Sunday, April 03, 2011

National Past Time in the 21st Century

By Pauly
Los Angeles, CA

Baseball has officially reached the 21st century. Opening Day snuck up on me. I knew it was coming, but I had too much going on to sink my entire life into the season. I watched the Yankees opening day on ESPN. But at the same time, Phish made a major announcement about Super Ball IX, their upcoming three-day rager of a festival at Watkins Glen in upstate New York just before July 4th. Yeah, I was a wee bit distracted and spent an hour of game time writing up a post and finding flights from Vegas to NYC with Nicky. The festival was the perfect time -- a week before the WSOP Main Event -- so I could take off that week and relax before the insanity of the two-week long Main Event championship began. Perfect timing, indeed.

Ah, back to baseball. I was actually more excited about cricket than baseball this week. Events of illsignificance all of sudden have significance when you bet on them and that's what happened with both of the final four matches for the cricket World Cup. I won both bets (India over Pakistan and Sri Lanka over New Zealand). The finals were set for Saturday at 2am my time. Holy fuck nuts. I had to wake up at 2am to sweat a match that lasted over 8 hours. I decided to sleep in and skip the first two hours and dedicated six. I streamed the match online because cricket is not a hot sport in America. I fired up Nicky's laptop, while she was fast asleep, and watched cricket while I multitasked -- answering a mountainous pile of email, writing my standard morning writing exercise, and cranked out a post about Final Four March Madness betting on Tao of Poker. I took some time away from the match and walked over to the coffeeshop for breakfast. I ordered French Toast, something I used to do when I first got introduced to the place but since then the dish has fallen out of rotation, and read a chapter of a book about Wall Street and the Federal Reserve. I returned from breakfast to the match with two hours remaining!

India won. Some would say that they caught a lot of fortuitous breaks along the way., particularly in the Pakistan game. I got a tip that it might be rigged in India's favor, so I bet them heavily in their final two matches. It's an awesome feeling when you bet on the right side of the fix. Even if it's not true, the notion that the fleeting moment of victory is enough to make you grin. In the end...I have no idea... no proof... nadda... just speculation. Shit, I don't even know what's going out 30% of the time in cricket, so how could I sniff out a fix? I just have to trust my foreign friends (Aussies, Kiwis, Brits, and Sri Lankans) to clue me in about the seedy side of the cricket world, including the occasional tip that a match might not be on the straight.

Back to baseball... after streaming the cricket finals without any problems, I ran into a hitch with the Yankees game. FOX has exclusive rights and I couldn't find the stream anywhere online. The game was up against the Dodgers-Giants, a local game, so I lost the face-off and got stuck with the West Coast game. I was hoping to watch some of the Yanks before the March Madness games. No such luck.

That's when I made the decision to buy a month of I've subscribed to the services in the past and streamed Yankees games on my laptop, which came in handy when I moved to the West Coast and during Las Vegas summers covering the WSOP. The price per month has gone up. It's overvalued by at least $7-10 a month, but the MLB owns a monopoly so I have no choice but... 1) try to find illegal streams, or 2) suck it up and buy it from the MLB directly. I don't mind paying for something I'll use, but I hate being forced to pay more than something is worth. The sharks at MLB charge $25 a month for HD full access, but games are subject to LOCAL blackouts and the league blacks out games on the weekends (FOX has exclusive rights from 1pm ET to 7pm ET and ESPN has Sunday Night Baseball exclusives), so you're not getting everything they promise.

If I wanted to watch the games using Nicky's iPad, I had to pay $15 extra to buy the official MLB app which also syncs up with Ah, those fuckers sucked $40 out of me due to my addiction to NY Yankees baseball! I wasn't thrilled initially with the $15 for the app (considering 90% of all apps Nicky has were free or under $1), but I quickly changed my mind after... 1) seeing the quality of the HD video on the iPad, and 2) playing around with all of the side features. I was amazed that the same game from a century ago (cue some Dixieland jazz music and a slow close up onto an old silver, white, and black photo of the Polo Grounds) is now being beamed onto a tablet. Magic. 21st century magic. The convergence of nostalgia and technology.

Here's a couple of screen caps...

The graphic on the right displays ballpark dimensions, players in the field,
but most importantly, who is pitching! The graphic can be switched on/off.

The onscreen box score is a slick feature.
You don't have leave the screen to see who is up next.

The app has some other neat-o features that I don't have time to go into detail, but maybe I will in a future post. For now, I'm pumped about the iPad, but overall not happy that I have to fork over $25 a month to MLB. And now I'm hoping that Nicky doesn't take her iPad with her on a business trip this week. Shit, after spending all this money, I'd hate to not take advantage of all of this new technology.


  1. FYI... At Bat 11 for iPad included a free month of April MLB.TV

  2. ** At Bat 11 begins the 2011 MLB season with a free MLB.TV trial, offering subscribers the opportunity to watch every out-of-market game for free on their iPad for the entire month of April. The free MLB.TV trial is presented by Volvo. **