

      I became a “cord cutter” for TV several years ago out of necessity, but never had a reason to go back. You get all of the same content and save about $1000 per year over cable.

  • Randy Whitehair
    March 26, 2015 7:08 am

    For years I’ve been amazed that you were able to maintain such a high quality site with so much unique content for free. The $2.99 per month is an awesome value. This site is by far the best source of insider info available on the Pirates. I wish you the best of luck!

  • I am “All In” with your plan, Tim.

    I grew up reading subscriptions papers and periodicals, such as the Post Gazette and Pittsburgh Press; New York Times and Wall Street Journal. NONE of this professional journalism was ever free. My family and then I, as an adult, paid for this content, for we were buying professional journalism.

    That you provide – professional journalism. You provide in-depth and objective news and entertainment. In my opinion, you provide unparalleled coverage in a sport and for the team that I love. You are the “New York Times” of coverage for the Pirates.

    For that, i will gladly pay you the yearly subscription fee, and will continue to look forward to your reporting, as well as the hearty banter brought forth by mates of the Asylum!

    • Thanks NCB! Glad to have you around!

      • Gregg Paladina
        March 26, 2015 7:17 am

        Tim,
        I have read your site daily for several years. I don’t mind paying, as I purchased two books this year to support what you are doing. I just don’t want to have to log on every time that I come to the site; an app would help greatly. I realize the need to create revenue, but there are so many paid sites…..Good luck!

    • NorCal: Well stated, so let me piggyback. I am one of those displaced folks who had to leave Pittsburgh in search of work more than 30 years ago when the steel industry died. As a result, I have had to pay the premium to be able to follow my favorite teams (all dressed in Black and Gold) – DirecTV MLB and NFL Packages, a 30 year subscription to Baseball America, and 3 copies of the P2 Prospect Guide each year are representative examples of products I feel are well worth the price.

      But, I was still on the fence about an annual subscription until Tim agreed to go easy on the man-love for Charlie Morton and Andrew Lambo – was that you, or something I imagined? Just kidding – your love and dedication to this product comes through loud and clear with every P2 endeavor and the site keeps getting better and better. Since I have already enjoyed the site for 3 years for free, I feel this is a bargain for receiving this high quality product. Thank you, and I will sign up for the annual subscription.

    • Lee Foo Young
      March 26, 2015 11:24 am

      NorCal….less than the cost of a smoothie! 🙂

      • Yup, and nearly as filling too . . . . .

        Hmmm, perfect time for a rice milk and yogurt “mush” – with all of the fruitie ingredients!

  • I just bought the top prospect plan, Im glad your doing this and can’t wait for the expanded content. Great job and decision. I love knowing everything about a kid when he gets to the bigs. I always go to debut games. I’ve only been in PGH for 4 years but I saw Cole, Marte and Polanco’s first games. I knew so much about them and what to look for because of this site. Great value to me.

  • Matthew Kapelewski
    March 26, 2015 2:36 am

    Tim, I’ve been reading your site with decent frequency over the past few years and I can tell you that it’s absolutely worth the money to me. Plus, I blow way more than $3 a month on crap I don’t need, so it’s easy to justify this purchase. Can’t wait to see how this turns out!

  • I respect your right to charge a fee to view your site, but I will not be subscribing. It isn’t that I can’t afford it, or even principle, I just don’t want to pay to read the few good articles on the site. You keep referring, in the last article, to the improved content that could be provided, however, most of where you say there will be improved content, ie, minor league game recaps, were not something I read.

    I understand why you feel you need to make the switch, it makes all the sense in the world, but I can not, with any good conscience, go to my wife and explain to her why I need to spend $3/ month to read baseball articles about minor league baseball players, whom 90% or better will never make it to the major leagues. I don’t want you to take that the wrong way, I do enjoy the site and the articles, but when it comes down to it, I would rather have the cup of coffee with my wife, than subscribe to the site.

    In closing, I wish you all the best and I truly hope you are successful with this endeavor. I would also like to congratulate you on the success you have had up to this point.

    • Sorry you won’t be around, Bill.

      I will point out that you’re wrong on the minor league game recaps. We still won’t have those. That’s not why people come to the site. We’ll have more minor league writers to provide more minor league player features, as well as reports on each player throughout the year. Maybe you’ll give us a chance once you see what kind of content we’re producing with the new writers.

      • I am not sure if I was clear in my previous post or not, I do believe that the content on your site is well worth the $3 per month price. I just wanted to get that out there first. However, my family and I are currently attempting to cut our spending, not for any real reason other than to have more money to do stuff together and continue to be able to get my boys into the sports they like to play. Had you done this six months ago, I probably would have gotten the 3 year plan, but that is neither here nor there.

    • Wow…you really have to explain to your wife about spending $3???? Bill, how would you feel if I bought your first year for you? Maybe you won’t have to tell your wife for a year. let me know.

  • pilbobuggins
    March 26, 2015 1:30 am

    Sorry you have to put up withtrash like sportomania tim. Your story sounds like mine wheni was getting my business off the ground, now that it is defunct due to my wifes disability I find myself missing almost everything involved in making a small business work. Best of luck to you and you have my support.

    • Thanks Pilbo! You deal with all types in this job.

      • pilbobuggins
        March 26, 2015 7:18 am

        No prob, my wife is from newcastle va. and most of her family still lives between lynchburg and roanoke, being as close to disney as I am now I just gotta say it’s a small world : )

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