Posts with «major league baseball» label

MLB's Home Run Derby VR launches on the Meta Quest Store

If you're part of the intersection of virtual reality enthusiasts and major league baseball fans, then there's good news for you. MLB has launched Home Run Derby VR on the Meta Quest Store, making it available for Quest 2, Quest 3 and Quest Pro users. The game was previously on Meta's App Lab.

MLB Home Run Derby VR gives gamers the chance to explore 30 different ballparks and play up to 100 different levels. "This upgraded game offers an exciting opportunity to experience each venue like never before and utilizing advanced motion controls and realistic batting mechanics, users can step into the virtual batter's box to emulate their favorite sluggers from anywhere in the world," MLB shared in its announcement.

The game also offers multiplayer mode for up to four people or tournaments for up to eight. Users can choose winners by score, fastest exit velocity or longest home run. Plus, achievements can unlock bat skins, batting gloves and more for their Meta avatars. MLB Home Run Derby VR is available for $30 in the Meta Quest Store, but non-Meta users can pick it up on Rift or Steam VR platforms.

This launch isn't MLB's first foray into VR: The organization hosted its first "virtual ballpark" regular-season game in September. The experience allowed viewers to "enter" the stadium and watch avatars correspond to real-time gameplay between the Tampa Bay Rays and the Los Angeles Angels.

This article originally appeared on Engadget at

It’s almost time for T-Mobile customers to claim their free year of MLB.TV

T-Mobile’s annual deal for baseball fans is back. From Tuesday through Sunday, the carrier’s customers can claim a free yearlong subscription to MLB.TV for live and on-demand streaming access to the entire Major League Baseball season.

This is the ninth straight year T-Mobile has offered the deal, which the companies have extended through 2028. MLB.TV lets you watch all out-of-market regular-season games and select Spring Training games. (Unfortunately, blackout restrictions, universally loathed by everyone not profiting from them, apply to in-market games.) They stream in HD, and the service supports DVR and in-game playback controls.

The streaming package usually costs $150 for the season or $30 per month, so this is a nice perk for baseball fans. You can claim the offer in the T Life (formerly T-Mobile Tuesdays) app (iOS and Android) from tomorrow through Sunday only, so don’t forget to claim it during that short window.

As a promotional gimmick to help plug the deal, T-Mobile is introducing a “Secret Baseball Button.” The Bluetooth device connects to your computer and can be set to “discreetly switch from baseball to ‘work’ with the literal click of a button.” (It’s the same idea as the March Madness Boss Button, only in physical form.) If you care about such things, you can enter a sweepstakes for a chance to win one.

This article originally appeared on Engadget at

MLB The Show 24 features women ballplayers for the first time

This year’s edition of MLB The Show is just a couple of weeks away, and Sony's San Diego Studio has shed more light on what to expect. For the first time in the series, you’ll be able to create and play as women ballplayers in the Road to the Show mode.

In Road to the Show: Women Pave Their Way, there will be a dedicated story in which you can build a career as a pro female baseball player. While it includes all the usual features of Road to the Show, this version of the mode will have a buddy character and depict a “unique-to-women storyline following a lifelong friendship as it develops in professional baseball,” according to a PlayStation Blog post.

Your career path will likely be different on each playthrough. San Diego Studio added fresh commentary, MLB Network segments and other features tied to this new addition to the game.

Other major sports games have added women players over the last several years, including FIFA (now EA Sports FC), the NHL series and NBA 2K. It's good to see MLB The Show joining them.

In addition, MLB The Show 24 will continue to showcase stories from the Negro Leagues under a partnership with the Negro Leagues Baseball Museum. The latest edition of the series will feature 10 new Negro League Legends, each of whom has their own storyline. Among those players is Toni Stone, who was the first woman to play full time in the leagues.

Meanwhile, MLB The Show will remain in the odd position of being a Sony-developed and published game that's coming to Game Pass on its release date. Subscribers will be able to play MLB The Show 24 via Xbox consoles and the cloud at no extra cost starting on March 19.

