© St. Petersburg Times, published January 11, 2002
Having seen his team officially folded by Major League Soccer two days earlier, Mutiny president Bill Manning faced a strange moment during a staff meeting Thursday morning: Essentially, he had to write an epitaph for his team.
Manning will have larger issues to deal with in closing the Mutiny's business in upcoming months, but by this weekend he plans to answer one question: What to post on a Web site for a team that no longer exists.
"We discussed putting up a memorial page to the team, some kind of thank you from the staff," said Manning, whose site was updated Tuesday with a story headlined "MLS Ceases Operation of Fusion, Mutiny."
The site is Manning's only venue to allow the team to say goodbye to its fans. By this morning, players will be dispersed around the league, perhaps the team's final act after six years in Tampa.
"It's our chance to thank the fans for their support over the last years," Manning said. "We want to create a lasting image for the next few months."
The team's fellow castoff dealt with its dismissal more quickly. Miamifusion.com has been reduced to a single page, with a letter from its team president and a link to the official league site, mlsnet.com.
The Mutiny's site is in an awkward transition that seems like denial. The site's main link still seeks volunteers for next season, and a special season-ticket package sadly boasts an extension until Jan. 18.
Manning isn't alone in having a local sports site that outlives its subject. Florida 2012 lost in October its bid to represent the United States as a candidate to host the Olympics, but the group's site, florida2012.org, has not been updated to reflect its elimination.
The top link remains "Why We Can Win," and site producer TBO.com said it tried several times to reach Florida 2012 officers about updating with an acknowledgement or letter of thanks.
"I guess that's not their top priority," said Sabina Espinet, a production team leader at TBO.com who designed and maintained the site. "I know they were given six months to dissolve their assets, but what they have on the site right now is very misleading."
Joe Schwartz, Florida 2012's director of legacy programs, said the group has pared its staff from 15 to two, and 75 area leaders will convene in Lakeland today for a "final meeting" to discuss "how we can go forward." As for the site, Schwartz said it will be discussed but "won't go on much longer."
A quicker response is likely from the University of Florida, which expanded its official athletics site (gatorzone.com) in August with a special section for football coach Steve Spurrier, who resigned last week to pursue an NFL career. The section still identifies Spurrier as coach, and some time before August Florida will have to tone down the Spurrier content. He certainly warrants a page, and new coach Ron Zook doesn't exactly command the same prominence; it may be a few years before he gets a photo album of his own.
TID-BYTES: The Bucs have previewed games with a short movie at buccaneers.com, typically a cocky, trash-talking feature. In advancing Saturday's playoff game at Philadelphia, the Bucs are more humbly portraying themselves as cartoon superheroes flying from their "stadium of justice" to battle the "evil" Eagles. ... Sportsline.com staff writer Dennis Dodd called Florida quarterback Rex Grossman's Indiana home the night Zook was hired and published this flattering welcome-aboard quote from Rex's mom, Maureen: "What do you know about Ron Zook? We really have no idea. We're asking other people." -- If you have a question or comment about the Internet or a site to suggest, e-mail staff writer Greg Auman at email@example.com.