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Caught on the Web: A look at Web sites worth sports fans' time

www.savetheminnesotatwins.com & saveourexpos.tripod.com

Tuesday, November 13, 2001

By Seth Rorabaugh, Post-Gazette Sports Writer

Minnesota Gov. Jesse Ventura isn't buying anything Bud Selig says. Quebec Prime Minister Bernard Landy probably doesn't know who Selig is. Either way, both gentlemen, as well as fans in Minneapolis and Montreal, appear to be close to losing Major League Baseball franchises.

While heads of government are taking their respective stances, many fans are desperately pleading to save their favorite teams. Many in the Land of 10,000 Lakes might be in more of a bad mood over their team. And, in the land of 10,000 Celine Dion fans, baseball might just as well have left six years ago.

Minnesota Twins fans such as David Schultz are facing the possibility of their team leaving, just as the Lakers bolted for Los Angeles and the North Stars for Dallas. (Associated Press)

But each squad, the Twins and Expos, has its fans on the Internet. Several have seemingly sprung up overnight, with two -- http://www.savetheminnesotatwins.com/ and http://saveourexpos.tripod.com/ -- becoming de facto official sites of the movements.

What's there: The quality of each site seems to reflect the attitudes of the each team's fans. For the Twins, http://www.savetheminnesotatwins.com/ is much higher in overall quality and professionalism. Here, any Brian Harper or Paul Abbott fan can sign a petition, understand the situation leading to this uncertain time, read articles on the Twins' fate and the reasons a new stadium is needed and vote in a poll on who would be most to blame for the loss of the Twins. (The Pohlad family, the owners of the team, are currently in the lead.) Also available is the mailing and e-mail addresses of Selig, Ventura, and various Minnesota public officials. One other nice detail is a small Minnesota Twins logo, which will appear in the address bar of your Internet browser.

Which brings us to the sad-sack Expos. The attitude of Montreal's fans is reflected in the lackadaisical approach taken in http://saveourexpos.tripod.com/. While overall a poor site, it does offer those few Scott Ruskin and/or Dennis "Oil Can" Boyd fans arguments disputing the Expos' attendance figures, including an interesting tidbit claiming that over the past five years, four teams -- the Twins, Oakland Athletics, Detroit Tigers and the Pirates -- have had worse total attendance. Also the Twins have finished last in total attendance twice in their history, much better than the Pirates and Atlanta Braves, who have each held that distinction seven times since 1969.

The same is true for fans of the Expos, who Pete Rose would be smart to bet against staying in Montreal. (Associated Press)

Also available is a LaBatt Park section, which includes diagrams of the Expos' would-be new home. A picture of the site where Labatt Park would be built shows a big, empty lot with a lot of empty bottles of LaBatt.

Upon further review: The Twins' site is clearly better, but it doesn't really offer any solutions other than building a new stadium. On the other hand, saveourexpos.tripod.com makes a better argument, but again, is lacking in quality. That might be a symptom of the baseball fan base of Montreal. Also, a picture of that stupid Exposition Robot ( the person covered in tin foil who was holding a "Save the Expos" sign at the baseball owners meetings last week in Chicago) is on the front of the site. And a grown French-Canadian man wrapped in Reynolds Wrap is never good.

Overall: While neither sight is special in any regard, each is worth a few minutes of browsing should you have the time.

Score:http://www.savetheminnesotatwins.com/, of 5; http://saveourexpos.tripod.com/ of 5.

If you have any web sites that might be worth a look, e-mail Seth Rorabaugh at srorabaugh@post-gazette.com.

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