1. cjvitek's Avatar
    MLB At Bat 2011 (iPad), By MLB.COM
    $14.99, ****1/2


    • Live game audio and video (if you pay)
    • Nice at-bat mode for watching game action
    • News feed to keep track of favorite teams


    • “At Bat” mode could be made even more impressive
    • No “league leaders” and limited team/league statistical information
    • Can’t buy “team” packages for video viewing

    I last review the MLB At Bat app for the iPhone, but I hadn’t purchased the iPad app last year. This year I decided to change that and take a look at the iPad app instead of the iPhone app. Yes, unfortunately the apps are separate, so you can’t buy a universal binary. To make matters worse, there are advertisements in the app as well. Hey, MLB, how about selling an ad free version is you are paying $15!!

    The iPad app is much more impressive than the iPhone app was last year. I can’t compare it to the iPad app last year (since I didn’t buy it) but I will tell you about the features the impressed me. First, however, I did buy the MLB.TV subscription so I am able to watch live games. There currently is a free one month trial of MBL.TV for the first month, so you can try the app out first before buying the subscription. The live video is a very good quality, assuming you have a good wifi connection (I haven’t tried it with the 3G connection). Assuming there are no blackout restriction, you can watch any game on the schedule, with either the home or the visitor video feed. To the best of my knowledge, there isn’t a way to buy an “in app subscription” to MLB.TV – you need to do that through the MLB website. If you have an MLB.TV account subscription, you also have access to the archived games – you can watch any previous game (although when I have done so, its checks the blackout restrictions, but still let me play the video)

    For people without the MLB.TV subscription, there are still lots of features available for you. First, some details which are similar to the iPhone app. Just like the iPhone app, you can listen to both home and away radio broadcasts. The radio broadcasts are great, and I have found myself listening to those in the background when I am working (even though I could have the live video feed). Just like the iPhone app, you can have access to updated baseball news, standings, player data, and video highlights of games. One really nice feature I am happy to see is a “game summary”. You can see the highlights of a game, condensed into a game summary. This option is available when you see older games (along with the archived video footage). Please note, the full archived games are only available if you have a MLB.TV account subscription.

    For people who somewhat want to feel they are following a live game, but don’t have a video feed, you have the “Game Day” screen. This screen can give you up the minute, pitch by pitch results of each at bat. Unfortunately, they don’t let you stream the gameday audio at the same time, which would be really interesting. They probably prevent in case they audio doesn’t “sync” with the Game Day screen information.

    In the Game Day screen view, you arep resented with the view as if you are the catcher. You can watch pitch by pitch what is happening, with instant information if the pitch was a ball, a strike, a foul, or put in play. You can also have additional screens of information appear – the “matchup screen” telling you about the pitcher and the batter, the box score screen, the plays screen (telling you about all the major plays up to that point), the lineups, or you can click on video highlights. This Game Day screen is pretty nice, although it would be nice to have various sound effects (which you get if you are watching online via a computer). I would also like to be able to see alternating views (such as when a ball is hit, acting like a camera and “following” the ball). This would make it seem much more like you are watching a live game.

    But even with those wish list items, the Game Day view is pretty awesome. My personal favorite add on is a feature where you can get detailed pitch information – the speed, , type of pitch, break, etc. With all that information, however, I still wish there was more. It would be great to be able to see things like how many pitches of a specific type a pitcher has thrown, or the average velocity of each kind of pitch. You know, the kind of information that a baseball nerd would want.

    With all the great features, I still wish there was more. I wish there were more detailed stats available, including things like league leaders and team stats. Right now, the only team information you can get is the standing. I wish you could do a split screen view to either follow a couple of games or have multiple live information shown (this is available on the computer version online for MLB.TV). Basically, I wish that all the features available with online viewing of a game via MLB.TV (on a computer) were available on this app as well.

    I also wish you could buy a “Team package” to get access to a specific teams video feed, rather than having to buy ALL the video feed as a package. I wish it was a universal app, so I didn’t have to spend $30 to have it on both my iPhone and Ipad (how about selling both individually, and making a universal app for $20 or something!). But even with these complaints, MLB At Bat 2011 is still a great app.

