This is the first in a series of mobile app reviews for the die hard Phillies Phan
Many of us now are carrying a smartphone in our pocket, be it the iPhone, Android, or some other phone with an “App Store”. Many of the minor league teams across the nation have their own app where fans can follow and keep up with the team. A good number of the minor league apps are designed by Critical Technologies Group (CTG). Many team apps share the same features and sections, but each app is different in the way they are maintained. The app for the Phillies single A affiliate Lakewood Blueclaws was designed by CTG and has a good number of features that help fans follow the team.
The news section is constantly updated with game recaps from all of the Blueclaws games. Blueclaws broadcaster Adam Giardino pulls double duty here by writing up the game recaps after getting off the mic when the games end. The stories are easily loaded via pop up and you can get about a week’s worth of game recaps and Blueclaws press releases in this section.
Pros: Game recaps easily quickly available after the games
Cons: No way to go back further than a week.
SCHEDULE / PROMOS
Most team apps have a section for the schedule and everyone is different. Here the Blueclaws app could use some improvement. The schedule section only features the calendar of games, and even that is pretty limited. It differentiates between home and away games, but only shows game times for the home games. So if you’re hoping to catch an away broadcast on the radio or something, you’re going to have to find the time somewhere else. I understand it would take a lot of work to update the schedule with linked game results, so the teams will get a pass there. But it would be more convenient for users to have the promotions listed under the schedule section. Instead, there is a section just for “Promos”. This section lists all the promotions fans can enjoy at the home games. When you click on a promotion though, you get an annoying pop up asking if you want to know more about this promotion instead of actually going to the information. The Promos section also has a subsection for coupons, but in a year of having this app, I have yet to see a coupon be offered for Blueclaws fans.
Pros: Easy to navigate
Cons: No away game times, poor arrangement, unnecessary pop ups, coupons section always blank.
This section gives you a seating chart, stadium guide, and a way to buy tickets to home games right off your phone. You’ll have to sign up for an account with ticketreturn.com to complete a purchase through the mobile app. Make sure and do that before your try and buy tickets for a game you want to go to. The seating chart lets you know where the reserved section seats are laid out at First Energy Park. There’s supposed to be a option to check out the view from the seats but that options seems to be broken.
Pros: Option to buy mobile tickets
Cons: Broken links
Here you can track the action of the game. It’s not as fluid or detailed as the MLB AT Bat app is, but you can get a good idea of what is going on during the game, who is up to bat, the counts, the score, etc. There is also a subsection for box scores of the game, though the calendar view doesn’t show the scores for every game, instead showing a “Final” link to the individual game pages. But once you go to those pages, you can get a play by play breakdown of the whole game, winning and losing pitcher, and the box scores themselves.
Pros: Highly detailed box scores of each game, good filter ability.
Cons: No scores on calendar view
In this section you can check out the team roster which is updated on a regular basis, as well as check out the standings for the South Atlantic League. Fans can check out the information and stats on each Blueclaws player on the roster.
Pros: Up to date information
Cons: None to speak of
The Blueclaws have a section for social media, with links to the team’s Facebook, Twitter, and Youtube (Bluetube) pages. The Twitter feed is the best feature as it can link to your own mobile Twitter feed. The Facebook page requires a log in so you might not be able to see as much there and it might be a better idea to go to your own Facebook app to check out the Blueclaws on Facebook. There’s also a weather section there but that only gives you the weather of your current location as opposed to showing you the weather in Lakewood or wherever the Blueclaws are playing that day or week. Also missing is a way to listen to the Blueclaws radio broadcast on your mobile phone. Some teams do offer that feature and fans can listen online now at WOBMAM.com and through the radioPup app. Even if the feature is not done through the Blueclaws app itself, it would be good to have the app provide the information on how to listen to the game off a smartphone.
Pros: Good social media section, especially Twitter
Cons: No radio feed
Overall, the Blueclaws app is a good way to keep up with the team. The news and game results page is quickly updated and it’s always handy to be able to buy tickets right off the phone. With some cleaning up and the addition of radio streaming (or links to such), this app would be even better. Even for the casual Blueclaws fan, this is a good app to get, especially if you are into finding out what promos are coming up.
