All right, so now that you've familiarized yourself with what badges are, the next step is to start building your badge collection. Again, I'm working under the principle of "more is better", as if you were builiding your own pog...er, badge collection, just like you would build your comic book collection (which brings me to another point about badges that I'll explain in the next installment).
Step one is to open up mlb.com and go to the upper right and log in. Once you've logged in, open up the Gameday window of your choice by going down the left-hand scoreboard column. Keep opening up separate tabs until you've opened up GameDay windows for each active game.
Games become acrive as soon as the lineups are recorded, but sometimes that can come up to five hours before gametime. You just have to keep checking to see when the GameDay icon is available.
The second step is to go to the GameDay window and ensure that your badges will be registered by going to the bottom row of icons and clicking on "badges". When the badge window flies in from the right, it will either be populated with three images of badges (all of which will be locked and greyed out), or the whole window will be blank. Here's one of the keys: if the window is blank, you have to re-open that GameDay window until there are images of badges in that window.
My experience is that if the badge window is blank, you won't get credit for the badge when the badge becomes unlocked. It also tends to be that if you're waiting for the GameDay window to load, and that horizontal bar showing "loading" is growing: if you are viewing the window when the load bar reaches completion, you usually get the non-blank (desired)badge window. If I've opened up a window and it has alrady loaded while I was busy opening other tabs (i.e., when I'm opening a bunch of windows concurrently), then there's more of a chance that the badge window will be blank.
Once you've confirmed that the badge window is populated with images of the badges in play for that game, you're good to go. You can leave that window and stop "watching" that game, and if the event in question occurs, you'll still register the badge. So the trick to have as many windows open as possible, confirming that they're all showing a populated badge window (which I leave up on screen, just to see whether I've gotten any badges yet).
If you have the badge window open to one of the teams, but the other team unlocks a badge, the badge window will flip to the other team; otherwise, it will stay on the team that you've left up.
I tend to leave these windows open while I'm doing other things on the computer (like working, for example!). So the next trick is to make sure you've turned off the sound on your computer. This is because, at the end of the game, the GameDay window automatically launches video highlights (with sound), and that interruption can totally give you away. (If on the other hand you're at home and you have a number of windows open and running simultaneously, it's a nice way to be reminded that one of the games has ended).
For organizational purposes, I tend to keep my window tabs ordered in the same order as the top bar of active games on the GameDay screen. This just makes it easier to get around and flip "channels" from game to game. Make sure not to switch the GameDay window using that top bar when you're flipping between games, however; use your window tabs instead.
Remember, in order to register the badge, the window has to be open at the exact moment when the event registers and the badge is unlocked. Now that they've started including pitchers badges (earlier in the season, they only had position players available for badges, proabbly because all of the events were offensive milestones), you can check out games and see if you're in line for a "win". Pitchers' win badges are usually one of the easiest to collect; almost every game, both starting pitchers tend to be eligble for badges, and one of those two pitchers usually is tied to a win event (the other starter is usually tied to a #-of-strikeouts event). So you can see if a team with a lead is coasting, and if the starter is eligible for the win; at that point, all you need to do is make sure the window is open when the game goes final (and the winning team doesn't choke).
One final tip is, I tend to launch all of these windows at work and then leave them running through the night. We're advantaged here on the west coast as you can open the early tranch of 7p ET games during the afternoon, and then usually get most of the late tranch of 7p PT games right before leaving work (or right when I get home).
I can usually catch most of the weekday games easier than I can the weekend games (I've got kids, and weekends are crazy). If you can catch games four or five times a week, you're guaranteed to amass a monstrous badge collection pretty quickly. Remember, once a player's badge is earned, there is no additional reward for earning that player's badge again (as I'll explain tomorrow, there was clearly something in mind here, which must be why all the images are labeled "bronze", invisible to the user). As far as I can tell, this holds true even if a player changes teams (e.g., if you have a Carlos Beltran badge from the Mets, I don't think you van get another Beltran one from the Giants). As such, there isn't a huge first-mover advantage here; it makes it quite easy to catch up even if you're late to the game.
Next up: How to improve the mlb.com badge program (hopefully for next year).