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May 08, 1997|MIKE PENNER

A consumer's guide to the best and worst of sports media and merchandise. Ground rules: If it can be read, played, heard, observed, worn, viewed, dialed or downloaded, it's in play here.

What: "Fastball" website


You could call "Fastball" the perfect accompaniment to watching a baseball game on television. Because once you have the Cubs and the Phillies up there on the screen, scrolling through the almost countless pages of this website will provide a useful way to pass the time.

"Fastball" is a cyberavalanche of baseball information, records, trivia, anecdotes, quotes, interactive entertainment, even poetry. It is the Internet equivalent of stealing third with a 15-0 lead--first it overwhelms, then it pours it on:

Scores of games in progress; wire reports on games, trades, firings and injuries; standings and statistical leaders from the last three seasons; a "Dugout Chatter" chat room; minor league standings and statistics; home pages for every major league team; fan polls ranging from best/worst announcers to top current players at every position; an interactive "Shockwave" batting game; on-line merchandise; and additional "Hot Links," which are not Dodger Dogs.

Then there's the "Foul Pole," a compendium of "off-the-wall views on the game," ranging from "Yogisms" to "Stengelese" to a gallery of "Theme Teams."

Serious fans will be quick to bookmark "Fastball" on their home computers. And, even some not-so-serious fans, who can appreciate the kind of baseball wisdom as offered from former pitcher Joaquin Andujar: "There's one word that describes baseball--'You never know.' "

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