MLB At Bat 2012 Review
Price: Free ($14.99 for At Bat subscription, $124.99 for MLB.TV subscription)
Version Reviewed: 5.1.1
Device Reviewed On: iPad 2, iPod touch 4
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At Bat, the app for following, listening, and watching Major League Baseball games, is back for another year, bringing with it a few structural changes, but being largely the same app as years before.
The decision to go freemium this year is well worth it, especially for MLB.TV Premium subscribers, who get the paid At Bat features – box scores, Gameday (which shows live Pitchf/x tracking), and live streaming audio of all the games – for free this year. The app is also universal now, so no more having to decide which platform to pay $14.99 for! Hiding box scores behind the paid subscription is silly, considering that info is available for free from numerous other sources. However, video highlights are still free.
A full-screen Gameday view is available at launch of the app, showing the pitch tracker and box score information of a game with park graphics. It's easy to switch between games, and to switch to other games, and of course to start listening or watching to them.
Live video is of course the greatest strength of At Bat – being able to watch any out-of-market game is a killer feature. For baseball addicts, this makes it possible to watch most games, and the condensed games make it easy to watch all the important action of a game in under 10 minutes. It also supports AirPlay to the Apple TV, even though that has its own MLB.TV app. This does make it easy to watch those condensed games, video highlights, and if wanting to jump a game from the device to the TV.
Sadly, archaic blackout restrictions still make it impossible to watch local teams, games aired during Fox's Saturday blackout window, and during the Sunday night ESPN blackout window. The Fox one is particularly onerous because they make it difficult if not impossible to watch the games on Saturday that they are not airing in a local market. As well, the video can be behind live action at times, usually only by a few seconds at worst, but the delay can be greater, and sometimes it's possible for a feed to get very behind live action.
So, for MLB.TV Premium subscribers, this really just extends out the value of the subscription, and I highly recommend it for baseball addicts. Watching baseball all day is a great life to live – and with multiple screens and iOS devices, I can now hypothetically watch 6 games in full screen at once! The $14.99 At Bat subscription is worth it for those who listen to game audio regularly, or really just want the condensed games. For free? Use another app to get scores and info, the lack of even box scores is absurdly restrictive.