Friday night saw the launch of a joint venture between Major League Baseball, the Major League Baseball Players Association and Sony Interactive Entertainment studios to form the MLB The Show Players League. Following the abrupt ending of Spring Training and growing uncertainty around whether we’ll see baseball in 2020, many have turned to the next best thing … video games!
Sony San Diego Studios, a development team under the umbrella of Sony Interactive Entertainment, have been the studio that have brought fans realistic and engaging baseball gameplay for over two decades. The series, which debuted in the late 90’s, has established a growing fanbase through the years, especially following EA Sports decision to bring the “MLB 2K” series to an end. 2020 however has provided San Diego Studios with an incredible opportunity. With a virtual monopoly on the baseball video game field, “MLB The Show 20” has seen an incredible surge in the size of their player base, as fans across the country try to fill that baseball void. However, that surge in popularity hasn’t been exclusive to fans, as a number of Major Leaguers have gotten in on the action!
The “MLB The Show Players League” is the first ever competitive MLB The Show League, solely featuring Major League players represented by all 30 of the Major League clubs. With a number of notable player personalities involved, the league will be a must see for baseball fans who want to witness the other side to their Major League idols.
The league includes:
Jon Duplantier – Arizona Diamondbacks
Luke Jackson – Atlanta Braves
Dwight Smith Jr – Baltimore Orioles
Eduardo Rodriguez – Boston Red Sox
Ian Happ – Chicago Cubs
Lucas Giolito – Chicago White Sox
Amir Garret – Cincinnati Reds
Carlos Santana – Cleveland Indians
David Dahl – Colorado Rockies
Niko Goodrum – Detroit Tigers
Houston Astros – Lance McCullers (commissioner)
Brett Philips – Kansas City Royals
Ty Buttrey – Los Angeles Angels
Gavin Lux – Los Angeles Dodgers
Ryne Stanek – Miami Marlins
Josh Hader – Milwaukee Brewers
Trevor May – Minnesota Twins
Jeff McNeil – New York Mets
Tommy Kahnle – New York Yankees
Jesus Luzardo – Oakland Athletics
Rhys Hoskins – Philladlphia Phillies
Cole Ticker – Pittsbhurg Pirates
Fernando Tatis Jr. – San Diego Padres
Hunter Pence – San Francisco Giants
Carl Edwards Jr. – Seatlle Mariners
Matt Carpenter – St. Louis Cardinals
Blake Snell – Tampa Bay Rays
Joey Gallo – Texas Rangers
Bo Bichette – Toronto Blue Jays
Juan Soto – Washington Nationals
An exciting combination of All Stars, MVP’s, World Series winners and fan favorites, the league is bound to make for an entertaining series of matchups.
Although bragging rights are at stake, the main focus will be helping those in need during these challenging times, especially for underprivileged boys and girls across the country. Major League Baseball, the Players Association as well Sony have all pledged to donate $5,000 on behalf of each participating player to a Boys & Girls Club affiliate in their team’s local community, with the winner of the competition earning an additional $25,000 donation.
President and CEO of Boys & Girls Club of America praised the sizeable contributions in an announcement earlier this week:
“Boys & Girls Clubs of America is proud to partner with Major League Baseball, the Players and Sony Interactive Entertainment on this great program. Their contributions will help support our efforts in communities around the country to provide critical meals, support for first responders’ children and virtual learning to kids, families and communities. For more than 160 years, Boys & Girls Clubs have navigated times of tragedy and crisis to provide safe places for kids and teens. Today, amid the current crisis, we are committed more than ever to ensure Club staff, members, families, and communities have the resources and support they need.”
The league is set to be a thrilling watch for a truly noble cause. The regular season segment of the league officially kicked off on April 10, and is set to run through April 28, with the top 8 teams making the playoffs which will follow shortly after. The whole event will be led by MLB Network’s Robert Flores who’ll be calling the various games as well as hosting impromptu player interviews.