Sports-related Web sites have become one of the stars of the Internet, and for true fans they provide instant gratification for news and stats about their favorite teams.
What was barely conceivable just a few years ago has become standard fare today, with computer access to ticket prices, schedules, photos and team history as well as video links.
Team web sites themselves, however, vary in quality and usefulness to the average viewer and hard-core sports buff.
L.A. professional teams are no different.
Here's an evaluation of the local clubs' sites, sorting them from the good to the not so good.The Stars LOS ANGELES DODGERS
(dodgers.com) WHAT'S THERE?:
Links to tickets, schedule, league standings, game-day lineups, up-to-date statistics and player profiles are joined by a "fan forum" message board and audio and video links. Other links include statistics catering to fantasy baseball league members, fan news, kid news, team history, a profile of Dodger Stadium as well as updates on the team's minor-league prospects. An outline of community outreach events and programs, shopping and auction information and job opportunities within the Dodger organization can also be found.PROS:
Dodgers.com is a well-designed site. Information fans would seem to want most often is among the most easily accessible: standings, schedules, tickets, lineups and starting pitching matchups.CONS:
Graphically, it doesn't hit a home run.LOS ANGELES CLIPPERS
(clippers.com) WHAT'S THERE?:
Primarily a news-oriented site with the typical ticketing, scheduling and statistical information. It links to a chat room and a room that replays player highlights from the 2000-01 season and TV commercials featuring the team's stable of young talent. A link highlighting the Clippers' history is basically a rundown of the team's longstanding legacy as a near-perennial NBA doormat. Consequently, the site chooses to concentrate on the team's seemingly more promising future.PROS:
Clippers.com is a concise, user-friendly site that offers a variety of team news with clarity. Multimedia room with highlights of team members' outstanding plays during the season is interesting. Considering that the Clippers' franchise has been sadly inept for the majority of its existence, the site does a good job of making the most of it.CONS:
The site's copy is overrun with exclamation points. This is the Clippers. What is there to get excited about?MIGHTY DUCKS
(mightyducks.com) WHAT'S THERE?:
A functional site with the obligatory links to tickets, schedule, statistics, player profiles and the team's community outreach efforts. Other links include a fan message board, a fan poll, an examination of the team's amateur draft, an analysis from the team president and access to Mighty Ducks radio broadcasts during the season. The home page provides a variety of team news and news headlines of interest to Mighty Ducks fans, as well as a monthly calender in case you don't know what day it is.PROS:
Mightyducks.com is an attractively designed site that makes good use of space. The news items are presented well and there is an engaging use of team colors. The most appealing and professional of the local pro teams' Web sites.CONS:
Can't find much bad to quack about.The .500 Club ANAHEIM ANGELS
(angelsbaseball.com) WHAT'S THERE?:
Not quite as busy as the Dodgers site, but similar in design and approach. Links to tickets, schedule, standings, lineups, fan forum, team history, profile of Edison Field, etc. A notable exception are three links called "Salute to the Iron Man," lauding future Hall-of-Fame Orioles' player Cal Ripken, who is retiring at the end of the season and will soon make his last appearance as a player at Edison Field.PROS:
Angelsbaseball.com is a friendly site that has an upbeat feel to it, almost as if it was owned and operated by Walt Disney Co. Wait a minute, it is owned and operated by Disney.CONS:
Like other friendly, upbeat Disney products, Angelsbaseball.com has a lot of flash but not much substance.Works In Progress LOS ANGELES KINGS
(lakings.com) WHAT'S THERE?:
Basic site with a home page that provides links for tickets, schedule, statistics, merchandise, job openings, video clips, team and player profiles, history, community outreach and minor-league player development.PROS:
Lakings.com is an easy site to negotiate. A good place to get your 'Net surfing learner's permit.CONS:
Elementary approach to graphics makes it boring. Designer should be relegated to the penalty box. This site would have been cutting edge in, say, 1996.LOS ANGELES LAKERS
(lakers.com) WHAT'S THERE? :
In addition to tickets, schedule, statistics, news and a portal to download a Lakers 2000-2001 screensaver, Lakers.com offers a video box of the team receiving the NBA championship trophy, Spanish language access and links to local TV and radio stations that cover the Lakers. There also are links featuring the Lakers Girls, the Lakers gift shop, a chat room and a poll asking viewers if this past season's Lakers team was the best in NBA history (38 percent of more than 48,000 people polled said yes).PROS:
By and large, it's a fun site to read by virtue of the team's achievements over the past two years. An array of information is available, and the video box of the trophy presentation is a nice touch.CONS:
The Lakers are heads above the rest of the area sports teams in terms of success. By surveying the team's Web site, it seems that success has gone to its head. Lakers.com is irritatingly self-congratulatory. The site is too busy graphically and the purple and gold color scheme, just fine on team uniforms, hurts the eyes on a computer screen.
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