iPhone: MLB At Bat

I bought this app for my iPhone last year, it was around three or four bucks. It was pretty basic at first but did offer box scores and constantly updated details of games in progress and videos of ‘hot plays’. Then they added the Gameday stuff which enhanced it further. The one thing most of us iPhone users really wished for though was the ability to listen to the games via Gameday Audio, a really nice feature if you happen to be away from your computer, say you’re on a train, driving, at an airport, etc.

Well, the MLB folks promised they’d bring us Gameday Audio, and it looks like they’ve delivered. Now there’s two guises of At Bat available this season. A free app that lets you see updated scores and schedules, and a $9.99 version that lets you listen to Gameday Audio on the go, and throws in a whole heap of other things like video highlights and live pitch-by-pitch updates.

Now, I already pay my $14.95 per season to listen to Gameday Audio online — I think it’s a fantastic value in the wide world of sports — and love listening to the irritating ads they play on the Twins Radio Network. Perhaps I’m just a whiny skinflint, but to be perfectly honest, I’m a little aggrieved at having to fork out another $9.99 just for the iPhone privilege. I don’t think it’s unreasonable to pay a little extra for the iPhone app, but I’d have hoped the MLB folks would’ve been generous enough to offer the iPhone app to existing Gameday Audio subscribers for a reduced price at the very least.

So should I stick with the free At Bat iPhone app? Well, here’s an interesting thing. People are going to be disappointed with the “lite” version when the season proper begins! It’s had a full suite of features for Spring Training, but once the season starts afresh, the free version is ONLY going to have scores and schedules. Only the full $9.99 app is going to have the video, the live boxscores, the pitch-by-pitch Gameday animations, and of course, the Gameday Audio.

A lot of people are raving about how cool having the Gameday Audio on the iPhone is, and sure, they’re probably right. But no-one has heard a single game yet! Does it work over Edge or 3G? Will it require a wi-fi connection? How is the quality going to be? You’d have thought the MLB folks would have also offered a few audio streams of Spring Training games just to test the service… Right now there’s a lot of people who have forked out $9.99 and have smothered the application with praise, and we’re yet to even hear a single game so far. Meanwhile, people have seen a very functional free MLB At Bat during Spring Training, and yet much of that functionality is going to disappear come Monday.

We’ll see how things pan out next week. I’m hoping the iPhone app will prove to be a winner, because then I might be happier to fork out my hard-earned 10 bucks. At the same time however, if you’ve been confused by this posting, perhaps it shows that MLB isn’t exactly being transparent with it mobile offerings either



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