Lightning Review: MLB At Bat

Masseym drops our latest Lightning Review, for MLB At Bat ($4.99 at iTunes), which we publish today even though masseym clearly was trying to play this Minnesota boy's heart by using a Twins game in his screenshot. We're publishing Lightning reviews of iPhone apps nearly every day, write your review in our forums and you'll get a chance to win a 25% off coupon to our iPhone accessories Store. Click here for full details!

As an avid baseball fan (ok, just the Mets) living in Texas, I was excited when MLB announced their app. I could see the strike/ball/out counts live and then watch highlight clips from anywhere in the world! What an exciting application.

Well, after $4.95 I am disappointed. The app refreshes only once per minute, so there is no "live" update to strike count. It does have a small "on base" display, but again, only updates every minute. No box score or other stats.

I was most excited about the highlights. On my wifi connection, the highlights are AWESOME! 30 to 45 second clips of the "exciting" parts. They are delayed about 2-3 minutes after the actual action, but that involves the encoding of the video on MLB's end.

On 3G and EDGE, the video is a different story. They are TERRIBLE. You can't even make out who the players are since MLB compresses the video so highly. I can somewhat understand on EGDE, but 3G too? Come on.

Pros:

  • Wifi highlights
  • $4.95 for the rest of the season
  • Baseball anywhere I go and have a signal

Cons:

  • TERRIBLE video on EDGE and 3G networks
  • 1 minute refresh rate isn't instantaneous for balls/strikes/outs
  • NO additional data (i.e. box scores, etc)

Dieter Bohn

Dieter Bohn is former editor-in-chief of Smartphone Experts, writing across iMore, Windows Phone Central, Android Central, and more. You can find him on Twitter (and everywhere else) @backlon.

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Lightning Review: MLB At Bat

11 Comments
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I agree with the reviewer on all points. Video is horrible on 3G, no box scores or additional data. Very disappointed!

Can you manually refresh? That's how most of the mobile apps for baseball work now...
Sounds like a shame that it isn't a true mobile version of their terrific Gameday web app (though that might require the dreaded Flash).

Nope, no manual refresh. They DO offer a little link to their wap.mlb.com website that has 15 second updates. The WAP site has full box score, full details of ball/strike counts, etc. It just lacks the video.
I use PickleView.com to "watch" the games now and then flip back to MLB to catch a peek into the videos. SO many ways to improve this app. Let's hope they improve it BEFORE the end of the season. If not, i will be hesitant to drop another $5 (or $10) for next season.
P.S. Streaming radio would make this a NO DOUBT purchase. I already buy the $15/yr version form their website, but am not always near a computer. Why can't I combine that subscription with one on my iphone? Come on MLB, stop sucking us dry and give us something for being loyal fans.

Yeah, I was initially pumped for this app, but after seeing it on a friend's phone decided not to get it. I prefer the mobile site better, as it loads faster and updates faster. The video highlights aren't that big of a deal to me, as a baseball purist, I believe knowing what was going on in the game is much more important than seeing the "crucial hit".
Anyway, I think MLB.com is just kind of having a test run for this season and will come with something stellar next year, as this is generally how they roll.

It's great being able to watch the highlights just minutes after they happen. That alone, is worth $5.

I'm glad I read the review before downloading this app. I was giving it some serious thought today... thought, gone!

I've been a Gamefly member for over 4 years and I can definitely attest to the diminishing availability of new releases. I used to always get new releases, as long as they were at the top of my list on release and I had an open slot. Always. Today is the third time in a row where they have failed to ship me a new release. I don't know if they have decreased their initial stock or if are a lower priority the longer you are a member.