May 6, 2001 8:46 AM   Subscribe

Wow, the cubs have actually started off pretty good this year, over .500 since, ohh I can't remember when. I'm kinda excited, but still don't like Baylor too much. Anyway, is anyone else upset at how MLB has redone all the team's sites so that they can be the same? Sure the design is not horrible, but that's not the point, is everything on the net doomed for the cookie-cutter formula?
posted by tiaka (47 comments total)
I think MLB looked at their web properties and how much they were spending on staff to maintain 30 different web sites and realized, "Hey, we could use the same template, cut our staff in half and save $$$!". It's cookie cutter, but it probably makes sense to them financially. If a company owns and maintains several different sites, I'm sure you will soon find they all start looking the same.
posted by fresh-n-minty at 10:01 AM on May 6, 2001

I was under the impression that the teams used to maintain their own sites, but now MLB has taken them all over. If the league were maintaining them all from the beginning, it would only make sense to use the same template. I miss the old (the splash page featured the stadium announcer saying "ladies and gentleman, boys and girls, welcome to Fenway Park"), but the new site is just, well, better...there's more information, and it's easier to use.
posted by jpoulos at 10:07 AM on May 6, 2001

Actually, part of the motivation is that MLB is increasingly moving toward aggregation of services like internet radio broadcasts and official merchandise. They were also concerned about the variable quality of the websites and how this affected branding, including competition from sports news sites like ESPN. Ultimately it's all about making more money. But really, all the other sports leagues were centralized a long time ago.
posted by dhartung at 10:18 AM on May 6, 2001

I've never really followed any sports, but since I started going to school in Chicago this year, I've started following their teams. It's awesome that the Cubs are doing well. But, since I live on the South Side, I have more loyalty to the White Sox.

Any other Chicagoans wanna come out of the woodwork?
posted by ktheory at 10:32 AM on May 6, 2001

Not only MLB, but also the owners in NFL have voted to hand over internet rights to the league, centralizing all internet operations.
posted by tamim at 12:12 PM on May 6, 2001

I kind of like the NFL centralizing, if only because the (improved) Redskins site is getting its butt kicked in the multimedia goddies department by the damn Cowboys.

I think baseball needed to centralize things, because that whole league is in the toilet...

What I don't like is when the league's site is done by ESPN/CNNSI/Spotsline. Crosses the reporting/promotion line a little too much for me...
posted by owillis at 12:25 PM on May 6, 2001

Don't worry, the Cubs still have a long time to mess it up, although their bullpen seems to have vastly improved this year. At least for my sake, I hope they do falter, as I am a big Cardinals fan, and here in central Illinois, the allegiances are probably 50/50 between the Cubs and Cardinals. Plus I hate all those Cub fans coming to the U of I from the Chicago suburbs...
posted by gyc at 12:32 PM on May 6, 2001

I think baseball needed to centralize things, because that whole league is in the toilet...

How do you figure, O?
posted by jpoulos at 1:02 PM on May 6, 2001

Their ratings stink. Only a few teams have a legit shot at making the playoffs because of no revenue sharing. And there's a significant absence of star power - Griffey & A-Rod are the only two I can think of that could be considered "mainstream".

Basketball's going through similar problems.

It seems only football (the world's greatest sport :) remains on solid ground.
posted by owillis at 1:33 PM on May 6, 2001

See, that's not right at all. People bemoan no revenue sharing, but who's in first place right now in the central division? Might it be the much-maligned Twins, the "victims" of the lack of revenue sharing? In fact, the owner of said Twins, Carl Pohlad, has a habit of taking the current revenue sharing money given to him and pocketing it (last item in the article). Until they can fix the current revenue sharing policy, I don't think they should be giving out more money.
posted by zempf at 2:02 PM on May 6, 2001

Well, sure, in any given span you're bound to find counterexamples. This year, the lowly Twins are jumping out to a fast start; last year, the salary-light A's made their run at greatness. But still, there's a strong correlative effect between cash and success. Spending freely doesn't guarantee you of success by any means (e.g., the Dodgers, the Orioles)... but keeping tightly-drawn pursestrings almost certainly dooms you to failure.

