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Baseball Cracks Down on Fan Sites 307

Posted by timothy
from the oddball-thought-patterns dept.
serutan writes: "Looks like Major League Baseball has joined other players in the big-media content industry to crack down on fans who overstep their proper place as consumers. Anybody with a website dedicated to America's favorite pastime better read this story on Yahoo."
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Baseball Cracks Down on Fan Sites

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  • You really would think that baseball, of all sports, could do with some good publicity, what with all the strikes going on. Shooting yourself in the foot all the time will only drive away those casual fans, and hence revenue. Deary, deary me.
    • I'm so sick of these bloody corporations dictating what is proper to be posted for PUBLIC consumption.

      What is stopping someone from simply making a website that lists statistics, player info, and so on, but changing the relevant information in such a way that there is no hint of MLB, or NFL, or any other sports logo anywhere?

      What I'm getting at is this... a translator website that simply lists the information, as neutral as it can, without directly stating or "infringing" on their copyrights.

      Not that it matters anyhow.. Why can't someone just put up a website on a non-US server?

      What is wrong with posting information, plain information.. pure and simple???

      Rant over. Flame away you slashturds.
    • As the article says, "It's business, not personal..." A lack of fan sites will push those casual fans to surf over to the league's official sites, thereby creating a massive infusion of advertising dollars, created by banner ads...oh, wait, it's September 2002...

      There is something to be said about the sites using the team's official trademarks. If I set up a Mr Fenty fan site, can I use your official Mr Fenty logos? Please....
    • "Shooting yourself in the foot all the time will only drive away those casual fans, and hence revenue. Deary, deary me."

      For some reason that seems to be a popular business model lately:

      - Squeeze every penny out of your customer
      - Provide less and less quality
      - Call them names including thief
      - Cry like a baby to the gov't when you're not making enough money

      I only took one semester of economics, and maybe I'm just being naieve, but how could this business plan possibly work?
      • Let me guess. This is the microecon.
        class where they teach you about
        Adam Smith and explain that in this world
        the business plan could not possibly work.

        Then you take the next course, and realize
        that laws of supply-demand are all well and
        good, but we don't have a perfect market,
        we have government with all sorts of regulations
        that are not all there to stop fraud - no, many
        of them are payback to large companies
        contributing to politicians' campaigns.
        Simplistic rules no longer apply, that is,
        they apply instead to the laws instead
        of the product. :)
  • These people make me want to shove a bat where the sun doesn't shine.
  • Shock! (Score:2, Funny)

    I'm shocked that the industry would do something like this! Oh, wait, no i'm not... Its probably all done on the advice of lawyers trying to justify their own existence (and jobs) by making trouble. Dont you just hate people like that?
  • Who cares? (Score:4, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday September 02, 2002 @06:47AM (#4183179)
    Who cares about a game that's only being played on a serious level in America?

    Now if this were about football (and I'm not talking about the kind of "foot"ball where you carry the ball) then I'd get upset.

    • by FyRE666 (263011)
      Hmm, baseball? Baseball.... Ah yes, now I remember, it's that game where you hit a ball with a stick and run around in a circle. We have that over in the UK too - it's only played by girls though, and called "rounders".

      So they actually pay people to do that over in the US? ;-)
    • I assume you have never been to Japan?
      • Re:Who cares? (Score:3, Insightful)

        by dhogaza (64507)
        Or Cuba? Or Mexico? Or the Dominican Republic? Europeans might be surprised by the number of Major League players who weren't born in the US. Nowadays on a team like the US Dodgers you'll hear Japanese, Spanish and American English being spoken.

        • I'm a big fan of baseball (and a European) and, yes you're right, baseball isn't only an American sport.

          But you have to admit that having guys like Pedro Martinez, Ichiro Suzuki, Danys Baez, Bobby Abreu and Byung Hyung Kim (from the Dominican Republic, Japan, Cuba, Venezuela and South Korea respectively) doesn't make baseball a truly global game.

          Sure, it's big in the Carribean, parts of Latin America, Japan and Korea, and these nations are represented on MLB rosters and have their own professional and semi-professional leagues, but where is the game in Europe, or Africa, or Asia, or Australasia?

          Outside of those countries that I mentioned, baseball is mainly an amateur sport, taken as seriously as log rolling. Amongst the four major US sports in Europe, it lags way behind basketball, ice hockey and even American football in its popularity.

          Why is this? Well, for one thing, MLB has not marketed the game well beyond those borders that it sees as its "traditional" territories. While the NBA and the NFL have played exhibition games overseas regularly, MLB has not.

