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WebsitePosted by admin Wed, January 01, 2014 20:43:04

Blue Sox official website is 5 years old

January 2014 sees in yet another new year, but it's also now five years since the official Leicester Blue Sox Baseball Club website (www.leicesterbluesox.co.uk) went live on the internet.

As the club has expanded over the last half a decade, the website has itself also grown and developed into one of the most visited British baseball websites in this country.

Early beginnings

Before the official domain went live in January 2009, the club previously enjoyed an online presence through the League Line Up service. Whilst that template-based platform was adequate enough for the initial needs for the club, there quickly became a need for a website that was easier to find for new player enquiries and also help present a more professional image of the club, together with a Blue Sox-specific domain and email address.

Work began on the new website during the 2008-2009 off-season, initially as a night school project at Roundhill College for budding web-designer Matt Crawshaw, who had joined the club earlier in the 2008 season.

Blue Sox founder and manager Mark Meredith got to hear about this side-project through Matt's web-design tutor, who just so happened to work with Mark during the daytime! On learning of this coincidence, Matt wasn't sure how the project would be received but his first draft quickly gained Mark's seal of approval and the website went online in January 2009.

During that first month the website attracted a total of 320 visitors; come December 2013 a total of 2,109 monthly visits were recorded - equating to a whopping increase of 659%!

2009: Blue Sox comes of age

With a greater online presence, the Blue Sox were able to attract an increasing number of players to the club, which led to the creation of a development team that played friendlies against Milton Keynes, Sidewinders and the Blue Sox first team. Most of those new enquiries were a direct result of the new website, which proved the theory 'if you build it they will come'.

On top of that, a late run of momentum found the Blue Sox in the playoffs for the first time in their history, quickly followed by their first-ever silverware in the form of the 2009 Single-A NBC title.

Big strides had been taken by the club both online and on the diamond in 2009.

2010: New logo and two teams in the league

With the first-ever championship title under their belts, there was talk during the off-season about how best to commemorate this achievement.

Championship patches?
Championship hats?

Both were great ideas that came from Blue Sox life member Tim Davidson. At the time, the club was getting by using a number of different unofficial logos on the website, but with the prospect of some proper merchandise on the horizon, there was a need to pull together all these influences into a contemporary design that the club could call their own.

The club commissioned local designer Mel Langton to produce the new artwork. She was hired off the back of doing an awesome job creating dynamic graphics for the Lincolnshire Bombers roller derby team. The fresh new logo was adorned by new championship hats arranged by Richard Hu when he was back in China and then Matt Crawshaw revamped the official website to incorporate the new design.

During the 2009-10 off-season, the club also launched its' first ever winter indoor training programme and helped by the new look website, word quickly caught on with a record number of new recruits joining the club ahead of the 2010 season; primarily in anticipation of the soon to be launched Leicester Blue Sox second team.

With the club segmenting its players between 'Blue Sox 1' and 'Blue Sox 2', the quality of the first team significantly improved with the first (and only to date), BBF Midlands championship title.

It also led to another NBC final, this time at the AA-standard and even though the first team narrowly missed out on back-to-back championships, it was arguably their season of highest achievement to date and also set the standard for future generations of Blue Sox players.

2011: End of an era and rebirth

By the end of the 2010 season, daily website visits were averaging 41 per day, which was double the traffic enjoyed the season before.

The 2011 season was book-ended at the start and its end, by significant departures from the club. Firstly during the off-season, the club lost the nucleus of its first team side as our captain Shannon Henry broke away from the Blue Sox to set up the Nottingham Rebels, along with Richard Hu and Oscar Martinez.

Adam Brown also left to establish the Cambridge Royals and Jez Goddard said goodbye to blighty relocating back to Massachusetts. Come the end of the season, the club sadly said goodbye to its founder Mark Meredith, plus his sidekick and much missed first team umpire Tim Davidson, together with the highly decorated Denny Walker who was inducted into the Blue Sox Hall of Fame alongside with Mark.