Prior to last year's A's, what was the last team with a below-average payroll to actually win a playoff game?
posted by youhas at 2:19 PM on May 6, 2001

Boo! Cardinals stink! You bastards!
I don't know, there are plenty of fans around, the ratings is only for them. I find it reassuring that the entire world has not gone to hell, how do you figure we have drive through fast food, drive through banks and weddings, 500 channels and all that, and still have a baseball game that takes 15 minutes to sort out a pitch? I love it.

Don't like basketball or ahmm.. soccer or football. Really kinda boring.
posted by tiaka at 2:41 PM on May 6, 2001

Don't really care too much 'bout baseball, but I do favor the Cubs due to its history and Harry.
posted by hobbes at 2:42 PM on May 6, 2001

The Cubs always seem to be good at the start of the season and then reality kicks in or something. Damn, I miss Wrigley. It never mattered to me if they won when I was there. It's a just a fun place.
posted by john at 2:45 PM on May 6, 2001

Well, I for one am glad to see the cubbies leading their division. I'm hoping their lead holds and they make to the world series to meet the Red Sox. Wouldn't that be a series to shout about! One team's drought would have to end (I think it's 1908 and 1918, respectively).
posted by trox at 2:47 PM on May 6, 2001

Cubs vs Red Sox in the World Series?
Two teams that haven't won in over 80 years?
I don't know about you, but that sounds like a guaranteed Apocalypse right there...

Anyways, people that bemoan the fact that the Yankees "buy themselves" a championship seem to forget that Derek Jeter, Bernie Williams, Jorge Posada, Andy Pettitte and Mariano Rivera are all products of their minor league system. As well, rarely do the Yankees spend their money foolishly. They paid big bucks for Clemens and Mussina because they are worth it. It's teams like Arizona (blowing cash on Mark Grace when they already have Eurabol Durazo (sp?)) and Pittsburgh (Derek Bell?) that are struggling because they spend their money foolishly. Watch Oakland for the next two years. They'll replace Jason Giambi when he becomes too expensive/old with a young star at 1B and they won't miss a beat.

Sorry for the rant. I'm DEFINITELY not a Yankees fan (go Jays!) but I'm tired of people saying silly things like the Yankees buy World Series.
posted by Grum at 3:48 PM on May 6, 2001

The thing is, football is "built" for tv - whereas baseball is decidedly not. This can be a good/bad thing depending on who you ask, but I think baseball's popularity among younger fans is dwindling to some extent. Football, too.

I think basketball and soccer (yuck!) are growing because its not that hard to get a pick-up game going and they move fast.

I'm not saying the Yankees (boo! Go O's! ah, nevermind) buy the series (the Skins tried to buy the Superbowl), but most of the teams who make the playoffs are also the ones with loaded payrolls. That's what that bastard Huizenga did to the Marlins.

I do believe baseball fans are the least bendable when it comes to changing things though ("tradition, tradition").
posted by owillis at 3:57 PM on May 6, 2001

I'm perplexed, and somewhat annoyed, by the tyrannical power of the major league organisations in the US. In British sport, the leagues definitely come second to the biggest teams: in fact, the evolution of the Premier League, and the massive influx of cash from Sky et al, came from the chairmen of the big clubs realising that they were more clued up than the gentlemen at the Football League (and even the FA.) The same applies to rugby: the biggest clubs in the Union basically dictated terms to the old boys' club at the RFU in order to become professional.

Yes, that means a concentration of power in the hands of the largest clubs, with undoubtedly iniquitious consequences. But I don't necessarily regard the MLB as some great egalitarian presence in baseball, particularly in its policy towards the web. After all, baseball (as owillis says) depends so much upon its appeal to tradition, to heritage, and to the quirkiness of its individual teams. And in that sense, it's probably the American sport which -- bizarrely enough -- appeals most to the British passion.

