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Baseball is back! The first game, a Texas showdown where the Rangers welcomed the Astros to the American League was on Sunday. All thirty teams will have 162 games between now and October and no fans enjoy staying connected more than baseball fans. And the best way to keep on top of your favorite team, fantasy team, stats, and players are the apps.
At Bat can be the beginning and the end of a baseball app list because it fills your life with baseball. At Bat is a scoreboard, team tracker, radio and television. Depending on the subscription pack you sign up for, ranging from free to $129, At Bat can provide all of the above. What makes At Bat special is that it lives beyond your phone: just log in on your PC and cue up radio or TV broadcasts. You can set it up on your Apple TV, Xbox 360 or PS3. Getting a new BlackBerry phone at work? It’s even on BlackBerry and the Kindle Fire. If you have an Android phone, you can put a scoreboard widget right on your homescreen. Keep baseball in your pocket.
MLB.com At Bat is available for iOS and Android.
A companion to At Bat, At the Ballpark handles your experience going to a game. A free app, At the Ballpark lets you check in to the game, track the games you’ve attended over the last few years (though only as far back as 2005), and puts a map of the park in your hand. This may not sound that exciting, but Major League Baseball doesn’t think small. The eventual killer features of this app are food and beverage ordering and ticket upgrades. Both are currently in a select number of test markets: Citizens Bank Park (Philadelphia), Minute Maid Park (Houston), Chase Field (Phoenix), CitiField (New York) and Marlins Park (Miami) for food and beverage ordering and Turner Field (Atlanta), Target Field (Minneapolis) and O.co Coliseum (Oakland) for seat upgrades.
MLB At the Ballpark is available for iOS and Android.
Yahoo! and ESPN are both back with new editions of their fantasy baseball apps, depending on which service you use for your fantasy league. While neither app is a breakaway success, both get the job done. You can set your roster, search for new players, and keep your team up to date. Neither is as full-featured as the full desktop application, which for Yahoo is not designed for touch and is not as nice an experience on a tablet as it could be, but both get the job done.
Maybe you are the guy or gal who goes to a game and buys the program every time just to get the scorecard. There’s something about filling in each box along with the pros and making a more personal record of the events of the game. But face it, you’re living in the past. Don’t worry though, because technology is here to bail you out: iScore is the classic scorecard formatted to fit your favorite gadget. You can keep score, track pitches, chart hit locations, and more. And the best part is you can use it for any baseball or softball game – major league, minor league, little league, you name it.
One of the biggest changes in how data is consumed these days is the idea of the stream versus the inbox. Email is an inbox, it shows what you have read and what you still need to read. Twitter is a stream. Twitter doesn’t care if you read everything from everyone you follow, just that information flows past and you are free to dip in and out of the steam as you choose. Whenever you want to consume some content, just fire up an app and dive in. The final apps are bringing this model to sports.
Fanboat is designed to be like Pandora for sports (Full disclosure, I helped create Fanboat). When the app is launched simply follow your favorite teams and Fanboat will begin to learn what teams and players you like. At the end of every game, Fanboat pulls in the box score and breaks down events in a game – home runs, three pointers, passing yards, you name it – and displays the more significant (i.e. a home run instead of a single, a hat trick, multiple touchdown receptions) feats and lets the user explore the game from these jumping off points. Instead of waking up in the morning and reading the sports page or watching an hour of SportsCenter, anyone can get a personal digest of the sports most important to them.
Fanboat is available for iOS.
Fancred is a community for sports fans. When you follow someone on twitter you see comments they make, stories they share, links and pictures they post. The same is true on Fancred. Like twitter, you create an account, have followers and can follow people, but you filter your feed based on the teams you root for. If you like the Red Sox you can sort to show what Sox fans have been posting or what stories have been posted that are about the Red Sox. Unlike arguing with strangers on twitter or blogs about which team is good and which, well, “sucks” on Fancred you can converse with the fan community you’re a part of and if you don’t agree with someone you don’t need to follow their posts. As you post more and your posts are voted up, your Fancred score increases, showing that you are a passionate fan. What’s more, Fancred is a local company, based right here in Boston!
Fancred is available for iOS.