Website traffic was fairly static during the 2011 season, perhaps due to a fairly quiet year on the diamond which saw the Blue Sox outside of the playoffs for the first time in three seasons.

All that was about to change however, with the recruitment of new Head Coach Giovanni Ciotti who had relocated from Denver, Colorado at the end of the season with high hopes of bringing silverware back to the Blue Sox. He also could see the club spearheading junior baseball development, improved facilities at Western Park and branching out into softball.

Just how quickly could these dreams turn into reality?

2012: Back in business

In 2012, the official website had a brief makeover, with the introduction of a front page slider which displayed multiple stories with accompanying images sliding across the screen.

This new way of presenting frontpages had already been adopted by some of the most popular websites around the world, including MLB.com so it was great to see the Blue Sox following suit.

The club also created two "sub-websites", one for the newly-formed Blue Sox Juniors and a landing page for softball, which eventually evolved into online home for the Blue Sox Ladies fastpitch team the following season.

On the field, the Blue Sox were back in the playoffs and blew away all that stood before them to secure the 2013 Single-A NBC title. This was a fantastic achievement for Giovanni's first season in charge and his new look first team, adopting the Light Blue jerseys previously made popular by Blue Sox 2.

The Blue Sox Juniors website also pulled in lots of new youth players in much the same way that Blue Sox second adult team was created.

There was also a surge in Blue Sox followers via Facebook and Twitter as the club had many great news stories to share, including Sport England funding success, new sponsorship deals, the building of the club's permanent backstop, a fast-growing junior programme and Blue Sox players breaking into the GB National team programme.

2013: Ladies and Schools programmes take club to new heights

With the club growing at its fastest rate, we saw a return of the adult second team to the BBF leagues under a new name Leicester 2Sox. Elsewhere, the club entered an U17 junior team into the BBF for the first time and the Sox also became affiliated with the BSF following the successful launch of the Blue Sox Ladies fastpitch team.

The club also enjoyed positive coverage of its community projects including the Leicestershire Schools Baseball Championship, Little Sox T-Ball and Western Park Festival.

The adult first team broke into its stride during the second half of the season, clawing its way into the AA playoffs for the first time since 2010, only to fall short in the quarter final stages.

At the end of the season, the club created a Flickr photostream which stores historical photos of the club and its games, all the way from its establishment in 2006 right up to present day.

The official website has become increasingly popular with the club now being represented by a more diversified following of male and female adult players, juniors and parents, volunteers and fans.

For the first time in our history, annual visits exceeded the 20,000 mark, buoyed by a successful web-marketing campaign using the hash tag #LeicsBlueSox14

2014: here's to the next five years

The official website of any sports club is commonly seen as the online portal for its members, new player enquiries and followers of the club. The image it portrays reflects the status of the organisation and as the Blue Sox continues to develop and grow, so will the website.

This time last year the club pioneered the usage of the iScore application and was able to post external links to live play-by-play coverage of games on social media. As the application continues to develop it is hoped in the future this live scoring feature could become incorporated into the official website, much like what you would see on MLB.com.

The latest innovation to land on the website is the new "TINT" twitter news feed, which uses a more dynamic combination of images and larger text when highlighting tweets about the club.

The club will continue be at the cutting edge of social media usage and our latest research has revealed that more and more people are using Twitter but less are active on Facebook.

We will also experiment with social media marketing via hashtag campaigns and investment in sponsored Facebook posts. In addition, we have started to list our activities on external websites such as Gumtree and the BBC.

Official website box score!

To help bring some meaning to the numbers, here are some headline stats for the 2009-2014 period:

Total annual visits (2009) - 7,807
Total annual visits (2010) - 15,263
Total annual visits (2011) - 15,570
Total annual visits (2012) - 19,185
Total annual visits (2013) - 20,245

Growth in annual visitors since the end of 2009 = 259%!

