Opening Day for Major League Baseball is right around the corner and for those who like to follow all the action around the Diamond, there are a few Windows Phone apps that might come in handy.
While it is doubtful that MLB At Bat will return to the Windows Phone Store lineup, it wasn't the only game in town. For this week's roundup, we'll toss in a few apps dedicated to Major League Baseball, one to help you keep score of the game and will also mention the usual suspects. Please Note that some of these apps have not been updated to reflect the 2015 Major League Baseball Season. This often happens at the last minute and with the season kicking in on Monday, we expect updates to be pushing out soon.
As always, if we have overlooked your favorite Major League Baseball Windows Phone app be sure to toss out your recommendation in the comments below. We try to include some of the more popular and top rated apps and games in our roundups but we do miss a few from time to time, as well as needing to thin things out for the sake of print space. Plus we like to hear from our readers as to what is trending out there.
1. Baseball Now
Baseball Now is an interesting sports app that utilizes live tiles for its layout, rather than going with a panoramic design. It is a layout to get used to as opposed to one that feels comfortable in your hands from the get go.
The live tiles, for the most part, are links to areas of MLB.com and provide you access to Major League Baseball scores, standings, stats, news and team information. You also can view tweets from @MLB and tag a team as your favorite for quick access to news items for that team.
The app has changed over the years where much of the information was more personalized with the ability to pin games to your Start Screen and while the app may have pulled information from MLB.com, it was less of a shell than it is now. We aren't sure if the app will be updated at the last minute to bring back the old appearance but if not, Baseball Now does make bouncing around MLB.com a lot easier.
2. The Usual Suspects
Along with Windows Phone apps dedicated solely to Major League Baseball, we do have the usual suspects that cover not only Major League Baseball but a host of other sports leagues as well.
There is ESPN ScoreCenter that has delivers all the news from the leader in sports news. Bing also has a comprehensive sports apps simply title Sports and then there is ScoreMobile that seems to be quietly expanding its coverage to match what Sports and ScoreCenter spans.
It should be noted that ScoreCenter and Sports both have Windows 8 versions. It is a nice touch to be able to have the same level of access from your laptop, desktop or tablet device.
All three are quality apps delivering news, scores, videos, stats and standings from the Major League Baseball season. All three are free Windows Phone apps, which makes it easy to take each out for a test drive and find out which on meets your needs best. Or, like some of us, have all three installed on your Windows Phone.
3. Baseball Pro '14
Baseball Pro' 14, which we expect to be updated any day now to Baseball Pro '15, is a comprehensive source of information on all things Major League Baseball. The app delivers news, scores, standings, stats, Live Tile support for your favorite teams and much more.
The design is simply laid out with panoramic pages for Live Scores, your profile where you can tag a favorite team for quick access, Standings and Team information. Team information covers rosters, schedules, sports talk (chatter from other Baseball Pro users) and new items.
Baseball Pro also delivers MLB Gamecast from ESPN for games that includes live scoring, recaps, stats and social media coverage from Twitter. Overall it is a nice Windows Phone app for those who only need or want to follow Major League Baseball.
While baseball is a game of hits and runs, it is also a game of statistics. While I've only attended a few Major League Baseball games, I enjoyed scoring the games almost as much as I enjoyed the warm beer and game play from the field. For those not familiar, scoring goes beyond just counting the number of hits and runs but also includes pitch counts, men on base, the types of hits and more.
The more traditional way to score a game was done either from a scorebook or from the game's program. While the pencil and paper method has its appeal, there are Windows Phone apps available that may be more convenient, such as Scorekeeper.
In a nutshell, Scorekeeper delivers what you would find in a paper scorebook for baseball to your Windows Phone. You can track batted balls, view season stats, keep track of pitch counts, chart stolen bases, set alerts for pitch or inning counts and more. You can also sign up for a free account at YourGameLive.com to let friends and relatives (who could not make the game) view the stats online.
I can see ScoreKeeper being used at Major League games as well as at the Little League ball park. There is a trial version available to let you try things out before paying the $1.99 for the full version.
WatchESPN is a relatively new Windows Phone app that gives you access to live streaming videos from ESPN, ESPN2, ESPN3, ESPNU, SEC Network, SEC Network Plus, ESPNews, ESPN Eportes and the Longhorn Network.
While that is a lot of streaming sporting events, it includes any Major League Baseball games aired by the ESPN network. The app has a featured video page and a page listing all the live streams but if you only want to see what is available for Major League Baseball (or any other specific sport) there is a page to let you dial things down to any of the specific sports covered by ESPN.
Access to WatchESPN is determined by your provider and you may have to log into your cable account to have access. Current providers who offer access to WatchESPN include AT&T U-Verse, BrightHouse, Charter, Comcast XFINITY, Cox, Dish, Time Warner, Verizon FiOS TV, Google Fiber and Midcontinent Communications.
There is a Windows 8 version of WatchESPN available and it is a great option for keeping track of all the Major League Baseball action when you are on the go.