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DRaysBay to Change as the Team Does

I want to expand a bit on what R.J. mentioned in his prospect series post and inform everyone on the status of the site as we head into the offseason. As all of you know, the Devil Rays are completely overhauling their uniform set and logos going into next season, adopting a new color scheme in the process. Just as it makes aesthetic elements at Tropicana Field geared toward the team's green color obsolete, so too will it make this site's current look obsolete.

I have made my opposition to the new changes well-known here and judging by our poll and reader reactions, so have you. I simply don't think that the new changes are inspiring; I find them bland and lacking a shred of creativity. They don't look terrible, but they are such a letdown from the current set that the air of disappointment hangs above us. Yet still, the sooner we all move on from this and accept reality, the sooner we can get back to focusing entirely on baseball operations and holding the team accountable for an improved product. Though we may take differing sides in that debate, we are all committed to wanting the Devil Rays to become a championship organization as soon as possible.

To continue to provide everyone with the best forum for talking about the Rays on the internet, we also must move with the times as well. The DRaysBay you see today will be so totally different on January 1st of next year that you wouldn't think it was the same site. We have a few aesthetic changes around here to announce as it pertains to the team's identity change, as well as some network announcements to make.

First of all, the basic colors on the site will be changing. The dark green color featured here is no longer a staple of the team's identity and is thus obsolete. It will be replaced with some combination of the team's new colors; Navy Blue, Columbia Blue, and Gold. I am going to try and make the site's new colors proportionate to the team's new uniforms, at least in terms of color. As such, Navy Blue will be the featured color with Gold and Columbia Blue complementing that. I am imagining the site's new look being very similar to that of the clocks at the top of this page. You may have noticed that I made the change in those things early this week and I am currently using those things as a testing ground for more wholesale changes.

We will also be getting a new site logo as alluded to in the previous post by R.J. We are currently tossing around several ideas for the change, and as this is the most important part of our site's identity we will get it right. Most of us have never been satisfied with either logo this site has carried over the last 32 months, though the current logo is definitely an improvement over the original one.

The fact of the matter is that this is no easy process. I have been trying out concepts for the new look for a couple of weeks now since the change was announced, and we are working especially hard at producing a new logo. This is one of the most radical re-designs in the history of SBN, and we are managing it by ourselves. For a look at just how different things can get in these re-designs, simply look to the current AZ Snakepit site here on the network as compared to that site's original look. Ultimately we anticipate keeping far more of our site intact than they did, like leaving the white space here and the grey space on the sidebars, but even still this process is not without strain.

As far as the actual content goes, nothing will really change. Our site writings will continue to evolve as normal and I know that I personally look forward to dissecting the previous season and getting ready for the hot stove season this offseason. I will try and respect the team's decision and refer to the team as the 'Rays' as much as I possibly can, although having grown up a fan of the Devil Rays and having written about the team online for 33 months, that will be admittedly difficult. We are a fairly autonomous community and we pride ourselves in not interfering with each other's work or stipulating what others should write about, so how each of my compatriots chooses to address the team is up to them. I will try my best to respect the new change, but I just can't come to call the team the 'Tampa Bay Rays'. That sounds ridiculous. But when not calling them by their full name, I will try and keep things to the four letter condensed version.

As far as when these changes will take place, I have an idea in mind for that as well. The team has scheduled ceremonies to unveil their new uniforms on November 8th in Downtown St. Petersburg as well as November 9th in Downtown Tampa. Optimally we would make our changes to coincide with that official unveiling, though for now I'm going to go ahead and put the target date for the changes as the evening of November 9th. There should be absolutely no interruption of service at all to the site to make these changes, the process should be relatively quick and painless as soon as we figure out how things will lay out. But you should wake up to a different-looking site on November 10th.

That is it for changes regarding this site specifically; however the changes that will take place on the SportsBlogs network over the next three months are going to blow you away. The blogging platform that we are currently working on will be upgraded in full, probably in time for the new year. I can't put my finger on specific changes due to a combination of an SBN gag order and mostly uncertainty about the specifics of what I do know. But I can say that the changes will take the reader involvement platform pioneered here with diaries and comments at SBN to a whole new level. We have had a full-time staffer working on building an platform for SBN exclusively and from scratch since May, and we should start seeing the fruits of those labors in December around the time of SBN's third anniversary. We're talking more info, better interface, and easier user features.

All of us at SBN are extremely excited about that. About the only tangible thing I have to offer you is the trial version of a mere part of this that has already been deployed at Corn Nation and Athletics Nation, as well as the network's newer sites. The specific changes that are very conspicuous there include larger text, prettier polls, and a more streamlined comment section. At the very least, assuming something unforeseen happens, we should at the very least being upgraded to that by the end of the year.

DRaysBay was one of the Original Six blogs on the network when David Bloom debuted with the first post in early February of 2005. Since then, the network has grown to over 117 sites across 13 different subject areas. We are the premier sports blogs network on the internet, with over 81 million unique visits and over 138 million page views in less than three years speaking for itself. DRaysBay is proud to bring the SBN platform to Rays fans every single day, and without all of your loyal support we wouldn't be where we are today. Our site has made tremendous strides in readership over the last year, and we look forward to seeing that trend continue upwards. Hopefully our favorite baseball team will be on the same trajectory. We don't hide our site stats, we don't hide our e-mails and we don't censor opinions. If you would like to sound off about the changes outlined here, you can always e-mail me personally or any of our other staff members as well. We list our contact e-mail addresses prominently at the top of the right side of the page.

Thank you all for being the best community of Devil Ray fans on the internet, and for supporting this weblog over the last year. These changes are ultimately being made to provide the best service possible for our readership, so we will solicit community opinions fervently throughout the process. We can only hope that the upcoming re-design will continue to improve your experience here.