The MLB postseason is upon us (yes, I understand that the play-in games were technically part of the postseason), so many eyes will be turning to baseball for these next few weeks. As it happens, given the age in which we live, a good amount of those eyes will also be glancing down at phones and tablets while the game action plays out on our TVs. The two-screen experience is nothing new — heck, I look at Twitter during games myself — and MLB is looking to capitalize on this by debuting a new, socially-minded, app for fans to use during playoff time.
The app is called MLB.com Clubhouse, and is now out (for free) on the iOS App Store (sorry, Android users. No word yet on availability in the Play Store). It’s a fairly straight-forward app, allowing users to share custom MLB emoji and GIFs revolving around their favorite team, or MLB baseball in general.
When you open the app for the first time, you will be asked to pick your favorite team. Don’t worry, you can always switch to a different club or MLB in general by using the Teams button on the upper left. Once that is done, you will be shown two categories of shareable material; GIFs and Stickers.
The stickers are merely emoji-looking illustrations of team-specific players and designs. My Houston Astros gave me the option of using Colby Rasmus, a bearded guy (Lance McCullers?), a bulldog with a beard meant to represent Evan Gattis, and a train carrying a car full of cheese balls, among others.
The GIFs option consists of exactly that. When you change the team to MLB, you get lots of options to share, including memorable moments from baseball’s past. The team page gives a plethora of clips from the current team’s season. The Astros GIFs included Evan Gattis falling down, lots of team celebrations, George Springer dancing, and Evan Gattis falling down again.
Sharing these gems can present a bit of a problem. The first launch of the app will give you instructions on how to install the third-part keyboard for your phone. After you do this, you can use said keyboard to copy/paste your favorite sticker or GIF into an app. You can even pin your favorite images to save on scrolling. Unfortunately, this only works in the Messages app of the iPhone. I could not get the images to paste in the various other programs I tried, including Google Hangouts, Twitter, Instagram, and TweetBot. The special keyboard only seems to work in the Messages app, at least in terms of the many apps I tested.
There is another way to share, however, which is baked in to the Clubhouse app itself. You simply select the image, and choose Share. This brings up the iPhone’s sharing screen, which will allow you to send the image to Twitter, Facebook, and the like. The only problem here is that you are relegated to only using the apps that utilize iOS’s built-in sharing. My go-to Twitter app, Tweetbot, does not have this function so there’s really no way to use that app to share MLB Clubhouse content. That might be more of a limitation of Tweetbot, but it’s annoying nonetheless.
All in all, it’s a fine little app. It’s nothing revolutionary, but it’s not trying to be. It’s just a fun little thing you can use to post silly pictures on the Internet, and, let’s be honest, like 90% of the Internet is just silly pictures. Also, with MLB’s recent crackdown on sharing GIFs over social media, this might be our best option that doesn’t involve the Twitter Police knocking at your virtual door. It’s free and it’s fun, so give it a shot. Just don’t be surprised if you start losing followers from posting a GIF every 20 seconds.