(But I won't be hearing any "yucks" from you, sir. Football is the people's game. And in Britain, at least, it has a heritage and a complexity that matches that of any baseball team. And MLS, when it comes down to it, just isn't very good, especially compared to the matches -- and the commentary -- on the Spanish channels.)
posted by holgate at 4:35 PM on May 6, 2001

It is good though that a sports elague has such a venerable tradition. It adds to the attraction of the game, I think. Baseball does need to make some improvements, though. 1998 was a blast though, don;t you think -- what with the homerun chase and all.

Anyway LET'S GO METS!!!
posted by nyukid at 4:38 PM on May 6, 2001

I read an article somewhere (can't recall where, maybe Salon) that pointed out that the quickest way to equalize revenues would be to do away with the prohibition on forfeiting games. Then the low-ranked team could say to the higher-ranked team, "If you want us to come to your city and play you, you must pay us $X. Otherwise we won't come, there'll be no game, and you'll make no money at all that day. We'll lose the game by forfeit but hey, our record is lousy anyway, so we don't care." Bang, instant revenue sharing.
posted by kindall at 4:48 PM on May 6, 2001

I think the homerun race showed up what was wrong with baseball. I got into it, I even saw #56/57 in person. But the league never took advantage of all those new fans that got into baseball again.

kindall: hostage plan, huh? sounds good.

holgate: I like the leagues being in control, for the very reason that it keeps rich teams in check. If there was no cap, you'd have people like Jerry Jones and Dan Snyder (football god) stockpile all the good players and to see someone like St. Louis or Atlanta in the Superbowl would be unthinkable.

And don't get me started on how much soccer sucks ;) (actually, listen to this and you'll get my pov - naughty language inside) Remember it's a joke...:)
posted by owillis at 6:35 PM on May 6, 2001

one of the things i miss the most about living in Chicago, is leaving work early on a friday (about 12), taking the train up to Wrigleyville and meeting my friends at Murphy's before the game.
posted by jbelshaw at 7:22 PM on May 6, 2001

Holgate, while MLS isn't exactly Serie A, they still have won the North American Club Championship 2 years in a row (I believe DC beat Cruziero last year, but I'm not positive), so I don't think one can bash the quality. I do see the lack of history and enthusiasm as a problem, though. If only we could have more games stopped by riot like the Miami contest last year...=)

I'm a massive Cubs and Red Sox fan, heh. I was born in Boston and much of my family is from Chicago (enough so that I subscribe to the Cubs Magazine). I'm liking that 20-1 rout yesterday of the NL West #1 Dodgers.
posted by Kevs at 7:37 PM on May 6, 2001

football (the world's greatest sport)...

you've said enough right there, owillis.

As a huge baseball and soccer fan, don't get me started, cause i'll stomp a mudhole in football. a bunch of fat guys in titanium-alloy suits falling on each other does not a sport make. there's a reason they don't play american football anywhere else in the world (canada hardly counts). it's a one-dimensional sport. there's no finesse.

i have nothing but respect for the true "artists" of the sport: guys like barry sanders and jerry rice, guys who made things happen, or who made everyone else look like they were moving in slow motion. but those guys are few and far between. what's a wide receiver? he's basically just a sprinter who can catch a ball. you're average running back? he's fast enough to find the holes, but big enough not to get knocked down. big deal. between every play you've got some old guy telling them "you run here. you throw it there." No thinking allowed.

baseball and soccer? skills, baby. you ever kick a soccer ball, or hit a baseball, and make it go where you want it to go? that's tough. plus, you have to know the game. in soccer, outrunning the other guy isn't good enough, you have to be creative. in baseball, you have to know your opponent inside and out. you have know the odds, and how to work them to your favor. you have to use your head, as well as your body.

i could go on, but i don't want to hurt your feelings any more than i already have. :-)
posted by jpoulos at 7:59 PM on May 6, 2001

i could go on, but i don't want to hurt your feelings any more than i already have. :-)

Now you've got me started. :)

Baseball: hey, we're too lazy to actually move, so we're gonna sit on these benches and hit a ball once every hour or so. Then when we actually decide to come up to hit, we will knock the dirt off of our shoes, look around, spit, chew gum, etc. Time limit? No, we do what we like.

