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Tuesday, April 6, 2010
The new and improved SweetSpot Network

OK, so this post should have appeared yesterday, but sometimes the Fates intervene ... So we'll call this our Opening Day.

Today, ESPN and SweetSpot are thrilled to announce the expansion of the SweetSpot Network that began with seven independent baseball blogs last fall and now includes 19. You're going to see these team-oriented blogs in different places, most prominently (but not exclusively) on the right side of this page and in a drop-down in the SweetSpot area on the baseball page.

The Opening Day Roster
The SweetSpot Network will eventually grow to cover all 30 MLB teams and then some. At this moment, the 19 members are:

What Are We Doing? Essentially, we're looking to be a bit smarter. As much as we'd like to, we can't quite keep up with all 30 teams and 800-some players who are highly relevant at any one moment in the season. I'll give you an example. Recently, when writing about the Rangers' interest (or not) in Mike Lowell, and I mentioned -- because I saw it on a depth chart somewhere -- that Chris Davis' backup (in mid-March) was Wes Bankston. That wasn't right, though. As anyone who really followed the Rangers knew -- and as Joey Matschulat kindly told me -- the best candidate for Davis's backup was an ex-Angels farmhand named Matt Brown. Granted, all that became moot when the Rangers picked up Ryan Garko. The point is that there's a huge amount of knowledge floating around out there, and we'd like to tap some of it.

Ideally, we'll work with the network's bloggers and they'll work with each other. Early examples: SweetSpotters will be contributing the comments accompanying the teams in our weekly Power Rankings, and various bloggers will be coordinating their coverage when their respective teams are playing each other.

What else? We're just beginning to consider some of the endless possibilities, but we're drawing on the ideas and the fantastic success of Henry Abbott's TrueHoop Network.

What's Next? Nobody can say for sure. My best guess, though? We'll be introducing a few more blogs this month, and by end of this season we'll have every team covered. You'll notice some openings, though ... and yes, that is a hint, if you're passionate about your favorite team, have some energy and some talent, and want to be the first kid on your block to work with ESPN.

My thanks to all the bloggers who have bent over backwards to add all the necessary coding, etc. Thanks also to everyone behind the scenes in Bristol and New York who have tended to the editorial and technical details that are so far out of my comfort zone.

We're already good, I think. And we're only going to get better.