(5 out of 5)
When I first downloaded MLB.com At Bat last year, I was skeptical as to whether or not Major League Baseball would actually do something productive with it. Too often I have seen a product receive a distinct license, only to put out a lack luster item. MLB.com At Bat 2009 definitely comes through again this year as they have taken what was so great about last year’s application and improved on it with some new features.
Let’s begin with what made MLB.com At Bat such a hit last years as it carries over to this year. When you first open the application, you will notice a familiar interface as not much has changed in terms of looks. Then you will immediately see what games are scheduled for that day. You can tap the over arrows to see previous days or days ahead.
With each game you can view the starting pitchers, the location of the game and records. A cool new thing added though, is what network will be broadcasting for each team. For example, the St. Louis Cardinals and Pittsburgh Pirates play each other; it will tell me that the Cardinals are playing on Fox Sports Midwest-HD on television and KTRS 550 on the radio. This is a very nice feature if you’re quickly trying to find your game to watch. I can’t tell you how much time I’ve spent surfing channels trying to find out if a game is on a local channel, ESPN or so on, so this little stat helps for sure.
The most impressive addition to MLB.com At Bat 2009 is by far the addition of game audio. You have the ability to listen to every single baseball game’s broadcast, through whichever team’s broadcasting team you like. This is incredible feature for those who are on the run and want to catch a game. The fact that it was put in the application this year makes this an even more solid product.
Another feature that carried over from last year is the MLB.com videos. You now can view up to date highlights of big plays during each game. The quality of the videos is based on what kind of connection you have. If you are streaming through a Wi-Fi connection then the video quality will be at it’s best, while 3G is a little choppy. It would’ve been nice to see them go even further with this feature, obviously they cannot show video of every game live, but having more than just highlights would have been cool.
When it comes to actually following what is going on in the game, MLB.com At Bat 2009 continues to stride, by not changing what worked from last year. For each game you have game day updates, field updates, the box score, summary and of course video updates. Game day gives you basically pitch by pitch updates. It will tell you who is batting, who is pitching, what the pitch count is and where each pitch goes as it happens. Field view will show you the defensive setup of who is playing where. It keeps pace pretty well with the live game as well, maybe 30 seconds or so off, if even that. It does a good job of following each play and letting you know exactly what it happening.
MLB.com At Bat 2009 is another homerun for baseball fans who want to keep up to date with scores on their iPhone. The only thing that may steer fans away is the price. For the whole season, it will cost you $9.99. After the all-star break it tends to drop to about $4.99, this mainly in part because there is only half the season left. If you’re a die-hard baseball fan who needs to be up to date with each pitch, then this is well worth the $10 price tag. It will be nice to see if any of the other big sports try to capitalize on this success, until then, baseball fans are at an advantage, go and check this application out by purchasing it through the iTunes application store.