The Posada Affair: Wife’s Tweets To Make Baseball History?

If the Yankees fall one game short of the playoffs, Laura Posada's distracting in-game Tweets could become baseball history

Veteran New York Yankees catcher Jorge Posada's wife Laura Posada in bikini (right) and Yankees short shorts and halter top (left). Photo courtesy of member twentythreeandtwo

Veteran New York Yankees catcher Jorge Posada’s decision to sit out the Saturday May 14 game against the Boston Red Sox sparked an after-game press conference, and the faithful at New Yankee Stadium toting mobile devices already had the means to know a much larger story was unfolding.

Calling the game to a nationwide television audience, Fox Network broadcasters dubbed The Posada Affair an unprecedented example of tweets sparking a press conference during a game’s early innings, and an example of the growing importance of mobile applications and wireless access to the Internet at live sports events.

Jorge didn’t quit on team; He has a doctor’s note

Here’s what happened May 14.

Jorge Posada, the 39-year-old switch-hitting New York Yankees catcher, was set to bat No. 9 in the lineup and had a low season batting average coming into the game. Instead of playing, Posada scratched himself from the lineup minutes before Yankee starter C.C. Sabathia threw the first pitch. Amid rumors of Posada’s impeding retirement and clubhouse dissension, Laura Posada, the catcher’s wife, tweeted from the stands several times. Her messages, posted between the first and third innings, included this gem: “Jorge Didn’t Quit on Team; He Has a Doctor’s Note.”

Fast-moving tweets spark makeshift press conference

Among the 48,790 in attendance were followers of Laura Posada’s twitter account. Since her statements did not match retirement speculation or rumors that Posada threw what major media dubbed a “hissy fit” prior to the game, the Yankees scheduled a press conference to clear the air.

In a national telecast of the game, Fox broadcasters said The Posada Affair was believed to be the first time a Major League Baseball team scheduled a press conference to address statements made public during a game by an insider via a mobile device. 

Online “Posada” = onfield “Merkle”? 

The decision by Posada’s wife to Tweet during the game arguably cost the Yankees focus from the task at hand, which was beating Red Sox.

In the game, Posada’s replacement Andruw Jones went one for four with three strikeouts. The listless Yankees, no doubt in part distracted by The Posada Affair, lost to the BoSox 6-0. If the Yankees miss the playoffs by one game, The Posada Affair could become baseball history.

Baseball card depicting Fred Merkle

Fred Merkle on a baseball card; he was tormented by his costly mistake. Image courtesy of

There is precedent, albeit in a time when the only things that mattered happened on the field. In 1908, New York Giants third baseman Fred “Bonehead” Merkle failed to touch second base after the winning run scored with two out in the ninth inning of a tied ballgame against the Chicago Cubs. The game was declared a tie.

After the Giants missed the playoffs by one game, a “Merkle” was widely used to describe a stupid mistake. Could a “Posada” eventually become synonymous with an off-field communication that distracts a team from victory?

Posada and the future of mobile sports viewing

The Posada Affair underscores the growing power of mobile devices as an enhancement to those attending live sporting events. Wired attendees were able to see that Posada’s family considered the situation serious enough to comment, and get perspective that un-wired attendees did not have.

Mobile Sports Report recommends that NFL, MLB, NBA and NHL fans preconfigure their Twitter feeds to access all on-field, on-court and on-ice partipants and insiders, and use guides to know where Wi-Fi is available in stadiums. When live proposition betting on mobile devices is legalized in the United States, mobile sports viewers will have the ability to access information to their advantage, even if that information is a few tweets from a defensive family member.

NFL Seeks More Dollars for Mobile Access

There’s a big battle brewing in the professional football world but it has nothing to do with players and owners. Instead, it’s all about figuring out who pays how much to let mobile consumers watch football games on their new powerful portable devices, like the iPad or Android-based tablets.

A report today in the Wall Street Journal (subscription required) says the NFL and its NFL Network is “in talks” with pay-TV operators in an attempt to find a way to allow mobile customers more ways to watch America’s favorite sport. The money line (literally) from the story is an easy one to understand: Basically, the NFL wants more dough for mobile access.

The NFL is seeking extra fees from those carriers to expand their offerings to tablets and computers, a person familiar with the matter said.