In between that, the guy on the mound will look all over the place in an attempt to "psyche me out". This will go on for upwards of 3 hours. Of course he may "get tired" from all this exertion, so we'll get another guy to do the same thing for another hour or so.

Then we'll have a manager, he'll tell us to "hit the ball real hard". Without his guidance, we would be lost.

Soccer: For and hour and a half, let us run up and down and up and down and up and down this field. Heaven forbid you bump into someone, that's a penalty and a mean man will put a card up in front of my face. Boo-hoo! Touch the ball, what are you - mad? We've got to kick it back and forth to a thrilling 1-0 game.

You bring Pele and Mardonna and McGwire, I'll bring Bruce Smith. You tell him he's fat. :-P

Football employs athleticism, speed, mental skills (coach vs. coach, offense vs. defense) and kick-assedness in the greatest game.

Other countries like Hasselhoff and Jerry Lewis too, that doesn't make 'em any good. :)
posted by owillis at 8:33 PM on May 6, 2001

holgate: I forgot to mention this, but I think the reason we have the league restrictions here (especially in MLS) is because what happened with NASL in the '70's. They basically bought every good, available player they could (Pele, Beckenbauer) and dominated the league with their huge pockets.

posted by Kevs at 9:06 PM on May 6, 2001

FWIW, the Cubs' magic number is 125.

posted by luke at 9:08 PM on May 6, 2001

OK, I'll concede the kick-assedness factor... :-)
posted by jpoulos at 9:14 PM on May 6, 2001

I'm glad holgate brought this up, as it gives me a chance to ask the question I've been wanting to post on MeFi for some time. And I'm asking out of honest curiosity, not to get into a pissing match about the quality of American sports vs non-American sports: How in the hell do you manage to find soccer interesting? We get one or two non-US soccer matches a week on cable here, generally one UK-based and one Spanish. And I sit there and watch, and the stadiums are always full and the audience is always cheering and singing their team songs, so they're obviously quite excited. In all the UK magazines and newspapers I read, I notice that they spend so much more time talking about soccer than most American outlets spend on any given sport here, that it must be imprinted on the national psyches of all these nations.

But when I try to pay attention to the action on the field, as God is my witness, it's just so ... so utterly, totally, mind-numbingly DULL. Guys run, kick the ball, screw up every few seconds and lose it to a player from the other side, so often that it makes the turnover rate in basketball look downright slow ... continue for 45 solid minutes, but not really 45 solid minutes, since the referee will just willy-nilly tack on a little bit of extra time at the end to make up for the amount of time he thinks were wasted during fouls and stuff, since they never bother to actually stop the clock during those times to check it accurately. Then repeat, and if you're lucky, somebody might have managed to score at least one point during all that time, but it's quite likely that the final score will end up 0-0, and the entire game will have been played for nothing. WHY is this interesting?

Also, please explain the offside rule. Thank you.
posted by aaron at 9:36 PM on May 6, 2001

Offside explained

As for why it's interesting, well, like anything else, once you begin to understand the nuances of the game, it gets much more exciting. The sheer athletecism and skill needed to play at the top level is astonishing, and there's more than 10 minutes of actual play in the entire game, unlike football and baseball.

Plus the score is often 2-0 :)

Every expat European I've met always laughs at the fact that athletes in North American sports (baseball, football, hockey, etc) can take a breather whenever they feel like it.

