For at least a year now, I’ve had an urge to play a game of baseball. Now, with the weather turning appealingly cool and the baseball playoffs only days away, that urge has only intensified. But there’s a reason why I haven’t played, a problem: I just don’t have enough friends to get a game together.
I have seven or eight great friends, but think about the logistics of baseball in comparison to a sport like basketball. In basketball, playing a 3-on-3 game can be every bit as fun as playing a full-on 5-on-5 game. Hell, playing a buddy 1-on-1 can be exciting: as long as you have a ball, a hoop, and one other pal, it’s easy to play basketball and have fun.
With baseball, though, a normal game requires 18 players for a 9-on-9 match. Theoretically, you could get rid of one outfielder, one middle infielder, and the catcher (no stealing bases, cheaters) and still have a somewhat workable game, but 12 people would still need to be ready. So what is an average Joe like me to do? Should I give up on my dream of ever playing baseball again? Should I throw away my bat, glove, and Cecil Fielder jersey? No. Get-A-Game, a new app that was featured at the Tech Cocktail Mixer last Wednesday, September 26th, at General Assembly (where Fueled is based), is keeping my hopes alive.
Get-A-Game was created by Tomato Lightning, a New York-based company whose mission is to “provide affordable products that integrate technology with established play patterns in order to help guide the teen away from the screen and back into the world”. It’s targeted towards people with a thirst for an active lifestyle. Users can pick one of around 75 sports, and the app will show any games going on in a user’s area. Social Media Coordinator Josh Sax mentioned the difficulty of finding a game at a good time as an inspiration for this app. “The genesis of the idea came from years of solitude on basketball courts, waiting for people to play with.” People can also create their own teams, and use the app to coordinate a time to play with teammates, as well as find others to play.
Get-A-Game recently released their beta product in New York City, but the plan is to continue to expand. “New York City and Westchester account for most of our games. In regards to expanding, our location-based app works anywhere in the country. We are confident in our product, and if we can spread the word and get people to try it out, we like our chances. In the last few days we have seen people hosting games in Seattle and Charlottesville, VA.” Basketball has been the most popular sport so far, but that could have to do with the immense popularity of basketball in New York City. Get-A-Game has options for sports as diverse as arm wrestling, ballet, and laser tag, so the opportunities for growth are immense.
The key for Get-A-Game’s success will be traction. If people continue to get word of what the app is doing, more people will sign up and it will be easier to find games. But as of now there aren’t enough games being set-up to truly make an impact. The technology is there, though - if Tomato Lightning can get more people interested, this app will really take off. I’m certainly rooting for it; I just want to play baseball. I’m a fair-to-mediocre first baseman, can hit fairly well, and run as fast as Jorge Posada on tranquilizers. Call me.