STRIKE ONE: "Crash after crash. Sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn't."
STRIKE TWO: "The audio drops about once per inning and stays dropped for quite some time."
STRIKE THREE: "I've got hundreds of apps...and this is by far the worst. All in all, this app is crap."
So go the reviews for MLB.com's effort to bring its wildly popular GameDay audio broadcasts to iPhones and iPod Touches. The $9.99 app, exclusively for iPhone and Touch users, promises users will be able to listen to live audio broadcasts of any MLB game without any blackout restrictions.
The addition of live radio streaming of games to MLB.com's solid At Bat app for iPhones and iPod Touches seemed like a natural when MLB announced the service on the eve of opening day. After nearly a week, though, the user reviews are charging MLB with an error. With approximately 700 reviews already in the hopper, the app is garnering a number of complaints.
"Quite disappointing," one reviewer wrote, while another claimed the app was "poorly executed." Another reviewer said the app held "big potential, little delivery." Yet another wrote, "buggy -- can't hear the audio -- waste of money."
Even the good reviews are less than positive. Slapping five stars on the app, one reviewer noted, "The app does, admittedly, have a few bugs such as the contant crashing." A four-star review notes, "The very concept of this app is a five-star application. It would take something monumentally bad to screw it up. While I wouldn't call the current version of At Bat monumentally bad, it is pretty screwed up in a number of ways."
An MLB.com spokesman told eWEEK, "After becoming aware of a bug impacting a small percentage of At Bat users, we have a free update that has been submitted to Apple and will
resolve the issue."
The original At Bat app was part of Steve Jobs' much ballyhooed presentation in June of last year of the 3G iPhone. Designed by Major League Baseball Advanced Media (MLBAM), it was an instant hit at Apple's app store, offering live game updates and stats and delayed video highlights.
"It's a good example of the popularity of baseball," Adam Ritter, MLBAM's vice president of wireless, said at the iPhone 3G debut event. "MLB At Bat will constantly update all the data of each game. You not only get to see all the data, but a couple of minutes after that, you get to see the play that put your team ahead or that great defensive play."
For 2009, MLBAM took the next step by offering its already popular GameDay audio for Internet users to iPhones and iPod Touches.
"Fans will now be able to listen to live audio broadcasts of every Major League Baseball game from Opening Night on April 5 through the final game of the World Series wherever they go... Each game will offer fans the choice of listening to the home or away broadcasts," MLB said in a March 31 press release touting the new service.
Now, if they can just get it to work.