Pitchers, catchers, and iCal schedules

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Reader Jeremey West dropped me a line a couple weeks back with a very specific request:

I enjoyed your article bemoaning the lack of iCal calendars generally (and specifically for A’s baseball). A year has passed and still no calendar for the upcoming A’s season. Any chance you are working on one?

Ah yes—my ongoing search for iCal calendars that are relevant to my particular interests and hobbies. Here’s the February 2006 post containing my original bemoaning as well as the follow-up containing a do-it-yourself AppleScript solution.

I wrote Jeremey back, mumbling something about how I’d probably get around to building a new calendar once pitchers and catchers started reporting to spring training camps. Well, a look at the ol’ calendar indicates that spring training has begun in earnest. So if I’m a man of my word, I should get cracking on producing the calendar I promised to a faithful reader.

Very well— here it is. You can subscribe to it by clicking here.

I’d like to note that unlike last year’s afternoon-long iCal effort, this edition took me all of five minutes to build (with the bulk of my time spent excising meaningless spring training games from the schedule). This is thanks to the AppleScript developed by reader Frank Zalar and perfected by Editorial Director Jason Snell—whenever 162-game iCal calendars are built in a fraction of the time they would have otherwise taken, a choir of children will gather to sing hymns of praise for Frank Zalar.

And yes, just like last year, you can build an iCal calendar for the team of your choosing with this handy-dandy script. The steps are the same as before:

  1. Download the script.
  2. Pick out the schedule of your favorite team from the MLB Web site.
  3. On your team’s schedule page, go the left-hand pane and click on Downloadable Schedule. You’ll be taken to a page with a link to the CSV file; Control-Click on that and select Download Linked File.
  4. Open the downloaded file in TextEdit.
  5. Run the script.
  6. Profit!

Or, if the prospect letting an AppleScript do all the heavy-lifting is still too much of an imposition on your go-go lifestyle, you can always just download a schedule from Yahoo Sports. Go to the page of your favorite team and click on the Scores and Schedule link—we’ll use Oakland’s schedule for the sake of thematic unity. You’ll notice an Add Schedule option which includes a link for iCal calendars.

This iCal feature almost certainly wasn’t an available option at Yahoo last year, and while my public complaining about the lack of downloadable iCal schedules for baseball teams probably played next to no role in this addition, I’m going to pretend that it did, just like I pretend that it was me and me alone who convinced Southwest Airlines to makes its Ding! applet Mac-compatible and Apple to change its ad campaign strategy. We can’t all build useful AppleScripts, and I’d like to see a choir gathering to sing my praises every once in a while.

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