This article originally appeared on Engadget at

MLB.TV's four-game Multiview feature is coming to Apple, Amazon and Google TV devices

Baseball fans who've had to stay glued to their computer to watch several MLB games simultaneously will soon be able to kick back in front of their TV and do the same thing. The league has announced several updates for MLB.TV for this upcoming season. For one thing, the MLB apps on supported Apple TV, Fire TV and Google TV devices will let you watch up to four games simultaneously in Multiview.

Until now, Apple TV users, for instance, were restricted to watching a maximum of two games at once through picture-in-picture. The upgrade should become especially useful later in the season as the race for playoff spots comes down to the wire and fans can watch multiple teams play for a post-season slot simultaneously with more ease. You'll also be able to stream more than 7,000 Minor League Baseball games, featuring affiliates from all 30 MLB teams.

In addition, MLB.TV is bringing Catchup Mode to certain streaming platforms this season, but did not specify which. This mode will feature in-game highlights for key moments and plays you might have missed, so if you missed the first few innings of a game that's in progress, you can quickly get up to speed.

Fans can expect new episodes of original shows such as Carded and Inside Stitch, along with more documentaries and live programming. Select teams will provide local pregame and postgame coverage, while MLB Big Inning will deliver the top action from around the league with highlights and live look-ins. Those who authenticate subscriptions through TV providers will be able to stream every post-season game, as well as the 2024 All-Star Game.

The MLB All Teams Yearly subscription is the same price as last year at $150. It includes access to every out-of-market regular season game and some Spring Training games with no blackout restrictions, both live and on-demand. A monthly subscription is also available for $30.

This article originally appeared on Engadget at

T-Mobile extends free MLB.TV deal for subscribers through 2028

T-Mobile and Major League Baseball (MLB) are renewing their partnership. In addition to sponsoring various pro-baseball events, the carrier announced today that its subscribers would continue receiving free MLB.TV subscriptions through 2028.

MLB and T-Mobile have offered the deal for the past eight years as part of its T-Mobile Tuesdays promotion, which gives subscribers access to weekly discounts and freebies. MLB.TV lets you stream home and away broadcast feeds around the league — live or on-demand. (However, it’s subject to dreaded regional blackouts, so you shouldn’t count on it to watch teams nearby.) In addition, for the first time this season, the service lets you stream minor-league games for your favorite major-league team’s affiliates in the MLB app.

Speaking of the minor leagues, the two corporations are partnering on an automated ball-strike (ABS) system, which lets Minor League Baseball (MiLB) players and officials “review, challenge and analyze calls.” This season, T-Mobile will power the system with a “5G Private Mobile Network” during some minor-league games. You may recall that MLB has been experimenting with robot umps in the independent Atlantic League since 2019. Last year, MLB commissioner Rob Manfred said the league aims to introduce the system to the big leagues by 2024. From a labor perspective, it’s hard not to see this as a first step toward automating umpires’ jobs, but at least fans can direct their vitriol over (perceived) bad calls to a machine instead of a human. 

T-Mobile says its baseball partnership will also include a little-league sponsorship, part of which consists of the carrier donating millions of dollars toward equipment and grants for aspiring young sluggers. It’s also continuing to sponsor the All-Star Week Home Run Derby and batting practice broadcast. Finally, T-Mobile plans to expand its 5G coverage in baseball stadiums across North America, envisioning eventual “immersive 5G-connected experiences for fans” and better in-stadium speeds and reception for its subscribers.

This article originally appeared on Engadget at

YouTube TV drops MLB Network after failing to renew deal

YouTube TV has dropped the MLB Network from its service after failing to renew its agreement, according to a statement from YouTube given to The Streamable. "You will also lose access to any previous Library recordings from this channel," the streamer wrote. "Members will be able to continue watching select national MLB games via coverage on FOX, ESPN, and TBS through our Base Plan."

