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"It's redefined the way to follow a game," Smoltz said Thursday night at Citi Field, where he worked the Cubs-Mets game for MLB Network. "I couldn't do this at all if I wasn't able to watch video. I watch the [MLB.com At Bat] app to get ready for my games just because it's the only way I can catch up. The numbers are numbers. I can look up every number in the world. I can look up statistics that can tell the story. But when I get to see video, when I get to see actual footage, that's a difference-maker for me.
"Just looking at it obviously gives me a much better chance than just saying, 'He's struggling on a 1-and-1 count, or a 2-0 count or he's getting behind.' Just being able to look at certain matchups and being watch a full game is one thing, but being able to catch up that way is a lot more important for what I do today."
Nodding toward the Cubs clubhouse and players who were getting dressed for batting practice as he spoke, Smoltz added, "It's more necessary for me than for guys in here, because they have video that they're going to go to, but if they're on a bus or a plane, if they want to watch the next team they're facing, playing that moment -- MLB.TV is cool."
On Aug. 26, 2002, Smoltz and the Braves had an off-day in their schedule. He was between his 45th and 46th saves on the way to setting the National League record with 55. Meanwhile that day, the first live stream of a Major League Baseball game happened in New York, leading the way to what became known to millions as MLB.TV.
It is a far different world from that day in 2002, when he was embracing his role as a converted reliever. The live stream was about the size of a postage stamp then.
Today, MLB.TV Premium has the best value and provides access to more than 400 devices and a free subscription to the MLB.com At Bat Premium app (a $19.99 value). It offers the best picture quality ever -- a new 60 frames per second -- for supported devices.
MLB.TV Premium subscribers get the Mosaic View -- split screen or quad, available on PC or Mac only. MLB.TV Premium and MLB.TV Single Team subscribers both enjoy HD and both get real-time highlights and player stats automatically loaded moments after they occur (only for the game you are watching with MLB.TV Single Team, and for all games with MLB.TV Premium).
"It's unbelievable. It's almost like we landed on the moon," Smoltz said of the difference since 2002. "You can't believe it, that you can sit on a bus or sit anywhere and be able to watch a game. ... A player can catch up with other things, other teams, other pitchers, it's fantastic."
Smoltz was an All-Star eight times during his 21-year career, including that historic season for baseball technology when he answered the call as a closer for Braves manager Bobby Cox. As the clock ticks down to that night at Petco Park when he becomes a voice for a mass audience at a jewel event, Smoltz was asked if he ever thought as a player that he would one day be this immersed as a baseball broadcaster.
"No way," he said matter-of-factly. "And I'm still struggling with all the information, because it doesn't make a lot of sense to me, totally. With balance, I think everything's got a chance to be pretty good."
On Tuesday, July 12, watch the 2016 All-Star Game presented by MasterCard live on FOX, as well as MLB.TV Premium (for authenticated subscribers, by choosing your cable provider), and during the game visit MLB.com to submit your choice for the Ted Williams Most Valuable Player Award presented by Chevrolet via the 2016 MLB All-Star Game MVP Vote.
The 87th All-Star Game will be televised nationally by FOX, in Canada by Rogers Sportsnet and RDS, and worldwide by partners in more than 160 countries via MLB International's independent feed. ESPN Radio and ESPN Radio Deportes will provide national radio coverage of the All-Star Game. MLB.com, MLB Network and SiriusXM will also provide comprehensive All-Star Week coverage. For more information, please visit allstargame.com.