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TOUGH GOING
John O'Keefe
April 16, 2001
Major League Baseball's website struggled through an error-plagued opening week
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April 16, 2001

Tough Going

Major League Baseball's website struggled through an error-plagued opening week

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MLB.com promises that it will allow fans to customize highlights of their favorite players, but last week someone searching the site for a mere box score felt like Indiana Jones chasing the Holy Grail. While its recent redesign is loaded with the latest gad-getry, baseball's official website failed to deliver on many of the basics as the season opened.

Malfunctioning hardware kept users from accessing up-to-the-minute scores and from listening to online radio broadcasts. Those who did get the features they wanted found egregious errors in box scores and statistics. On mlb.com, the Opening Day box score of the Yankees' 7-3 victory over the Royals, for instance, showed winning pitcher Roger Clemens with a 2-0 record, while that same day the save by Seattle closer Kazuhiro Sasaki (right) in the Mariners' 5-4 win over the A's was listed as his third of the season. A chart comparing the performances of shortstops during the past three seasons botched the numbers of three of the best—the Red Sox' Nomar Garciaparra, the Yankees' Derek Jeter and the Rangers' Alex Rodriguez. Most amusingly, after one game Mets third baseman Robin Ventura was credited with nine runs and 19 RBIs. The mounting glitches caused temporary shutdowns of some features.

While surfers can go elsewhere for information such as scores and recaps, league sites still hold most of the exclusive Web content, including real-time scoring and streaming video and audio. "Leagues are trying to be media companies," says Patrick Keane, an analyst for Jupiter Media Metrix, an Internet research firm. "They should sell their Internet rights [and let other companies run the sites]. That would be better for them and the fans."

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