It should be an interesting dance to watch this summer, as the various cable, satellite and cellular “partners” of the NFL try to give their users what they want without giving too much back to the league. For many customers, the idea of paying anything more for mobile access seems a bit absurd, given the high fees for cable or satellite access already being paid. It will be interesting also to see if there is a resurgence in use of the Slingbox, the device that truly lets you see what you already paid for, wherever you want it.

Hidden in the back of all these discussions will be the fees that mobile operators are sure to charge their customers for the cellular airtime needed to watch live NFL action. Stay tuned here at Mobile Sports Report as we will endeavor to cover as much of this topic as we possibly can, to help guide you to the most economical way to get access to all the mobile action your devices can handle.

T-Mobile Targets NBA fans with Fast-Talking Mobile Video

Striving for the game-changing impact of a final minute Kevin Durant 3-pointer, T-Mobile is stepping up marketing efforts aimed at mobile sports watchers. 

In an awesome performance by a fast-talking rapper, T-Mobile just launched a campaign touting the new 4G Sidekick. The commercial depicts the merits of getting golf programming and NBA programming on the Sidekick, and is chock full of NBA name-dropping.

The campaign underscores the rise of sports programming as key to the success of new mobile devices. The new Android-powered T-Mobile Sidekick was released April 20 at a price point of $99 with a new 2-year service agreement.

In recent months, T-Mobile has also produced commercials feature Miami Heat superstar Dwayne Wade and NBA Hall of Famer Charles Barkley, among others.

Review: ESPN’s NFL Draft Twitter Feed Found Lacking

I decided that I would break with tradition and do something different for the first day of this year’s NFL draft. I normally watch the draft, alternating between the NFL channel and ESPN, have a list of top picks and a phone so that I can text my friends and taunt thenm about how their team’s selections are inferior to mine.

I am still following that basic game plan but I decided to also add a Twitter feed to follow as well. Actually I ended up following more than one, but more on that later. I selected ESPN for the first night of the draft, although I passed on its three-plus hours of pre-draft broadcasting after I turned it on and saw someone I assumed to be Dr. Phil but did not stay around long enough to find out. I guess everybody is an expert these days.

It was an easy decision since “the Mother Ship” has two major draft experts, often at odds with each other (although not enough to my taste) and a huge staff of former players and other experts, many of whom often say head turning opinions and almost all of them have Twitter accounts.

With Mel Kiper Jr., Todd McShay, Merill Hoge and Andrew Brandt not to mention all of the regional ESPN beat reporters and on-air personalities it looked like it was a site that should be interesting, with a healthy dose on inanity as well.

I was wrong, after a bit of light banter about the fans at Radio City Music Hall booing the Commissioner of the NFL, Roger Goodell, such as Trey Wingo saying they were not booing, they’re saying. GOOOOOOOOODELLL! Andrew Brandt had a great observation in saying that “The more people in that picture after the player is picked, the more I worry about his future financial security.” But these type of wry observations were pretty rare.

A few rumors were floated and they successfully predicted the 49ers pick at #7, but overall I was left very unimpressed. Almost nothing on how the Atlanta Falcons mortgaged their future to get Julio Jones.

The tweets came at a rather slow pace and it seemed as if only two or three ESPN personalities were posting, most of them just dry statements of what was happening. Watching the broadcast was so much more informative. I guess that made sense since that is where ESPN generates its cash.

So I started to search for another feed and found one on Google that appeared to be picking up comments from across a range of boards and it is much more enjoyable and faster on the news than ESPN.

There was a great deal of repetition here, I saw that Cam Newton was drafted #1 about 40 times, but there was a lot of good natured snark, but it was lacking of the mean spirited chatter that often characterizes message boards and chat rooms during and after NFL games.

A few of my favorite comments were “Niners take Aldon Smith??? Blaine Gabbert tossed his blonde locks in support”, “Titans pick up Jake Locker. Someone put Vince Young on suicide watch” and “‎Dear ESPN, please make one of Blaine Gabbert’s “Areas of Concern” be that his name sounds like a major appliance” — that’s good.

My takeaway was that for live events such as the draft a TV outlet will focus its resources on its bread and butter broadcast and that it is best to look elsewhere for a good thread. I have read any number of interesting comments and alerts from ESPN’s Twitter feed, but this is obviously not the time or place that it decided to put resources into that outlet.

