I recently downloaded MLB.com’s Home Run Derby game. I am very bad at it. After playing dozens of rounds, I’ve never hit more than four HR, never advanced to the second round. Like with any of the copious examples of failure in my life, my lack of skill with regards to this game does not surprise me; as with any failure, this one saddens me nevertheless.
But the design of a good game is such that a faint heart, a weak will, laziness, or general mediocrity will lead to failure. In the case of the Home Run Derby app, I am forced to a decision, which, given my charmed life, feels both significant and meaningless, depending on my mood: either I log many hours to master the game (in which case MLB’s brand becomes further and further ingrained in my subconscious), or I delete the app in order to forget about it and return to using my iPhone idle time for obsessively checking box scores and puff news via the MLB At Bat app (in which case MLB’s brand becomes further ingrained in my subconscious in a slightly different way).
If this situation is to be representative of previous decisions of my life, I would choose the latter: lacking the dedication to develop what would be fulfilling skills, I invest emotionally in outcomes over which I have no control.
Of course, the imminent release of the following apps/games from MLB.com is liable to complicate matters…
- MLB Job Interview – Simulated video conferencing with MLB executives gives consumers the chance to match their credentials to “open” positions with MLB teams, MLB.com, or the Office of the Commissioner. Upload résumés, cover letters, and portfolios (PDF only). Practice Mode offers real-time feedback on your interview techniques and habits. (Personally, I won’t ever move beyond looking at the fake job descriptions.)
- MLB.com’s Doin’ Yard Work! – Use this app to incentivize your children’s chores! For every square foot of lawn raked, mowed, weeded, watered, or fertilized, your child can gain of foot of length towards a home run. At the end of each weekend during MLB’s regular and post seasons, the child with the longest “home run” will win a mini rake with the logo of their favorite MLB team’s logo emblazed on the handle. (For me, raking is its own reward.)
- MLB Make Your Pitch – This very scientific app allows users to design new pitches by adjusting grip, spin, and suggested release angle. A $2.99 upgrade allows you to tweak the repertoires of actual Major League pitchers, both current and historical! Think you can combine R.A. Dickey’s knuckler with A.J. Burnett’s curve? Try it! (Depending on the interface of this app, I may or may not get fired from my day job in short order.)
- MLB Bat Boy – For use with any live telecast that you watch via MLB.tv or At Bat. At the end of any plate appearance, simply tap the bat and other batter amenities and tap again to place them in the appropriate spot in the dugout. Build up a rapport with hitters that enables butt-slap or high-five tools. Use your scores to build a portfolio that syncs with the MLB Job Interview app. (Personally, eagerly awaiting this one.)