Kason Horlacher was having a classic MLB PrePlay moment the other day.
"The MLB PrePlay app is great, but it stresses me out so much," he tweeted to his friends.
I was going through the same thing, still not recovered from the Cubs' Wrigley Field 100th Anniversary bash, which ended not with the precise 5-2 Cubs win I had predicted before the game as a Jeff Samardzija breakthrough, but rather with a Pedro Strop blown save.
So I sent this kindred spirit a follow request and a DM to find out why. Horlacher is a Red Sox fan living in Las Vegas, relying on MLB PrePlay and the live MLB.TV Premium streams to stay involved.
"I love the app," Horlacher said of MLB PrePlay in a subsequent email to MLB.com. "When I tweeted that, the Sox were playing against the A's. Grady Sizemore and Will Middlebrooks were on base with two outs and Jackie Bradley Jr. was hitting.
"With JBJ being one of the Sox's top prospects and trying to fill the void that Jacoby Ellsbury left, I so wanted him to get a hit in that situation. But I also wanted the points in the PrePlay app, so I had to make a decision between the two. This seems to happen quite often to me. JBJ ended up grounding out, fulfilling my prediction."
These things happen when you play MLB PrePlay, and let's just say that a lot of people play. Fans are spending an inordinate amount of time making pregame predictions (Lesson: Wait until Samardzija actually wins a game before predicting his first good-luck outing), and then predicting every at-bat and answering supplementary questions as well. You might already have set a reminder in your app so it will notify you when the time comes to start predicting at-bat results.
"PrePlay is the ultimate MLB IQ test," said PrePlay CEO Andrew Daines. "It combines fans' knowledge of complex stats with pure instinct. Without a doubt, we can say that the best PrePlayer has the highest MLB IQ of any fan out there."
You know how a Major League manager always seems to bring up in postgame interviews how he had told his bench coach that so-and-so was going to go deep on the next pitch? They would love this.
With MLB PrePlay, you can predict every play of every game, and it is free to play. Choose whichever game you want and start making at-bat predictions right away. Make pregame predictions, whether it's the final score or which starter will throw the fastest pitch or how deep into the game the starters will go.
Earn points to increase your level and earn tickets to spend on power-ups and helpful staff. Power-ups improve your point totals, but only when deployed strategically. The Coach, Trainer and Agent are staff members who provide different benefits to users.
Opt into one-on-one matchups against a fellow user that last for one inning, and it can win you tickets and bragging rights. Browse the app's Shop to use your tickets to purchase power ups and staff to make your game easier.
Track your place among the MLB PrePlay community through four distinct leaderboards. Total Points shows your pure accumulation. The Matchup Leaderboard measures your winning percentage in one-on-one matchups. The Point Per At Bat Leaderboard takes your raw points and divides them by your total predictions, creating an efficiency rating. The Triple Crown Leaderboard takes your standing in the first three leaderboards and crowns an overall champion.
You can follow your friends and track their progress easily, while competing to always stay ahead of them. Chat with fellow users in one of six chat rooms per game, or open up your private chat room only for you and your mutual followers.
There is even stadium detection, which allows for all users at the ballpark to compete with all other users playing in the same ballpark for a competitive experience.
"The app is amazing, especially because it is free," Horlacher said. "I love how there are so many different things to try and predict, and how it gives you all the options. It is very simple and easy to use.
"You can predict how games, innings and every at-bat will end. It is awesome to be able to compete with others and see how people do around the world. I love the points leaderboard and seeing how I compare against others. I don't have a ton of time to watch games, but when I do, I seem to get a fairly high percentage of correct calls.
"Overall it is a great app that I have been able to get my dad and brother interested in. Any MLB enthusiast would love it, as it is a great way to keep you on your toes and constantly analyze pitcher vs. batter matchups, making you feel like an ESPN analyst."
Horlacher said he has been a Red Sox fan since he was about 7, relying on the influence of family and friends out East and finding a home in Red Sox Nation. And he figures he is in an interesting part of America to be making picks about baseball every day.
"Being in Las Vegas does make it fun -- I am constantly seeing the bets downtown and hearing about them 24/7," he said. "The app makes it nice because I can stay home and not risk anything, while making predictions on what I think will happen."
Tap any game to begin. There probably is some predicting to do right now.
Mark Newman is enterprise editor of MLB.com. Read and join other baseball fans on his MLB.com community blog.