Apps for the seamheaded
Baseball fandom is about seats — at a ballgame, in front of a TV, or at a computer desk, monitoring your fantasy league’s waiver wire.
Apps for smartphones and tablets represent yet another segment for sedentary enjoyment of the national pastime. While playing with a new iPad 2, I stumbled upon these three apps, which should help herald the opening of the 2011 season this week.
$4.99 (iPad only)
Steve Varga developed this streamlined visualization of baseball’s play-by-play history as his thesis project for Parsons the New School for Design. It took him about eight months to translate open-source game data (1952-present) from Retrosheet and The Baseball Databank into an artful presentation.
“I wanted to kind of create something that I’d like to use,” said the 27-year-old Varga, a Hoboken resident who is developing an iPhone version of Pennant for release in July. “The whole thing is kind of experimental.”
Varga’s experiment is an elegant, objective and instant settler of baseball arguments.
GameChanger Baseball Scorekeeping
Free (iPhone and iPad)
Unlike its ESPN-owned competitor iScore ($9.99), GameChanger’s intuitive and educational scorekeeping app remains free. Traditionalists may prefer to maintain scorecards on paper, but GameChanger users learn the same time-worn hand notations. The difference is that rather than write the symbols on a chart, users input game data as they see it, with touches and swipes on an image of a baseball diamond and outfield. The app even ably tracks pitch counts and types. For a young fan learning to keep score, this would be a great educational tool.
NBC Sports Talk
Free (iPhone, iPad, Android)
This grid-layout blog app not only purveys a dozen-plus items per day from the seamheaded scribes of HardballTalk, but it also appealingly lays out content from the experts at ProFootballTalk, ProBasketballTalk and others.