1) MLB.tv Premium
My lady got me the MLB.tv Premium subscription as an anniversary gift, and while I'm pretty sure it's one of man's greatest technological achievements, I'm also a little scared that having the ability to watch every game, at any time, anywhere, by simply gluing my face to my iPhone, iPad, laptop, desktop or Apple TV is going to drive her insane by, oh…May. I'll spare you the hard sell, and let you read about all of the amazing details of the features available in the premium package (DVR, in-game highlights and stats, full game archives, picture-in-picture/splitscreen viewing, etc) on your own volition. I have to say (relationship danger aside) that this is, without question, the best $125 a baseball fan can spend.
2) Baseball Podcasts
My metal and post-rock heavy gym playlist has been pushed aside by a growing (and helpeless) addiction to baseball podcasts. Crappy commutes that were once scored by mostly awful local sports talk radio have been made entirely bearable (and kind of enjoyable) by baseball podcasts. They're free. They're informative as hell. And they're portable. It couldn't be any easier to geek out.
a) Up and In: The Baseball Prospectus Podcast – Hands down, the best baseball podcast available. Kevin Goldstein and Jason Parks take a look at the week in baseball, feature a musical guest, interview a person of interest, share incredibly valuable insight and scouting evaluations on prospects and big leaguers, and manage to keep the two-to-three hour podcast highly entertaining throughout. If you listen to a couple of episodes and don't get hooked, there's probably something wrong with you.
b) ESPN: Baseball Today & Fantasy Focus Baseball – Baseball Today is a great way to get objective analysis of important events in baseball on a daily basis. Fantasy Focus (also a daily podcast) is a must-listen for Fantasy Baseball geeks, as Matthew Berry and Nate Ravitz keep you up to date on popular adds, drops, players' positional eligibility, sleepers, etc. Both podcasts are in the 30-to-40 minute range, so they're a brief, info-packed listen.
c) The Productive Outs PRODcast – I'm not one to toot my own horn, but…HONK! This a baseball and music podcast I do with my friend Ian (of Kowloon Walled City), and while we definitely don't fit into the 'informative” category that my previous two/three suggestions do, we (try to) make up for it by keeping the PRODcast mildly entertaining, slightly music-related, and perpetually absurd.
3) The Baseball Prospectus Annual & Subscription To The Site
Picking up a copy of the BP Annual has been a tradition of mine for a little over a decade. The late-February release of this ~575 page monstrosity of innovative baseball analysis is like Christmas morning for baseball geeks. There really isn't a better way to prep yourself for an upcoming baseball season than to dig into this book and read the player capsules and stat projections. And as the year progresses, it's a great resource to have on hand to better understand a team's roster construction and become more familiar with players and prospects as they're called up/sent down/traded.
The Premium subscription to baseballprospectus.com gives you access to the best baseball writing available anywhere. End of discussion. That you can get this much quality baseball writing for only $35 and year almost seems criminal. If you love the game and aren't a subscriber, you're totally blowing it.
If any of you fellow geeks think that my tool box is lacking, please share suggestions in the comments below.
Thanks, and Happy Geeking!
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