Farewell to the Free Agent and Auction Trackers

These trackers were essential to kickstarting the Registry and led to some awesome functionality on the site, but it's time to say goodbye. Posted: Apr 14 '22

These two trackers (particular the FA tracker) were huge parts of this site when it first started, at least from my perspective. They were important guides as I figured out how to build up the Registry, how to display player information, and how to more easily search for players.

But, the time has come to shut them down. In this post, I'll give some of the backstory about these trackers and explain why I'm pulling the plug.


FA Tracker

The FA tracker was one of my attempts at gathering data. I was inspired by all of the posts on the MLB 9 Innings sub-Reddit discussing things like max-OVR, frequency of appearance, and whether better players appear at night (they do).

At the time, I also had not yet imported card data from any other source. So as I logged each player, I also logged their stats and their full GI (i.e. the amount given to each stat, not just the number between 60 and 75). This became the basis for the Companion Registry. I logged over 1000 cards this way before I got permission to import data from some other sources, representing about 1/5 of the player data in the Registry at the time.

Logging GIs also turned out to be incredibly valuable. When I was given the algorithm for generating GIs, I was able to use the data I'd logged to test that the algorithm (and my implementation of it) was correct. I had over 1,500 GIs logged, and over 99% of them matched the generated GIs. (The rest appeared to be typos or obviously-bad data.) This check allowed me to confidently add the GI generator to the Sandbox.

Auction Tracker

The Auction tracker started out mainly to try and gather data on one specific player: Sea_Sluggers.

Throughout 2020, I noticed a single player winning a large number of auctions with the exact same bid (50k stars) over and over. Redditors would post every time they spotted this user. Since I already had the FA Tracker, I figured maybe I should start tracking Auctions as well. Maybe I could get hard numbers on how often Sea_Sluggers was winning and maybe predict future bids from them.

Ironically, as soon as I built the tracker, Sea_Sluggers disappeared (I never logged a single win from them). But, I was able to catch a few other malicious users, such as ClCubs2016 and NYY#00002b4h3z .

The Auction tracker didn't contribute to the Registry at all (meaningful player data is not displayed in the Auction results page in-game). But it did lead to autocomplete for player names on the site. I first implemented autocomplete for winner names to make logged easier, and then used that as a template for player names later on.

Why shut them down?

The main reason I'm pulling the plug is because they take up a significant amount of my time. Over the past one and a half years, I've spent at least 20 minutes a day manually logging FAs and Auction results. That's over 120 hours (or 5 whole days) just to type in the results. On top of that, I've found myself staying up later or waking up earlier to try and catch every FA set each day. I've also found myself feeling pressure to constantly be checking the game, even during holidays or special occasions. All this time has added up, taking a toll and wearing me down.

Recently, I took a look at the data I have on site traffic. I use this to guide my decisions about what features to build or improve. The FA and Auction trackers amounted to just over 1% of recent site traffic, but took up a significant amount of the free time I have to work on the site. Based on that, it was an easy decision to shut them down.

Future Plans

I still like the idea of having these trackers, particularly having the data from them. Because of that, I may bring them back in the future. If I do, the data gathering side will need to be crowd-sourced. Allowing other people to input the results would lead to a ton of benefits:

  • Data would likely be logged much sooner than I, individually, have been able to log it
  • Data could be gathered for all servers (not just North America)
  • The results could be verified / fixed by others. I feel confident that I've logged fairly accurately, but I know I've made some mistakes over the thousands of entries I've made.

With the benefits above, I could build out some really useful features, such as notifying users when a specific player has appeared in FA (as opposed to the generic team-based notifications in-game) or has appeared in the Auction (before bids are locked in). I also have some ideas for features like displaying how likely a card is to appear in FA / Auction.

These could be valuable features, but they would require a lot of work to accomplish, and right now there isn't enough time to do that. I'd rather spend my development time on more popular features on the site, or other new features that are more impactful.

Thank you!

Thanks for reading and for visiting my site! I hope you enjoyed this extra context.