|MLB Improving its Mobile Reach|
Written by Jonathan Leshanski (Contact & Archive) on March 03, 2012
In New York City's Chelsea Market on Tuesday, MLB.com had an invitation-only event for its long-time customers of MLB.TV.¬† Of course, being a long-time user of their online service, we were invited to mingle with former Major Leaguers, executives and personalities, and to see the new product line that MLB.com and specifically MLB.TV is rolling out for the 2012 season.
In the grand scheme of corporate parties, this one was a small get together.¬† Perhaps 200 or 300 people all there to eat baseball themed and regional foods, drink, mingle and sample first hand the new apps, products and innovations made to enhance MLB.com and MLB television.
It was interesting to get to talk to some of these personalities and discuss bits and pieces about their lives and baseball, but in the interest of their privacy I'll keep the comments to the baseball side of things, and hope they'll all forgive a bit of paraphrasing on my part.
Thomas and I managed to find a few minutes to discuss drug testing.¬† He was somewhat of an unpopular player for being pro-testing as early as 1995 and believed that the players, not just the management, should want it.¬† He's very proud of doing it all clean and was a big critic of those who didn't accomplish it that way.¬† He also was one of the only players to voluntarily cooperate with the investigation into PED use for the document now known as the Mitchell Report.
My few minutes with Morris was even more interesting as we discussed the imbalance in the game today between the have and the have-nots, owners who don't quite understand the game and hurt their teams.
Morris and I also had a discussion about free agency and what is damaging the game today -- something he feels is not attributable directly to free agency, but to immense contracts being handed out to young and unproven players even before they've thrown a pitch or taken their first at bat.¬† He seems to feel that it robs some of them of their impetus to keep improving and reach stardom and gives some of them a sense of entitlement to it, turning some into prima donnas who often never reach their full potential.
The former reliever Nelson is one of the nicest guys you'll ever meet, provided you don't have to face him with a bat in your hands.¬† He still looks like he could blow away hitters today.¬† He's a big fan of New York City and seems to really love his time here and spending time talking to fans.¬† While he doesn't miss the daily grind of getting ready to play every day, he still has a passion for the game and for life in general.¬† He also laughed at my wife's Iphone 3GS, saying it looked old fashioned like a model from about 1920.
McLemore is another of that type of player, still gritty but humble and happy that he was able to be so versatile and play all of the roles that teams asked of him.¬† He seems like the kind of guy you really can't fluster no matter what you say to him, although one fan came close when he asked McLemore to tell his favorite Gene Autry story from when he was playing with the Angels.¬† Apparently he doesn't have a great Gene Autry story, or even a not so great one. He also seemed a bit puzzled as to why someone would have asked him for one.
After the schmoozing portion of the night was done, executives from MLB.com put on a short presentation, reminding us what the night was all about and getting us ready for the new season with preseason games just a couple of days away (and available on MLB.TV).
Perhaps the highlight portion of the short presentation was the news that MLB has gotten rid of the double fee structure that had fans paying once for the MLB At Bat streaming app for their smartphone, and again if they wanted it for for their tablet computer as well.¬† The app also will be free to members of the MLB.TV Premium subscribers.
The app is also now available, not just to iPhone/iPad users, but to those using Android, and supposedly other iOS as well.¬† Additionally At Bat will have a monthly option, not just a seasonal one on all mobile devices.
MLB.TV will also be available to stream to your television via devices such as Apple TV, X-Box 360, PlayStation and Roku, several of those being new to streaming games.¬† In-game changes include improvement to the widgets and bonus features available to premium subscribers.
They also pushed the new app available for the Beat The Streak game, which until now had only been available via their website.¬† Now 11 years into the game with over 3 million players, no one has beaten or even matched DiMaggio's 56 game hit streak and they'd like to see someone do it.¬† With a prize of over $5 million and the new app available for this season they are hoping that they'll have a winner in 2012.
After the presentation, there was some more time to have a beer and sample a few more of the regional dishes, and talk with the former players and executives before they wrapped the night up with a raffle with tickets drawn by Nelson.
Ironically my wife was one of the big winners, coming away with an X-Box 360 and a year of gold membership, which Nelson presented to her, and posed with her for photos which you can see at MLB's Facebook page.