Listen to and follow the World Series online

Restrictive broadcasting rules make watching the MLB World Series online impossible for U.S. viewers, but you can still follow along or listen live with two free Android apps.

Want to watch the World Series online? Sorry. Fox Broadcasting seems to have made that impossible (or just illegal) in 2012. But have no fear: when you're away from your TV, you can still listen to or follow the MLB championship games easily with a few choice Android apps.

Listen to the World Series live on your Android device

(Credit: ESPN)
If you've sprung for a subscription from MLB At Bat, you're already covered. Those of us on the cheap can get our World Series broadcast on our Android phones for free with the ESPN Radio Android app. ESPN Radio has all the MLB playoff radio rights and thankfully has a progressive policy on streaming it to mobile phones (there's an iPhone app as well, of course).

The app is simple to install and runs on pretty much any Android device (2.1+). Along with the main radio channel, there are 30 to 40 other local, Spanish language and specialty radio stations (though most of them echo the primary broadcast). Podcasts and audio clips are available for download and offline listening, and the Create a Station personalization feature lets you enter players, teams, or keywords, then serves up a menu of streamable or downloadable audio clips related to your specified picks.

For community features, an interactive messaging system lets you send questions and comments to the ESPN radio hosts directly from your device. For breaking news, there's also a SportsCenter-spawned news clip that updates every 20 minutes.

And of course, all the World Series games are streamed live on the main radio channel. Coverage of tonight's matchup between the San Francisco Giants and Detroit Tigers, with Madison Bumgarner and Doug Fister starting, respectively, begins at 4 p.m. PT. First pitch will fly at or around 5:07p.m. PT.

N.B.: The ESPN Radio app does require a free MyESPN account. It also has a deserved reputation for being quite unstable. For me, the app crashes every single time I slide out my physical keyboard to type ... so I stopped doing that.

Follow the World Series live on your Android device

We've come a long way since sports scores agonizingly scrolled across pagers. For today's smaller Android phones or for those times and places when your service connection is spotty, liveblogging and stat tracking provide a reliable, low-bandwidth method of following the big games. My favorite pick for all of the above is a free app called ScoreMobile (which again also has an iPhone app).

ScoreMobile has evolved from a basic score and stat tracker to a much more robust system for following live sporting events. The main interface lists the app's set of sports leagues, all of which can be removed or reordered. Clicking into the MLB Baseball section will bring up the only game around these days: the San Francisco Giants vs. the Detroit Tigers. The scores page will show the current score of the game or the betting lines and start time if it has not yet begun.

(Credit: CNET)

Clicking into the game itself will show the current live status (again with a lineup and injury news if the game hasn't started yet) and tabs allow additional content like news service-generated previews and recaps. The most valuable feature for those big-time championship games is the Blog tab, where the ScoreMobile team provides a quick-fingered, accurate and (usually) knowledgeable liveblogger who provides play-by-play coverage that rivals radio coverage.

(Credit: CNET)

ScoreMobile users are encouraged to create accounts and contribute to the liveblog as well, and you'll see the stream of posts include the occasional "GIANTS RULE, TIGERS DROOL" comment, but those user comments themselves are moderated by the ScoreMobile team, so there (usually) aren't any crude comments that scare the faint-hearted or permanently scar young children. Every big game -- like the World Series, NCAA basketball championship, Rose Bowl, etc. -- has a dedicated moderator and liveblogger who does a great job in conveying the essential details of the action as well as occasionally adding insightful commentary.

(Credit: CNET)

As a bonus, SportsMobile also lets you designate specific teams as Favorites. Doing so will move any games featuring those teams to the top of the list of scores. You can also set up notification alerts for your favorite teams that are based on the start of the game, end of the game, when the bases are loaded, when either team scores, or when it's a close game. Even if you're stuck in the subway with a fraction of a phone-service bar, ScoreMobile operates efficiently enough to get the necessary scores and stats through.

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