Thursday, January 17, 2008
As we were compiling our NLI list, we had the opportunity to view hundreds of high school and travel team web sites. So, we decided to rate them. Our criteria were not based on design and how great they looked, but content, updated articles and continuing education and news. It's not the sizzle, but the steak. We think web sites should look good, don't get us wrong...We live in a very visual world, but a content rich web site keeps them coming back for more and those usually equate to good baseball programs as well. Another characteristic of our Top 5 is that none of these sites have sappy baseball music or that grating, computerized version of "Centerfield". Sites that have that...delete it..it's annoying. So enjoy RT's first Top 5 Baseball Team Web Sites. The link to the sites is in the underlined name of the program.
#1.LASSITER HIGH SCHOOL
This Marietta, Ga High School thought of everything when they put this site together and it all centers around the players. We like that. First, it's not your typical eteamz web site like most travel teams and high schools have. In fact, it' very uncharacteristic of a high school site, which is why it got our top vote. It's a good looking, professional design and very easy to navigate. More importantly, it is updated. All of the information on the home page refers to future dates. Unlike most high school web sites this time of year, there are no old stories still lingering from last season. Kudos to the coaches or athletic director for keeping the information fresh. And as you navigate from page to page, the content just gets better. Our favorite was the Roster Page. One advantage of having a sunbelt location is that a coach can pick most of his team early and the coaches have done an outstanding job of designing their roster like a college or pro media guide. There is a picture and bio of each and every player and the team manager. This coaching staff didn't hesitate to list their pre-try-out picks. That's should be an incentive for the rest of the players trying out in a few weeks to want to be on that page too. The site has just about everything you want to know about stats, team history, coaches bios, pictures of the facility, booster information, an ongoing calendar and even a page that has the logos and links to their scoreboard, banner and game day sponsors. This is a model web site for all to strive for. Great Job Lassiter Trojans!
#2. Houston Banditos Baseball
Go ahead and click on this web site before you read what we have to say (link above)...Impressed? Thought so. Inside is good too! The Banditos have taken the stance of "OFF-SEASON...WHAT OFFSEASON?...So, they have created an updated web site for their youth programs. Most high school travel teams have to be dormant until the high school season is over, but the Banditos have a youth program and they are still playing and practicing. Look on their updated news page. They took pictures last week and posted them on their web site immediately. Also, notice that they are in shorts and T-shirts on January 5th. So were we, but who's bragging. Their Alumni/Player evaluation page is above and beyond what most teams put together as well. They also have a message board with actual posts and threads. And, their try-out page has a video intro from Bandito alumni Troy Patton, now playing in the Astros organization. Keep up the good work Banditos!
#3. Central Carolina Prospect/Anglers
This is another player centric site. Design wise, it's bland, but it's the content that stands out. We like their Anglers Showcase Team Page. They already have the 2008 Summer schedule posted and the team roster set. Like Lassiter, they included pictures and short bios on their players. Since most travel teams have try-outs, the posted roster has the feel of a college team with each player being announced as "committing" to the Anglers. The Scout Team page is simpler, but has a well designed profile link to the left of the players name. As we have stated on previous posts, we stress that you ask for references when choosing a travel team and this site has a testimonial page praising the team and it's founder Freddy Suggs. Keep it Up Anglers!
#4. New England Ruffnecks
This site is clean, updated and very easy to navigate. It doesn't overwhelm the player or parent with information and everything they need is easy to find. We like this site because even though this Boston based club is in the middle of a harsh winter, they are updating their site with tips, announcements and practice updates every day. They have even reprinted a few Rounding Third articles on their home page and we swear that didn't sway us one bit. Everything about this site is so well organized, from the About section, to the Teams page and so on. The individual team pages have complete 2008 rosters, slide shows of each player and updated announcements. It's no coincidence that the Ruffnecks are also one of the premier travel clubs in the New England area. Stay Focused Ruffnecks!
We feel guilty that we keep mentioning this Northern California organization, but they seem to do a lot right. Their web site design is very well done and the information and content is constantly changing. Like the previous four teams, Norcal is the type of team that keeps it's players engaged year round not only in outdoor and indoor practices, but on their web site as well. They have full rosters posted on every team, camp and lesson information as well as details on their big scout attended showcase this summer, the Bay Area World Series. They have a impressive alumni page and links to local training and conditioning programs. There's a lot of activity on this site from links to videos to articles. Good work Norcal!
There were others worth noting like Cactus Shadows High School in Arizona and the Seattle Stars. Even though we have literally viewed hundreds of sites, there are a few we haven't seen we are sure. If there is one in particular that you like, send us a comment below and we'll review it.