(please now return to your previously scheduled baseball talk...)
posted by sauril at 10:00 PM on May 6, 2001

It helps if you've played soccer, I suppose, to understand its many subtleties. Personally, I adore and worship baseball, but it, like all other sports, lacks the constant, throbbing energy of soccer. Hockey comes close, in that at any moment there is the possibility of a score. Soccer is 90 minutes of goalline stances, bases-loaded at-bats and fast breaks all at once. Huddles? Stretches? Timeouts?!? Piffle.

And, as I've discussed elsewhere, there is the sex: "Some say soccer is boring to watch. These people must make terrible lovers. They are accustomed to sports like basketball, in which a score is made every few moments. Soccer turns on foreplay. The throbbing pace, the advances, the retreats all come together to make the ultimate climax -- a bicycle kick to win in the 89th minute -- so much more ecstatic."

And the principle behind the off-side rule is "no cherrypicking." That's really all you need to know. The nuances of enforcement are hard for beginners to grasp, but if it helps, think of it as the same as hockey, except the "blue line" is mobile, moving up and down the field with the last defender (not counting the keeper).
posted by luke at 10:40 PM on May 6, 2001

As for the original thrust of this thread, I don't mind at all that each team's site looks the same, especially since they're done so well. This week I went looking for seating charts for a half-dozen teams for a trip I'm planning, and it was extremely easy to find what I was looking for, because each team's interface was identical. If it were up to each team, it would have taken forever. And prior to this year, some team's sites were incredibly shoddy and may not have even included such basic information as a seating chart. The old Cubs site, as I recall, had this atrocious Java message board. Blech.

I fail to see how this consolidation is an omen for "cookie-cutter doom." Instead, it is a boost to the sites' utility and efficiency.

Now if only MLB could exhibit the same Net sense when it came to Webcasts. Grrr.
posted by luke at 10:50 PM on May 6, 2001

sauril: what about the freakin' tea break in cricket? I laughed my ass of when I first learned about that.

They. Stop. For. Tea.
posted by owillis at 11:46 PM on May 6, 2001

luke's hit pretty much the money shot describing "watching a soccer game." It's also difficult to point to another game which requires 90 minutes of continuous work ethic. these football, baseball, and hockey players would probably be oh so grateful for halftime with a tinge of dread for the remaining 45 minutes. i feel soccer has a long way to go to be a major sport here in the states--and it may never get there.
posted by wantwit at 12:20 AM on May 7, 2001

As someone who has sat overnight for world series tickets, cut the small toe on my left foot while jumping over a barbed wire fence being almost crushed by the stadium hooligans after a soccer game, and sat through "the tea break" at a cricket match, all I can say is, IT'S ALL GOOD.

BTW, I have photos of me sitting on the 6 train on my lawn chair holding my '96 series tickets. I do not have photos of the other two incidents.

I also have flipped the birdie at a group of Canadians during a Cunucks-Rangers game at the Garden. They became very "civilized" after that, which made be feel really guilty. The Rangers got their ass whupped on the ice, and these Cunucks fans were - well - "at their Canadian best." I apologised to them after the game for messing up their night of glory. It was all good after that.

Does anyone have any take on NASCAR or any racing yet? Did anyone notice that CNN/SI now designs NASCAR's website and not the ESPN Network?
posted by tamim at 12:22 AM on May 7, 2001

I love auto racing, except for NASCAR, which I'll watch only if nothing is on. To me, NASCAR is too artificial with their changing of the rules in the middle of the season to "make it fair" or their many many yellow flags which bunch up the field artificially. I'm a big F1 fan, which is hard to do in the U.S. because the races are generally on at 6 in the morning and not many people get Speedvision to watch it. I got overly excited when Montoya put that great pass on Schumacher in Brazil.

As for the drivers themselves, they are fantastically fit and suffer major g-forces. Last week, the CART race at Texas was cancelled because the drivers were experiencing up to 5 g's of force in the corners and were experiencing dizziness and narrowing of their field of vision.
posted by gyc at 2:28 AM on May 7, 2001

In North American sport, ice hockey is the only game that captures the ebb and flow of a football match, and even then there's a regimentation to the position play and the offside law that can dull even the most competitive games.

