Race to the Pennant: Stats With Style

I’m not a huge sports guy, but out of the big four U.S. leagues, the MLB is my deal. I grew up outside of Boston, and being a kid from that area means you’re required to like the Boston Red Sox. Seriously, I think it’s a law.

And despite their rough 2012, things are looking up so far in 2013, and so I wanted to find an app that helped me keep up on the current happenings but didn’t have a ton of extra stuff going on. That app is Race to the Pennant. Spoiler: It’s awesome.

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It Comes in Five Colors, All of them Black.

My favorite types of apps are the ones that do one thing and do them well. These are the tools in your toolbox that you pull out when necessary, quickly use and get the job done. Easy as pie. This is how Race to the Pennant functions.

Yup, clean and simple.

Yup, clean and simple.

Every time you open the app you’re presented with a screen that shows you a few quick stats about the history of baseball, what’s going on today, etc. Once it’s loaded with the most current info (it takes only a few seconds), a chart pulls up full of beautiful bars. Each bar is color coded to their respective team, sorted by league and division, then labelled. Now why would you want that information?

In Major League Baseball, every team is trying to earn the pennant for their division — American League West, National League East, etc. The more wins you have, the closer you are to the pennant; it’s a race, as the name of the app implies. So if your team has a taller bar than the others in its division, you’re looking pretty good.

The Use Case

It’s still early in the season right now, but the app still functions just fine. Every time you open it up you’re presented with an updated bar graph, showing how things are going in the league. But if you want to make it even more custom, you can do so by hitting the little cog in the corner.

See the entire league, or just a portion.

See the entire league, or just a portion.

Once in the Settings, you can pick what your favorite division happens to be. In my case, that’s the American League East, home of the Red Sox. Once you have a fav, every time you open the app you’re presented with just that division’s bar graph, plus a series of detailed boxes that show you where each team is at. Right now, my Red Sox are in first place and 2.5 games ahead of the Orioles and Yankees. Good info to know.

Go deeper by swiping the boxes one direction or the other.

Go deeper by swiping the boxes one direction or the other.

Each of those boxes also act as little sliders. Flip them to the right once and get a few interesting stats: Runs scored, Runs allowed, home/away wins/losses and vs. AL/vs. NL wins/losses. One more flip gives you the top news stories for the past few weeks. Click one, and you’re transported to an in-app browser where you can get more details on the story. If you hit the little Earth icon, it takes that website to Safari and opens it up there.

What Makes This Special?

You’re probably wondering why you might want to use this app instead of the official MLB app, MLB.com at Bat. Well, I don’t. I use them both.

At Bat is great for those moments when I have some time to delve into the minutiae of the game. How many at bats did Ellsbury get tonight? What’s Pedroia’s average? How did the innings on today’s game break down? MLM.com at Bat is everything baseball right in one spot, and I love that.

View stories on the web in the in-app browser.

View stories on the web in the in-app browser.

But I often find myself just wanting to know where the Sox are in the standings. It sounds simple, but come September, it could turn into a heated race for the pennant, or even just for a wild card slot in the playoffs. If my team is close, I want to get that information first, not the box score of the game. I want just the important stuff for right now, and that’s the standings. That’s why Race to the Pennant is so sweet.

It … Could … Go … All … The … Way!

If you’re not a baseball fan, then kudos to you for getting this far in the review. Seriously, not sure why you did that. But for those of you that are, having instant access to one of the more important aspects of the game is pretty nice to have. I may not use it every day, but the app is beautifully designed and serves a very specific function.

And that’s why I love it. This is a one-purpose app, and often that’s all that I need. For just one dollar, I can get quick, well designed info on my team at a glance. That’s more than worth it to me.

Oh, and have I mentioned yet that it’s a universal app? No? Well that just seals the deal, doesn’t it.


Summary

Get up-to-the minute updates on where you team falls in the MLB standings.

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