Before web logs came along, fan web sites were the place to go for news, links, rants and raves on a team. After I got started with The Giants Journal in February 1999, I remember finding a handful of good Giants fans sites. Between those sites and discussions boards like alt.sports.baseball.sf-giants, a Giants follower could get his or her fill of the stuff they needed to stay in the know about The Big Fellows.
A computer or two later, things have changed considerably. Our Packard Bell Pentium, a speed demon when we bought it in the summer of 1996 (100 MHZ and 8 RAM), is museum material. Baseball Primer has replaced rec.sport.baseball as the place to go to for cutting edge analysis. And technology has made it easier to start up your own site.
Still fascinated with computing and the World Wide Web, and still cutting my teeth on the Giants, I have stuck around to be a part of the next phase of fandom on the web. The newcomers bring a fresh world of knowledge and their nifty sites make it easy to forget those who came before.
So before it is too late, I’d like to tell you about some of the first regulars here at the Giants Cyber-Café.
....I’d like another mocha java. Er, make it a fruit smoothie. Thanks!....
Gregg Pearlman started EEEEEE! in the summer of 1996. The Giants sucked back then so the name of his site fit perfectly.
I reckon I surfed into Gregg’s site around the early part of 1999. Truth be told, I didn’t like the gray background of his site, but I loved everything else. In terms of writing, his was the most prolific Giants’ site at the time. Gregg got himself a team of writers and they covered the Lads like a blanket.
Gregg was a regular at the discussion boards and provided thoughtful insight on the Giants. His site is not as active as it once was, but contains enough writing to keep you occupied for quite a long time.
EEEEEE! didn’t go for the whistles and bells. They gave you great content and was arguably the best Giants’ site of its time.
Put in Dave Farmar at google and the first search hit you'll get is his now retired site. It goes back to at least early 1996. Dave had, hands down, the most comprehensive list of Giants links. His design made good use of the orange and black color scheme and went far beyond the typical site in terms of something cool to look at.
Dave’s site retired in 2000. His front page is frozen in time, showing the final standings for that great season. He must have figured the 11 game finish ahead of the Dodgers was the best time to go out.
And you gotta love this entry:
alt.sports.baseball.la-dodgers (Please Flame)
Giants magazine raved about Val's site in the summer of 2000.
"Produced by Giants faithful Valerie, this is the most comprehensive fan site out there."
As great as Val’s site still is, it also demonstrates a paradox. With great graphics, links, information, polls, scoreboards, forums, features, and her thematic set-up, her site has a lot to offer.
But without the front page running commentary a blog provides, something is lacking. Ton Zijlstra explains:
"The difference between a website and a weblog is like the difference between a photo and film. Yes, it's both pictures, but the richness of the message conveyed is much bigger in the latter. It's the elapsing of time, grasped in the weblog, where in the more static website formats at best a number of stills is produced."
Having said that, sites like this one can still be vital and Val’s site is.
Michael Wells was also a well-known early player. I love the title of his site because it fit me and many others – Giants Fan Beyond The Bay.
From his guestbook I found this entry
Name: Jay Roberts
E-mail address: Jaybird926@aol.com
Comments and Questions: Great job with the website. I am a SABR member too and was wondering if you were at SABR 28 in SF. Will have to meet you some day!
How Did You Find Us?: SABR-L
My Favorite Giant is: Bonds
Tuesday, November 10th 1998 - 06:27:37 AM
E-mail address: Cyear1999@aol.com
Comments and Questions: Is this web site still active?
How Did You Find Us?: Giants Journal
My Favorite Giant is: Rich Aurilia
Sunday, June 8th 2003 - 07:35:27 PM
Gus’s site really made you feel you were in GiantLand. I remember being so captured by the way he got all the colors right. GVL is no longer active but is a must see for things like the 2nd Annual CyberGate tailgate party of GVL regulars at Candlestick. There’s also blogging type entries for the 1998 season.
I would imagine when Sarah found out that the Giants were bringing J.T. Snow back for the 2004 season, she let out a big yell. She's been around a while too and was one of the five sites recognized by GIANTS magazine (I don’t think GIANTS magazine has a website).
Looks like Sarah has not updated her site in a while although I did find a January 2004 entry in her guestbook.
Well there you have it, a brief review of those early pioneers. I don't doubt I missed a few. For one, I can’t find the complete list of sites (9 in all) that the Giants Virtual Dugout recognized on May 6, 1999.
I have a print out of the first site mentioned (mine) in the article (Surfing With The Fans), but didn’t keep the rest. I tried The Wayback Machine, an archive search engine, but was not able to find that article.
If someone does find it, I’d be very much obliged if you could send it to me.