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September 30, 1997|LARRY STEWART

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: Postseason baseball online:

These days, major sports events not only get extensive television coverage but also online coverage. NBC, which had a web site for the Ryder Cup over the weekend, has joined with major league baseball to create one for the playoffs.

It started Monday and will continue through the World Series, which NBC will televise.

The multimedia site is being produced by MSNBC, a joint venture of Microsoft and NBC. Besides contributing the latest in web tools and technology, MSNBC will also host the site.

The site offers information about players and personalities, game highlights and running commentary during the World Series, as well as statistics and scores. A breakdown of features:

* Game coverage: Daily reports will include a "slide show" with photos and text.

* Video coverage: Highlights after each game will be showcased. Anniversary-year video classic clips from both the 1987 and 1947 World Series will be included.

* Audio coverage: There will be audio coverage of all pre- and postgame press conferences via audio-streaming technology supplied by AudioNet ( in conjunction with Microsoft's NetShow.

* Daily chats: Players and personalities as well as NBC announcers will be available at times to be announced.

* Scouting reports: Will include commentary from players.

* World Series cybercast: A prominent player will host a live, in-game cybercast from each World Series game.

* Interactive elements: Live votes on various topics.

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