In five years time, just how many annual visitors do you think we'll have by the end of 2018?

Post your guesses in the comments section below and we'll check back in five years time to see if you were close!



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Blue Sox Merch Store Now Open!

WebsitePosted by admin Mon, September 03, 2012 20:55:21

Leicester Blue Sox are delighted to announce that their brand new merchandise store is officially open, featuring a fantastic range of t-shirts, hoodies and training wear.

The fresh new designs have been produced by Yoorna Sports, who already support a wide range of baseball clubs and other team sports in UK and Europe.

The core range of t-shirts and hoodies is available in a wide selection of adult and junior sizes (please note that training pants and tops are only available in adult sizes at present and the club tracksuit is only available as a special team order).

The commemorate our recent success at the National Baseball Championships, the store is being launched alongside our specially produced 'Champions' t-shirt. It comes complete with our distinctive Blue Sox logo on the sleeve to match our club baseball hats.

>>>CLICK HERE TO ORDER THE CHAMPIONS T-SHIRT<<<

or

>>>CLICK HERE TO BROWSE THE ENTIRE STORE<<<

Junior European Sizes Conversion Table

As European junior sizes come in centimeters, the following information should help you decide which is the junior best size for you:

*Size 128 = Age 8/9

*Size 140 = Age 10/11

* Size 152 = Age 12/13

Older children are recommended to order from adult small upwards as appropriate.

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Remembering Dean Coley - Interview with Shaun Hill

WebsitePosted by admin Sat, February 25, 2012 09:34:17

Dean Coley webpage

Leicester Dodgers photo album

Each season the Leicester Blue Sox present the Dean Coley award to their most valuable player.

We recently caught up with Shaun Hill (life member of the club) to discuss his late cousin’s influence on him and playing the game.

“In the early 1980’s I would often hang about with Dean and my brother Wayne at Braunstone Park. One afternoon we were at the adventure playground and we heard that a baseball game was being played across the park”.

The Braunstone Dodgers Junior Baseball Club had recently formed and was playing a friendly game against the Southglade Baseball Club. The team from Nottingham was a potent force and riding high in the East Midlands Junior Baseball League. It was a complete mis-match and the rookies surrendered the game giving up over 40 runs without a response.

Despite offering no generosity during the game, the visitors donated their old baseball jerseys to the Dodgers so they could have uniforms of their own for their first proper season in the league.

Although it was a painful scoreline, the experience motivated Dean and his family members to sign up for the team, with the aim of trying to avenge that defeat in a series of return fixtures.

Southglade were also up for a contest whenever they played in Braunstone “as we were dressed in their old uniforms, they must have got a kick out of teaching us a lesson!” Shaun jested.

“Dean was the most passionate in our family about baseball. My interest started to wane after a couple of years, but he made sure we kept turning up to practice at getting better, with the aim of beating Nottingham one day. We never did beat them, but managed to narrow the scoreline to about 2-7 in our last ever game, which was a great measure of our progress”.

Now in their late teens, Dean, Wayne Shaun had outgrown the Dodgers junior set-up and subsequently joined a new adult team, the Leicester Green Sox.

Initially playing friendlies at Anstey Playing Fields, the team eventually joined the Midlands Baseball League in 1988 and once again it was a team from Southglade (the Hornets) that was dominating the scene.

Now playing home games at Victoria Park, the Green Sox gave a good account of themselves in the league rankings but couldn’t quite steal the crown from the Hornets. Again Dean was full of encouragement and motivation “He joined the Green Sox before Wayne and I did” added Shaun “I followed suit following Dean’s persuasion and it was at that time we met Denny Walker”.

“Denny was primarily involved with the Leicester Panthers American Football team but also played in Green Sox colours whenever there wasn’t a clash in his schedule”.

The cousins’ gave up baseball when the Green Sox disbanded in the early 1990’s and family life started to take over.

