Whether you're Woody Allen or a baseball fan with cinema-graphic impulses, if you want to make a movie, you need a vision. Perhaps you want to show a tale of raw power, like the story of the Reds' home run barrage that helped beat the Dodgers 7-4 last Thursday. Or something more artistic—say, a montage of double plays turned by the Indians' slick shortstop, Omar Vizquel (right). Or how about a police drama in which Blue Jays outfielder-sheriff Raul Mondesi guns down runners trying to take an extra base? Such visions can become reality in Custom Cuts, a do-it-yourself highlights feature launched last month by mlb.com.
Custom Cuts auteurs need a RealPlayer plug-in and a modem with a speed of at least 56K. The site provides a video database of the 2001 season. Users can search for any player or any team in the categories of batting, pitching, fielding and baserunning and even refine the search according to specific circumstances, like strikeouts with the bases loaded and bunt singles. Clips can be played individually, or five can be meshed into an extended piece—for instance, the Mariners' Ichiro Suzuki swiping third five times.
For now Custom Cuts is free, but mlb.com soon plans to charge a flat fee (around $15). The fee will cover a daily e-mail delivering video highlights of selected players. "It'll be just like getting the morning paper," says Bob Bowman, CEO of Major League Baseball Advanced Media.
Plagued by incorrect scores and malfunctioning features, mlb.com got off to as bad a start this season as the A's. Like Oakland, though, the site is righting itself, and with Custom Cuts, it has hit a big home run.