I remember sports before apps. When going out for the night meant not knowing the score of the game until you woke up the next morning. When clever fanatics would use the tiniest opportunity at important social gatherings to sneak out to their car and check the score of the game.
It wasn’t even that long ago that it felt like some sort of miracle that you could use your candybar shaped Nokia phone to log-on to a brutally slow EDGE cellular network and wait and wait just to figure out your team was already down by three in the 3rd inning.
It may not have been that long ago, but it may as well have been on another planet for how different the app landscape has made following baseball in 2011.
Ten years ago, being in a fantasy baseball league meant you had better have access to a computer on a daily basis or be part psychic to set your lineup days in advance.
Today, well before the first pitch on opening day has been thrown, I’ll have set all three of my rosters without the benefit of a computer. I’ll go into the MyFantasyTeams app on my iPhone, and make sure my two Yahoo! teams are good to go before heading over to my ESPN Fantasy Baseball app to set my ESPN lineup and check the latest fantasy news, just to make sure I haven’t missed any late scratches or other news that could make my opening day less than stellar.
I will do that knowing that my connection to ESPN’s text alerts, which for months has been sending me nearly irrelevant updates like “Average salary in Major League baseball surpasses $3 million for the first time,” will be sending me any last minute injury news, enabling me to jump back into my two fantasy-friendly apps to change lineups right up until the first pitch if I need them.
And we’ve come an awfully long way from running out to the car for score updates. If you’re dying to know the score of a game, maybe even see a box score, your biggest problem will be figuring out which of the dozens of free score apps you want to download. I have two, Sportacular and SportsTap, and I’m not even sure why.
But if you want something more, you can get that too. Try the full $14.99 version of MLB.com At Bat ’11 and get live pitch-by-pitch tracking of any game happening, or mobile access to your MLB.TV subscription so you can actually watch that Cardinals/Padres game from anywhere in the country on your phone. Ten years ago you were happy to get the score of a game on your phone, and now you can watch the entire thing while sitting at your daughter’s dance recital.
Just keep that in mind as you tune-in to enjoy another opening day filled with the kind of optimism only the first baseball game of the year can bring. Think about how far mobile tech has come in such a short time and how much better it’s making the sport you love to follow. Think of how much your significant other resents all of this as you constantly check your phone on date night. And remember, even if your team’s season goes down the drain on opening day or shortly thereafter, there’s always next year. And who knows what sort of cool app we’ll have by then.