A decade later, the Coley and Hill families were dealt a devastating blow when Dean sadly contracted terminal cancer at the age of 35.

His death was naturally very hard to take but also served as a wake-up call for Shaun “When we were younger, we both thought we were indestructible. Dean’s passing made me think about my own wellbeing and it encouraged me to take up baseball once more”.

“At the time (2005), there wasn’t a baseball team in Leicester and I had considered joining the Birmingham Maple Leafs just to get playing again. A year later (as luck would have it), I found out that the Blue Sox had been formed”.

In the early Blue Sox days, Dean’s legacy was still close to Shaun’s heart. “When I was at bat, I would say to myself you and me kid, you and me. It was like Dean was still with me and he was a real inspiration. I managed to get two home runs in my first season and I felt that was in part down to the spirit of Dean”.

In that first season, events went full circle for Shaun. Denny Walker joined the Blue Sox and even Shaun’s old head coach from the Dodgers made a one-off appearance at training.

Keen to ensure Dean Coley’s memory lives on, the club has adopted his name for its annual MVP award ever since, which is presented by Shaun at the end of each season.

Somewhat fittingly the 2011 Dean Coley MVP was awarded to his former Green Sox teammate Denny Walker, who put in a vintage performance during his final season for the Blue Sox.

Leicester Dodgers photographed after playing a friendly game of baseball with a team of Leicester Mercury staff. Wayne Hill is in the foreground proudly displaying his MVP shield, Shaun Hill and Dean Coley are stood together in the middle left background.

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2012 Club Prospectus

WebsitePosted by admin Fri, January 06, 2012 12:59:24

We are pleased to announce that our first ever Club Prospectus has now been published.

Aimed at new and returning players, this brief document contains:

*A welcome message from our new First Team Manager Giovanni Ciotti
*A countdown of club events between now and opening day
*Details of our Youth Baseball Camp and Leicester Spring League
*2012 membership rates
*Introduction to our new community webpage and documents
*Thank to our sponsors and partners

You can access the document here:

http://www.leicesterbluesox.co.uk/Community/2012clubprospectus.pdf



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Interview with new Blue Sox manager

WebsitePosted by admin Sat, November 12, 2011 09:09:39


New Leicester Blue Sox manager Giovanni Ciotti was recently interview by American website www.mywrestlingroom.com. Find out why below, there is more to Gio than just Baseball!

Reading on the Leicester Blue Sox website it mentioned that you have 15 years of baseball and wrestling experience. How did it all start for you?

It started for me as the oldest of five children in a working-class family in Western Pennsylvania. Ever since I could remember, I was wrestling and playing baseball with my brother, neighborhood kids, and on local teams. I guess you could say I fell into a leadership role at young age from all of these things. I would often be the one bringing younger kids along, teaching rules and techniques, and leading whichever team I was competing on.

Wrestling in “PA”, things were intense to say the least. There was lots of pressure during the weekly tournaments and matches. The peak of my entire wrestling career was probably at age 10 or 12, which is strange, but true. I was wrestling 40+ weeks per year at that point and wasn’t losing very much – if at all. I had won several different national championship events and made a name for myself in the sport. By the time I entered high school, I was still competing at a high level, but definitely wasn’t as passionate about wrestling as people I was competing against. I won most of my matches, but it was more like a job than a fun activity. It certainly was a lesson in moderation that I carry with me to this day as both a coach and parent.

Did you ever coach wrestling whilst you were in America?

My first official paid coaching job was at age 20. I had wrestled two years in NCAAs and was really burnt out from competing in the sport. During my 2nd year at Edinboro University of Pennsylvania, I offered to volunteer on the high school team in my hometown. My brothers were there and the team seemed to need the technical support and energy I could bring. Giving back like this definitely relit my ‘fire’ for the sport and is something which is still with me today in all of the sports I am involved in.