As for "soccer", it's a subtle game, one which rewards skill and guts and improvisation, and there's a direct line from the school playground to the league stadium. It's unlike American football or basketball -- as Camille Paglia noted during the last World Cup -- in that it can empower the weedy little kids with the scrawny physiques, rather than the pumped-up upperbodied jocks. (There is no real "jock culture" in British schools as such, because the top scorer in your team is likely to be a five-foot-four kid who wipes his snotty nose on his shirt.) I give you Michael Owen, who knocked a glorious hat-trick past Newcastle on Saturday.

Yesterday, a last-minute goal meant that one team stayed up in its division, and another was relegated. That after 40 games over nine months. (My team might be safe tonight, if Ipswich get a point against Manchester City. I'd rather not have to wait another fortnight to be sure.)

In contrast, I find basketball thunderously repetitive: and let's face it, the first 36 minutes (ie 90 minutes of broadcast time) are basically a non-event.

And you know that there's a flourishing cricket league in Silicon Valley, yes?
posted by holgate at 2:51 AM on May 7, 2001

I love the relegation system. God knows there are teams in the majors that don't belong there. One team comes to mind is the Devil Rays. I am sure they would lose in the minors too.

Speaking of Montoya, he did get his first podium last week. I felt bad for Mika. He should've won. But, as far as yellow flag-etc. in F1 goes, gyc, did you see Malaysia? Did they not slow up the race to almost a halting speed so that both Ferraris can wait in the pits in the rain? MS was just standing behing RB for what seemed like almost 2 minutes! I am sure Big Bill France some times makes phone calls (Ref. The Call, published sometime two years ago in Popular Mechanics, about how some times races, pole positions etc. are setup to please sponsors, add drama to NASCAR races) to put a Dodge on the pole, or have a Pontiac win the "Pontiac Excitement 400" (last saturday, Rusty was the car to beat, except Stewart won).

The only good thing about American league sports is that, rarely if ever (at least in last 10 years) do you see match fixing. It is fun to see some NFC Central team, that has no shot at the playoffs beat up on another team that needs a "win or a tie" to make it in. European and South American soccer leagues have made match fixing something of an art form. Even teams in World Cup Cricket threw games for money. (Maybe something is in their "tea.")
posted by tamim at 3:08 AM on May 7, 2001

Woohoo, North Side represent! National Leage Leaders, baby! This year for sure!
posted by dcodea at 4:17 AM on May 7, 2001

In my bachelor days I used to live in one of those apartment buildings on Sheffield over the right field wall -- best time of my life. Was back in Wrigley last weekend for the first time in 10+ years, got to see them light up the Dodgers 20-1.

As often as the Cubs let me down, they just never let me down. You know?
posted by luser at 6:48 AM on May 7, 2001

A few tips for anyone who hasn't yet found the joy of soccer:

As with any sport, it helps if you have a team to root for. Check out ESPN Soccer Saturday this weekend (LA Galaxy vs. NY/NJ Metrostars, 7:30 pm, ESPN2), and pick one of the MLS teams to root for. (I recommend rooting for the Galaxy, as New York/New Jersey is an arch enemy of my beloved New England Revolution.) Suddenly, it will look more like a sport than a game of Pong.

Also, try to keep an eye on what's happening away from the ball. That's where much of the action is, as players compete for position on the field. This is one of the problems with watching on TV--and, consequently, one of the problems the US is having warming up to the sport.

If possible, GO SEE A GAME--especially if you have kids. MLS tickets are easily obtained, and very cheap. My season tickets (5 rows from the field, directly behind the Revolution bench) cost about $18 per game. Some seats go for $8. Also, the atmosphere at an MLS game is much more relaxed and good-natured than your average NFL game (and the weather's much nicer). You don't have to worry about some drunk spilling his beer on you.
posted by jpoulos at 8:07 AM on May 7, 2001

owillis: I'll agree with you on that one. Cricket has to be one of the most mind-numbingly boring pasttimes this world has ever seen. 3 days, for a short game??

