In our home (and blog) we don't celebrate April Fool's Day. But we do celebrate the opening of the baseball season. While for some teams, the season actually started yesterday, true opening day for major league baseball hasn't begun until today - as that's when the A's take the field. Kicking off the baseball season this year, there are some great advances in the world of baseball that every baseball fan should know to start the 2011 season off right, including a new site in the amazing Sports Blogs Nation franchise, a new baseball game for iOS and Android, and the extension of one month's MLB.TV to all MLB At Bat purchasers on all platforms.
In the tradition of baseball's 1-2-3 strikes, here are the three big stories.
1) Baseball Nation from Sports Blogs Nation
Sports Blogs Nation has been the true fans' sports network for almost 8 years, starting with my favorite, Athletics Nation, and first slowly, then rapidly, taking over the world with dedicated blogs for all major sports teams, most colleges and many specific sports globally. The fast-growing network is practically going pro this year, with the higher of former ESPNer Rob Neyer, one of the most respected baseball authors and stat geeks you'll ever see. He is now running a brand new baseball entry page to SB Nation, which pops up the league's top news, runs near-live scores, columns, and deep integration into the dedicated team sites. Every baseball fan has to check this out: http://mlb.sbnation.com/
Sports Blogs Nation's success has me somewhat wistful I didn't double down on my early work with Athletics Nation in 2005 and Sactown Royalty from 2006 on, but I traded in my athletic gear for a slide rule and glasses with tape in going geek. Tyler Bleszinski, Jim Bankoff and team have done an amazing job with the franchise.
2) Free MLB.TV for the month of April from MLB
I've purchased MLB At Bat 11 on both my Android and iOS products. It's the best way to follow games around the country. MLB.com sent me a note today that customers will get access to streaming live video from any game through the month of April. They're hoping they'll get you hooked and you just might.
3) 9 Innings Pro Baseball Hits Android for Free
Com2uS has long made the best baseball games for mobile devices. In early 2010, I told you how 9 innings on iOS kept me from missing real baseball too much after a long and cold off-season. The company's Home Run Battle 3D game is amazing on both iOS and Android, looking fantastic on my Samsung Galaxy Tab, wasting countless hours for me swinging at off-speed pitches. The new 9 Innings Pro baseball game for android comes to Android for the first time, and is free, using the newly released in-app building to help you follow your favorite teams during the baseball season. The game is made in association with the Major League Baseball Player's Association. It also works on iOS.
So there you go. In a few hours, my favorite team takes the field. But before that, I am going to read Baseball Nation to see what's new, maybe catch an out of region game on MLB TV and play a little 9 innings. It's in the name of the real holiday - Opening Day.