HD picture quality (where HD is available), adaptive bit-rate determination to ensure clarity along with manual override capability; home and away feeds so that you decide which team's broadcasters; Live Radio Option so you can choose TV or radio booth feeds; live game DVR and jump-to-inning navigation; picture-in-picture, which will be huge during the season as you need to follow other games in your pennant race; built-in live scoreboard of the day's games; game summary and box score widgets; full-screen and multi-view switching; user preference setting that can show/hide score spoilers and more.
This season was worth the interminably long wait, and you are reminded again of the importance of every single pitch. You can dismiss a loss as "just one of 162," yet when the pennant race closes, some of you will look back and wish you had that one back. What you love most is the great unknown, the mystery of a great play or a milestone or a memory of a lifetime happening right before you eyes. Today you can see:
Opening Day at Fenway Park, delayed a day by bad weather and featuring that 2008 American League Championship Series rematch against the Rays. Shields vs. Beckett is the kind of matchup that had us going gaga last October. The Royals and White Sox open after their own Monday postponement, and one easily could envision them playing this AL Central game under more intense circumstances this September.
How about Ryan Braun vs. Tim Lincecum? It is a dream matchup between two of the finest young stars in the game today. Milwaukee, coming off its first postseason appearance in 27 years, opens at AT&T Park against a reloaded Giants team that has designs on a major turnaround into contention. Lincecum led the Majors in strikeouts last season in winning the National League Cy Young Award, and now it is time to see if he picks up where he left off in 2008.
The Astros are celebrating their 10th season at Minute Maid Park, and their fans are loving the special pregame celebrations involving past Astros players. But the Cubs are there as two-time defending NL Central champs, and the road may very well go through Wrigley again. See if Rodriguez can stop that Cubs offense.
In every case today, there is a starting pitcher with a "0-0" next to his name among the probable pitchers. Opening Day is a time for the players to step up and perform for real, and the same is true of the best technology in sports today.
Kirsten Sandefur is from San Dimas, Calif., and she is attending school at the University of Hawaii at Manoa. The Dodgers are her favorite team, but she also likes the Rockies and Twins mainly to watch Troy Tulowitzki as well as Joe Mauer and Justin Morneau. Sandefur told MLB.com via email that MLB.TV Premium is her answer.
"Being able to watch the games makes me feel more like I'm at home since there aren't any pro teams over here and it keeps me connected with my family because it gives us something to just chit chat over," she said. "This is my second season using MLB.TV. Living over in Hawaii for school, I don't get to go to any games unless I'm back home in California, so MLB.TV is a must for me, especially with minimal channels in my apartment. If one of my teams aren't playing, I'll still put a game on, just to get my baseball fix."
Beau Frusetta is a Red Sox fan in Phoenix and he also uses it to follow his team in a way no other broadcast capability can match. It is anywhere-baseball, loaded with interactive functionalities that are beyond your average TV set's capabilities. They just don't make those with Fantasy trackers built in or constant delivery of highlights.
"Having an HD stream available from MLB.TV this year is amazing -- some other professional sports leagues should take note," he said. "I think what most people don't realize is that you can hook your computers up to those lovely 40-inch-plus LCD HD TVs that everyone has these days and stream HD content from the internet in full screen to their TVs. For $20 a month, that's a smoking deal to be able to see all the Red Sox games that I miss during the year being in the Phoenix market. It's also a much better deal than you'd get on some other services like satellite/cable, and you can take it with you if you have a laptop -- not much better than that!"
Frusetta said he really wants to "try out the new DVR functionality built in, as well as the player stat stuff on the screen. I'm pretty sure MLB.TV is going to be EPIC this year. It's hard to get out to Boston to go catch a game at Fenway, heck, its hard to just get tickets. But with MLB.TV, I've got full access to live and archived games 24/7 -- definitely a baseball fan's best friend for the 21st century."
You might be able to relate to Michael Brendan Dougherty, a Mets fan in Washington who has MLB.TV Premium ready to rock.
"This is my third year subscribing to MLB.TV," he said. "I'm a New York Mets fan who has been working in D.C. all this time. Being able to watch my home announcers was a great addition at the end of last season. The improvement year-to-year is amazing. Having seen the World Baseball Classic player, I'm astonished at the smooth HD quality picture this year. I can watch on my laptop from across the room. Even though I'm moving back to New York in a few weeks, I'm going to keep the service so I can keep up with all the players on my fantasy baseball team."
Everyone has her or his reasons to subscribe to MLB.TV Premium for this season, and the biggest ones of all are the ones in the big leagues right now. They are the 750 guys who broke camp on the Opening Day rosters, and now fans are able to see what MLB.TV Premium is capable of and what the players on it can do as well.
It's a new media player, a new season, new players, two new parks and new hope. It's under way and it's the way to watch live games today. This is the 2009 Major League Baseball season live on your computer.