          Credit where credit is due, MLB has played a regular season game, one that counts for something at the end of the year, outside North America but even that game was in Japan, a market in which baseball already is the dominant imported sport. And when the game was played (at the start of the 2001 season I believe) many of the players sent on that diplomatic mission were negative about going, none more so than Mark McGuire, who was adamant that baseball was an American game, played by Americans for Americans. Hardly "a hands across the ocean" approach.

          Personally, I think that MLB has been too focused on breaking the players' union, and the players' union too focused on taking what it can with both hands, to focus on what's really important: the fans and the game as a whole.

          Once the two parties get beyond their petty rivalries (and even after the narrowly avoided strike they are still years away from real partnership) then, and only then, does baseball have a chance at being a truly global game.
        • Last time I looked, Cuba, Mexico, and the Dominican Republic were all in America.
        • Of course, the reason the IOC is considering dropping Baseball and Softball is precisely because the Europeans suck at it.

          Who are the perennial contenders in Baseball? North Americans (and Caribbean), South Americans, and Asian.

          Softball? Same thing (and add the Aussies).

          So that's why they want to replace those sports with golf and rugby!
    • Is this where we get to make the gag about baseball having a world series that is only for American teams? (I'd heard Cubans and Japanese are pretty good at baseball but they don't seem to take part)

      Even cricket has more countries playing at the top level...

      • >Is this where we get to make the gag about
        >baseball having a world series that is only for
        >American teams?


        Only if you're ignorant enough to read "world" as "global," "international," or some such.


        The "World Series" is an event put to gether by the New York World's sports department, producing a series between the champions of the two major baseball leagues. The World, of course, has exclusive marketing and coverage rights, and sells more papers for a week or two . , ,


        The World is long gon, but the series continues . . .


        [As a side issue, even if we ignore reality and assume that other nations belong in this american series, the cuban and japanese teams just wouldn't be on the same level, any more than the rest of the world agains the US olympic basketbal team, or against Japanese sumo wrestlers]


        hawk, who never came back from the last baseball strike, anyway

        • Read more about it here. [snopes.com]
        • Actually the World Series was created by the owners of the Boston Red Sox. They felt thay had the best ball team in the, at the time, major leagues (I forget the actual league name). They challenged the next best ball team to a championship series (best of 5 I believe) and it would be the most spectacular championship the world had ever seen, hence the name WOrld Series. The name as stuck and teh Red Sox took most of the series until 1918 when they sold Babe Ruth to the New York Yankees and teh Red Sox haven't won a series since. They've come close only to lose it on a stupid error or other mishap.
      • Is this where we get to make the gag about baseball having a world series that is only for American teams?

        Sssh, no one tell the Toronto Blue Jays or the Montreal Expos.

    • Now if this were about football (and I'm not talking about the kind of "foot"ball where you carry the ball) then I'd get upset.

      So the "foot"ball where you bang the ball around with your head is ok? ;-)

      Milalwi
    • They mention that the other kind of football (where you do carry the ball) doesn't care about fan sites, as long as the sites are non-commercial.
  • Not flamebait (Score:5, Flamebait)

    by loraksus (171574) on Monday September 02, 2002 @06:47AM (#4183180) Homepage
    But seriously, who cares about baseball anymore. It's not like the strike of '95ish didn't kill attendance at games, and there are more exciting sports to watch (australian rules "football" for example). Most of the people I know think baseball is a pain in the ass in the tv schedule, with games running 9 or whatever-the-hell extra innings.

    That said, this is a brilliant move on their part, nothing like pissing off hardcore fans to drum up hatred against the the MLB and lower their tv ratings to the level of donahue's new show.

    • Re:Not flamebait (Score:2, Insightful)

      by zerocool^ (112121)
      Exactly. I have a real problem with a sport in which there is no time limit.

      I was flipping over to espn to catch sports center yesterday, to see some college football scores and comments. You know what I got? 30 minutes of baseball, then I turned it off. It's so stupid - major league baseball gets so much airtime, and no one cares. If you watch highlights reels from the game, you notice that whenever someone hits a homerun, there's never anyone in the stands to catch it. I mean, these are premium seats, and the 3 people in the section are all scrambling over the chairs to get to the ball.

      And they keep demanding more money. Tickets for baseball are *so* expensive, like $50. And these greedy fucks they call players want more. Well, I'll tell you how to get more. Make the game interesting, get more people into the stands. I was actually pissed off that you people didn't go on strike - Friday was a sad day. Strike = less TV converage.

