New media player.
As a final buildup to the moments everyone has been waiting for, MLB.com is giving all fans a free public beta test stream of all the games that bring the first Major League Baseball action to New York's two newest architectural wonders.
The Yankees and Mets were both winners on Friday, with the Bronx Bombers beating the Cubs, 7-4, and the Mets edging the Red Sox, 4-3.
You just have to be a registered MLB.com user (free) to watch Saturday's games. Here are the pitching matchups:
Cubs at Yankees, 1:05 p.m. ET: RHP Rich Harden vs. RHP A.J. Burnett.
Red Sox at Mets, 1:10 p.m. ET: RHP Daisuke Matsuzaka vs. LHP Oliver Perez.
Take a good look at Citi Field. It's beautiful and it's open for business.
Take a good look at new Yankee Stadium. It's beautiful and it's open for business.
Take a good look at the MLB.TV Premium media player. It's beautiful and it's open for business. It's also the best in the business.
Experience the unbelievable live high-definition picture on a computer, with adaptive bit-rate determination; the playback controls with Premium live-game DVR and jump-to-inning navigation; the picture-in-picture, which will be huge during the season; the built-in live scoreboard of the day's games; the game summary and box score widgets; the full-screen and multiview switching; the user preference setting that can show/hide score spoilers; the archives games and the feed switching -- with more to come.
Just as important right now is the easy subscription purchase and upgrade experience built right into the new media player -- something many fans are sure to enjoy while watching these matchups featuring four preseason favorites. A subscription to MLB.TV Premium is $109.99 for the year, a $10 drop from 2008, despite the biggest upgrade to date for this technology.
Just sign up for a free account on MLB.com or log in and off you go to watch the live action. Millions of fans already have subscribed to MLB.TV to watch live baseball over their computers, and now is the time to sign up for the season. Monday offers a wide assortment of Opening Day games, and you will want to have this formality out of the way beforehand so that you can go from game to game, getting a feel for the priceless pageantry that will be the case in every unique presentation around the Majors.
Because these games in New York are the final beta tests, be sure also to join other MLB.TV Premium viewers on the official MLB.TV blog. Feel free to submit your comments there and interact with the technology's developers as the final touches are put on this baby. It is by far the headiest upgrade in any single year since that first Rangers-Yankees game was streamed live on MLB.com back in 2002. It is original code development just for baseball fans, and they have played a key role by providing end-user feedback throughout this series of free beta public tests.
New features will incorporated for 2009 include: Gameday Audio; possible sound panning between TV and Radio; real-time video highlights from around the league; Player Tracker widget; and a lot of fixes behind the scenes.
One fan commented after Wednesday's Florida-Baltimore test: "Best night ever with the beta." It was a day game in Florida, but a night game where that fan was watching in Italy. That one sentence alone tells you much of what you need to know about MLB.TV Premium: You can watch live Major League Baseball all around the world, whether it's amid the ruins of Rome or at a hotel while on a business trip away from your favorite team's city. And in the case of these four free public beta tests, you don't have to be a fan of these clubs to be curious about the new parks and the new player.
Speaking of new players: Have you seen Mark Teixeira at first for the Yankees yet? Have you seen what Lou Piniella's defending National League Central champs look like so far? Have you seen how David Ortiz is looking these days? Have you watched Francisco Rodriguez close out a Mets game since leaving the Angels?
"Looking great here in Germany, good picture quality at seven bars, no black bars whatsoever on my 42-inch HDTV. Awesome!" That was the report on the blog from a Yankee fan named Christian during the recent Yankees-Phillies public beta test. Added Alison in those comments: "The quality ... is the best I've seen on the NexDef service - keep it up!" An unnamed fan added: "For me, this is the best it has looked so far this year. No freezing or skipping, even at 7 bars in full screen."
Another fan wrote: "This beta is running really great on my computer -- I read all the updates and am very excited. I would like to urge that when the player is complete that the people making the new player create a video that shows all the features and how to use them exactly that would be great. Good work."
This is what "ellatheplug" had to say: "I'm excited that I got the opportunity to test it before I decide to invest in a season package."
Log in or start that free MLB.com account, check out the new parks and the new MLB.TV Premium media player, make sure you are signed up for the full season, and soak it up. Opening Day is almost here at last.
Mark Newman is enterprise editor of MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.