Sunday, April 24, 2011

Major League Baseball’s iPad app, At Bat 11

Major League Baseball’s iPad app is called At Bat 11. At Bat is $14.99 and is available in the App Store.

The app's GameDay screen has custom graphics representing every major-league park, courtesy of graphic assets borrowed from Sony’s MLB 11 The Show video game. The at bat batter wears the team’s official home or road uniforms. So when you’re watching a game taking place in San Francisco’s AT&T Park or Boston’s venerable Fenway Park, you’ll see that park in the background.

The app is visually rich, but the app has a very simplified look. The scoreboard has a block-letter typeface and its background insets are reminiscent of the hand-operated scoreboards of the past. Tapping on the video on the scoreboard will bring up the highlight reel. There is also a highlight link at the bottom of the screen.

The app displays detailed pitch-by-pitch data courtesy of Major League Baseball’s in-stadium pitch-tracking data collection system.

When the iPad was announced last year, one of the few apps displayed during the launch event was MLB At Bat. MLB Advanced Media had to scramble its development schedule to get that app (as well as its iPhone equivalent) ready for Opening Day 2010. This year marks the first time that the iPad app has been able to get a full offseason’s worth of development focus, and it marks a big step forward from last year’s edition.

Like last year, At Bat 11 for iPad (like its iPhone counterpart) comes with live GameDay status information, access to live home and away audio streams for every game, and access to occasional free live TV streams. During a live broadcast, you have icon at the upper right that provide access to information like the Box score.

Subscribers to the streaming-video package will also get access to live game video, though as with all MLB video packages, local teams are blacked out. The service is $20 a month. (During the month of April, you get the paid service for free.)

Icons on the bottom of the Game Day screen provides in game information. Below is the lineup for the selected game.

You can quickly switch between live game. The app will check each time to verify that the game is not blacked out.

There’s a lot more going on under the hood at MLB. As we get closer to Opening Day, stay tuned to Macworld for more detail on’s iOS apps and what happens behind the scenes at the league’s New York City multimedia hub.

Here is overall look at the game status across the entire league.

You can listen to audio of any live games. You can exit the app and surf the web, check email, etc while still listening to the game.

Get a quick glance at the MBL standings.

While watching a game, you can see who is currently in the field.

This is a look at a game that has not yet started.

The iPad and iPhone apps are still separate apps, and each costs $14.99. Without the $20 monthly subscription, you can watch one free televised game per day and listen to as many games on Internet radio as you'd like, but there's no way to purchase a package to watch all games for a specific team in the app or beam the games to an Apple TV via AirPlay.

I was able to display the live game on my TV with the VGA adapter. When displayed on the TV, the iPad was able to display scoreboard and or other data on the iPad without interfering with what was displayed on the TV.

If you are a fan of baseball, this may be the season ticket you and your iPad have been looking for.

By Carl W. Brooks

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