Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

It's `Batter Up' Time for All Baseball Fans in Internet Stadiums

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

It's `Batter Up' Time for All Baseball Fans in Internet Stadiums

Article excerpt

Ah, spring. Time to forget work and concentrate on something really important, like baseball.

This season, fans can cheer on Web sites devoted to professional baseball featuring everything from up-to-the-minute box scores to the latest trades to photographs of fields from bygone days.

A record 24 of 30 Major League Baseball teams have official Web sites that offer schedules, scores, statistics, standings, regularly updated player and team news, and ticket information. In many cases, Internet users can chat live with other fans, buy tickets and official team merchandise, and play trivia games for prizes. Unofficial baseball sites are even more numerous, ranging from professional efforts compiled by major newspapers, sports magazines and Web publishers to online shrines erected by faithful fans. Major League Baseball's official Web site (http://www.majorleaguebaseball.com), includes the obligatory scores, standings, and league news, as well as several extras. Among them are a tribute to Jackie Robinson, who broke baseball's color barrier 50 years ago, another special section on the Negro Baseball League, and 3-D tours of popular stadiums including New York's Yankee Stadium and Busch Stadium in St. Louis. One thing fans won't find online, at least for now, is radio broadcasts of professional games. That wasn't the case a few weeks ago. On opening day, as many as nine teams were providing live play-by-play over the Net. But on April 17, the league halted all live, online audio feeds, ostensi bly to sort out whether budding Internet broadcasts conflicted with the league's existing broadcast rights. But the Internent has no geographic boundaries, making it impossible for teams and Web sites that set up RealAudio and other live audio feeds to limit transmissions. The league has developed new rules that club owners are reviewing, according to baseball sources and information posted on the league's Web site. Major League Baseball officials were not available for comment. If broadcast issues are resolved, it might not be long before fans can see baseball games online. In early April, Major League Baseball, Fox TV and Progressive Networks, the Seattle company that created the RealAudio streaming audio technology, conducted an experimental broadcast of a Seattle Mariners-Cleveland Indians game over the Internet for industry executives attending the National Association of Broadcasters annual convention. …

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