When Worlds Collide

Unless you have been living in the video tape room watching old game tapes for the past week, you have probably heard that Apple had scheduled a “media event” to introduce a new product. It was hard to miss this as it seemed like every media outlet in the free world has been speculating what this new product would be.

As a card-carrying techno-geek the Apple event piqued my interest. I have long been a fan of Apple’s industrial design and have several of their products strung throughout my house. And since Spring Training was still 21 days 18 hours and 19 minutes away from starting I really didn’t have anything else to occupy my time.

I tuned into the web cast of the Apple announcement and opened another browser window to work on my Spanish skills by trying to read game write-ups from the Caribbean Winter Leagues. As near as I can tell either Mayaguez defeated Caguas or a large rodent was found tap dancing through the sewers of Puerto Rico.

The Apple announcement was an introduction of a new product named iPad. I could not help but notice the similarity of this name to a skin care product that my daughter uses to mitigate acne. I was sitting there blankly pondering all of the comic material this product name was bound to garner by junior high school level humorists.

Apple’s CEO Steve Jobs was on the stage explaining how our lives had not been complete until the introduction of this device and the joy we would experience just for buying this product.

He described functions and demonstrated cool new features that had geeks in attendance salivating and begging to pay for a few minutes alone with this incredible hardware. After a few minutes my attention span wandered and I have to be honest I stopped paying attention.

The product introduction event continued with descriptions of how the manufacture of this device would stop global warming and I could have sworn they suggested the use of this electronic appliance would even make the Pittsburgh Pirates a play-off contender.

Before long Jobs left the stage and up came a steady stream of developers and other geek heads describing how their software would catapult the iPad to cult status and could possibly end wars and cure cancer.

Suddenly though I was jerked back into reality. Apple introduced a representative from Major League Baseball to show what MLB had in store for users. They began showing demonstrations for MLB At Bat 2010.

The 2009 version of this software was incredible on the Apple iPhone. Not only could you get scores for all the games but it also included GameDay with statistical analysis of pitch selection. It was further enhanced with the ability to actually watch games on your iPhone.

At the iPad introduction they were showing demos of the new version. Not only did it include all of the features that made the 2009 version a must-have piece of software but it now took advantage of the larger 10 inch screen of the iPad.

The demo showed a game being broadcast. Overlaid on the video were semi-transparent popup boxes that included statistics on the batter and the pitcher. I had to stop myself from drooling on my keyboard shorting it out quicker than a Mark Reynolds strikeout.

The presentation concluded with MLB announcing that subscribers to their MLB.TV packages would be able to watch games on their iPhones, iPads, or computer monitors. The MLB.TV Premium package would add the ability to watch four games simultaneously and provide DVR capabilities to stop and rewind game action.

Clearly I underestimated this product’s value. Anything that I can put in a seat cushion that will give me access to 2,430 baseball games in high definition along with countless amounts of data about the teams and players has to be a must have device.

The iPad will be available in late March with Wi-Fi capabilities and in late April for those who also want to access content using the cellular 3G network. As for the At Bat application, it should be available before the end of Spring Training. MLB.TV and MLB.TV premium packages are currently on sale on the MLB.com web site.

This combination of hardware and software will make sure that every baseball fan stays connected no matter where they happen to be. Now if I could just get an app that would translate the Caribbean Series game recaps my life would be complete.


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