      Eventually we will abandon the all american past time in favor of someone else's past time that doesn't suck. I mean, think, baseball's only been here for ~100 years, mabey theres something about soccer that keeps it around for everyone else. Mabey we should check it out.

      ~Will

      • And a couple more parting shots that I just thought of about how baseball sucks...

        1.) Most of the people that you hear about anymore in the all-american past time aren't even American.

        2.) These once-roll models for our community - according to people on the inside of the league, anywhere from 1/2 to 80% of them to steroids. And they still can't hit like Ruth.

        ~Will

        • Re:Not flamebait (Score:2, Informative)

          by gowen (141411)
          And they still can't hit like Ruth.
          Hmmm. Barry Bonds 2001 -- More home runs, more walks, better SLG%, better OBP%. Not necessarily better than Ruth, but certainly Ruthian.
        • I have to agree with your first point. But ML-calibre players aren't an off-the-shelf item, and teams take 'em where they find 'em.

          But re steroid use, there are physical symptoms that are fairly obvious to the eye -- mainly the Neanderthal browline and chinline, also the shape of a user's muscling is somewhat different, plus they tend to have more broken bones and the infamous 'roid-monster temper. The only ML player I'm dead sure did use steroids is Jose Canseco (compare how he looked and behaved to his identical twin brother, also a ML baseball player but evidently NOT a steroid user).

          Also contrast to the NFL, where steroid use was once almost universal, but has dropped considerably over the past few years. You can see the physical-symptom shifts as use came into and went out of the league.

          Now, as to some of the other enhancements, such as whatever performance-enhancing drug it was that caused a scandal at the last Olympics, that may be another issue, since it apparently doesn't have the obvious physical side effects that make steroid use so easy to spot.

      • Unless a draw is an acceptable outcome, you need a proper deciding endgame. Since baseball is all about hitting the ball as hard as you can away from fielders, it's difficult to get an endgame out of it except extra innings. Unless you go into statistics calculations.

        Cricket has a draw system for long games, and one day games have limits in the number of balls bowled (that's pitched to the ignorant). Far superior technically too. American sports all suffer from one thing: "jock" culture. Whilst there are exceptions, most of it is about sponsorship, hitting hard, stopping frequently for commercials, and statistics. *yawn*

        Soccer is by far the best sport in terms of accessibility, simplicity of rules, and yet eventual complexity of the game. Great footballers are always those with the best touch, not just some hard kicker, agressive player, etc. Plenty other sports are around which are superior to baseball anyway. None of us outside the US even care, we just laugh that a sport like baseball could have been so popular in the first place.

        • > we just laugh that a sport like baseball could
          >have been so popular in the first place.


          Hmm, maybe there *is* something to the old soviet claim that Russian's invented baseball; it clearly has a lot in common with russian novels . . . although I'm not quite sure what the analogy to committing suicide by jumping off your manuscript is . . .

          :)


          hawk

        • Um.. baseball is NOT just about "hitting the ball as hard as you can away from the fielder". Know what a bunt is? Didn't think so. Baseball is, if anything, more complex than soccer, and it literally IS (as the old saying goes) a game of inches -- check out how many microsecond-close plays there are at first base, and you'll realise how well-designed the game really is.

          Just as in soccer, the best baseball players are also those with the best touch, ie. the ability to throw or hit the ball *exactly* where they want it to go. The best fielders have "soft hands". The best players are those who "do all the little things right". Hitting and pitching stars get big press, and they'll often win a game in a pinch, but the everyday players are what keep a team in contention. That's why no one cares if a good second baseman can hit above .200, or if a good shortstop never hits a home run in his whole career.

          Tinker to Evans to Chance. :)


      • Throaty masculine voice:
        Football is rigidly timed and the game WILL end even if we have to go to Sudden Death.

        Simpering squealy voice:
        In Baseball, you don't know when it's gonna end. We might even have to have extra innings.....

        George Carlin
      • And reduce the ticket prices and stop demanding new stadiums using *MY* money. We rejected the last 5 proposals, GIVE IT UP baseball!

        There, I feel better.
    • Actually, you're right to some extent even for me, a rabid diehard baseball fan. It stopped being interesting when they introduced interleague play and football[NFL]-style playoffs, with wildcards and more divisions. It took away something that's hard to explain -- about how it's more fun to follow your team with loyal hope even if they're lost in the basement, than it is when anybody and their brother can make the playoffs.

      Supposedly these changes were made to draw more fans, but apparently I'm not alone in my feelings about it, because since then, attendance has dropped 20%. Which is more than the rising price of tickets could account for by itself (consider that movie theatre tickets have risen at a similar pace without killing their audience).

