Get innovative with Video Alerts

Get innovative with Video Alerts

In the 1960s, the concept of instant replay was introduced to Major League Baseball fans with NBC's Game of the Week. Along the way, fans grew accustomed to seeing a key play shown again seconds later, such as Boston's Carlton Fisk repeatedly waving that ball fair in Game 6 of the 1975 World Series against Cincinnati.

Then came an era of around-the-clock sports highlights, a staple of ESPN SportsCenter and so many other cable-television outlets. Attention spans continually dwindled, and the baseball fan had to see mind-boggling plays replayed as often and as quickly as possible. It was never quite often or quickly enough.

Fast-forward to Opening Day 2008, and the next step in this evolution:

MLB.com Video Alerts -- near real-time highlights -- delivered straight to your mobile phone. Now you can see a huge play anywhere right after it happens.

This is one of the coolest additions to the techie's baseball life. An enhancement to MLB.com Mobile Team Alerts, the new Video Alerts are available starting Opening Day on select Verizon, AT&T and Sprint handsets, including smart phones. Go beyond text messaging by actually seeing that grand slam or diving catch.

Clips will be cut and sent to you within three minutes after the play occurs -- the ultimate bang-bang play for the modern fan. Look for up to five video alerts per game.

Sign up by texting "get" followed by the club name to 65246. For example, if you are a Mets fan, you send the text "get mets" to 65246. Once you sign up for the text alerts, MLB.com will send eligible fans a second text message offering the Video Alerts service.

MLB.com is offering the service to Team Alert subscribers at no additional fee. It is still only $3.99 per month for Team Alerts, and that now includes both text and Video Alerts as a big-time bonus for 2008. So just think -- you get one of the true highlights in sports-replay history for free. That's how it was in the 60s when NBC added instant replay.

"The MLB.com Video Alerts service is one of the real game-changers for the 2008 season," said Adam Ritter, vice president of wireless at Major League Baseball Advanced Media. "All of these highlights will be editorially controlled, so they are the big plays you want. The content is formatted for mobile, so it's optimized to look good on your device. So you'll not only be the first to know, you'll be the first to see."

Fans must have a video-enabled handset and a mobile internet data plan. If you do, then the experience will be seamless. You will receive a text alert right after an event happens, if you have chosen to receive an alert. When you sign up for text alerts, you can go to MLB.com Mobile and customize your Team Alerts using "mdash" -- the Mobile Dashboard.

MLB.com Mobile also will be serving the iPhone for these Video Alerts. MLB.com just made that wonder of technology even more useful. MLB.com will be supporting a wide variety of smart phones, as well as your carrier's 3G-enabled handsets that are video-enabled. More new phones will be supported as they become available.

There also is a PC-based version of Video Alerts, and it is available through the popular MLB.com Gameday real-time app. You can take a 30-day free trial. The highlights will be the same as the mobile version, just over a different platform.

Even with all the traditional pageantry such as the parade in Cincinnati or the clop-clop of the Clydesdales around Busch Stadium in St. Louis, this Opening Day is going to be so different. There are going to be some plays on the first day of the season that never have been seen before. Someone is going to do something unbelievable.

And best of all, you are going to watch the highlights when they happen on your mobile phone. It's just another broadcasting milestone from the national pastime.

Mark Newman is enterprise editor for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.