Today is opening day! Now you can cry that baseball is boring or that there's too many games or that all the players take steroids but I could care less. There are few things that make me happier than watching the Dodgers on a slow midsummer day.
But watching the game has changed! You can make it more fun throughout the season with apps. Gonna be on the road? You won't miss a pitch. Need to keep track of fantasy? Sure, of course. Want to revel in baseball's nerdom? By all means. Here are the best apps for baseball.
MLB At Bat 2011
MLB At Bat, the official app of the MLB, has long been the best sports app and you know what? It's even better for the 2011 season. It's available on iPhone, Android and iPad (and Blackberry but without key features) and lets you follow a game pitch-by-pitch with a snazzy graphic or listen into the radio broadcast. If you have a MLB.tv subscription you can stream every game (blackout restcritions apply) of the season through the app too. If you don't have MLB.tv, At Bat offers a 'Live Look' at key moments in the game too.
MLB is also hopping on the 'check-in' craze which lets you check into baseball stadiums to unlock interactive stadium maps and expanded video highlights. And lastly, specifically for the iPad, you get beautiful graphics. MLB At Bat for iPad is using graphics from the video game MLB 11: The Show to show the stadium your team is playing at and the player at bat. It even tracks pitch trajectory! Basically, if you have a deep rooting interest in baseball, the $15 price tag would seem cheap to you. One thing: the iPhone and iPad app aren't universal, so you'll have to pay twice. [Android Market, iTunes—iPhone, iTunes—iPad]
You've probably already used Bloomberg's Draft Kit 2011 to power through your fantasy baseball draft, so now you need something to stay up to date with your teams throughout the season. ESPN and Yahoo both have their own officials apps available for free on the iPhone. On Android, ESPN has a free app but we use Fantasy Guru for Yahoo leagues on Android. Fantasy Monster Pro for iPhone is also excellent if you want to consolidate Yahoo and ESPN leagues.
But fantasy baseball is competitive! It's not just about swapping injured players. You have to stay on top of the waivers, ride hot streaks and keep your ear close to the rumor mill. That's why you need Rotowire Fantasy News, which lets you know everything happening in the league. Think of it like a Twitter but for player updates.
Say you're old school and love to keep track of the game through scorecards, iScore does just that with your iPhone, Android phone or iPad. But it's like a coaches (or parents) best friend too! You can use it to manage your lineup options, track pitches to learn tendencies, make a batter spray chart and it's super easy to use. No more pen and scorecard folks, it's time to digitalize. [Android Market, iTunes]
If you really want to hunker down and learn a thing or five about the sport, Baseball Prospectus is your bible. They're offering National League and American League 2011 previews and you'll get top-notch analysis of teams, player stat projections and a breathtakingly honest take on the game of baseball. There's no hype involved and they're generally pretty accurate. It's obviously better suited for nerds but most fans can lose hours to this app (which is really an app version of the book). $10 [iTunes—NL, iTunes—AL]
But let's say come August your team is in the bottom of the standings and there's nothing left for them to play for. What do you do? Remember the happy days with Pennant, the completely gorgeous iPad app. You get a history of every at bat of every game of every baseball season since 1950. You can see each teams' history, or performance against other teams, or game results or even replay a game in a timeline format. Simply put, Pennant is the most beautifistastic way to re-live past baseball seasons. Just re-live the last time your team won the World Series. $5 [iTunes]