      Tho this notion that a star pitcher is worth $120M annual salary cuts into the fun, too. (Scale for everyday players is what, somewhere around $200k now? Yeah, that's real parity.) Now that's supply and demand run amok. Yeah, there are very damn few major-league calibre pitchers (ill-considered expansion went to prove that there really *are* only about 600 truly ML-quality players in the world at any given moment) but there comes a point when I'd rather watch enthusiastic youngsters in local college games, where this sort of massive egoboo hasn't yet tainted their attitudes.

      BTW, I also love American football, and Australian-rules football is great too. But the best was the mad enthusiasm of the World League (as I think it was called) -- NFL rules meets Aussie go-gettum!!

      As you also point out -- yeah, killing fannish activities is a really great way to encourage fan loyalty. NOT!!

      There's talk of Tommy Lasorda as the next baseball commissioner -- and he's always said that baseball is about the *fans*. If he gets the seat, I'd like to see him put his money where his mouth is, and *encourage* fan websites. Don't hold your breath.

      • There's talk of Tommy Lasorda as the next baseball commissioner -- and he's always said that baseball is about the *fans*.

        I hate the Dodgers (my sister bled blue, and I'm an Angels fan -- used to disappointment), but Tommy would probably be the best commish that there ever could be.

        Actually, and this just occurred to me while I was writing this... when he gets out of office in either 2004 or 2008, Bush would probably be an excellent commissioner.

        DISCLAIMER: I am professing no opinion one way or another about W's politics.
  • See both sides (Score:3, Interesting)

    by kzadot (249737) on Monday September 02, 2002 @06:49AM (#4183185)
    I don't think MLB has a problem with fan sites per se, but of course they would have something against when those fan sites start stealing MLB intellectual property. Particularly when those sites are making a profit by selling merchandise and or advertising.

    The hypocrisy of the /. crowd is interesting. When MIT bases a defense proposal on a comic character, its stealing, but when a commercial web site steals MLB logos etc, without permission, its fair use?

    Hell, the fansites (the ones that make money) are worse, because, by displaying MLB logos on the site, the consumer is being decieved into thinking he may be purchursing official products.

    I doubt MIT were trying to use the reputatation of some little known comic character to decieve the Department of Defense into anything...
    • ok wait a sec, the MIT situation was misleading because there was no acknowledgement of the orignal source. Which almost amounts to plagerism.

      Now, anyone who is smart enough to turn on a computer will be smart enough to realise that the websites have to do with professional baseball teams by the same name.

      I don't see this as hypocritical at all. As long as sources are clearly identifiable then why not use logos and whatnot.

      It's not likely that someone becides the Astros would come up with Astro logos...
      • That's not the point.

        The point is that the Astros logo (along with that awful Chief Wahoo we have to look at here in .cleveland.oh.us) and all the others belong to Major League Baseball, Inc., and/or to the individual franchises. Not only are you not allowed to pass them off as your own (like the MIT situation) but you rights to use them even with attribution are very limited.

        It's basic trademark law. The league and team organizations are allowed to prevent "dilution" of their trademarks, and they risk losing the ability to do so in the future if they don't take reasonable action now.

        Although the Yahoo story lacked details, it sounds as though MLB wasn't trying to shut fan sites down (which would be crazy and wrong) but just to get them to stop using the team logos.

        You know, over yonder we have Microsoft and the record companies and the gung-ho DMCA crowd... trying to break the even-handed bargain of traditional copyright law, and largely succeeding. In the name of "protecting content" they're making it impossible to use the hardware and software and CDs and DVDs we're paying for! That sucks. Outrage is justified.

        But here, you have a company whose enthusaistic customers are using the company's trademarks in a way that has never been legal. It's not remotely the same thing. Outrage is... misplaced.

        <shrug>

        This is not a "rights in peril" issue. MLB's telling people to quit using their trademarks. That's not just business as usual, it's the only fair thing. Let's go be outraged over something truly outrageous, okay?

    • It would help if you read the article. One site was pursued for displaying antique team logos in a historical section.

      Never let facts get in the way of a moral stance though.

    • Hell, the fansites (the ones that make money) are worse, because, by displaying MLB logos on the site, the consumer is being decieved into thinking he may be purchursing official products.

      If this is the case, then I would agree with MLB... but my understanding is, that these are just fan sites. They aren't trying to trick anyone. They are just showing their support for their teams. They display team logos and pictures the same way they are displayed at local bars.
      • What if the website are selling MLB official products? I say the website owners should each sell 1 item that is licensed by MLB, like a $1 bumper sticker then use the logos as fair use to describe the product.

