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2010 18U (Midget) ChampionshipsDates TBA   London, Ontario

Games online allows fans to keep tabs
July 23, 2010

It’s been a crazy day at the office and your boss tells you you’ll have to stay overtime.

Forget little Johnny’s big playoff game — there’s no way you’ll make it to the diamond in time.

But now, parents stuck at work or in traffic can follow along with some of their kids’ games on their BlackBerries or iPhones.

“It’s disappointing to parents who can’t go to a game or who have more than one child playing at the same time. This way, they can follow along live,” said Jim Baba, the director general of Baseball Canada that will run its national midget championship Aug. 19 to 23 in London.

“London will like having the feature, I think.”

Baseball Canada uses, a website that hosts live real-time scoring updates for several sports. Live simulations are available for Baseball Canada’s many championship tournaments, including kids as young as 10 who will play in the peewee championship.

Live scoring has been available for the last four or five years, Baba said.

But this year, has upped the ante, and is providing downloadable applications for the BlackBerry and iPhone, allowing parents, family or other fans to follow along with a game through their cellphones.

The service shows a live game simulation, including who’s at bat, who’s on what base and who’s playing on the field.

Instead of using paper scoring, teams use a laptop to input data that’s updated live on the website or sent to the person’s cellphone.

“A couple of years ago, we started doing live scoring, so if you had an uncle from B.C. playing in a game in P.E.I., you could see who was winning,” Baba said. “Last year, we did radio broadcasts from the diamonds online, but we were limited to just one diamond at a time. The demand is there for this.”

The live stats are also tabulated into boxscores and can be printed out at the end of a game as a keepsake.

Although there were several “hiccups” last year when Baseball Canada started using the live simulator — some diamonds had spotty Internet connections, for example — the fact that people complained when the system went offline showed organizers that people were following along.

“We’ve had lots of positive feedback,” Baba said. “This year, you can follow along even more remotely. Baseball is a game of stats, so this is a perfect fit.”

For parents or fans who can’t make it to a game, live scoring will be a bonus.

“It gives parents an opportunity to follow the game. You don’t get a television feed, but at least you have some semblance of what’s going on,” said Mike Lumley, of the London Badgers and London and District Baseball Association which will host the midget championship.

The Intercounty Baseball League also uses, as do several hockey, lacrosse and soccer leagues.

The live technology augments team websites, many of which — like the Badgers — have player bios and game stats. It’s just one way parents can keep up with their kids’ sports careers.