NEW YORK – Blake Snell, Juan Soto and Bo Bichette are among the baseball stars who have converted to PlayStation while America’s favorite pastime is on a break.
Thirty Major League players, one from each team, are signed up to play in a regular season rotational tournament using the MLB The Show video game at a time when the real season is on hold due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Snell, winner of the Cy Young Trophy with the Tampa Bay Rays, faces Cincinnati Reds’ reliever Amir Garrett in the opening game Friday night. The match will be broadcast on Snell’s Twitch feed, with additional games to be broadcast via Twitch and YouTube with MLB host Robert Flores as commentator.
The initiative was launched on Friday by Major League Baseball, the Players’ Association and Sony Interactive Entertainment.
Participants range in age from 36 for San Francisco Giants outfielder Hunter Pence to 21 for Fernando Tatis son of the San Diego Padres. There are 11 players selected from the all-star teams, including Josh Hader of the Milwaukee Brewers, Joey Gallo of the Texas Rangers and Jeff McNeil of the New York Mets.
The players will complete a 29-game regular season, a three-set showdown against each team in April. The top eight teams will qualify for the playoffs, which should reflect the current Major League Baseball format.
The NBA is hosting a similar e-sport tournament on NBA 2K with 16 professional players, including stars Kevin Durant and Trae Young. These games are broadcast on ESPN. Major League Baseball, the union and Sony are contributing $175,000 to Boys & Girls Clubs of America as part of this initiative.
Here is the list of the 30 players in competition:
- Arizona Diamondbacks – Jon Duplantier
- Atlanta Braves – Luke Jackson
- Baltimore Orioles – Dwight Smith Jr.
- Boston Red Sox – Eduardo Rodriguez
- Chicago Cubs – Ian Happ
- Chicago White Sox – Lucas Giolito
- Cincinnati Reds – Amir Garrett
- Cleveland Indians – Carlos Santana
- Colorado Rockies – David Dahl
- Detroit Tigers – Niko Goodrum
- Houston Astros – Lance McCullers Jr.
- Kansas City Royals – Brett Phillips
- Los Angeles Angels – Ty Buttrey
- Los Angeles Dodgers – Gavin Lux
- Miami Marlins – Ryne Stanek
- Milwaukee Brewers – Josh Hader
- Minnesota Twins – Trevor May
- New York Mets – Jeff McNeil
- New York Yankees – Tommy Kahnle
- Oakland Athletics – Jesús Luzardo
- Philadelphia Phillies – Rhys Hoskins
- Pittsburgh Pirates – Cole Tucker
- San Diego Padres – Fernando Tatis Jr.
- San Francisco Giants – Hunter Pence
- Seattle Mariners – Carl Edwards Jr.
- Louis Cardinals – Matt Carpenter
- Tampa Bay Rays – Blake Snell
- Texas Rangers – Joey Gallo
- Toronto Blue Jays – Bo Bichette
- Washington Nationals – Juan Soto
What’s also new about baseball for next season? As the COVID-19 pandemic continues to wreak havoc in the U.S., the MLB is currently exploring the idea of starting its 2020 season behind closed doors by playing its games in stadiums normally used for spring camps.
In an article published on The Athletic on Saturday, journalist Ken Rosenthal wrote that Rob Manfred and the leaders of Major League Baseball have been studying the feasibility of such a project for the past few days.
The first segment of the season would be played in front of empty bleachers in Arizona or Florida.
The logistical requirements of a 40-strong field involving 30 professional teams in a single territory would be very complex and potentially very controversial,” writes Rosenthal. It would also require close cooperation with the US government. »
It would make more sense for Arizona to be the state of choice for Major League Baseball, since that’s where the different stadiums are closer together geographically.
Sources surveyed by Rosenthal suggest that the resources required for such a project might be too significant. More particularly, some of these resources could be imperative in the fight against the spread of the coronavirus. However, if these measures were to be implemented, fans would still be able to enjoy the games on television. In addition, bettors could place their baseball bets at SBO and follow the tournaments from the comfort of the couch. What a nice program to be on!
The idea of a centralized start to the MLB season at a specific location follows the one proposed by the English Premier League, which wants to complete its calendar by bringing all its clubs under quarantine in a specific area of England. As for the NBA, which has been on a break since 12 March, they were juggling with the idea of playing their qualifying matches exclusively in Las Vegas.