Trending: Why Amazon is suddenly going on the offensive amid a growing techlash

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One of the best sports apps on the market is MLB.com “At Bat.” It’s a must-have app for any baseball fan. But because Major League Baseball promotes the premium subscription for the app so prominently, many people assume that they need to pay the $19.99/season fee to get real value out of it.

geekwireapp2That’s not the case. For all but the most die-hard baseball fans, the free version of At Bat is extremely useful. In fact, if you familiarize yourself with the app, the free version offers a better way to watch a baseball game than actually watching a baseball game — letting you see everything you really need to see in less than 5 minutes.

Here’s our favorite trick: After installing the app on your iOS or Android device, find your favorite teams, and pay special attention to the schedule of past and upcoming games at the top of each team page.

You can click on a date to view the most recent game, and the key is to look for the “Summary” link.

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Under the “Scoring” tab in the Summary section, you get a rundown of each scoring play, but the great part is that the app provides unedited video of the play from the television broadcast, including the buildup, the announcer’s call, and replays straight from the actual broadcast — not mere Sportscenter-style highlights.

You can see everything that matters, soon after it happens, without spending 3+ hours of your life watching a game.

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Another trick we discovered: If you x-out the first ad as soon as it appears, return to the Summary page and then reload the video, the videos will play without ads — although now that we’ve reported this, we’ll see how long this loophole lasts.

In another boon for cheapskates, T-Mobile today announced that its customers can get free subscriptions to At Bat, normally $19.99/season, as part of the company’s role as Official Wireless Sponsor of Major League Baseball. Extra features in the paid version include Apple Watch support, near-real-time game analysis, audio broadcasts, live video broadcasts of the MLB Game of the Week, and real-time pitch tracking.

That’s great if you’re a T-Mobile customer, but if not, the paid version is really overkill for 99% of us, given the convenience of the free version.

Download MLB.com At Bat for iOS and Android.

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