MLB's New "At The Ballpark" App vs. A Ballpark E-Guide

Posted by Kurt Smith on Thursday, May 10, 2012

I don't know how new it is, I expect it must be fairly new if I've only now just heard of it, but Major League Baseball has made an app for smartphones available called "At The Ballpark".

With "At The Ballpark", you can select any ballpark on your phone, order tickets, find out what promotions the team is running, see a concourse map with the different food offerings, get directions to parking at the ballpark, among many other things. I haven't tried using it yet, but from what I gather, the app provides the ballpark and tickets-related information from the team website in a smartphone-friendly format. In some ballparks, like Citizens Bank Park in my hometown of Philly, you can order food for pickup from it.

I do not yet own a smartphone. I am trying to figure out how to add $100 to my phone bill and be able to ignore it. Someday I will have one, because it's becoming a bit of a necessity for business owners and besides, I like the idea of not having to carry a camera around. But for the moment I'm struggling with my simple cell. This explains why I have not yet created a Ballpark E-Guides app, which many in my inner circle are insisting I do.

Now since the “At The Ballpark” app is essentially a guide to the ballpark, I was a bit concerned about the possible obsolescence of Ballpark E-Guides. But I will say, this app is free, so if you have a Smartphone I recommend it highly. Great to know what promotions are being run and where the big hot dogs are in the ballpark. Far be it for me to discourage usage of a helpful tool just because it seemingly clashes with my own product.

But if for no other reason than my own edification, I decided to go through a Ballpark E-Guide and see if it were still worthwhile even with the team's website at someone's fingertips. (My cousin, who owns an iPhone, demonstrated that an E-Guide can be read from it, however no luck yet with the Kindle Fire.) 

I do get a lot of information from the team's website, true, but I also go through hundreds of other sites to get a feel of everything else about the place.

Going through the PNC Park E-Guide, I made a list of things not found on the team website. Here are just a few:

- An intro with some commentary about the ballpark and its history.

- The best days of the week and the best months of the year to find bargains and avoid crowds.

- Whether or not using third party ticket sellers (i.e. StubHub) works better for bargains than buying from the team.

- An explanation of the ballpark's layout.

- General info about where scalpers hang out, including any scalp-free zones and their worthiness when seeking tickets.

- Descriptions of each seating area, with advantages and disadvantages.

- Where poor and obstructed views are and how to avoid them (the team definitely won't help you with that).

- What sections have the sun in people's eyes.

- The best places to stand if you own standing room tickets.

- Information about the team's and independent parking lots, and which are better than others.

- Ways to avoid traffic coming to the ballpark.

- Things to know about the public transit to the ballpark; trains, buses, etc.

- A list of any taverns that offer their customers shuttles to the ballpark.

- Other unusual ways to get to the ballpark, e.g. ferry boat, bicycle, etc.

- Info about places outside to fill up your goodie bag and save money on food.

- Consensus opinions on food items at the ballpark. Details like whether it's real shredded cheese or Whiz glop on the nachos.

- What outfit makes the hot dogs or pizza, and what their strengths may be.

- What food stands tend to have the longest lines or could be tricky to find.

- What type of area the ballpark is in and a bit about post-game hangouts.

- A list of all of the relevant phone numbers and web addresses for the team, the transit options, taxicab companies, and the radio station for the team and the weather.

This isn't everything, but it's a fair list of some important items. Hey, come to think of it, MLB ought to be hiring me to run these apps!

I hope I don't come off bragging here. I'm just saying that a Ballpark E-Guide isn't just information from the team's website condensed into book form (although it is that, and with helpful photos too!). If you're going to hand over $5, I'll provide much more info than that.

So if you were to ask me whether you should download the MLB "At The Ballpark" App or download a Ballpark E-Guide, my answer to you is to channel Deion Sanders: "Both."

Click here to learn more about the "At The Ballpark" App.

Tags: all parks 
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