        God baseball pisses me off this year
  • I bet those fan sites are responsible for high ticket prices and overpriced hot dogs.

    You see, MLB has to take that course of action, simply because those fan sites are not W3C standards compliant.

    Hope that clears out the misunderstanding.
  • for a couple of years, FIA put extensive pressure on the company running the formula1.com site [formula1.com] - there was many news pieces posted on the site about how FIA [fia.com] tried to make it impossible for them to run the site and requests for site visitors to give support for this unofficial site.

    After years of fight The result [formula1.com]:
    " formula1.com acquired by Formula One Group
    formula1.com has been acquired by the Formula One Group who plan to turn it into the official website of the FIA Formula One World Championship.
    "

    What happened before? You can go back to 19 Oct 2000 [archive.org] for example to see:

    " Formula1.com countersues Formula One Management In March Formula One Management tried to block Formula1.com from purchasing the F1.com domain name, a purchase the management at Formula1.com have been attempting to make for several years.

    Formula One Management decided to take this dispute to the World Intellectual Property Organisation (WIPO) in Geneva, where the panelist appointed to decide the dispute, a prominent Cambridge QC, found that Formula One Management had failed completely to prove its case. "

    Sport is serious business.

    • And that is where the problem lies. The moment sports becomes a serious money making business is the moment that sports goes out the window.

      Are the big ticket sports really about entertaining the audience? Or making them spend more money?

      Look at Formula 1 and CART. In Montreal they had Formula 1 and CART run on the same course in one season (this year). Result? People preferred CART because the drivers were reachable, the race more exciting, etc. The problem with Formula 1 is that it has become a money sport. eg, Honda had to pony up 500 million to take part in Formula 1. THAT IS OUTRAGEOUS! Result, Formula 1 is turning into a sport like Polo, rich and fameous attend, but care little about the sport. They just want to be seen and heard.

      In the end sports has to be about the audience and not the money!
  • by cdf12345 (412812) on Monday September 02, 2002 @06:51AM (#4183193) Homepage Journal
    The NFL takes a less aggressive approach.

    "To the extent that it's purely a noncommercial site devoted to commentary about the team, we're supportive and happy that fans are excited about our sport," says Paula Guibault, NFL senior counsel. "It's not an issue for us."


    Finally, someone who "gets it"

    You know, I bet if the websites in question were trashing the baseball teams, baseball would leave them alone because they wouldn't want to deal with freedom of speech issues.

    Why is it when free speech is mutually benificial, does the property holder go postal and shit a brick because they cannot have total control?

    Customers soon to be extinct.........due to slowly being killed off due to corporations' stupidity!

  • ...is that the site owners who were hassled were trying to make money from their sites.
    I don't think *any* corporation has a problem with fan sites that are put together as a resource or community for their subject matter. Most of them are even generous about letting them use their IP.
    What becomes an issue is when the owners of those sites decide to try and use their position for their own gain - for example, selling unauthorized merchandise, as at least one of the people quoted in the article did.
    This is simply the difference between running a Star Trek fan site and using your site to sell bootleg CDRs of the episodes. Even if you're just covering the cost of hosting, it's still a crime, and naive to think that any copyright holder will allow it.
    • I don't think *any* corporation has a problem with fan sites that are put together as a resource or community for their subject matter. Most of them are even generous about letting them use their IP.

      Maybe you should go read Taubman Sucks! [taubmansucks.com] about a fansite for a local shoping mall in Texas.

  • This says it all (Score:5, Insightful)

    by leviramsey (248057) on Monday September 02, 2002 @06:53AM (#4183199) Journal

    The NFL is one of the few major businesses which has a modicum of sense. Consider this quote:

    "To the extent that it's purely a noncommercial site devoted to commentary about the team, we're supportive and happy that fans are excited about our sport," says Paula Guibault, NFL senior counsel. "It's not an issue for us."

    What the NFL realizes is that fan sites are good: they are free promotion (I know a few people who ran a Scottish Claymores [touchdownclaymores.com] fansite. When the club decided to do a new official site [claymores.co.uk], they hired them to do it), and the people who run and read those sites are the hardcore fans, who either shell out hundreds of dollars a year for season tickets or who subscribe to the NFL Sunday Ticket.

    Yet again baseball shoots itself in the foot, thanks to a management that has been slow to adapt to any change over the past 80 years. For instance, as late as 1930, none of the three New York teams allowed radio coverage of the games for fear that it would cut into the gate. It wasn't until the 70's that baseball teams began allowing televising of all games.