Hockey is still probably my favourite game to watch on TV, although the NHL is getting a little watered down, and none of my favourite teams are left in the playoffs this year.

As for you Cubs and RedSox fans, I feel for you guys. I would absolutely love to be around if either of those teams ever win a World Series.
posted by sauril at 8:41 AM on May 7, 2001

[small voice] go mariners!
posted by Skot at 8:50 AM on May 7, 2001

saurii: "owillis: I'll agree with you on that one. Cricket has to be one of the most mind-numbingly boring pasttimes this world has ever seen. 3 days, for a short game??"

Their "short game" is one day limited over kind.
posted by tamim at 12:30 PM on May 7, 2001

I do not mind that MLB has made the team site look the same. I do mind the fact that their content is horrible. As a SF Giants fan living across the country from SF and the old Giants site gave great write-ups on what was going on with the team. The MLB version is really slim on content and does not give much of an inside scoop. The content and special features really felt like the site was an extension of the team. The old site did not force the browser to download all the graphic components with each page view, which is a lot of graphics to download.

I also have a problem with the disappearing Java apps that let you watch, in a rudimentary format, the flow of the game. MLB posts these then takes them away. These were some of the best on the net, but now they are gone with no note as to why or if they will be back.

The MLB RealPlayer feeds are equally flaky. I would not mind much, but this year I coughed up $10 to have MLB provide RealAudio, but not the RealPlayer components that keep me abreast of the quality of the stream. More often than not in the past two weeks the feeds have been unavailable or fade in and out, then ultimately die.

MLB has risen the quality of some sites from where they were, but for some sites (like the Giants) the sites have sunk greatly.
posted by vanderwal at 12:54 PM on May 7, 2001

What'll be intriguing is if the MLB slaps down fan sites that try to bring back some of the features of those official sites that were more substantial before the refit. Not that it'll be easy for unofficial sources to get privileged information from the teams, but when it comes to history, stats, rumours, discussion... well, we'll see.

(I sort of suspect they will. That MLB copyright notice during every broadcast: again, that's something quite bizarre to my foreign ears.)

I'm sure, though, that right now they're having to recoup the fair amount they paid the law firm that held until the end of last season ;)
posted by holgate at 1:45 PM on May 7, 2001

My wife and my friend's wife each brought their knitting to the Baltimore vs. Yankees game Saturday. It was entertaining to say the least. My wife likes going to baseball games, particularly if she can knit. Sitting outside with people yelling colorful jests and all the people in general make it a good outing for her.

Baseball is a sport that thrives on stats, metadata and anecdotal information. I was explaining that Baltimore probably leaves the grass cut a little longer in front of Cal Ripkin at third base as his back is a little troublesome and his range is not what it was. This used to be a regular practice for baseball teams, you would treat the field to support your players strengths and weaknesses or to take advantage of your opponents weaknesses or play against their strengths.

This is a sport that is filled with little insights that many fans love. The Internet is perfect for this game. The depth and breadth of stats and the ability for the Web to provide them in context and make the minutia searchable is a great match. MLB does have a great stat repository, but it is the stories that are missing. One can turn to ESPN to read Rob Neyer's colums, but it is not about the team you root for. Baseball was one of my first, "now that is a great idea" regarding the Internet, as I had just moved from SF to DC in 1993and box scores from the West Coast were so hard to come by, except on the Internet. Wahoo!

The Giants, either last year or the year prior, had a regular log about a player's injury and rehabilitation. I believe they had pictures of the surgery. You really got a great look at the pain, work, and boredom a player going through rehab must go through to get back to the field. MLB is serving up canned stories that are in the press long before MLB turns them over to their now colorless sites.
posted by vanderwal at 4:58 PM on May 7, 2001

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