Like a left-hander coming in from the bullpen, relief is here.
Starting Friday, San Francisco Giants fans will have limited access to the Internet at one of five "Web Stations" at the park, making it the first major league baseball stadium in the nation to provide such a service.
Streetspace Inc., the San Francisco company that last year installed similar terminals at cafes and shops in Berkeley, put the sleek little machines in the ballpark to give people access to e-mail as well as selected sponsor sites.
"People are pretty much living on line these days. If there's a break in the action or people are just walking around, it's a great way to keep in touch," explained Michael Wranovics, vice president of marketing at Streetspace.
The terminals allow people to check out the San Francisco Giants' home page, SFGiants.com, as well as the other sponsoring sites.
It does not give people full access to the Internet but instead operates as a closed network powered by Pacific Bell's high-speed digital subscriber line, or DSL.
Wranovics said the stations are not designed for people to spend long periods of time surfing the Web.
The stations, rather, allow people to send or receive mail, make restaurant reservations or transactions, look at movie schedules or get other quick bits of information.
While the service is free to users, they must first register with Streetspace to access the sites. Wranovics said the registration is for privacy and for the company's internal information and that the information is not sold or shared with other parties.
The Giants also do not pay for the Web Stations. The service is supported by five sponsors. The number of terminals may also be increased to as many as 30.
Mario Alioto, the Giants' senior vice president of corporate marketing, said the Giants considered installing "smart seats," or screens on the back of seats that could provide limited Internet access and other features.
Streetspace's Web Stations offered a less intrusive alternative, Alioto said.
"The reason we really wanted to do this is that it adds to the experience at the ballpark," he said. "It's there if you want it, but you don't have to go to it. It's just part of the attractions."