    • Not only does the NFL recognize the value of fans much more then MLB does, the NFL also has a system of revenue-sharing that makes pro football much more interesting to watch from season to season.

      I love baseball, but MLB has consistently refused to get with the program and shake up the paradigm that they built decades ago. When's the last time the Yankees weren't a contender? When's the last time the Dodgers were so bad that nobody could seriously give them any hope of winning their division? Since Turner came along, Atlanta has always been in the running, season after season. The big market teams have huge amounts of money to lavish on the top players, the little guys don't. It's that simple.

      Look at the NFL, on the other hand. In the last few years in particular, every season has been exciting, because it's anyone's guess as to which teams will be the most powerful. There are dynasties in football, but they're nothing like the dynasties in baseball. The Cowboys of the 70s, the 49ers of the 90s, sure. But compare that to the Yankees of the 20th Century, and you see that competition is alive and well in the NFL, but not in MLB.

  • by Inominate (412637) on Monday September 02, 2002 @06:57AM (#4183210)
    They're just mixing the great american pastimes of baseball and lawsuits.
  • Imagine if sites dedicated to rounders were removed in the UK.....

  • by OaITw (155633) on Monday September 02, 2002 @06:58AM (#4183215)
    Major League Baseball is aiming for mlb.com to be a supper site that meets all baseball fan needs. I would guess that the director of the mlb.com asked the legal division to rain in the none mlb.com sites a little bit with the aim of increasing their own sites hits and revenue.

    This is a pretty good strategy for baseball actually. First is provides uniformity to there product. If all fans start there baseball related news gathering by going to mlb.com you get a central influence on news and hype. Second it produces general revenue. This is exactly what baseball needs right now. Of course no general revenue source can overcome the local revenue associated with ticket sales; but baseball needs to look for as much shared revenue as possible in order to reestablish parity. A fan site devoted to the Yankees is taking eyeballs from advertising that benifits all teams.

    I have been converted. I think mlb.com is the best professional sports web portal. I used to go the WGN to listen to Cubs baseball on the web but mlb.com centralized web broadcasting of baseball games. I still can hear the Cubs with WGN broadcasters but I have the pay the $10 a season on mlb.com. For this $10 you get the ability to listen to every other team also. And I am guessing the revenue is shared.

    Since I like the Cubs it is bad in a way that my dollars are shared but for all the fans of Yankees and Mets doing the same thing, it is good for me and the Cubs that some of their dollars are shared.
    • Major League Baseball is aiming for mlb.com to be a supper site that meets all baseball fan needs.

      Haven't you ever considered what an MLB supper consists of? $3 pretzels, $5 hot dogs and $7 beers....... the sticker shock and nutritional value alone are enough to send a person into anaphylactic shock.

      No thanks..... I'll stay home and cook my own meals.
  • Fan sites are just what baseball needs, as it's popularity has been seriously declining over years, being sidelined by more trendy sports such as basketball (which in itself is a joke, as it's 8 foot tall black guys throwing a ball into a hoop a foot above them). The article mentioned that they had advertising on their sites (and thus could in theory make money, which the teams wouldn't want) but most sites these days need advertising just to cover bandwidth costs. It's baseball digging it's own grave.

    But then again, who here really cares about sports anyway?
  • It's business, not personal, baseball officials said. They moved against the four Web sites over the alleged use of team logos or trademarks to draw site traffic or turn a profit.

    So .. in short, you're more than welcome to run a baseball fan site just so long as you don't use the team logos without permission to bring people to the site or make some money.

    This is hardly an infringement of civil rights. It's their logo, if you don't have permission to use it or you're trying to make a buck off it, then they have every right to close you down.

  • take me out to the crowds

    where i'll pay 10 dollars for cracker jack
    wont have enough money to drive my car back

    Lets build the giants a stadium
    let the panhandlers sleep on the street

    cause it's 1 2 3 strikes your out ......

    Fuck it, Its 4:30, cartoons are on.
  • This is just more fuel for the fire in the backlash against MLB. MLB, players and execs, has turned into nothing but a big stupid corporate game, not a sport.

    I hope the sport dies, then maybe it can be reborn as what it should be, an American pasttime.

    Personally, I don't care for baseball, I think it's a boring sport. But, I know people who like it, and most of them have quit paying attention to it these days because they're sick of the BS, except for tuning in now and then for a good laugh at the players, etc. I really hope the sport will eventually be reborn for these fans who actually enjoy the sport.

    I'm sure there will be a hundred more comments just like mine, but that will certainly say something about America's "pasttime"...

  • The main reason you see low attendance at baseball games is because there is oh, I dunno 100 games per team in the regular season.



