Steven Karr will leave home in San Jose, Calif., on Sept. 1 and return to Gonzaga University in Spokane, Wash., for his junior year as a broadcast journalism major. MLB.TV goes back to school with him, as always.
"I've been a lifelong San Francisco Giants fan, even going to the parade when they won the World Series in 2010," Karr said in an email to MLB.com. "I've had MLB.TV both years I've been in Spokane for school and will continue to renew my subscription in the future. I use it on both my laptop and iPhone [via MLB.com At Bat] and occasionally the Xbox 360, and I've watched more than 100 different games each year I've had it.
"It's my way of being able to watch the Giants while I'm away from home, and also a way to watch my fantasy baseball players. My dad and I have co-managed a team for eight years now, and it's awesome to be able to watch our pitchers pitch, and for me to go through the same jubilation and [mostly] frustration that my dad is going through while he watches the same game hundreds of miles away. … MLB.TV has kept me connected to both the baseball world and my family while I'm away from the comfort of my own TV at home."
This is the time of year when students are either already back on campus, moving in now or about to migrate again, and for many of them, the annual rite means leaving the market where their favorite Major League Baseball team plays and leaving a familiar summertime routine just as the pennant races are heating up. MLB Advanced Media has made that timeless transition easier with Thursday's announcement of a limited-time $19.99 offer for a yearly subscription to MLB.TV Premium. The deal runs until Sunday night at 11:59 p.m. ET.
MLB.TV Premium includes a free subscription to At Bat 13 (the top sports app of all-time) for iOS and select Android devices. You can watch games live or on demand in high definition on your favorite mobile and connected devices, now including Blackberry Z10. It includes your choice of home or away broadcasts; lets you pause, rewind live game action with DVR controls; and permits picture-in-picture, split screen and mosaic view.
"The streaming is incredible -- no pixels, buffering or lag -- so I feel I am so lucky to be watching it so far away," Twins fan Claire Taylor said in an email from her native England, where her father turned her into a "huge baseball fan." She added: "I just got into De Montfort University in Leicester to study media production, with an aspiration to get into the TV industry. My course starts the 20th of September, so I will subscribe again and continue watching."
Taylor said her father travels frequently to Minnesota for work, "so he used to come back with all the Twins merchandise." When she was able to visit him abroad, she said she would get the experience to learn about America's national pastime for herself.
"In England, baseball isn't really played that much or even talked about," she said. "So the great thing about MLB.TV is that it gives me the opportunity to watch it online, at home thousands of miles away. The time difference isn't all that great, but it's worth staying up late to catch a few games."
Evan Lewis started this week as a sophomore at Columbus State Community College in Columbus, Ohio. His goal is "one day working in the front office of an MLB team," and immersing himself in the top technology in sports today is a good start. CSCC is a commuter college, so he lives at home, having access to MLB.TV year-round. Indians games are blacked out in his area due to TV rightsholder contracts, as he can watch their games live on SportsTime Ohio, but like many of the millions who subscribe to MLB.TV, the benefits go well beyond an individual team loyalty -- especially at this time of year.
"I use my laptop and I also use my Xbox, and my Xbox Live membership allows me to have the MLB app so I can stream games on my TV," Lewis said. "What I use MLB.TV for is watching games with teams in the playoff hunt. Since the Indians are currently in the hunt, I am doing a lot of scoreboard-watching every night.
"Most nights I will have the Indians on the TV while watching another game on my laptop. Other teams I watch since they are battling with the Indians right now are the Tigers, Athletics, Orioles, Rangers, Rays and Royals. I will also use MLB.TV to watch out-of-market games when two top pitchers face off. One pitcher I love watching is Jose Fernandez of Miami. I'm just a big baseball fan in general, and MLB.TV is a great way for me to keep on the other games that impact the American League playoff race."
Karr will be watching the races as well, as he attends classes and works for a Spokane TV affiliate, shooting and directing live sporting events.
"I spent the majority of this summer working in Spokane and watched pretty much every Giants game from May to July on MLB.TV, even though their season has been painful to watch," Karr said. "I came back to the Bay Area on Aug. 4 and will go back to Spokane on Sept. 1. Unfortunately, I'm not going to make it out to AT&T Park this season for the first time in several years, but obviously another nice part of having MLB.TV is being able to watch all the teams that are in pennant races in September while I'm back at school.
"I would say my fondest memory of any specific MLB.TV game is when the Giants beat the Padres to clinch the National League West late in September last season. Being away from my family during last season was tough, because we are all huge Giants fans and couldn't celebrate together like we did in 2010. But watching games on MLB.TV throughout the season, especially in September, made it a little easier. At least I was able to watch the games."
Mark Newman is enterprise editor of MLB.com. Read and join other baseball fans on his MLB.com community blog.