Welcome to the New MSTI

Sunset at Dodger StadiumToday has been a long time coming, let me tell you. After four-plus years, several million pageviews, and 1,587 posts on a simple free WordPress template, the time has finally come to take MSTI to the next level. I’m tremendously excited to share it with you.

Take a tour with me around the new site, won’t you?

Game Threads. We’ve never done these officially around here, and I think it’s time for that to change. As you can see along the top of the page, the next seven upcoming games will be listed. As each thread is turned on approximately an hour before game time, it will appear on the main page, and then be removed following the game in order to not clutter up the rest of the main posts. You’ll always be able to access them on the Game Threads page itself.

Payroll. This is a variation on a spreadsheet I’ve been keeping privately for years, and it’s not intended to be as fully detailed down to the plate appearance as Eric’s great resource at TrueBlueLA is. The intention here is to have an at-a-glance, color-coded view of Dodger payroll commitments for the next three seasons. See all that green melting away after 2013? Delicious, isn’t it?

Bullpen. Is Kenley Jansen available tonight? Is the bullpen wiped out because Chad Billingsley got knocked out after 2 1/3 last night? Check here for daily updated bullpen pitch counts over the last week.

Organizational Depth Chart. This is potentially the part of the site I’ve been looking forward to the most, because I don’t think this exists anywhere else, at least in this form. Here you’ll be able to find the depth charts for each of the top five clubs in the Dodger system, in addition to the updated 40-man roster. Want to know what team Zach Lee ended up on, or who the fifth-string catcher would be if Ned Colletti goes on another trading spree? Well, here you’ll be able to find all of that, updated as often as possible. (Only Great Lakes and Rancho Cucamonga have officially announced their rosters so far, so everyone else is a best guess at the moment.)

Daily Stats. Thanks to Baseball-reference, daily updated hitting and pitching stats for the entire team are now available for your use. They’ll be updated when b-ref refreshes their database, which I believe is early each morning. Right now, this still displays 2011 stats and will be flipped to 2012 on Friday.

Twitter database. Down to the lowest levels of the minors, the Dodgers seem to have more players on Twitter than most other organizations. (Disclaimer: I have no idea if that is true.) I’ve managed to collect about 50 handles from big leaguers, prospects, team officials, and local media, which will be updated on a semi-regular basis.

In addition, a look at some of the fun, new features you’ll find here…

• A new, easier URL. Sick of trying to remember how to spell www.mikesciosciastragicillness.com? Yeah, me too. That address still works and always will, but now so will the much simpler msti.co. (You can blame domain squatter Robert Seeman for sitting on “msti.com” and the internet as a whole for not having a “.ti” extension available.)

• Real-time commenting. I’ve long found the standard WordPress commenting system functional, but little more. When I asked recently how people would feel about moving to a more advanced third-party system, the reaction was somewhat mixed, but the main issue people were concerned about was whether they’d be forced to use a social media account they either did not have or did not want to share in order to log in. I can confirm that is not the case; you can still log in as a guest with only a name and email account required, just like before. If it doesn’t work out, we can always switch back, but I’m excited to give it a try. (I’m aware it says “0 comments” for each post, which is of course not correct; working on that. Click into the post here to get to comments.)

• A fun easter egg. Let’s just say it has to do with a fat guy and a three-digit number which he’ll barely top in OPS.

• An updated Twitter handle. With a new site comes a new Twitter name, since “MikeSciosciasTI” was both unwieldy and long. You can now follow me @mike_petriello, though it’s the same account, so if you followed me before, no need to do anything.

• More coming soon… I’m working on some other fun ideas for the site, including guest authors, ticket-purchasing capabilities, and potentially a way to input live game updates into the game threads. Stay tuned for all of that.

Last but most certainly not least, an enormous thanks to Stephen Caver, not only for the wonderful and thoughtful design that you see here, but also for excellent advice, feedback, and tolerance of stupid questions across several dozen emails as I tried to do his work justice during my development process.

So there we have it. With about 48 hours to go before Clayton Kershaw throws the first pitch of the season in San Diego, we’re ready to go. Well, mostly; it wouldn’t surprise me if there were still a few bugs in the system. I will track down those bugs and hand them two-year deals.

In the meantime, have a look around, put your feet up, and enjoy Juan Uribe getting corkscrewed by Dan Haren last night. (May take a second to load.)

Juan  Uribe falls swinging