    American football has maybe a fifth of that and its TV ratings are constantly on top. Not to mention it almost always packs 50,000-seat stadiums to capacity, even if tickets are $50 (or in many cases much more).



    A shorter regular season would make everything worthwhile. No more 30 minutes of highlights on the 11 'oclock news. No more sparsely populated million dollar stadiums (which, urgh, my tax dollars paid for). It would make the game far more exciting, for every game counts tenfold. Teams wouldn't be able to say, "Too bad we lost...oh well we have another 80 games to make it up..."



    Dys.

    • If you want to watch football, watch football. Don't screw up baseball in a misguided attempt to make it attractive to people with short attention spans and no regard for tradition.
    • ...there is oh, I dunno 100 games per team in the regular season.

      A hundred sixty-two. (Which only reinforces your point.)

      American football has maybe a fifth of that...

      ...or a tenth.

      Point well taken, but as the other dude says, baseball is the way it is. Trying to make it into a weekend spectacle sport will just ruin it. (Heck, I'm still annoyed over the designated hitter rule. Talk about a kludge!)

      • I can live with the DH rule since it helps define differences in style between the two leagues. (Or did, til this interleague-play crap came along and diluted it -- might as well have ONE league now.)

        But .. somewhere above, I rant about the horrible new divisions and playoffs with football style wildcards -- they've made a team's standings pretty much meaningless, since now practically any team can make the playoffs. What the suits who designed the new system didn't understand is that unlike football, baseball isn't just about winning a few times and then it's over. Baseball at its best is part of your everyday life, and while winning is great, losing doesn't mean The End. Tomorrow is another day.

        Example: While my ongoing love is the Angels, I became a closet Cleveland fan while they were chronically in the cellar. They'd be 30 games back, yet they'd come to town, play like maniacs with nothing to lose, and whup the contending Angels by 13-1. You gotta admire that.

        And as I never tire of pointing out... Baseball should be played on grass, in daylight. Football should be played in the mud. :)

    • I don't think that's the case....

      Look at hockey. Hockey games sell out almost every time, and they play 82 games per season, not too far from what baseball players hit. (And that's not counting playoffs which add could potentially add up to 35 more games to a team's schedule. Oh, and I forgot mention pre-season)

      Not to mention a very large viewership when games are televised...maybe not to the level of football, but still well within the realm of drooling fandom.

      No, the problem with baseball is that the fans feel betrayed by the teams and the players. The first strike made them realize that their big heroes were just in it for the money and don't give a rats ass about the fans. They lost integrity and honor in the eyes of baseball viewers, and it keeps getting worse, what with rampant drug abuse, threats of strikes, and now this intellectual property issue.

      The state of baseball now does make me sad, I used to spend my summers as a kid planning my activities around Cubs games. Now, I could honestly care less. The greed of the players and the greed of the franchises ruined it for everyone.

  • by dtmos (447842) on Monday September 02, 2002 @08:24AM (#4183361)
    To me this is a case of operating within one's rights, to the detriment of one's business. Baseball has done this in spades for as long as I can remember, and it's finally beginning to affect the business.

    I have had season tickets to a major league baseball team for the past ten years, meaning that during that time I have seen over 750 games (I've had to miss a few due to business trips, etc.). The basic attitude of the team and MLB in general, seems to be that fans are obligated to attend, regardless of how they are treated.

    Probably the best example of this is the stadium's "security" policy regarding material one may bring to the games. I would like to bring in things like a score book, media guide, binoculars, sunscreen, pencils, etc., but they won't allow a bag larger than 8-1/2" x 11" (21.5 cm x 28 cm) into the stadium--even if you let them search the bag, or even empty it out at the feet of the inspector. The bag itself is not permitted, for some reason. However, they *will* allow women's purses and infants' diaper bags of any size, and they don't perform body searches or use metal detectors--whatever is in your pockets or under your clothes is yours to keep.

    What they *think* they are accomplishing by this I cannot imagine, but I can say what they *are* accomplishing: As a result of this policy I can always tell a new, prospective fan, going to a game for the first time--I pass him walking back out to the parking lot as I am walking in, carrying the bag or knapsack he quite reasonably expected to be able to take to the game. Or I pass him at the inspector's station at the stadium entrance, presenting rational but useless arguments and expressions of surprise and disbelief to the bored workers there. As a business, the team has the right to set up rules for all those who enter, but the team shouldn't complain when no one bothers to come any more, and new fans prove difficult to attract. It's always been a puzzle to me how baseball owners could have business acumen sufficient to amass personal fortunes, yet run major league baseball as if they were the stupidest form of life on the planet.

