07/01/08 3:00 PM ET
MLB.TV All-Star Package a must-have
Live video and exclusive content just some of the perks
By Mark Newman / MLB.com
This week-long package costs only $2.95, and it will be a free bonus for all MLB.TV or MLB.TV Premium subscribers.
Here are 10 reasons why it's a must-have for today's high-tech Major League Baseball fan.
1. State Farm Home Run Derby: Vlad Guerrero won it last year, and the event only grows in magnitude every July. Watch it live on your computer and keep your own scorecard. MLB.com will have real-time tracking to help you, but you might want to have a printed scorecard ready ahead of time and have fun scoring it yourself. Will a home-field Yankee win it? Could there be a round out of the blue, like the record 24-homer round Bobby Abreu uncorked at Detroit in 2005?
2. All-Star Game batting practice: This is truly the show before the show. All BP the night of July 15 will be streamed live only for those who have purchased this package. As you watch players raking it all over Yankee Stadium, just stop and appreciate the lore of the place and those BP swings of Mickey Mantle, Joe DiMaggio, Lou Gehrig and the chief architect of the house, of course, Babe Ruth. And how often do you get to see Chase Utley taking BP there, anyway? Just enjoy the sights and behold some perfectly honed swings. It's even educational if you have a young prospect in your midst; watch the toe touch and how the hips open, and the wrists -- learn a little.
3. All-Star player access: MLB.com will be talking to the USA and World players between innings of the XM All-Star Futures Game, and two of that game's players will be mic'd up for some intriguing sounds. Get up close with the All-Stars during the media-availability sessions on July 14. Look for interviews with sluggers between at-bats that night during the State Farm Home Run Derby, during which two of the participants will wear mics as well.
4. All-Star Game on-demand: FOX will televise the game live, and if you have this package, the full broadcast will be available after the final out just like any other archived game on MLB.TV. You will be able to use the clickable linescore, so if your favorite player appeared in only the top of the sixth inning, you can click on the top of the sixth, and the stream will start at that half-inning of action.
5. XM All-Star Futures Game: This is always a preview of the many players who will be staples in your Major League viewing diet for years to come, and for the first time, they will play at least nine innings, starting at 12:30 p.m. ET on July 13 at Yankee Stadium. Davey Johnson, preparing for the 2008 Olympic rush, will manage the USA team against the World team in this one.
"I'm really looking forward to it," Johnson told MLB.com. "I love coaching young, talented guys who'll be in the big leagues one day soon. It's a great thrill."
Tino Martinez will manage the World team in his former stomping grounds.
Third baseman Mat Gamel, the hot Brewers prospect tearing up the Southern League this season for Huntsville, anchors the USA club.
6. Pre- and postgame shows: Watch a half-hour show before the Derby featuring MLB.com personalities Casey Stern, Billy Sample and Hal Bodley, along with former American League pitchers Jack McDowell and Jeff Nelson. An hour before the All-Star Game, the lead-in show features Seth Everett, Harold Reynolds, Stern, Bodley, McDowell and Nelson. Their commentary will get you in just the right mood for the showcase events of the festivities.
7. Olympic Baseball Team Selection Show: This will be streamed live the day after the All-Star Game, and it's big news. The Summer Olympics start on Aug. 8 in Beijing, and what Johnson and Team USA will work with there depends on who's available. Some of the key players from the World Cup have been called up to the Majors and are unavailable. Some have remained eligible for Olympic participation, and those players could help secure Team USA's first baseball gold medal since Ben Sheets threw a three-hit shutout at Sydney in 2000. Johnson hopes to find a righty-lefty balance from his hitters and pitchers, and to field players who can to put the ball in play and score runs. Who's going to China? Watch it live.
8. Taco Bell All-Star Legends & Celebrity Softball Game: This is always one of the most fun features of All-Star Week. See what happens when Major League legends share the field with some of today's top entertainers. It's hilarious hijinks and hitting highlights all in one.
9. You can watch every out-of-market MLB game live from July 13-19: Even if you choose to take the All-Star break off and refuse to watch a lick of baseball, this package will be worth it because you'll get to see live regular-season games. The package includes all 15 of the Sunday games that end the first half, as well as the Thursday-Saturday action right after the break. That's four days of live and meaningful games, and it will give you a taste of why you need MLB.TV down the stretch.
10. And ...: It's PC/Mac compatible. Your choice of 400K, 800K or 1.2MB streams. The bragging rights are many as you show this off to your friends and family while on vacation or at work. And you will be among select company, because you can be sure that more than one player who will not be invited to the Midsummer Classic festivities will be following it this way. All you need is a high-speed connection and a computer, and you can watch it from anywhere.
Existing MLB.TV subscribers will receive an e-mail regarding this All-Star Package as a bonus they can enjoy.
A regular subscription to MLB.TV is $14.95 per month or $39.95 for the rest of the year. MLB.TV Premium costs $19.95 a month or $69.95 per year. Both subscriptions come with MLB.com Gameday Audio, but if you want that on its own, it is only $14.95 for the rest of the year, and it comes with 14 free issues of Sports Illustrated.
Mark Newman is enterprise editor for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.