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Online San Diego

From the August 8, 1997 ComputorEdge (Issue 1532)

By Jim Trageser

San Diego Padres

A few months ago, we visited the Padres' Web site and ripped it. Justifiably so, as it was a particularly weak site that not only had very little content, but what it did have was rarely updated.

However, give the Pads credit: They've upgraded the site immensely -- with a lot of help from Qualcomm. It has gone from being one of the most embarrassing Major League Baseball team sites to being one of the best.

For instance, the biggest challenge in a Web site is timeliness. The last time we visited the Padres' site, they were in the midst of a trip to Hawaii, yet there was no mention of the trip on their own site. This time, we visited on July 5, and within a few hours of their 7-3 loss to the Dodgers, the box score and a play-by-play were already posted, along with a sports story like you'd find in a newspaper, titled "Friar John's Daily Diary" (most likely written by former North County Times baseball beat reporter John Schlegel, who now works for the Pads).

In fact, the whole site has been completely made over, with new grahpics, new menus, new sections. The Padres thought the new site so important that they showed a preview of it on the Jumbotron screen on the outfield scoreboard during the July 4th game, the day the new site was unveiled.

Some of the highlights of the new site are:

With RealAudio, you can now listen to the play-by-play from KFMB during a game (handy if you're stuck at work ... use headphones if you don't want the boss to know).

There is now a hotlinked team roster page, with yearbook-quality photos and biographies of the players and coaches (a couple new additions to the Padres were listed, but didn't yet have pages). There are also links to the three of the Padres' minor league teams (the others apparently don't have their own Web sites yet).

The Padres Almanac is kind of a Padres encyclopedia, with picutres of old uniforms, the team's history in the post-season, and Padres All-Stars of the past.

You can also now buy tickets online – either season tickets or individual game tickets for upcoming games (including away games) – via a hotlink to TicketMaster.

The Padres Store is now online as well, although for now only jerseys and caps can be purchased online – they're promising the entire catalog will be up in the future. (The day we visited, when you submitted your order, you got a "Page Not Found" message from the Qualcomm site ... that would tend to minimize sales.)

And you can get info on the Compadres and Junior Padres from the Fan Fare link off the main menu.

Of course, there are still minor glitches – but they are very minor; a few floating characters lost in the html> code here and there, the above problems on the Padres Store. And the site is a bit graphics-heavy and slow to load.

Still, the Padres are a Major League team – and they're to be congratulated for investing the resources to bring their Web site up to the same standard.