So long, Super Bowl, it's baseball's turn again
Here are 10 ways you can get ready for the return of the National Pastime
They'll watch the game and it'll be as if they dipped themselves in magic waters. The memories will be so thick they'll have to brush them away from their faces.
As we prepare for the 25th anniversary this spring of the iconic film "Field of Dreams," reminded of James Earl Jones' booming Terence Mann soliloquy, the one constant is still baseball. Now it is officially our turn again with the expiration of the game clock at Super Bowl XLVIII. We move back to a world where there is no clock, we accept the handoff, and we present to you 10 ways you can begin dipping in magic waters again:
1. MLB.TV: the next generation. It's only hours away, a mere Yoenis Cespedes or Jeff Francoeur cannon throw from the outfield. Watch MLB.com for the coming launch of 2014 annual subscriptions so you can be ready for our 12th year of streaming live out-of-market Spring Training and regular season games on an even wider array of devices. The No. 1 streaming sports product is about to get even better.
2. Player preview. The annual MLB.com rankings are a harbinger of spring after every Super Bowl, meaning it's time to start thinking about your fantasy draft or just checking to see how loaded your team is going into Spring Training. Who will top the list? Will it be one of last year's Most Valuable Player Award winners, Miguel Cabrera of the Tigers or Andrew McCutchen of the Pirates? Will it be one of the past two Cy Young Award winners, Clayton Kershaw of the Dodgers or Max Scherzer of the Tigers? Find out.
3. Order tickets. Pitchers and catchers are days away from reporting to Arizona and Florida, and equipment trucks are en route. Whether you're looking for the White Sox Hit and Run season ticket plan or an Opening Day Three-Game Pack to see the Phillies, the time is right to reserve your seats to the 2014 season. You might want to start by scheduling a trip to Spring Training and get a box seat or piece of berm grass in the sun.
4. Watch At Bat Classic. Here's a great reason to look at your MLB.com At Bat app in the offseason, and a reason to install it immediately if you aren't among those who have the top-selling sports app of all-time. We're now up to at least 70 classic MLB games that you can watch, including the Curt Schilling bloody sock game, Reggie Jackson's three homers in the 1977 World Series finale, Kirk Gibson's Miracle Homer, the Ozzie Smith "Go Crazy" game, and perfect games by Felix Hernandez and Matt Cain. In your app, just click the video icon at the bottom and then click "Classic." Imagine going back to '52 and having Mickey Mantle on your smartphone.
5. Play MLB.com Franchise MVP. Enter a virtual stadium with one objective: to guide a player's career. One of several popular video games, MLB.com built this one as a fun graft of fast-paced arcade-style action, simulation baseball and player development strategies. The ability for fans to play multiple games in minutes and a full season in an afternoon will appeal to mobile gamers. Those with iPhones and iPads can download "Franchise MVP" today via the Apple App Store. Android users can do the same via Google Play.
6. Speaking of video games, get ready for R.B.I. Baseball 14. MLB Advanced Media recently announced that the video game brand, not seen in nearly two decades, will return this spring. It is being developed by MLBAM for multi-platform distribution across current and next generation consoles and smartphones and tablets. For the latest developments on R.B.I. Baseball 14, please visit rbigame.com and follow @RBIGame.
7. Countdown to Opening Day Down Under with our newest PRO blog, featuring a different Opening Day moment each day until March 22 in Sydney, corresponding to a player's jersey number. While you are at MLB.com/blogs, start one of your own alongside bloggers like Red Sox reliever Craig Breslow, country star Scotty McCreery, Mat Latos' wife, Dallas, MLB.com veteran scribes Richard Justice and Phil Rogers, and just about every front office. MLB Advanced Media and WordPress.com partner to offer the most robust blogs anywhere, and they are a great hub for a fan's social presence, helping you build followers.
8. Order Masahiro Tanaka's new No. 19 Yankees jersey. Or whatever customized jersey you will need at the ballpark this season, now that most of the key offseason moves have been made. And while you're at the MLB.com Shop, look for deals on cold-weather gear because it won't be summer overnight.
9. See players behind the scenes. In 2013, MLB.com took you to the homes of today's stars, like Miami ace Jose Fernandez, with great videos in Spanish and English, and we'll be doing a lot more of that in 2014. Check out MLB.com/video and see what's new.
10. Explore mlbpipeline.com and see who's on the way in your organization. We just unveiled the Top 100 Prospects rankings, led by Twins 2012 Draft pick Byron Buxton. MLB.com analysts Jim Callis, Jonathan Mayo and Bernie Pleskoff keep you constantly updated through columns, blogs, videos and tweets.
It is baseball's turn again.
It reminds of us of all that once was good and it could be again. Oh, people will come, Ray. People will most definitely come. . . .