    All in all, this app is a MUST for any baseball fan. While having the MLB.TV subscription enhances the app, it is not by any means required to make this app worthwhile. Loads of features are available, making it fun to watch or listen to any live game. While the price is a little steep ($14.99) and it is NOT a universal binary, for someone like myself who wants to follow a couple of teams throughout the season, this app is almost a must buy. Four and a half out of five stars.

    Rating scale:

    * = No redeeming qualities or features, probably not worth it even if it is free
    ** = Few redeeming qualities, or is simply isn't worth the price
    *** = Some good features but also some clear flaws.
    **** = A solid app, worth the money if interested, a few flaws or problems or slightly overpriced
    ***** = Top of the line app, no problems or drawbacks.

    Price is factored into the ratings. Ratings are lowered if I feel the price of the app outweighs the benefits/enjoyment/features it provides. Likewise, an app that is a good value for the money will have a higher rating. 
    wingnut73 likes this.
    04-08-2011 05:34 PM
  2. Rainman76's Avatar
    The reason there are ads in the MLB at Bat App is that Volvo is sponsoring free video streaming of all games for the month of April. So if I have to deal with ads for only a month and get video streaming of all out-of-market games without having to pay the $25 for a month, then I am ok with a little bit of ads.

    We'll see what happens in May. Will the ads just disappear? If so, then no biggie. But if they stay, then we have something to complain about.

    As for a team package, not sure if that makes sense as most people would probably want their favorite team, but because of lame MLB rules, in-market games would be blacked out. My personal wish would be to show batter hot/cold zones. That's available on the regular MLB website and would be great to have on the At Bat app.
    04-11-2011 08:40 PM
  3. GPD1739A's Avatar
    Let me add my vote to the annoyance of the archaic MLB in-market blackout restrictions. I can see that if the streaming was free, but when you're paying $25 a month or over $100 per season for these games there should be NO restrictions at all. It's exactly the same as paying a cable provider for the channels that the in-market games are broadcast on.

    And that's the one and ONLY reason why I don't purchase the MLB.TV add-on.

    I'd be using the MLB.TV add-on to watch my local team's games when I'm traveling or otherwise away from a television screen. I don't really care about 95% of the out-of-market games - that's like someone saying "if you buy one of these, we'll give you five more for free" when the selection for the free ones aren't anything anyone would want anyways.

    C'mon, MLB - wake up and get into at least the previous decade. Enough with these crappy in-market blackout restrictions already.
    04-12-2011 06:14 AM
  4. sangs's Avatar
    I'd be using the MLB.TV add-on to watch my local team's games when I'm traveling or otherwise away from a television screen. I don't really care about 95% of the out-of-market games - that's like someone saying "if you buy one of these, we'll give you five more for free" when the selection for the free ones aren't anything anyone would want anyways.

    C'mon, MLB - wake up and get into at least the previous decade. Enough with these crappy in-market blackout restrictions already.
    I just did that last week and it worked perfectly fine. Traveled out of my home area (Mets), went to view the Mets game on the iPad and watched it no problem. I think the app determines the location of where you are at the time you want to watch. So while Mets games are blacked out for me at home, they aren't when I'm in, say, Chicago (assuming they aren't playing Cubs or Chisox at the time).
    04-12-2011 07:07 AM
  5. yanks19's Avatar
    i think that's what Mydnyte was saying.... it would only be useful when travelling as the local team would always be blacked out. i can see this would be an issue for a lot of people but for me, living well outside of the Yankees blackout area, it's great to be able to actually watch most of the games.... except on the weekends. again because of the stupid blackout restrictions!
    04-12-2011 08:12 AM
  6. cjvitek's Avatar
    I know last year (or the year before) you could buy individual games to watch. At least I think I remember that. Plus they had a free game of the day. For sporadic viewers, buying individual games is probably the way to go - assuming I am remembering correctly. I couldn't verify these since this month all games are free.
    04-12-2011 09:33 AM
  7. Eileen89's Avatar
    I have this app but I'm still using the free version. Haven't decided whether I want to use the paid version or not. Great review of this app, though.
    08-25-2011 04:30 AM
  8. Drix's Avatar
    Great review. A bit expensive, but it looks a good app.
    08-27-2011 11:00 AM