Sports apps for baseball fans

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This year, I have a few apps I want to recommend to you. I have to admit, these are for iPhone/iPod Touch, and may work well on the iPad. I’m not sure if all of these are available on Android, but you may look. Disclaimer: Unless noted, these apps are free. But you may be subject to 3G or wireless data rates depending on carrier and where you are. I’m not responsible for this.

ESPN ScoreCenter

Rating: ☆☆☆☆½
The app I recommend for all scores and (to a lesser extent) sports news. While there is a mild learning curve setting it up, and learning some tricks, it is a swiss army knife of sports apps. It not only has the ability to track all of your teams and sports of different leagues (like college and pro teams), it features push notification–a must for any sports havoc. The app is based on cards for different leagues that you can slide and reorder any way you want. Even if you have a favorite team from that league, you won’t miss out on the scores from the other teams in that league.

There are only 2 reasons why I rate this as 4 ½ stars instead of 5: It’s so easy to accidently click on a game instead of swiping to switch cards. I recommend holding your finger over the row of dots and then swipe till your league shows up. The other problem is in NCAA sports cards. If you have two teams in different conferences (like CSU in Mountain West and CU in Pac-12), it’s not easy to know how to switch conferences. (hint: touch the conference name and switch in the dials. But I don’t like this very much.)


K-ForCE Lite

Rating: ☆☆☆☆½
This is a great app to score baseball games. If you are a seasoned scorer, this app is great for you. If you are new to scoring, well, you can quickly learn how to score with little difficulty. I have tried to use this to score an older game, and it works well

One thing I tell people with scoring is that there is no definite right way of scoring. It’s how you want to remember the game. And this app makes it easy to score it the way you want. Despite it being a ‘lite’ version, this is a full version app at no cost. (The premium version allows you to store your games on their servers.)

First thing is first: you can import the rosters from the server (at this time, they have the 2012 Majors listed, as well as older years.) Or if you’re scoring your son’s little league game, you can create your own roster. The interface looks like a regular scoresheet you’d see in your book or at a game. You enter the lineup as it happens, then start the game. Touch the “At Bat” button to get the current batter up. If a hit happens, you touch the type of hit button on the right. If there’s an out, you touch the fielder (or fielders) that make the out. (Yes, it’s smart enough to know if a fly out to center field vs. an unassisted ground out by the first baseman.) Fielder’s choices and double plays, while they can be hard to score, are made easy by this app. And if someone steals a base, touch the base and mark it a stolen base. There are very few things this app can’t do. Even the line outs are easy to input manually (touch the out circle, and type in L6).

Other things this app can do: track batted location and type of ball, strikes/balls/fouls/taken strikes/strikeout looking, strikeout and stealing first, stats on pitches. etc. And when you’re done (or even along the way), you can use the “finalize” button to check for mistakes.

I will write a page dedicated to this app. But for the time being, I recommend this app and trying it out on your own. I may test this at a ball game (along with the manual scorebook.) I’ll tweet and let you know how it turns out.


MLB At Bat

Rating: ☆☆☆☆
Let me first start off by saying I nearly rated this app a ☆½ because of the problem I had on the iphone at getting the subscription. Since the upgrade this week, I now have the full version, and love it. (If you do get the subscription, make sure you’ve updated, and are not signed in to your account).

I am now into my 4th year with this app, and with a couple of exceptions, this app has continued to be a great source for baseball. MLB has done this app right, and learned from past years to make it the best value for the money.

In the past, At Bat was split into 2 versions for each platform: the lite and the full subscription version. The Android version is still split this way for this year. (but do read on as there is more to this.) With their online subscription MLB.TV, and the iPad/iPhone/iPod Touch, and the in-app subscription system, you can use one subscription to get the same feature on all Apple devices. (and you can use MLB.TV subscription to get on the Android for free. The lite version contains a full set when unlocked.)

In both versions, you can set your favorite team, and view scores, and get news. Unlike last year, they split off the ballpark feature from the At Bat app (probably the right thing anyways.) But let me cover the features you get with the subscriptions.

The annual subscription ($14.99) allows you to get radio feeds for any game, any flagship station (and possibly the spanish feeds as they are available.) In addition, there’s the pitch tracker/real life scoring feature which looks similar to seeing the guy on TV. You can also get to see box scores and videos (condensed game or clips) on the iPhone. Also, for some reason, the stats leaders requires the subscription. I think this is a great deal. For the iphone, if you don’t want the whole year, new this year is the $2.99 monthly offer which may be good if you want to try it for a month, or for some odd reason, only plan on using it for a month at a time.

Unlike in prior years, it sounds like this app will be a perennial app with the subscription features as an option, at least on iOS platforms. Still it’s worth it


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