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THE INSIDE TRACK | THE HOT CORNER

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.

January 06, 1998|BILL SHAIKIN

What: Anaheim Angels' web site.

Address: www.angelsbaseball.com.

Food critics shy away from reviewing a restaurant within weeks of its grand opening, allowing time for operators to work out the kinks. In that spirit, we consider the colorful web site the Angels opened last month a work in progress.

By unveiling their site now, the Angels hope to help fans get quick answers to common questions about the 1998 schedule, tickets, seating and stadium renovation. Fans can buy tickets online--but not merchandise, a temporary wound to Disney's beloved synergy--and review snapshots of stadium construction and artists' renderings of the completed project.

They can also read about their favorite players, but the section needs updates. There is detailed information on returning players--did you know Chuck Finley threw 2,758 pitches last season?--but the site offers more on bullpen catcher Mick Billmeyer than on newly acquired designated hitter Cecil Fielder.

The Angels promise to supplement the site with an online team store, team history and statistics, player features, community events, live game broadcasts in English and Spanish and "chat sessions with Angels' players, coaches and front office personal."

Don't miss the links to the sites of the Angels' minor league affiliates. The Cedar Rapids site offers links to more than 3,000 baseball-related sites. The Lake Elsinore site presents a delightful and charming kids' story explaining how Hamlet, the blue sea serpent that serves as team mascot, migrated from Denmark to Lake Elsinore.

The Angels couldn't call their site angels.com because that name was already reserved for a network of disaster response volunteers. The Angels also missed out on halos.com. Nolan Ryan does not appear at that site but scientists do, arguing that halo-shaped rings of the element polonium, preserved in granite, support the Biblical account of instant creation of the Earth.

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