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

April 15, 2001

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
gadgetry, 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."

--John O'Keefe

COLOR PHOTO: AL TIELEMANS

HOLE YARDS PAR R1 R2 R3 R4
OUT
HOLE YARDS PAR R1 R2 R3 R4
IN
Eagle (-2)
Birdie (-1)
Bogey (+1)
Double Bogey (+2)