The dispute appears to be over compensation, according to a statement from MLB Network. "YouTube TV has been unwilling to negotiate a fair carriage agreement... consistent with what close to 300 other US providers have agreed to for distribution." MLB Network was part of YouTube's $65 Base Plan and one of the few that carried 4K content as part of YouTube TV's 4K Plus add-on. 

The news isn't too tragic yet, as baseball season is still a couple of months away. YouTube TV has previously lost access to other channels including Disney's ESPN and ABC, but in the case of the latter, they were restored just a day later. That lends some hope that the streaming company can reach an agreement with MLB Network ahead of any disruption to games next season. 

In the meantime, "MLB Network remains widely available throughout the US, including on Altice USA (Optimum), AT&T U-verse, Charter Communications (Spectrum), Comcast, Cox Communications, DIRECTV, DIRECTV Stream, DISH, fuboTV, Sling TV, Verizon Fios and many others," MLB Network wrote. 

Major League Baseball wants to deploy strike zone robo-umpires in 2024

Major League Baseball will "likely" introduce an Automated Strike Zone System starting in 2024, commissioner Rob Manfred told ESPN. The so-called robot umpires may call all balls and strikes then relay the information to a plate umpire, or be part of a replay review system that allows managers to challenge calls. "We have an automated strike zone system that works," Manfred said. 

The comments come in the wake of fan outrage over umpire's missed calls in recent games, including a brutal low strike error during a Detroit Tigers and Minnesota Twins tilt. "Enough is enough. Give me robo umps already," tweeted Grand Rapids ABC sports director Jamal Spencer. 

Enough is enough. Give me robo umps already

— Jamal Spencer (@JamalSpencerTV) May 31, 2022

MLB has been experimenting with robo umps in minor league Atlantic Triple-A league since 2019. It uses a doppler radar system developed by TrackMan, best known for its golf speed measurement devices. The system works thusly, according to CBS: "Pitch gets thrown, TrackMan tracks and identifies the pitch's location, phone tells umpire whether it's a ball or strike, umpire physically makes the call behind the plate." 

In fairness to umpires, calling balls and strikes with 100 MPH fastballs and hard-breaking curveballs caught outside the zone is no easy feat. But that's exactly why fans, pundits and the league itself thinks that machines should take the job, leaving the plate umpire to judge tags and other more subjective plays. Mechanical systems also made Atlantic league games mercifully shorter by a full nine minutes, according to MLB data. 

Under baseball's new collective bargaining agreement, the league has the right to change rules unilaterally, provided it gives the union a season's notice. Manfred already said that such a system wouldn't be brought in next year, as the new competition committee won't have its first meeting until 2023. Once it does meet, though, the committee is very likely to approve the changes since it's dominated by ownership, according to ESPN

Major League Baseball will stream 15 games on YouTube this season

Like an ambitious butcher trying to cleave a dollar of meat out of a ten cent steak, Major League Baseball announced on Thursday that it is carving out a bit more of its television broadcast rights, renewing its four season-old deal for the "MLB Game of the Week Live on YouTube" with the Alphabet property. But unlike other recently struck deals, these streaming exclusives will be free to watch and without local blackout restrictions.

Beginning with the Rockies-Nats game on May 5th (first pitch 3:10 ET), YouTube will once again be home to more than a dozen MLB games throughout the 2022 season. Broadcasters Scott Braun and Yonder Alonso return to call the play-by-play. The full lineup is as follows:

  • Washington Nationals at Colorado Rockies — Thursday, May 5 @ 3:10 ET

  • Milwaukee Brewers at Cincinnati Reds — Wednesday, May 11 @ 12:35 ET

  • Arizona Diamondbacks at Chicago Cubs — Friday, May 20 @ 2:20 ET

  • Detroit Tigers at Minnesota Twins — Wednesday, May 25 @ 1:10 ET

  • Kansas City Royals at Cleveland Guardians — Wednesday, June 1 @ 1:10 ET

  • Toronto Blue Jays at Kansas City Royals — Wednesday, June 8 @ 2:10 ET

  • Minnesota Twins at Seattle Mariners — Wednesday, June 15 @ 4:10 ET

YouTubeTV subscribers will be able to find these games on the service's dedicated Game of the Week channel while everybody else will see them on the MLB YouTube page. Fans will be able to interact with the broadcasts either via the live chat, "featuring game commentary from MLB superfan YouTube creators," as well as in-game polls and, for subscribers, access to real-time game stats.  

