Version Reviewed: 1.1
Device Reviewed On: iPad 2, iPod touch 4
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Topps Pennant is an app for baseball diehards that want a different way to view statistics in a way that's far different than poring through spreadsheets at Baseball Reference. This isn't an app for tracking live scores, instead it has historical data for seasons and games. It's possible to track teams on a game-by-game basis, see team performance on a season-by-season basis, and even track recent and some past games as each play occurred. Play-by-play information is limited to only the past few decades, as that information wasn't available regularly before then.
The visual method of presenting data means that interesting stories can be told from the data. It's possible to see where teams had particular hot streaks, or where droughts occurred. It also shows how a team stands compared to the rest of the league. The game data shows where big moments occurred on a play-by-play basis. In fact, the ability to play back a game play-by-play is a fascinating way to "watch" a game without actually watching it.
The seasonal data provides interesting ways to see just how a season played out. My Texas Rangers weren't an elite team throughout the entire 2011 season, and really only got to finish with the second-best record thanks to a hot end of the season. I don't particularly hate the Boston Red Sox, but it is funny to relive the 2011 season, seeing them start out slow, be an elite team for 4 months, then suddenly fail at the end. As well, it's interesting to see the paths that franchises have taken, how they've done throughout history, to see where the lean years and good times have been. For the Rangers? Things have been a lot better lately.
I would love to see win expectancy implemented in some way into the app, like how the Fangraphs app offers displays of it – it would be a perfect fit with the way that the app tries to make data be more than just numbers. Win expectancy can help tell the story of I think the gestures could be more intuitive, as many of them only work when directly touching an element. Some dial elements feel like they would work better if I could touch anywhere to navigate around them. The interface can be confusing to navigate at times, especially without any true back button to jump back up to a previous level.
Topps Pennant is a great app for fans of baseball, as it provides an interesting way to view the history of the sport, whether it be what happened decades ago, or what happened yesterday.