As I write this, the first game of the 2011 season for my beloved Chicago Cubs is a little over an hour away. Because of the number of professional ball games played every day throughout the summer, baseball fans seek out ways to check the scores and statistics of their favorite teams, and smartphones are the perfect tool for baseball fans.
If you have a smartphone that runs Windows Phone 7, you will find 36 baseball related apps in the Windows Phone Marketplacel. Unfortunately, Major League Baseball’s official app is not amongst the list, as it is only available for iOS and Android phones. However, you will find the ESPN Score Center app, which you can use to follow baseball as well as other sports.
Score Center presents the content from ESPN’s web sites and displays that information within the app. The first thing you do after first starting Score Center is to set up the sports and teams that you follow. What sports you select determine the news headlines that scroll across the bottom of the screen, and the scores and news of the teams you select display in the body of the application.
In the screenshot you see the score sections of the app, to see news you swipe right to left, which follows the Windows Phone 7 standard navigation. Tap the entries on either screen to see more details. When you tap to load more details you then see ESPN’s mobile web content, displayed in what is likely a browser window. While a game is in progress the score details will update in near real time.
I wish that ESPN had developed a complete Windows Phone 7 app rather than mixing web content within the application so that it consistently uses Windows Phone 7’s navigation approach. Once you get into the content you then need to scroll up and down to display the content, rather than left/right as you do with standard Windows Phone 7 apps.
As a baseball fan, I would prefer that Major League Baseball provided a version of At Bat for Windows Phone 7, but ESPN Score Center does a good enough job providing baseball information that it’s worth a baseball fan’s use. Just be aware that the app does have some quirks that hopefully will get ironed out over time.