Friday, July 11, 2008

MLB for iPhone: A Review

A few weeks ago I blogged about the new MLB At Bat application for iPhone. I promised a review when it came out.

It came out, and it's very cool.

I upgraded my existing iPhone with the new 2.0 software (which is free for all iPhone users), and immediately shopped the iTunes App Store to find MLB At Bat. It costs $4.99, which covers the service at least through the 2008 season and post-season.

What does it do? It gives you near-real-time scores of every baseball game, every day. But that's no big deal. The cool thing is that it gives you video highlights of every game, DURING the game -- usually a few minutes after the plays happen.

So in yesterday's Oakland-Seattle game, I was able to watch Jack Cust's and Kurt Suzuki's 9th-inning home runs within a few minutes of the events occurring. It was really awesome.

Now it's not perfect. I waited and waited for the program to pick up the highlights of Emil Brown's game-WINNING home run and they never did it. Also, the performance of the video left a lot to be desired. I thought I was in a pretty good Wi-Fi hotspot, but the videos kept starting and stopping. I don't know who's responsible -- MLB or the WiFi provider -- but it can get a little frustrating.

Also, I wish the program provided more than just scores -- ball/strikes, runners on, etc. -- would be helpful. And if you want to see a box score, you have to tap a little link that opens the box score in the Safari web browser.

I would imagine that those features will be added in a version 2 of the application. Even without those features, $4.99 is a bargain.

What about next year? Continuing major league baseball's proud tradition of screwing over its most loyal fans, I would imagine that the price will go up considerably next year. My prediction is that it'll cost $4.99 per month, or $19.99 per season, with the post-season costing extra.

Until then, it's my belief that MLB At Bat is a great deal and a great reason to buy yourself an iPhone 3G. Good luck getting one.

Link: Buy MLB At Bat in iTunes

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