The crack of the bat. The roar of the crowd. The euphoric feeling of victory.
For most of Major League Baseball's history, the aforementioned sensations have slipped into hibernation following every Fall Classic's final out, with balls and gloves ceding the spotlight to months of waiting around.
The baseball industry has been ahead of the curve in recent years, however, developing different ways to lessen the lull of its offseason.
And thanks to "Franchise MVP" -- MLB.com's new interactive mobile game -- baseball fans now have one more respite at their fingertips.
Those with iPhones and iPads can download "Franchise MVP" today via the Apple App Store. Android users can do the same via Google Play.
It's fun, free and fantastic for those seeking something replete with baseball strategy and an attendant arcade feel.
"Franchise MVP" allows fans to enter a virtual stadium with one objective: to guide a player's career. Just like most pros, your player will start as a fledgling Minor Leaguer, riding the virtual bus through bucolic America. And if you're good enough, the journey will end at the apex of the baseball mountain -- a Major League stadium of your choosing.
"Franchise MVP" gamers can accomplish this goal behind their favorite real-life franchise, as all 30 big league teams are represented. The app also delves deep into the early stages of player development, with 90 Minor League clubs included in the interactive experience. You will lead your player by making key decisions to impact his on-field performance. Mini-games are a major part of "Franchise MVP," with you in control of your stars' on-field excellence.
If your "Franchise MVP" hopeful is a hitter, you'll help him bat and field. Owners of pitchers will work on an e-mound, facing off against artificial competition.
Gamers will also be in charge of off-field factors. In other words, you can help your player progress by improving his skills -- with a little help, of course. Earning virtual currency will make this process much easier.
"We built this game to be a fun graft of fast-paced arcade-style action, simulation baseball and player development strategies," said Jamie Leece, MLB.com's vice president of gaming. "The ability for fans to play multiple games in minutes and a full season in an afternoon will appeal to mobile gamers."
That's right. You can play "Franchise MVP" at your own pace. Even a minute or two a day can help pave the path to a virtual World Series crown.
Not a bad way to spend the winter, if you ask us.
In addition to "Franchise MVP," fans can download and play "MLB Ballpark Empire" and "MLB.com Home Run Derby" anytime, anywhere. These popular mobile games can also be acquired in the Apple App Store.
Zachary Finkelstein is an editorial producer for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.Less