The 2022 MLB season is riddled with exclusive broadcast deals. Beyond the standard local blackout rules, 18 Sunday games will be only available with a $10/month Peacock subscription, AppleTV+ ($6/month) gets the Friday Doubleheaders, and ESPN has dibs on Sunday Night Baseball. There's also MLB.TV which has rights to everything but is far more expensive than its alternatives, at least until the All-Star break.   

Houston Astros' stadium will be the first in MLB to use Amazon's 'Just Walk Out' tech

Amazon has brought its checkout-free "Just Walk Out" technology to airports, grocery stores and other shops, but now it's coming to a particularly useful place for sports fans: the ballpark. The Houston Astros have teamed up with Amazon to install Just Walk Out systems at two concession stores in Minute Maid Park. Visit 19th Hole or Market and you can buy snacks or souvenirs between innings by inserting your credit card at the entry gate, grabbing things off the shelf, and leaving when you're done.

There will be staff to greet you and offer help as necessary, and you'll still have to show ID if you're buying alcohol. However, you otherwise won't have to talk to a cashier or use a self-checkout system. As you might guess, that could be extremely helpful given the crowds and lineups that frequently slow you down in stadiums.

The Astros' stadium is the first in Major League Baseball to adopt Just Walk Out, and they're using the same slightly modified system Amazon is offering to other retailers. The tech uses computer vision and other forms of AI to track shoppers as they enter and take (or put back) items. Amazon's own stores just rely on the company's Go mobile app instead of credit cards.

Amazon didn't mention whether or not other MLB teams would embrace the zero-checkout offering, but it won't be surprising if they (and other sports leagues) do. Stadium operators depend heavily on both merch sales and a swift traffic flow to turn a profit — the cost of Just Walk Out could easily be worthwhile if increases the chances you'll buy an expensive hot dog or replica jersey.

Prime Video will air 21 exclusive Yankees games in four states

Amazon’s Prime Video will stream New York Yankees games for in-market customers during the 2022 Major League Baseball (MLB) season. The first game, scheduled on April 22nd, is between the Yankees and the Cleveland Guardians. The streaming platform will air a total of 21 games in total, with 19 of them scheduled on Friday nights. The games will only be available to Prime members in New York state, Connecticut, north and central New Jersey and northeast Pennsylvania.

Amazon began simulcasting Yankees games on Prime Video shortly after it bought the Yankees Entertainment Sports Network (YES). While this is the third consecutive year Amazon has done this, it’s the first year that this selection of Yankees games will only air on Prime Video. Meaning that fans won’t be able to find the game on a broadcast station, the YES network or any other service.

MLB has gotten pretty cozy with streaming platforms as of late. Peacock will air a total of 18 exclusive Sunday morning baseball games in May, beginning with a matchup between the Chicago White Sox and Boston Red Sox on May 8th. Apple TV+ will also begin streaming live Friday night MLB games this year, beginning with a contest between the New York Mets and the Washington Nationals on April 8th. The game will be exclusive to Apple TV+, but will also be available to non-subscribers for free (they’ll just need to download the Apple TV+ app).

Not everyone is a fan of the new union between streaming platforms and baseball. Baseball fans who have already paid for MLB TV or satellite TV likely won’t be happy about paying for a new streaming service just so they won't miss a game. While games on Apple TV+ will have no geographic restrictions and be free to anyone with internet access, it’s obviously a ploy on Apple’s part to expand its subscriber base. And with games scattered across a number of different services — baseball season this year is likely to get confusing.