Schilling Uses Blog To Announce Retirement

Curt Schilling made it official today, announcing his retirement from baseball. There will be no late-season signing and stretch run with the Cubs or Rays for Schilling.

What’s interesting is that Schilling has eschewed the traditional press conference (though that may come later) and announced this decision through his 38Pitches blog: Calling It Quits.

The guy was polarizing off the field, but Red Sox fans cannot complain one bit about his performance on the field, and the impact he had in finally bringing the World Series championship back to Boston.

We’ll also miss his sometime contentious relationship with the media, particularly Dan Shaughnessy, though that might just continue as well.

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WEEI.com Declares World Dominance

While I really like the all-new WEEI.com, I sure hope this doesn’t become the quarterly web equivalent of the self-congratulatory ratings talk on the air…

Unique visitors to WEEI.com grow 95% over one year to reach all-time high for the website

Boston (February 11, 2009) – WEEI.com, the web site of the nation’s top rated sports radio station WEEI-AM, saw its total number of unique visitors increase to an all-time high in January 2009, with growth of 95% compared to the same month in 2008, according to Web analytics service OneStat.com.

In January 2009, WEEI.com had 426,879 unique visitors, up from 219,559 in January 2008. In addition to the increasing number of unique visitors, overall site traffic jumped to 3.3 million Page Views during January 2009, an increase of 88% when compared with the same month one year earlier.

According to web analytics service Compete.com, users are extremely engaged at WEEI.com:

  • The average user’s stay on WEEI.com was more than 21 minutes during each visit to the site in the month of December 2008.
  • This engagement number is up an impressive 579% from December 2007.
  • In 2008 more than 10 million hours of live streaming audio in 2008 was consumed over 3.3 million sessions.
  • The average WEEI.com visitor session for Internet Radio was over 3.2 hours per visit.
  • WEEI.com users listened to more than 1.8 million audio OnDemand clips in 2008.

“Our goal for WEEI.com has been to take our unique, authentically local content assets to create the number one online destination for New England sports fans,” said Tim Murphy, Vice President/General Manager of WEEI.com. “We’re pleased with the increase in traffic and engagement. With our imminent plans to add even more rich content, as well as major improvements in the design and functionality of the site, I’m confident that our numbers will continue to trend upward.”

“This is important for our great advertising partners,” Murphy continued. “Digital platforms whose local content reaches deeply engaged consumers create phenomenal opportunities for effective and efficient audio and visual marketing campaigns.”

Visitors are also consuming WEEI.com content in non-traditional means, evidenced by the 4,500 unique visitors to the website’s mobile WAP site. In addition, the WEEI newsletter has 182,000 subscribers and the WEEI.com Facebook page now has over 1,900 members.

In August 2008, WEEI.com made significant upgrades to the website’s design and content by hiring two of the best-known journalists in Boston sports, WEEI.com editor-in-chief Rob Bradford and Patriots reporter Michael Felger. Since then, WEEI.com has hired over 10 contributors to the site, including former Red Sox pitcher Curt Schilling.

WEEI.com plans more major website upgrades in March.

“The way you could look at it is that August was the groundbreaking for the new WEEI.com. March will be the ribbon-cutting,” said Murphy. “Stay tuned.”

Price is Right for WEEI.com

Got a nice note from Christopher Price of the Boston Metro this afternoon, letting me know that starting next month, he’ll be leaving the Metro and joining WEEI.com as the Patriots writer for the site.

Price will also serve as assistant editor for WEEI.com.

Price has covered the Patriots for the Metro since 2001, and his weekly “10 Things We Learned Yesterday” column became a must-read for Patriots fans following each game. Price is also the author of The Blueprint: How the New England Patriots Beat the System to Create the Last Great NFL Superpower.

This is another nice hire for WEEI.com, which continues to collect competent writers and reporters who cover the teams thoroughly and without an axe to grind. (Which made the Ron Borges hire so strange to begin with.) Good luck to Chris!

Schilling Joins WEEI.com

From Entercom this morning:

WEEI.com has announced that 6-time All-Star and World Series hero Curt Schilling has joined the WEEI Radio Network to contribute content to both WEEI.com and the WEEI Radio Network. WEEI.com is the new home of Schilling’s popular blog, 38pitches.com.

Schilling will be a regular contributor to WEEI.com, writing on a regular basis each week as the exclusive new home of 38pitches.com. Schilling has already written stories for WEEI.com on his 2003 pre-trade Thanksgiving with Red Sox management and on teammate Dustin Pedroia’s MVP season.

“Looking beyond baseball I knew I would continue to blog,” Schilling said. “If this was indeed my last season, I wanted a forum that would allow me to talk about things beyond baseball, while at the same time being connected to people with a passion for the game. WEEI.com and Rob Bradford’s team afforded me that opportunity. I know Rob will stay on top of me to keep content coming as well as facilitate other avenues to communicate with fans through live game blogs and many other things. I look forward to working with the team to do just that and continue to raise awareness for both ALS and the SHADE Foundation going forward.”

In addition to his regular writing for WEEI.com, Schilling will also participate in live game-day blogging for six Red Sox games during the 2009 season. He will contribute his thoughts and observations in the live blog with other members of WEEI.com’s editorial staff. This past October, Schilling joined WEEI.com for a live blog of Game 7 of the Red Sox ALCS series with the Tampa Bay Rays.

“We are extremely excited and proud to have Curt on board,” WEEI.com web site editor Rob Bradford said. “Because of his passion, expertise, and experience, Curt has already established himself as one of the most powerful voices in the country, one which we will now be honored to host on WEEI.com and the WEEI Radio Network. It is extremely gratifying to see that Curt has recognized the potential of what is quickly becoming one of the nation’s most talked about sports media entities. It is an honor that he is joining our team.”

Along with his blogging, Schilling will increase the on air component of his relationship with the WEEI Radio Network. Schilling will continue to appear as a regular guest on WEEI Radio all year long, covering baseball and a wide range of topics. His on air role will increase with a combination of in studio and phone appearances. Schilling has had a regular call in with WEEI’s Dennis & Callahan Morning Show since 2005.

“We’ve been privileged to develop such a special relationship with Curt over the last three years since we started his once a week call ins during the baseball season,” Vice President of Programming and Operations for WEEI and WRKO Jason Wolfe said. “His insight, passion and no holds barred approach to radio is unprecedented in our industry for a current athlete, and makes him a “can’t miss” every time he’s on the air. I’m looking forward to working with him in this newly created role which is sure to be a home run for WEEI.com and the WEEI Sports Radio Network.”

Schilling Weighs in on Pedroia, Watney Extended

A couple of late morning notes today:

I’ve sworn off his blog, but apparently Curt Schilling is finding new outlets to express himself. He’s a Guest Columnist on WEEI.com this morning, weighing on on Pedroia being named the MVP and also about Evan Grant leaving Pedroia off of his ballot.

The very busy Jessica Heslam reports that NESN has signed Heidi Watney to a contract extension.

Also, the Red Sox have traded center fielder Coco Crisp to the Royals.

Three Year Extension For Ainge – WEEI.com

From the WEEI.com website:

WEEI.com and FoxSports.com’s Jeff Goodman is reporting that Danny Ainge, who received a promotion to President of Basketball Operations Tuesday, has been given a contract extension which will lengthen his deal until the conclusion of the 2011-12 season. It adds three years to a contract which would have expired after this season. — Rob Bradford (Oct. 28, 9:28 a.m.)

Good scoop for Rob Bradford’s crew.