It's that time of year, when scoreboard-watching is entering its peak season and most remaining games have an impact on someone's October hopes.
MLB Advanced Media has made it easier to follow that upcoming final month of division and Wild Card races by reducing the prices of MLB.TV yearly signups to $24.99 for Premium and $19.99 for basic.
"I think it's awesome," said Braves closer and MLB.TV subscriber Craig Kimbrel, who credits the technology, at least partly, for his success. "I actually use MLB.TV to go back and watch the game and watch mechanics, and to watch other games. If I want to go back and see how somebody did, you can pull it up and watch the entire game after it's already done, just on your phone. So I think it's really awesome.
"Tendencies, things like that. We have all that at the field, but if you're not at the field, you don't have it. So it's great to pull it up or watch another game. I have friends who are on the West Coast. So if their games are not on TV, I can just pull it up and watch it on my phone, and it's just right there."
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 HD on your favorite mobile and connected devices, now including the Blackberry Z10. It includes your choice of home or away broadcasts, and you can pause, rewind live game action with DVR controls and choose between picture-in-picture, split screen and Mosaic view.
It's the 11th birthday for MLB.TV, which got its start when about 30,000 users watched a Rangers-Yankees game streamed live on Aug. 26, 2002. The immediate success of that workday experiment led to MLB becoming the first pro sports league to stream its entire live out-of-market schedule in 2003, and continual advancements have made MLB.TV a staple for millions of fans worldwide, as well as those within the MLB family.
"It's great. I have the app on my phone, on my iPad, so no matter where I am, I can watch a game," Rockies owner Dick Montfort said. "Usually it's the Rockies game, but I do watch other games. MLB.TV is tremendous. I won't say I was the biggest believer when it first came out, but it's great for baseball. I think it's better than all the other [streaming technologies] that all the other professional networks have."
Even if you cannot stream your team's live games due to local blackout restrictions, resulting from TV rights-holder contracts, it is a better fan experience if you can easily track the competition. And that's important in following the races for division titles and Wild Card berths.
There are many other reasons to sign up as well. You can monitor the progress of individual storylines, such as Miguel Cabrera's bid for a second consecutive Triple Crown or the final days for retiring Yankees closer Mariano Rivera. Rosters expand Sunday, and you can see expected callups like Billy Hamilton, who will finish with more than 70 steals for Cincinnati's Triple-A Louisville Bats. You can chart your fantasy roster, and you'll have the best flexibility to react whenever the next no-hit bid is in progress.
"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," said Indians fan Evan Lewis, a sophomore at Columbus State Community College in Columbus, Ohio. "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. 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."
This season, TiVo became the newest connected platform in the ever-growing number of ways you can watch live out-of-market games from anywhere. Devices include connected equipment such as Xbox 360, Sony PlayStation 3, Apple TV, Roku Player, Samsung TV or Blu-ray Disc Player, LG (Blu-ray or TV), Panasonic (Viera TV or Blu-ray), Boxee, Sony Blu-ray and Western Digital, and mobile means such as iPhone, iPod Touch and iPad, Android and BlackBerry Z10.
Bud Norris, involved in a pennant race with the Orioles, is among players who extol the virtues of MLB.TV.
"I remember when they first got it, we had a package for free, but now I'm getting it for myself," he said. "I know my girlfriend [watches] all the time, my mom's on all the time, and all my [California] friends ...
"They definitely go on MLB.com and watch the games all the time. Whether it's at their workplace or at home, they have a lot of ways to go watch the game."
Mark Newman is enterprise editor of MLB.com. Read and join other baseball fans on his MLB.com community blog.