I live or die during baseball season with my Cincinnati Reds, but I can listen to or watch just about any game being played. I keep track of what the other teams in the NL Central are doing, but any baseball game will do if the Reds aren't in action.
When I got my original Droid, sports broadcasts and scores were a little tough to come by. There wasn't an MLB app at all, and ESPN hadn't yet released their Scorecenter app for Android. Thankfully, times have changed quickly. Here's my list of the best apps for a baseball fan to use to keep up with all of the action.
MLB At Bat 12 / MLB At Bat 12 Lite - Free/$14.99/$124.99
MLB has led the way among the professional sports leagues embracing mobile, and 2012 extends the lead that they have. MLB At Bat comes in two versions this year, free and various levels of paid depending on what your needs are.
The free version of MLB At Bat 12 brings you all of the news, scores and play-by-play stats that you'd expect. You get the ability to select your favorite team, and see customized news for your team in its own window.
Where MLB separated themselves from the other pro sports leagues was their inclusion of gameday audio in their mobile apps, and this year they've made it even better. You still get home and away broadcasts for every game, every day with no blackouts, but starting this year the Android app is a single app for both phones and tablets. You won't have to buy a second Gameday audio version to use the app on both your phone and tablet.
MLB At Bat also offers you the option to view out of market games live if you subscribe to MLB.tv for Internet streaming. I absolutely hate the archaic MLB blackout rules, and I think that if you are paying money to have access to live game video you should be able to see any game live. That personal opinion aside, if you live out of your team's home market, you can access your MLB.tv subscription on most current phones and quite a few tablets as well.
There are two ways that you can subscribe to MLB.tv to watch live game video. You can pay a one time fee of $124.99 and be done with it, or you can subscribe for the remaining 7 months of the season for $24.99 a month. If you go the monthly route, be aware that you'll end up paying $150 in total for access to 2012 game day video. On the plus side, if you are paying monthly you can cancel at any time, so you Cub fans can cancel your subscription in May when your team is out of the pennant race.
MLB At Bat 12 feature list:
- Customize At Bat's home screen to feature your designated favorite team.
- Favorite team icon home screen widget for one-click access to your favorite team's At Bat 12 homepage (only available for Android phones)
- MLB icon home screen widget for in-progress scores around the league
- Listen to available radio broadcasts of Spring Training games
- Follow batter-by-batter action for every Spring Training game
- Enhanced video library archive, searchable by player, team or keyword (only available for Android phones)
- Breaking news, schedules and interactive rosters and players stats for every team
ESPN Scorecenter - Free
If you just aren't going to pay for MLB At Bat Gameday Audio or if you'd just prefer to get all of your sports news and scores in one place, you can't go wrong with Scorecenter. That is, if you can get used to their clunky panel arrangement.
Scorecenter was the first major sports news outlets to have an Android app, and that buys them a lot of goodwill with me, but I've gotten more use out of the Fox Sports Mobile app of late.
ESPN Scorecenter allows you to customize the panels to the sports that you follow, but it doesn't allow you to set up a custom panel for just one team. If you want to get scores and news for your favorite baseball team, that will all be included in the MLB panel.
The app allows you to set up alerts for your favorite teams, so if you're stuck doing something other than watching or listening to that baseball game, Scorecenter offers you alerts for your favorite teams. In the case of Major League Baseball, you can set your Reds alerts for Game Start, Each Scoring Play, Every 3 Innings, Game Final or any combination of the four.
ESPN Scorecenter feature list:
* Personalized scoreboards and live game details featuring last play, in-game stats, boxscores, game summaries and standings
* myTeams: Follow your favorite teams on one card. Pop in to get scoring updates or catch up on news coverage of your favorite teams from ESPN and from aggregated, local sources
* The Lead: Stay on top of the most important live events of the day, read up on breaking news and analysis, and watch just-cut video clips
* Deep news and analysis across dozens of leagues, powered by ESPN's 'round-the-clock editorial staff
* Follow scores from hundreds of leagues including:
- NFL Football
- NBA Basketball
- MLB Baseball
- NHL Ice Hockey
- NCAA Football, Basketball, Ice Hockey, Baseball, Lacrosse, Water polo, and more
- Premier League, UEFA Champions League, and hundreds of additional soccer leagues and tournaments
- NASCAR, Formula 1, Indycar
Google Play Store Link - ESPN Scorecenter
Fox Sports Mobile
Currently my sports news app of choice, Fox Sports brings all of the news and score features of Scorecenter, but in a very familiar and comfortable news app interface that I find more appealing than ESPN's offering.
Fox Sports Mobile may not have game alerts, but I've found that their GameTrax play-by-play scoring feature is faster with the updates than ESPN Scorecenter. And while the app lacks a little polish, the MySports tab is where I spend most of my time in the app.
Fox Sports Mobile's MySports section not only offers you custom news and scores for your favorite pro team or college, it breaks down college teams by sport. You don't have to filter through all of the spring football practice reports to read the latest news for your basketball team.
Fox Sports Mobile's News section offers you, well, it offers you news. Fox adds in articles from the AP to supplement their own writers coverage. The advantage for me with the Fox Sports app is that most of their news and analysis is written by FoxSports.com writers.
Fox Sports Mobile feature list:
- News and exclusive analysis from the FOX Sports team of writers and on-air personalities
- Scores, stats, standings and more for all major sports.
- Video: highlights, pre- and post-game interviews, our hourly "FOX Flash" update of top stories, original programming from our "Lunch With Benefits" series, and more.
- Local content (news, video and analysis) from the Fox Sports Net (FSN) regional cable networks
- Store your favorite Sports, Teams & Local FSN region to quickly get to the content you want.
Google Play Store Link: Fox Sports Mobile
Odd name, I know, but it's a very interesting concept in a sports app. Thuuz, which is derived from the word enthusiast, is a service that provides excitement ratings for college and pro games. Using their own game analysis metrics, Thuuz alerts you to the most exciting game action as it's happening.
Thuuz allows you to set up your favorite sports and teams, and then alerts you to the most exciting action as the games are being played. In the settings you have the option to see alerts for your sports and teams or only your teams, as well as selecting how often you want to be alerted. For example, if you only want to see alerts when the game excitement level rises above 90, you'll see very few alerts. If you lower your excitement score to 75, you'll see many more updates in the notification bar.
Thuuz will also tell you where you can tune into a game if you setup your TV provider. You'll see your local channel listing, as well as the national channel listing for the major broadcast networks, including the channel number. Further, if you're a Dish subscriber, have a Google TV and pay Dish their integration fee the Thuuz Google TV app can control your set top box and set your DVR to record games.
I probably should have listed Thuuz in my March Madness app rundown, but frankly, I had forgotten all about it. By the time that it was brought to my attention, the tournament had progressed to the point that the apps usefulness was limited, but it did work well for me.
Thuuz feature list:
- Pro Sports: NFL, MLB, NBA, NHL, Soccer, Cricket and Rugby
- College Sports: Football and Basketball
1. Personalize the app based on your favorite teams and sports
2. Browse the excitement ratings of live, upcoming or completed games
3. Follow your friends and let each other know about great games by clicking "Thuuz It!"
4. Find where to see the game - on TV or online
5. See game details, including scores, stats, recaps and highlights
Perfect for those busy fans who wish they had a personal assistant monitoring every game and letting them know when to tune in.
Google Play Store Link: Thuuz