    This kind of behavior is rampant in MLB and, barring an unforeseen turnaround, may soon enable baseball to reach the popularity of those other major sports of the 1950's--boxing and horse racing.
  • Bart: You're probably wondering about the coat hangers. They're to
    block the satellite that's been spying on me.
    Marge: [with trepidation] Okay ...
    Bart: It can read your electric organizer from space.
    Homer: Even mine? [Bart takes it and smashes it] Hey, I had
    Lenny's name on that!
    Bart: They have it now.
    Lisa: Who are they, exactly?
    Bart: Who else? Major League Baseball.

    http://www.snpp.com/episodes/AABF22
  • I was hoping the two sides would be dumb enough to allow a strike to happen, but I was wrong. Now, will someone please take this sport out back and put a bullet through it. Football season starts in six days.
  • Honestly this whole week is a /. "Everything in the whole world is shit, I alone am great and all knowning" moment.

    This used to be such a nice neighborhood how it's just a skater wannabe strip mall.
  • Apparently MLB Properties hassled the Houston Astros site without the knowledge of the Houston Astros. In "A note to any newcomers to the Astos Daily" dated yesterday and featured prominently on their home page, Ray Kerby, the owner of http://www.astrosdaily.com said, "I just ant to make it clear that the Houston Astros had nothing to do with the "Cease & Desist" letter sent to me by MLB Properties on July 5th."

    The Houston Astos themselves helped resolve the problem between astrostoday.com and MLB Properties which revolved around the use of player photographs. Kerby says that he was a guest of Astros owner Drayton Mclane at a game Sunday just to show there are no hard feelings.

    While I, personally, have elected to boycott professional sports in their entirety due to their attitude of "screw the fans... build us another stadium or we'll leave" attitude, at least in this case the team behaved properly. And the site itself (astrostoday.com) is a very good fan site.
  • by red_dragon (1761) on Monday September 02, 2002 @11:57AM (#4184155) Homepage

    A friend of mine has been running PhilsPhans.com [philsphans.com] since the beginning of this year with a focus on forum discussions, in response to many people who complained about the forums at the official site [mlb.com] being crowded with spammers. The site gathered popularity among Phillies fans pretty quickly, and soon a lot of users from the official Phillies forums switched to the little new site. About a month or so ago, he received a letter from the Phillies ordering him to shut down his site due to "trademark infringement"; their claim was that the word "phils" is their property, and thus he can't use it as part of the site's name. How could anyone trademark such a common word is beyond logic, but since he doesn't have the resources to fight this, so he's being forced to move the site to a different domain.

  • Unfortunatly the strike didn't go so baseball is still around. However I'm highly hopeful that this latest move will help drive one more nail into the coffin of major league baseball and finally get this "sport" off the TV schedule once and for all!!

    Would this be considered flamebait?
  • This is another example of the principle that people are mere consumers who do not own their culture. What fans contribute, not only by buying tickets but by talking about the "product" with their friends, making illegal bets with each other, generating excitement, is never acknowledged by the business world, at least not where the rubber meets the road. They see us only as a series of sales transactions.

    Most baseball fans probably don't care whether anybody is allowed to have a website about their favorite team. Baseball got along for quite a while without the Internet. But it's a larger issue. Larger than the technicalities of copyrights or trademarks. It's an issue of who gets credit for creating culture. To what extent does the public have the right to use material that they helped popularize? The concept of "fair use" is eroding, whether it's in baseball or music or anything else, and that's a bad thing.
  • ...and the horse they rode in on. Yet another industry is calling its paying customers theives over "intellectual property." If MLB continues being this stupid, they will have to fold, and good riddence when they do. It is high time Congress stopped pretending MLB is somehow sacred, and revoked its anti-trust law exemption. No other industy has one, not even the NFL, NBA, or NHL. All businesses should be subject to the same set of laws.
  • From what I'm seeing, the unnecessary death of an established entertainment industry sector due to obvious short-sighted stupidity and greed, i.e. the new entertainment rule seems to be - when profits drop, attack the hard-core fans. . . will be necessary before this stops.

    This puts MLB neck and neck with the RIAA labels. Perhaps some enterprising slashdotter ought to set up death watch pools for each of these markets... set up an acceptable definition for industry death (MLB declaring bankruptcy? 3 of the 5 RIAA major labels closing?) either for fun or profit... so we can start entering our guesses as to when these industry segments will crash and burn.

From Sharp minds come... pointed heads. -- Bryan Sparrowhawk

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