February 26, 2016 Last Updated 10:13 am

The MLB.com at Bat app gets Spring Training update, adds portrait orientation to iPad

The price for the MLB.TV Premium subscription package has come down this year $20, while there is a new MLB.TV Single Team package available for 2016

This weekend it promises to be near 60 degrees here is Chicago (fahrenheit not celsius, of course). That means the neighborhood kids will stop thinking about skating on the pond and pretending to be Blackhawks and start thinking about Cubs – it’s their year, I hear.

MLB.com At Bat iPadThat also means it is time to update the MLB.com At Bat app for the new season. Today the iOS app update has come through and it adds some new features for 2016.

The best feature may be that the annual cost for MLB.TV Premium has gone down 20 bucks to $109.99 for 2016. The monthly charge remains $24.99.

There is also a new MLB.TV Single Team package available as an $84.99 yearly subscription. I like how they’ve priced it, lower than the Premium rate, but high enough that any true baseball fan, or one living in a city where they might have two favorite teams, would still want to pony up for the Premium package.

Most of the new features inside the app this year are exclusive to the iPad such as portrait orientation. Portrait really makes no sense for viewing games, of course, but as you can see above it looks pretty good for news. The new picture-in-picture feature says is available for “select iPads only” – what that means is not clear, though they may mean the iPad Pro and any new model introduced at the next Apple event in March.

For those new to the MLB.com app, the pricing will be confusing as the app description says the annual price is $19.99. But in order to watch games you need an MLB.TV Premium subscription which must be bought online. I guess this was a compromise between baseball and Apple, letting Apple get its 30 percent take on in-app purchases, but limiting those purchases to just some features.

Spring training baseball starts next week, and being an even numbered year means the league has already designated the San Francisco Giants as champions. But for those poor souls who root for other teams, especially the Cubs, there’s always next year, an odd numbered year.

Here is the app description for the update to MLB.com At Bat:

What’s New in Version 9.0.0

  • Introducing Portrait and Landscape orientations (iPad only)
  • Multitasking split view to keep At Bat open (select iPads only)
  • Picture-in-Picture streaming for live video and highlights (select iPads only)
  • App redesign includes Gameday, News Reader, Videos, Sortable Stats and more

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