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May 14, 1997

The official Red Sox Web site is an exuberant multimedia celebration of baseball. Though its creators suggest that only by coming to a game in person can one "experience the thrill of baseball as it was meant to be," the site itself offers just about everything short of a seat in the ballpark.

In addition to postings of game times, player statistics, ball-club press releases, and ticket-purchasing information, Red Sox.com offers statistics that are updated every sixty seconds during Red Sox games, video clips of memorable Red Sox moments, live-chat rooms, behind-the-scenes photo tours of Fenway Park, and an interactive game in which participants assume the role of "online manager" and attempt to predict who the top performers will be in the next game.

sox2 picture The site's tone is distinctly adulatory: misty-edged photos of ballgames, players, and memorabilia accompany quotations by former Red Sox greats. Short write-ups waxing poetic about the team, Fenway Park, and baseball verge on the overtly religious: Fenway Park is a "shrine," a "chapel," and a "house of worship"; home runs delivered at crucial moments in Red Sox history are "miracles," and Sox fans are a "devout following" and "the Fenway faithful."

One need not be one of the "faithful" to appreciate this site, however -- in fact, one need not even care much about baseball. As a multimedia "Ode to Baseball," Red Sox.com will make almost everybody want to head out to the ball game -- which is, of course, the point.

Copyright © 1997 by The Atlantic Monthly Company. All rights reserved.
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