The same can be said of ways to follow live Major League Baseball.
Meet MLB.com At Bat with Gameday Audio, made for the PC and Mac. It is an all-new live game experience that is directed for the fan and completely immersive. Signups are under way at only $19.95 for the year, and from now through April 11 you can take a free trial, although you will need to purchase if you want audio included.
This product takes the best of the award-winning MLB.com At Bat mobile app and combines it with re-branded Gameday Audio to create what will become a summertime tradition. If you love those familiar radio broadcast play-by-play calls and want them online, then subscribe now to access any of 2,430 regular season games, home or away broadcasting crew, blackout-free.
It is kind of ironic that we are here in 2010, the 10th season of MLB Advanced Media, and talking about going from mobile to the computer or laptop. On one hand, that is indicative of how fast mobile took off, with so many fans today following live games over their iPhone, iPod Touch, BlackBerry or Android devices. On the other hand, most people still find themselves with a computer, and this version of MLB.com At Bat was developed to fill a glaring need.
MLB.com At Bat with Gameday Audio gives your screen a ballpark feel, one that ultimately will be customized to the actual stadium. Context windows appear between pitches or at-bats as they are naturally warranted, or you can control them along the way. Soon after Opening Day, the view will be customized not only for the venue, but specific to each team and player. The batter avatar will be white or gray for the home or away team, have team-specific colors and uniform name/number placements, and player-specific names and numbers.
Similar to Classic Gameday -- which is still available for free if you prefer -- this app can be minimized and enjoyed through the audio while you are working on that spreadsheet or writing that term paper.
You get Live Video Look-ins (no blackouts). You can watch real-time highlights. There are Pitcher Ratings, pitch-by-pitch, and live box scores. Pitch F/X and premium data that were available last year in Gameday Premium are now part of this in a new experience. Let's say you have a matchup of Johan Santana and Ryan Howard on your screen; the at-bat is going to begin with a quick study of how they fared against each other in the past.
"It's an all-new experience that's more immersive. Things are only presented when they are timely and relevant rather than being persistent," said Cory Schwartz, direct of statistics at MLBAM. "It's more of a lean-back, directed experience."
Which brings up another great Casey quote, this one from Roger Angell's 1984 "Late Innings" book: "My idea of managing is giving the ball to Tom Seaver and sitting down and watching him work." Yeah, it's kind of like that. Take the free trial and see for yourself.
Twitter also is incorporated into this, so that you can select a window that flows constant tweets using the MLB Insiders and Everyone tabs.
Once you subscribe, you still can listen to Gameday Audio throughout the season as you have in the past, as a standalone capability. But you will need to subscribe to MLB.com At Bat with Gameday Audio to get that feature.
Fans who already purchased the audio product during Spring Training, as well as subscribers who were auto-renewed, will still have the audio plus all of the new features.
Following live baseball gets more fun every year. First there is the actual ballpark experience itself. Then there is the TV and the radio, two bastions of broadcast delivery for decades. You have MLB.TV, the pioneer in live streaming of sporting events, and you have At Bat for the mobile devices and also for 2010 a version for Apple's iPad.
Now meet MLB.com At Bat with Gameday Audio for the PC or Mac. You can sign up for this as your favorite way to follow live games on your computer in 2010, and maybe it will be a way you fill in the gaps. Sometimes you need it all. There are so many ways you can go about that now, and just like pitchers, you can't ever get enough of that.
Mark Newman is enterprise editor of MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.