Overall grade: B+
The BlueClaws and Townsquare Media have extended their agreement to ensure that every BlueClaws game is carried on WOBM-AM 1160 and 1310 through at least the 2015 season. The three year extension extends the partnership that began in 2002, the BlueClaws’ second season of existence.
“Townsquare Media has been a tremendous partner of ours for the last 10 years,” said BlueClaws General Manager Geoff Brown. “This agreement ensures that our fans can continue to hear BlueClaws games on the same stations for more than a decade. We’re ecstatic to be in a situation like this.”
In addition to all games being carried on WOBM-AM 1160 and 1310, all games will also be streamed on ShoreSportsNetwork.com. If that’s not enough, fans of the Blueclaws can listen through the radioPup smartphone app. At this point, it’s unknown if the Blueclaws iPhone app will add the ability to stream the radio broadcasts directly through the app like one can with the Ironpigs app.
“We put such an emphasis on our local, Jersey Shore community, and the BlueClaws are obviously an extension of that,” said Kevin Williams, Townsquare Media’s Shore Sports Network Director. “They’re a big part of our programming and we’re thrilled to extend our partnership.” The previous agreement, announced in 2008, ensured that all games would be carried through 2012, and this three-year extension means all games will be carried on Townsquare’s WOBM-AM 1160 and 1310 through 2015.
Broadcaster Greg Giombarrese will return for his fourth season as the “Voice of the BlueClaws,” broadcasting all 140 games. Starting this season, Adam Giardino joins the broadcast team, serving as pre and post-game show host as well as providing play by play during home games. Each broadcast begins with the BlueClaws Beat Pre-Game Show 15 minutes prior to the scheduled first pitch and concludes with a 15-minute post-game show.
This morning, MLB released the 2012 version of their popular At Bat app. Since it’s initial release in 2009, the mobile app was available in two versions: a free basic app which featured news and scores, and a more fully featured paid version ($10 in 09, $15 since 2010). MLB At Bat also came in separate versions for the iPhone and iPad, causing hardcore baseball fans with both devices to drop $30. This year, that all changes. There will only be one version of the app that will run in optimized form on all of Apple’s iOS devices. I am guessing this means we will get the ballpark view that we would see on MLB Gameday. Users will have also a few options on how to pay for the app’s more advanced features. The basic scoreboard functionality with news stories you can download for free, same as the lite version from 2009-2011. A $15 in-app purchase enables features that were previously only available on the paid version of the apps: Pitch-by-pitch updates, in-game video highlights, pitch tracking, and the popular live audio broadcasts of each game. There’s also live video of one MLB.com-selected game each day, as long as you are not in that market’s blackout area. Last year, all games were able to be viewed throughout the month of April thanks to a sponsorship by Volvo. No word on any special treats this year. If you just want to try it out, you can sign up for a $3 monthly charge. But if you go March to November, you can end up spending $27. Just pay the $15. One thing I can’t seem to figure out is how to send the full At Bat version of the app. My dad is stationed overseas really enjoyed listening to the Phillies on his iPod Touch after I gifted him the app as an early father’s day present.
The developers of At Bat plan to release another MLB app right around Opening Day that’s aimed at fans headed to the ballpark. This app builds upon the location-aware check-in functionality included in the At Bat offering to serve up stadium-specific offers and services. Last year you could order food from your seat and have it sent right to you. I’ll bring you more news on this app as it is released. I will also be sure to review the 2012 version of MLB At Bat in Spring Training to see how they are getting the bugs out. At Bat will be updated before opening day with additional features for fans to use.
In other news, Ryan Howard’s ankle was cleaned out after he developed an infection where his Achilles tendon surgery scar was. Trainer Scott Sheridan stated that Howard (now on twitter @RyanHoward) will be placed on antibiotics to make sure healing properly progresses. No one is saying this is a setback since they had no established timetable for his return, but Sheridan is claiming this victory as “great news”. He’ll probably be off the field for a week, then resuming once everything is cleared up.