DALLAS -- Adding John Perrotto to our baseball beat has proven popular with our readers, but we aren't stopping there when it comes to covering the Pirates. Not in scope, not in staff.
Beginning April 1, we'll add a new weekly feature, Monday Mound Visit, by ace baseball analyst Jason Rollison. Modeled on Christopher Carter's Classroom, this will take you deep inside the game's Xs and Os and other intricacies in a way we've never attempted. If a pitcher's swimming or sinking, he'll be able to demonstrate for you why. If Josh Bell’s suddenly putting the ball over the fence, he'll break down the swing path.
Tap Jason's name up there to learn more about him. He'll also appear in comments below if you've got any questions. Trust me, he's just a little pumped to get going.
Again, the first edition of Monday Mound Visit will run on the morning of the home opener at PNC Park.
Also in April, we'll launch equally unprecedented coverage of the Pirates' minor-league system, with Matt Welch on Indianapolis, Jarrod Prugar on Altoona and possibly more depending on the reader response. Taylor Haase set the standard here with her coverage of the Penguins' system, and that'll be the bar here, as well.
As for our regular coverage:
• With Grapefruit League play wrapping up this weekend, I'll complete the spring coverage here in Texas with the Pirates' exhibitions Monday and Tuesday against the Astros. Full all-baseball Grinds each day.
• John and I will tag-team toward a four-day run-up preview to the season, one piece each running Monday-Thursday.
• Matt Sunday, John and I will all be in Cincinnati for the opener Thursday.
Thanks to Chris Dolnack and StepOutside.org for their sponsorship of our Pirates coverage that helps make this possible.
LOLLEY TO AZ
With the start of free agency earlier this month, the NFL's 2019 season officially began. The next step in the process will take place starting this weekend in Phoenix with the annual League Meetings.
Not only is this the place where the NFL owners will get together and vote on rule changes, it's also the first time since the season ended in early January that we'll get a chance to hear from Mike Tomlin. We'll also get a chance to hear from Kevin Colbert and Art Rooney II.
Has anything happened with the Steelers since we last heard from those guys?
It should be an interesting time. Thus far, the Steelers have taken the high road on everything that has happened with Antonio Brown and Le'Veon Bell. I don't expect that to change. But it will be interesting to hear what Tomlin, in particular, has to say about everything that has happened since we last talked to him in the first week of January. — Dale Lolley
ADVERTISE WITH US
Our ability to reach people has never been as high as it is, and that extends far beyond our actual readership here on the site/app:
That's an average of 425,205 impressions per day on our company's official social media accounts, not including any of our various individual accounts. Now, add to that the average of 81,066 page views on the actual site/app, and it's roughly a half-million per day.
This is our brand new, updated 2019 media kit with all our essential data. If you're interested, contact my wife Dali directly at Dali@DKPittsburghSports.com. We can communicate that way, by phone, face to face, whatever works best for you. -- DK
BLOWING BY 1,000 APPS
We set a goal to generate 1,000 new app installs by March 28, Major League Baseball's opening day, and we're already at 1,287. Sometimes we set goals that are too high. This one, obviously, was too low. But that's a good problem.
Here's where to get your free app:
COLLEGE OFFER EXPIRING
Our friends at Rivals, the country's preeminent home for college sports coverage, reached out to extend an offer to all our current subscribers: Six free months to any site on their network. That's a $50 value, given that their annual subscriptions are $99.95. The offer expires April 1. So go now to their sign-up page and apply the following code: DKRivals6FREE
• Readers have told us for quite some time they'd like to find the stuff that interests them the most even more quickly, on both the site and the app. So, the top of the home page took on a new look Thursday. There are now four distinctive offerings up high. They won't always be evenly distributed between Steelers, Penguins and Pirates, the way they are this morning. But that'll be kind of a general goal, as well as including our weekly feature of that day and, of course, Grind.
• The scoreboard is gone. Went kablooey. Bit the dust. Finito. It is an ex-scoreboard. No one really asked for this, but, the way the page lined up, it was pure duplication. Our live files are now right near the top of the page, and the headlines of those files include the exact same information. Plus, to let you in on a little secret, we updated those things manually, which was a pain.
• We're aware of disappearing keyboards on some Android devices. If it's happening to you, email Help@DKPittsburghSports.com with your precise device and operating system. Every little bit helps. But please, again, email. Putting it in comments here won't get it where it needs to go. Thanks!
BACK TO BUSINESS
• New subscribers for 2019 are at 323. Our goal is 3,000. You can now track this figure daily at the bottom of the desktop and tablet versions of the site.
• Our daily active app users, averaged out over the past week, are at 13,039, broken down as 10,185 on Apple, 2,854 on Android. That total's minus-90 from the previous week. This figure will always fluctuate with the seasons and the news, so the goal is a steady, gradual increase, initially to 15,000, a number we've never achieved.
• Our daily page views, averaged out over the past month, are at 83,015. That's plus-1,949 over the same rolling figure from a week ago. The goal with this figure is also about a steady, gradual increase, first to 100,000, a number we've achieved only during the two Stanley Cup runs.
• Our most-hit article of the past week -- exempting live files -- was Dale Lolley's coverage of the Steelers signing Mark Barron at 11,907. The Penguins accounted for 134,963 of our page views, the Steelers 63,623, the Pirates 54,664.
• We're at 31,043 (+161) page likes on Facebook, we're at 30,842 (+175) followers on Twitter, we're at 10,245 (+66) followers on Instagram, and we're at 777 (+14) followers on YouTube. These figures are just for our official company account on each platform, not for us as individuals.
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