They say it isn't spring until baseball starts. Well, then, spring starts this Sunday.
Most March Madness brackets have been ripped to shreds, the late winter snows are finally starting to melt, and we can already hear the ridiculously-priced concession stand beers and soft pretzels calling out names. That's right, folks, tomorrow is Opening Day for the 2015 Major League Baseball season, and if you're ready to step up to the plate of keeping up with teams, divisions, fantasy leagues, and statistics galore, we're here to help you hit it out of the park.
Take me out to the Play Store!
1. MLB At Bat
When it comes to baseball, it's little surprise that the MLB's own app is the first stop, and if you're a big-spending baseball-fan who has a Premium MLB.tv subscription, then this may be the only app you need, as this app is included in your yearly subscription. MLB At Bat features each and every game outside your market — because the MLB's blackout rules just won't die — for MLB.tv premium subscribers, and mere At Bat subscribers can watch the Game of the Day.
MLB At Bat has Chromecast support, so you won't have to squint to make out a foul pitch on your smartphone's screen. That said, unless you're already shelling out 130 bucks a year for MLB.tv premium, MLB At Bat's limited games and subscription model — 3 bucks a month or a yearly subscription of $20 — may seem a bit too rich for many users.
If you're looking to keep up with the home team's stats, standings, and maybe delve into their opponents stats during a 'lively debate' at the sports bar, ESPN may be just the ticket. ESPN's app — formerly known as ESPN Scorecenter — keeps up with baseball — and most other sports, for that matter — in grand style and you can customize alerts so that even if you're not watching a Gamecast you'll know when the tide is turning or when your team is blowing their lead. If you've got a cable subscription from certain providers, you can even tune into live ESPN shows and commentaries.
You may remember theScore, we've recommended it before for basketball, for hockey, and it's great for following MLB baseball, too. This lusciously dark material app is easy to navigate and re-arrange to your heart's content. You can follow individual players in addition to teams or events, and you can keep up with your fantasy team here as well. Like ESPN, theScore can serve as your one and only sports news/scores app if you're looking for a single, simple app to depend on.
4. Yahoo Fantasy Sports
If you take your fantasy baseball team seriously, if your league means more than just bragging rights, then the Yahoo Fantasy Sports app has you covered. Another sultry dark material app, Yahoo is here for you to manage your team, participate in mock drafts, and — most importantly — smack talk the wimpy teams the other managers in your league have put together. And once the baseball season has wrapped up, you can use the same app to keep up with your fantasy football league.
It may not have every single game, but if you're not shelling out for MLB.tv, WatchESPN can come through in a pinch. WatchESPN shows many an MLB game — especially those early afternoon games that you would never be caught watching at work — and if you're paying for cable, it might as well earn its keep outside your house. WatchESPN streams games to any of your devices — including your Chromecast, leaving your phone free to live-tweet the game and trash-talk the other team's fans.
6. Google Now
Even without an app, you can follow your home team just fine. And if local businesses run promotions around your team — like Papa Johns and the Texas Rangers — then paying attention isn't just a way to stay connected, it's a way to hunt for deals. You can follow a team from pre-season to world series on Google Now without it being bombarded with constant notifications. Especially if you've got an Android Wear device, following baseball on Google Now is a breeze, you can swipe through the cards on your wrist whenever you have a moment and need to pick yourself up with the thought of your team kicking butt — and earning you cheap food.
So, what apps will you be taking out to the old ballgame — or at least the sports bar where you'll be watching that old ballgame? And which teams are you pulling for? I'd say I'm rooting for the Rangers, but I've had my heart broken too many times — and besides, they're plagued with injuries right now.