While the A’s and Mariners got things going last week in Japan, for most fans, next Thursday and Friday will mark Opening Day. This weekend is also mega-fantasy baseball draft time, with thousands hunched over laptops and around tables trying to slide the next great move onto their teams.
The end of 2011 was certainly the time when technology and analytics arrived in baseball. From tablets players were using to a new level of Moneyball, along with all the trimmings of social media, baseball 3.0 is probably here for good. So with all that in mind, here are some choices for engaging in baseball in the stands, on the beach, or on the laptop.
MLB.com At Bat (iPhone, iPod Touch, iPad: Free, with subscription, Android: Free/$14.99)
MLB.com At Bat is the king of all fan engagement tools. It is also probably the most expensive, but you get everything for live audio streaming to highlights, statistics and news specific to your favorite/chosen teams. Owners that also have MLB.TV can also watch every game on their mobile app, with angles not even available on broadcasts.
Bloomberg Sports “Front Office” (iPhone, Microsoft, iPad $3)
In three years, the Bloomberg Sports tools have gone from unwieldy to very functional, and lots of fun for the fantasy player and for the general sports fan. This is the second year that Bloomberg has offered a mobile app which allows you to sync all your leagues and gives you up to the minute updates on your players. It looks great, runs well and is one-stop shopping for those who play in multiple leagues. There is also a PC version available that is more expensive and has things like instant alerts sent to your phone.
ScoreMobile (iPhone, Android, BlackBerry and Windows Phone, Free)
ScoreMobile is a free app that covers many sports, but its biggest asset is baseball and its link to Rotowire, which has some of the best stats and updates available for fantasy players or even casual fans. The baserunner feature gives you a quick check of score and goings-on during a game as well as a series of alerts to follow any series of happenings in an MLB game.
Team Stream (iPhone, iPod Touch, iPad, Android: Free)
Team Stream, which is powered by Bleacher Report, lets users create customized feeds around their favorite team in all sports. Receive push notifications every time there is noteworthy news about your chosen team and enjoy the beautiful layout and sharp writing found within the app.
FanGraphs Baseball (iPhone, iPod Touch: $2.99)
A little more technical but really impressive is the app FanGraphs has built. It allows you to track every play of every game, and provides great visuals that make baseball understandable and user-friendly.