BlackBerry Sports Fans Finally Get a Pad: The PlayBook

Blackberry users hoping to get a tablet of their own have finally had their patience rewarded as Research-in-Motion (RIM) has debuted the PlayBook tablet, its offering in the increasingly competitive tablet space. The question facing the company and its users is if the PlayBook is too little, too late?

RIM used to be the king of the mobile-device hill with a market share that was the envy of the industry. But that is all past history, even if it is recent history, and its market share has been in freefall for the last year as first Apple’s iOS and then Android have seriously eroded its cache and more importantly its market share.

The company now seeks to roll back those market losses with the PlayBook tablet. It compares favorable in many ways not only with Apple’s offerings but also from the growing host of Android tablets. Powered by an operating system that was developed in-house for the device, it will come in three basic flavors, all with Wi-Fi, but no cellular at this point.

The PlayBook’s screen measures 7 inches diagonally and includes both front and back cameras. The entry-level model is priced at $499 and will come with 16GB of memory. The $599 model will ship with 32GB of memory and the $699 version will include 64 GB. Cellular access for the device is expected to be available this summer when Sprint starts offering connections.

For BlackBerry smartphone users, cellular can be at hand right now by using a Bluetooth connection between the tablet and the phone, providing access to all of the phone’s diverse capabilities and features including calendar, tasks and documents. For heavy BlackBerry users who want a pad interface the phone is a must since these features are not native on the tablet for some reason. There are reports that AT&T is blocking the tethering feature between AT&T Blackberry smartphones and the PlayBook, a major issue for users that seek a synchronized platform. However this could be only a short term issue.

A bigger issue is that there is currently a very limited number of apps available for the tablet, roughly 3,000. This pales in comparison to the Android and Apple app space which have hundreds of thousands of apps, although not all are optimized for their tablets. However it is expected that the PlayBook will be able to run Android apps later this year.

BlackBerry development has appeared to be almost an afterthought for many app developers, as highlighted by MLB At Bat 11 which offers the least features for a BlackBerry smartphone. The hope for sports fans is that by now having a bigger screen available, BlackBerry platforms will get more developer love.

Pad Sales Look to Bloom in the Future, Thanks to Sports

So you are debating purchasing a pad, but are concerned with getting burned if it turns out to be a fad. In the past tablets have had a less than stellar history, with a number of major flops after the prerequisite hype predicted them as the wave of the future. So will this time be any different?

The availability of mobile sports, of course, may tip the balance toward the the tablet this time around. Watching a sporting event on a smartphone is nice but it leaves something to be desired — image size for instance. A growing number of sports outlets including Major League Baseball and ESPN offer live content that is optimized for a pad.

This is not just the past revisited in the pad or tablet space. In the past there was little in the way of operating systems optimized for the form factor, so software developers saw no reason to write for the various platforms. And the chips just did not have the power needed to provide the level of processing capabilities needed to drive acceptable video or animation. This is no longer true and you can thank the previous generations of smartphones for paving the way.

Apple’s iPad will be the leader of the pack in the near term

Market research firm Gartner has some pretty bold predictions about this field including that Apple’s iPad will dominate until at least 2015, holding off a strong push by Android developers. This is the reverse of its prediction in the smartphone field where the research company says that Android-based smartphones will dominate by the end of this year.

Overall numbers are expected to grow from approximately 69.8 million units sold worldwide this year to 250 million by 2015. Apple’s share of that is expected to be strong, but decline every year, dropping from an estimated 63.5% market share this year to 47.1% in 2015 while Android will grow from 24.4% now to 38.6% in 2015. The overall richness of the ecosystem such as a host of developers and on the Android side a number of different hardware developers will be major contributors to this growth.

If you are a fan of other operating systems such as Blackberry’s QNX, you are pretty much out of luck in the near term as it will be wallowing in the single digit market share space, along with Hewlett-Packard’s WebOS, which it gained in the Palm acquisition or the open source Linux offering MeeGo. What the smaller market means is less developer interest, so probably fewer new apps or services tailored for those types of pads.

With the growth of these platforms expect more tie-ins with both live TV broadcasts and customized information for pad users as sports franchises, leagues and broadcasters seek to exploit this emerging space.