The free Spring Training exhibition games will be:
Indians at Braves, 1:10 p.m. ET
Orioles at Nationals, 6 p.m. ET
Padres at Angels, 9:05 p.m. ET
Fans of those teams will be fired up about this offer, for obvious reasons. Each of those games will be played at the home team's regular-season ballpark, including the first game between two Major League clubs at the new Nationals Park. Excitement is everywhere at the start of this season, especially in an era of unprecedented competitive balance. Hopes are sky-high and players are ready.
Fans of all teams will be fired up about the free webcasts, too, because it's a major test-drive opportunity for arguably the coolest technology in professional sports. The MLB.TV Generation continues to grow and the first professional sports league to broadcast its full schedule live via webcast (five years ago) now allows fans to see the new MLB.TV NexDef plug-in to watch one of these games in 1.2MB clarity.
It's a glimpse into the advantages of a full season or monthly subscription to MLB.TV Premium. Fans who watch any or all of those three games on Saturday will likely want to watch any of the 2,430 out-of-market games being offered via webcast during the regular season. Downloading NexDef will enhance the experience to provide smooth, TV-quality viewing -- living up to the elite level of play on the field.
The plug-in will be like that next hot prospect, bound to come out of the gates smoking. It will be like something fans have never seen before, just when you they think they've seen it all. There is Hi-Definition, and then there is NexDef, bringing even a bigger impact to the computer viewing experience than HD brought to the TV screen.
In addition to that, MLB.TV Premium subscribers will have access to MLB.TV Mosaic -- giving them the ability to watch two, three, four or six concurrent games, all on the same computer screen. Fans that use Mosaic will also have the option to get alerted when their fantasy players step to the plate, so that they don't miss a single at-bat.
Free. Live. Baseball. Computer.
Those are four of the best words you can imagine. What else is there?
"First, second, third, home."
"Will you marry me?"
"It is a boy."
"It is a girl."
"Happy birthday to you."
"Live Free Or Die."
"The world is round."
Think about four little words, and try to imagine how it could possibly get any better or more interesting than:
Free. Live. Baseball. Computer.
Seems like just yesterday that we thought, "Pitchers and catchers report" was as good as it got. Now, there's something much better. If you are considering joining the MLB.TV Generation for the first time, or if you are considering having another go at it, experience the enhanced technology of 2008.
MLB.TV Premium, available for subscription at $119.95 yearly or $19.95 by the month, is as good as it gets for the truly tech-savvy baseball fan. Watch any of these free games on Saturday, and you will get a taste of what could lie ahead in a blissful summer. MLB.TV's basic package is $89.95 yearly or $14.95 monthly, and it also is loaded with exclusive features, including an enhanced video player, 400K picture quality and also comes with MLB.com Gameday Audio, as does the Premium service.
Fans who subscribe now to MLB.TV or MLB.TV Premium are automatically entered in the MLB.TV Sweepstakes for a chance to win a 26-inch Sharp Aquos television. Watching the free MLB.TV games on Saturday does not qualify fans for the sweepstakes; fans must subscribe to have a shot at that prize.
It's time to get into the routine of the perfect baseball season. It's time for all of those openers and all of that pageantry. You can feel it now. Chipper Jones swinging away again at Turner Field. The Nationals are seeing what it feels like to play in a new home. Vlad Guerrero and the Angels expect to be alive in late October, and it all starts with a game like this against a Padres team we last saw in a 163rd tie-breaking contest as the 2007 regular season concluded.
It's here. MLB.TV's exclusive free webcasts on Saturday are bound to change the way fans view games. They won't want to live without it -- kind of like our 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.