I’m a big guy. I’m 6′ 4″ and way too many pounds that I’m going to have to lose before my wedding next year. Despite this, I’ve somehow managed to perfect the art of the drag bunt.
I didn’t really play baseball growing up. Tennis was my sport throughout high school, and briefly into my first year of college. But when I joined a softball league a few years ago, opponents would see a huge left-hander stepping up to the plate and would back up. And since my abilities to hit line drives to the gap isn’t as consistent as Austin Meadows, I would chop down on the first pitch — all while managing to turn over my wrist to make the play legal — and make contact down the line while running out of the box at the same time.
I wasn’t able to do that every time, because people would catch on. But I was able to keep opponents guessing, allowing for the drag bunt to happen as often as possible.
Here’s the problem: I can’t do that at the MLB level. That’s about my only good skill related to playing baseball, and I’m pretty sure it wouldn’t work against a 95 MPH fastball. I’m also pretty sure that my speed down the line — very optimistically guesstimated at a 6.0 90 foot dash — wouldn’t play in the big leagues.
Over the weekend I posted a site update about how Pirates Prospects is struggling. We got to a point where we couldn’t pay our writers, and our future was in doubt. A huge reason for the site’s struggles has been a mass wave of cancellations following the Pirates losing over the last two years.
I’m obviously unable to help the Pirates with their struggles, as shown above by my inability on the baseball field. At best, I could pull a Roger Dorn and “take one for the team”, but that would probably be followed up by a lengthy stay on the disabled list, and a “John Kruk vs Randy Johnson” approach at the plate if I ever return.
This is a niche site. We don’t cover the Steelers or Penguins. We don’t cover college sports. We don’t cover soccer. We don’t have any of those things to fall back on when the Pirates struggle. And since I’m unable to help on the field, we’re kind of left at the mercy of the team and their performance when it comes to subscriptions.
Despite the decline in subscriptions, our traffic has remained strong. We’ve seen 5 million page views over the last year, including over half a million in the last month. Our subscribers account for a lot of that, but the total also includes non-subscribers checking out the site and the news we generate.
This weekend we saw a tremendous amount of support, both from subscribers and non-subscribers alike. We’re still sorting through all of the new subscriptions, gift subscriptions, and Pay It Forward subscriptions, but so far the addition of new subscribers is in the hundreds. This has allowed us to start getting back on our feet. If you want to subscribe, you can do that here. You can also purchase our upcoming Mid-Season Top 50 eBook, or buy a gift subscription or a Pay It Forward subscription.
As a side note, if you’re a student, teacher, police officer, firefighter, rescue worker, nurse, or in public works, you’ll want to check the site tomorrow, as we have a TON of free Pay It Forward subscriptions available. If you’re active military, your subscription is always free. Just email firstname.lastname@example.org for more info.
I’ve realized that in order for the site to continue, we can’t rely on subscriptions alone. So we’ve set up two ways to strengthen the site going forward.
Even if you aren’t interested in donating, or don’t have a business that can join the site as a sponsor, we’d appreciate you spreading the word about this post. Tell your favorite business why you follow the site and why they should join our efforts as a sponsor. We don’t just want money from potential sponsors. We want to show that there is value for them as well, in the form of a large group of site followers who would show appreciation for their support.
Donate to Pirates Prospects
The first was mostly your idea. I heard from a lot of readers that they wanted to donate money to the site, in addition to their subscription. So we set up a Patreon page that allows you to donate any amount of money. You can donate any amount, and anything will help, but we’ve also created tiers and rewards.
Anyone donating $5 per month will get a 10% off coupon to use in the Pirates Prospects store. The next tier is $10 per month, and includes the coupon, plus a monthly column that is exclusive to Patreon. And anyone who donates $100 or more in a single donation will receive a year of those columns, plus a call from me to say thanks and to discuss the Pirates.
You can donate to the site on our Patreon page, and all donations will go to help fund the site’s coverage and support our writers.
Sponsor Pirates Prospects
We’re also offering sponsorship opportunities on the site. This weekend saw a massive showing of support from our readers both in the Pittsburgh market and across the country. Here are some of the endorsements and coverage we received:
It’s been a disappointing couple of years for the Pirates but the quality of @pirateprospects has never dipped. Just an insane amount of good content. I’m optimistic the Buccos will turn it around and hopeful this site will survive. https://t.co/m4qnBC6Ska
— Seth Meyers (@sethmeyers) June 30, 2018
This is THE best paid site for Pirates coverage and it’s not even close (I say this as a paying customer myself).
Best minor league coverage in the business. If you’re a baseball fan, it’s worth the small amount of money you’ll spend. -RI https://t.co/8zmzhSR9A3
— AT&T SportsNet™ PIT (@ATTSportsNetPIT) June 30, 2018
When we are looking for info on new or future @AltoonaCurve players, we go right to this site. And @NotSoMcCool has provided amazing coverage of our team for the last several years. If you’re a #Pirates fan or a Curve fan, the content here is a great deal. https://t.co/2ABemdLhdS
— Trey Wilson (@treywilson757) June 30, 2018
I wish more teams had a Tim Williams covering their system. As a scout just text me, it’d be a shame if this site dies. Please support if you like great prospect coverage & analysis https://t.co/AT8vgbbHKs
— Mike Ferrin (@Mike_Ferrin) June 29, 2018
— Awful Announcing (@awfulannouncing) June 30, 2018
Our site reach and recognition is widespread, and the loyalty from our core users is strong. Anyone who joined us as a sponsor would not only be getting good exposure for their business, but would also be helping us out and getting the appreciation and loyalty from our readers as a partner with the site. You would be recognized as a sponsor and a key partner of the site on our social media accounts, which combine for over 30,000 followers across Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram.
As I mentioned above, we’re not just looking for money from you. We want to help you out as well, getting your business exposure, and showing to our loyal readers that you are a key part of this site’s coverage.
We are offering the following sponsorship opportunities. All of them are based on one-year pricing, with only a three-month commitment to get that price. To inquire about a sponsorship, email email@example.com.
Corporate Sponsorship – $1,250/month
This would be featured at the top of the site, next to the Pirates Prospects logo, and would be the sole sponsor on the Pirates Prospects app. You would be seen as our top sponsor by every single person who visits the site, and an essential part of what makes this site work.
Sidebar – $300/month
These 300×300 ads would feature on the sidebar of every page of the site. There would be a limit of three sidebar ads. You can also double up for a 300×600 ad.
Columns and Features – Variable Pricing
We have daily and weekly columns and features on the site throughout the season and the offseason. Each of those can be sponsored for the following prices:
Weekly Features – $300/month
Live Minor League Team Coverage
More weekly features to come
Daily Features – $600/month
Prospect Watch (7 per week during the season)
Morning Report (7 per week during the season)
Pirates MLB Features (5 per week during the season)
Mid-Season Top 50 eBook – $1000
You can be the sole sponsor of our Mid-Season Top 50 eBook, which will be released later this month.