MLB

Website review by
Jacqueline Rupp, Common Sense Media
MLB Website Poster Image
Baseball's official home is saaaafe, but has ads.

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this website.

Positive Messages
Violence
Sex
Language

The message boards are one of the few places to watch. Although there are strict guidelines that appear to be enforced, users have found ways around this. Many times this is in the context of adult-oriented discussions not having anything to do with baseball. For instance, one discussion on gay rights used the word "ga.y" to keep the message from getting flagged. Another discussion was about abortion, clearly not relevant to an MLB board. Violators can at least be easily reported.

Consumerism

Large portions of the home page announce sales on merchandise, ticket specials, and auction deals. There are also games and contests promoted by advertisers and banner ads galore.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that baseball's official site has so much advertising and sponsorship, it could be a model for how to combine promotion into every facet of a Web site. The strikes: There's not only the obvious e-commerce areas (official shop, auction pages, a ticket sales center), but there are also more subtle forms of advertising such as smaller banner ads, sponsored sweepstakes, and upgrades for premium site privileges. If that wasn't enough, banner ads are customized based on user interest (search for Philadelphia Phillie Chase Utley, and get directed to Utley's player bio page where there happens to be several banner ads for Phillies M&M's candies). The home runs: Safe message boards and enough baseball info to satisfy even hardcore fans.

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What's it about?

MLB.COM, the newly launched official Web site from major league baseball, has streaming video, lots of photos, and continually updated news stories, and delivers as much content as some major sports news networks. It's also the place to go for all stats and percentages from America's pastime. You can connect easily to official team sites, check the current scoreboards, and see standings from this year (and the last seven years!). Wondering about your favorite players RBI total or batting average? To find out all you have to do is search the user-friendly player search engine that leads to player pages that include a complete run-down of stats, detailed biographical info, and video clips. Browsers beware: There are a ton of ads and they can definitely be confused with content.

Is it any good?

Baseball has definitely found a home in cyberspace. MLB.com brings the classic summertime sport into the information age with a Web site chock-full of information. The expert analysis and streaming video are top-notch, not to mention the impressive photos. The breadth of information is better for older teens and adults to absorb -- younger kids might find themselves bogged down in too many stats and not enough sport -- but overall, this is a great hub for all things baseball.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about how advertising and sports go hand in hand. What makes the baseball so appealing for advertisers? Is it because the players are so admired? How are products tied into the sport? You could look at the naming of stadiums, player endorsements, and sportswear as prime examples of baseball's promotion of products.

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