What do you think to the English wrestling scene?

Wrestling in England surprised me this past month. I honestly had no idea it was here in any level, but was happy to have found British Wrestling through a friend of mine. He dared me to enter an open tournament last weekend in Derbyshire and I reluctantly did. It was my first time competing in freestyle wrestling in 9-10 years! At this event, I saw number of British youth teams and adults wrestling. It was truly a lovely welcome to the UK and the hosts of the tournament and British Wrestling was great. I also happened to win 4 freestyle matches against younger opponents and win a gold medal! How that happened, I don’t know… but at 35, I’ll take it home, let my daughter wear it around the house.

Do you think it will ever catch on like other American sports?

I believe it can catch on. It will be a matter of schools promoting it and communities really buying into the values it can teach young people. Few sports teach will, determination, and overcoming adversity like wrestling can.

At the moment, I am working with baseball and wrestling on regional and national levels in England – playing whatever role I can as an ambassador, coach, and development officer for these two sports. While baseball is more marketable in many ways and has great social values that it can offer young people and adults – I believe wrestling has a higher ceiling in England. Where baseball (and softball) have cricket to contend with here in the UK, wrestling really doesn’t have a nationally dominant game to compete with.

At the end of the day, I’d love nothing more than to see both sports give people here one healthier, positive outlet to be involved in – something more needed today than ever. No society ever hurt itself by adding a healthy outlet for its people.
I am also currently in touch with British Wrestling and helping with a new wrestling club in Leicester.

Do you ever miss the wrestling scene in America?

I moved to England at the end of this summer to remain a daily part of my daughter’s life. It was an easier decision than one may think, as I’ve lived in England before (Oxford & London) and have always been interested in the school and sports systems here. Having the opportunity to see the freestyle wrestling in London at the 2012 Olympics won’t be a bad thing either. I already have a group of guys I worked with from the Colorado Wrestling Officials Association (CWOA - www.cwoa.us) coming over to stay with me next August to take in the sport of wrestling on the world’s biggest stage.

Part of me definitely does miss the wrestling scene in the U.S. I have enjoyed coaching and officiating wrestling in the U.S. for the past 15 years. I actually thought that this would be the first winter since age 4 that I would not be involved in wrestling in some capacity. Between British Wrestling and the Leicester Blue Sox, I guess the right things have a way of finding you at the right time.


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Help raise money for the Blue Sox!

WebsitePosted by admin Wed, November 09, 2011 21:23:22


Leicester Blue Sox has registered with the "Easyfundraising" online affiliate programme and we invite you to help raise much needed funds for the club.

It is very easy to arrange and start raising money, you just need to follow the below steps:

Just visit http://www.easyfundraising.org.uk/causes/leicesterbluesox/ to register and shop with over 2000 well known retailers like Amazon, Argos, M&S, eBay and many more.

Whenever you buy something, the retailer makes a donation to Leicester Blue Sox Baseball Club. They've helped other causes raise over £2,000,000 so it really does work.

We'd be really grateful if you could use easyfundraising too. It won't cost you a penny extra to shop through easyfundraising and you can even save money with special offers and voucher codes.

Plus, if you register before 19th November 2011 you'll automatically receive one entry into a FREE PRIZE DRAW to win an £350 to spend with Habitat.


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Season and career stats updated

WebsitePosted by admin Thu, October 20, 2011 22:31:03
Stats are now updated on the website:

2011 season stats

Updated career stats

  • Comments(0)//news.leicesterbluesox.co.uk/#post145

Website update

WebsitePosted by admin Sat, April 09, 2011 07:50:17


Our club website has been updated with the revised 2011 schedule and the roster page has been re-aligned for the upcoming season.

Player photos will of course be updated at the earliest opportunity.

If you would like any additonal information on your profile (ie favourite MLB team, previous teams) or spot any glaring errors please email us:


info@leicesterbluesox.co.uk


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