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A Word From the Webmaster

The Top 15 Recent Improvements to myGameBalls.com

I'm happy to report that after two years of inactivity I was finally able to carve out some time to make improvements to the website. Over the past month I've been working through a list of site changes, many of which were things suggested to me by multiple myGameBalls.com members. Here's the Top 15 new and/or improved features of myGameBalls.com:

15. Bug Fixes -- A variety of bugs have been addressed and fixed. Please continue to keep me informed of anything that isn't working right. Oh and if you're wondering, I still haven't found a workable fix for the Ground Rule Double Glitch.

14. Forgot Password function -- If you forget your password you'll no longer have to email me and wait for me to reset it. You can now simply submit a request that will automatically send a link to your email to let you reset the password yourself.

13. Change to the Average Competition Factor Record -- Previously the Average Competition Factor record was held by someone who only attended a handful of games. I changed this to require a minimum of 20 games. Of course this resulted in Zack Hample holding yet another record, but hey, he's earned it.

12. Awards FAQ -- A compilation of answers to commonly asked questions about our awards system.

11. BallhawkFest FAQ -- A compilation of answers to commonly asked questions about BallhawkFest.

10. Improvement to the Member Search page -- Previously this page required an exact match of the member's last name. You'll find it's much more flexible now.

9. Homepage enhancements -- The homepage looks basically the same, but I've added some subtle links to make browsing the site easier. You'll be able to quickly browse to our most commonly visited pages without having to hunt through the navigation menus.

8. Leaderboard Ties -- Previously ballhawks on the leaderboards were ranked sequentially without regard to ties. Now ties are taken into account, so if two ballhawks are tied for the #1 spot they'll both be listed as #1 instead of #1 and #2. For an example, check out the Season Leaderboard. You'll see ties in several positions.

7. Junior Members filter on the season leaderboard. You can now check a box to filter out adult ballhawks, which should be very handy when you're trying to figure out who to vote for for the Junior Ballhawk of the Year. Please take note that some members choose not to reveal their age so you still may have to do a little research when casting your vote.

6. BallhawkFest page -- I've compiled a page that features photos and blog links to all previous BallhawkFests. It will also contain information on upcoming BallhawkFests in 2014 and beyond.

5. Improved myGameBalls.com Forum -- We had a decent Forum page in 2009 and 2010 but it pretty much died in 2011. It then sat dormant for two years and recently started getting infiltrated with Spam. I created a brand new forum using Google Groups, and I think this will work out much better. Take a look -- it already has a few active topics. I'd love for this to become an active forum with ballhawking and baseball topics being discussed regularly.

4. Embedded Twitter Feed on Member Pages -- If you've got a Twitter account you can now embed your Twitter Feed on your Member Page. Take a look at Cook and Son Bats page to see an example. To get your feed set up, you'll need to log into your myGameBalls.com account and populate the "Twitter Name" and "Twitter Widget ID" fields. (Important -- for this to work correctly, DON'T paste the entire embed code that Twitter generates. Just locate the widget id in the embed code and paste that. If you need help contact me and I'll help you out.)

3. All Twitter Feeds on a single page. This allows you to read the latest Tweets from myGameBalls.com members.

2. Head to Head Stats -- I think this one is pretty cool. You can compare the "head to head" stats of any two members on the site. "Head to Head" refers to occasions when the two members attended the same game. For an example, check out this head to head comparison between Rick Gold and Greg Barasch

1. Ballpark Reviews -- This one's a work in progress, but I'm really excited about the potential for this project. So far we've just got reviews for Busch, Citizens Bank, Fenway, Camden, Target, and Turner, but I'd like to eventually post reviews for all 30 stadiums. These reviews will provide a great chance for ballhawks to get inside tips from local ballhawks before traveling to an out of town ballpark. If you'd like to write a review, just contact me and let me know.

I hope everyone enjoys these new features. Unfortunately my life is about to get really busy again for quite a while so it'll probably be some time before the next round of improvements. At some point I'd like to make some slight modifications to the statistical categories that we track. I think there's a few categories that could be added, and one or two that could be removed. As always, if you've got an idea for a new or improved feature on the site, don't hesistate to run it by me.

Alan Schuster is a contributing columnist to myGameBalls.com.

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