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MLB.TV set for first spring game under the lights

MLB.TV set for first spring game under the lights

Signups are under way as the 11th year of watching live games on MLB.TV continues Monday with four more Spring Training exhibitions: Yankees at Orioles (1:05 p.m. ET), Tigers at Phillies (1:05), Cubs at Dodgers (3:05) and Nationals at Mets (6:10).

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More than 200 live Grapefruit and Cactus League games come with a subscription to MLB.TV Premium ($129.99 yearly or $24.99 monthly) or basic MLB.TV ($109.99 yearly or $19.99 monthly).

Tuesday's MLB.TV fare will feature Yankees at Phillies (1:05) and D-backs (ss) at Angels (3:05). Wednesday's slate features Orioles (ss) at Yankees (1:05), Cardinals at Mets (1:10), Giants at Angels (3:05) and Red Sox at Orioles (ss) (7:05), and that will be followed by five live streams on Thursday.

See the MLB.TV Spring Training schedule for full listings from Florida and Arizona, as you ease into a routine that will include all 2,430 live out-of-market regular-season games.

The MLB.com At Bat 13 app is available now with a suite of new features across iPhone, iPad, supported Android smartphones and tablets and Kindle Fire, so it is also time to enjoy Baseball Everywhere. MLB.TV Premium subscribers again may upgrade to At Bat for free, unlocking all premium features. Fans also may subscribe to At Bat for the one-time annual fee of $19.99, covering the entire season through the World Series. iOS users may pay $2.99 per month with the recurring billing offering.

Fans accessed 1.2 million live audio and video streams of the first available Spring Training games this past weekend across supported wired and wireless devices, representing an increase of 53 percent from last year's opening weekend of games. At Bat was downloaded 1.7 million times, a figure not reached until the app surpassed two million downloads on Opening Day 2012 (April 5), 37 days after its release and en route to the record-setting 6.7 million app downloads.

Some of the first things you'll likely see in the early going include Monday's first MLB.TV night game of the year; the MLB.TV debut of the reigning world champs from San Francisco; and stars like Albert Pujols; Dustin Pedroia; Robinson Cano; Adam Jones; David Freese, Prince Fielder, Chase Utley, Starlin Castro, Andre Ethier, David Wright and Martin Prado.

"It's been fun to watch, because of the progression of technology," said R.A. Dickey, whose debut for the Blue Jays on Monday is not on MLB.TV but can be heard live with MLB.com Gameday Audio. His mother, Leslie Wheeler, has been able to watch all his starts on MLB.TV since about 2006. "One, because it brings the gift of baseball into so many more lives. That's what's first and foremost -- it's awesome. Secondly, it gives my mom a chance to watch every time I pitch, which probably should be first."

Yes, a tradition is returning now.

"I signed up for MLB.TV three or four years ago and have never looked back," said Peter Drozda, a market-research analyst in the Milwaukee area and an MLB.TV Premium subscriber who follows the Red Sox (his lifelong favorite), Brewers and Royals. "I love that MLB.TV gives me every significant game, marquee pitching matchup and Vin Scully radio broadcast in the palm of my hands, regardless of where I am at the time.

"I use MLB.TV on my iPhone and/or iPad when I'm at the office or out of town, and on my Apple TV at home. I am eagerly counting down the days until I have a full slate of games waiting for me to turn on when I arrive home at night, and am even more excited to have day games to listen to while at work."

Drozda's story is a familiar one, as today's audience in this MLB.TV and Netflix culture increasingly watch programming on multiple platforms, a far cry from the days when everyone sat on a couch and tuned in a glowing appliance to watch the exploits of Ted Williams, Rod Carew, Ryne Sandberg and Steve Carlton.

MLB.TV Premium will continue to support a growing variety of mobile and connected platforms, including those listed on the MLB.TV devices roster. Additional distribution platforms for MLB.TV live streaming will launch this season, and each will be announced as it becomes available.

Premium subscribers get exclusive access to log in and watch live games over connected devices, such as Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3, and they also can use the popular home-and-away feature to select which broadcast they want to see.

Get HD-quality video, thanks to speed detection that delivers high def on any size monitor. Alternate Audio Options allow you to overlay the home or away team's radio broadcasts over live video feeds or use the "Park" option to enjoy the ballpark's natural sounds. Pause and rewind or fast forward live games. Use Clickable Linescores to go directly to any at-bat or half-inning of a game. Watch up to four games simultaneously.

Take advantage of Picture-in-Picture to choose one game and track another or watch in-game highlights simultaneously in a secondary window. Track the location, type and speed of every pitch. View real-time highlights and player stats that automatically load into the media player, instantly launching a Picture-in-Picture window with one click. Customize a list to feature entire fantasy rosters and receive on-deck notifications to watch live look-ins for each player.

Many MLB.TV subscribers are displaced fans who use it to watch their favorite teams. MLB rightsholder contracts require a blackout radius in each market, but Drozda is among the many examples of fans who still find MLB.TV necessary as a fan today regardless of locale.

"Though I have my favorite teams, I'm a fan of the sport first and foremost, and will watch any game involving any teams, as long as it's live baseball," Drozda said. "In fact, I'd almost rather watch a great midseason pitching duel between two aces or two hot lineups facing off than an average midseason game involving my favorite team."

Mark Newman is enterprise editor of MLB.com. Read and join other baseball fans on his MLB.com community blog. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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