Major League Baseball Opening Day 2011

People will come, Ray. They’ll come to Iowa for reasons they can’t even fathom. They’ll turn up your driveway not knowing for sure why they’re doing it. They’ll arrive at your door as innocent as children, longing for the past. Of course, we won’t mind if you look around, you’ll say. It’s only $20 per person. They’ll pass over the money without even thinking about it: for it is money they have and peace they lack.

And they’ll walk out to the bleachers; sit in shirtsleeves on a perfect afternoon. They’ll find they have reserved seats somewhere along one of the baselines, where they sat when they were children and cheered their heroes. And they’ll watch the game and it’ll be as if they dipped themselves in magic waters. The memories will be so thick they’ll have to brush them away from their faces.

People will come Ray. The one constant through all the years, Ray, has been baseball. America has rolled by like an army of steamrollers. It has been erased like a blackboard, rebuilt and erased again. But baseball has marked the time. This field, this game: it’s a part of our past, Ray. It reminds of us of all that once was good and it could be again. Oh…people will come Ray. People will most definitely come.

Play ball.

Post-World Series, At Bat becomes a great news reader

Major League Baseball’s (MLB) At Bat is one of my favorite iOS apps (I first wrote about At Bat for TUAW in 2008). During the regular season, it provides real-time stats, play-by-play action, video, news and so much more. Now that the 2010 season is over, At Bat for iPad has transformed into a wonderful news reader.

The current layout presents 7 pages of news stories from around Major League Baseball, with anywhere from 2 to 8 stories per page. Every club is represented and nearly every article is accompanied by a video.

The UI is simple and clear. With black (resizable) text on a white background, it feels like a newspaper sports section. Tap any article to bring it to the front and you’ll find a button to share via email, a preview of the next and previous article plus dots that indicate an article’s length. The videos look great, especially when viewed in full screen, and load quickly over Wi-Fi. As of this writing there are Mastercard ads but they’re completely unobtrusive.

Kudos to the Major League Baseball Advanced Media team. They obviously understand what iPad-wielding fans want and continue to deliver a stellar experience. This is the first time I’ve kept At Bat after the season has ended.

Check out the gallery of screenshots below.

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