MLB's iPhone Application Did Not Change My Chicago-Baseball-Loving Life

You've seen the commercials. If you've been watching playoff baseball -- or, really, any baseball this season -- you've seen them. They star a little focus-grouped, Maxim-aimed scruffy dude doing the whole "Bro, you love baseball? You gotta get a hi-def TV, bro!" act. (I would repeat the name of the brand, but I'm pretty sure they're not paying my boss, so no brand recognition for you, annoying commercial purveyor.)

Anyway, the theme of these commercials is that a hi-def television can "change your baseball loving life." I'm not sure that's true. But there are some areas of technology -- specifically the iPhone -- that held that sort of promise for me earlier this year. Alas, not much about my Chicago-baseball-loving life is different now.

The application I speak of is Major League Baseball's iPhone application, which promises stats and live highlights using the iPhone's video playback capabilities. I used the app -- which cost $5 in Apple's iTunes store -- for most of the second half of the season, and I have to admit my disappointment. Video highlights were fine, and very cool. But the promise of the application, and the reasoning behind the comparatively hefty price, were never fulfilled.

Most iTunes apps are free, including a competitor to MLB's app called SportsTap. SportsTap has box scores and game logs for every sport's games, every day. MLB, meanwhile, doesn't even offer a gamecast or detailed stats. It merely shows the skeleton box score. To get a gamecast-esque view, you must click through to MLB's mobile site which, if I may be a tech snob for a minute, isn't even customized for the iPhone. I know. The humanity.

MLB is missing out on a huge opportunity here. If they can work some sort of live gamecast mode into their application, and combine it with streaming video, they could have a game-changing technology on their hands. Instead, their application is mediocre and provides essentially the same function as any baseball web page, which I would visit for free if I didn't already pay $5 for this crappy application.

MLB has long been a pro-sports leader in new tech. Hopefully, they acheive that status on the iPhone next year. Until then, I'll stick to watching the Cubs on my SUPER AWESOME HI-DEF TV that scruffy dude convinced me to buy.

Contact Us