Originally posted on MarlinsBaseball.com  |  Last updated 8/30/12

Fox Sports Florida hosted Game Connect Night on August 29 and MarlinsBaseball.com was on the scene, as a guest in their suite.  It was an unforgettable experience and I came away from it with an appreciation for the Game Connect service.   This service has thus far has been under utilized has a lot of great aspects to it and a ton of potential for success and growth.

The main concept of Game Connect is a second screen experience, a new trend for watching TV.  Many companies will put out apps for smart phones and tablets that allow you to watch their show while learning more about the actors.   Those second screen experiences also allows you to discuss the shows with others watching to improve the viewing experience for everyone involved.   Game Connect brings this to Marlins fans (and baseball fans in general, obviously).

We know: You can load up Twitter and MLB At Bat while you watch TV. That’s an OK solution but since most phones and tablets can’t have more than one item on the screen at a time results in a less than perfect experience.   What Game Connect does so well is it brings everything to one screen.   You can chat with others on Twitter while seeing the current in-game situation.  You can review previous at-bats and even a player’s season history.

One of the parts of Game Connect we enjoyed most is their ability to sync your Twitter account live on their site and continue on as if you were on a Twitter app.   Fox Sports doesn’t try to get you into a proprietary solution that replaces Twitter, rather they let you use your already established online presence.   This is key and something other companies’ have failed on out of the gate.  Nobody needs another social media account these days, and Fox Sports incorporating your must used account makes using Game Connect a no brainer.

Game Connect still has some bugs to work out, the positive thing is that Fox Sports is openly looking for criticisms so they can fix them up and make it closer to perfect.  As is an issue with many similar sites such as MLB Gameday and ESPN’s online scoreboard, there are times when the data is a a minute or two delayed.  This usually occurs to start an inning after a pitching change.   At one point last night, Roger Bernadina was listed as facing Heath Bell — and not in the way you’re thinking.  That’s right, Bernadina was on the mound and unfortunately we were not all treated to a Bell at-bat vs him.   Game Connect did self correct this after a couple of minutes without a refresh needed.  Those few hiccups did not ruin the experience and Fox Sports will iron them out in due time.

When the right pitcher is listed on the mound, there is a terrific feature present in terms of pitch count.  Most sites will tell you something such as “Jacob Turner has thrown 91 pitches,” which is fine but nothing special.  Game Connect puts this on another level but not only telling you the pitch count in this game, but also informing you of his average pitch count.   Last night, it displayed at one point “Turner has 18 pitches left,” which was based off his average pitch count.  This is small but brilliant feature that can make a big difference to fans.  For those wondering, Bernadina had zero pitches when he took the mound.   A pitch count most Marlins’ fans wish Bell had last night as well judging by the response from the crowd.

Next time you watch a game, load up Game Connect while tuning into Fox Sports Florida and give it a try.  It’s not supposed to replace your TV, it’s intent is to improve it.   Fox Sports hit a home run here, of Giancarlo Stanton proportions.

Game Connect: http://gameconnect.foxsportsflorida.com/mlb/marlins

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