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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There are 11 comments. Add yours.

Renny says:

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

Dieter Bohn says:

Whoops, that'd be the all star game. :D

Ryan says:

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).

masseym says:

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.

FJR says:

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.

Galley says:

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

Mike Orren says:

Hey Dieter:
You say you live in Texas? DFW area perchance? If so, would love it if you could check out our Dallas-specific app and let us know what you think.
http://www.pegasusnews.com/blogs/pegasusnewsblog/2008/jul/17/iphone-dall...
Thanks! (Sorry for slight off-topic, but couldn't see how to email you directly.)

Duvi says:

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

woodworm cricket bat says:

i agree with the author that you must first read the review before downloading it.

Jocuri cu masini says:

Great post, a lot of thanks towards the author

gamefly review says:

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.