America’s Temporary National Pastime

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Issue 15, Volume 110

By Maya Brosnick 

Cover Image

Major League Baseball (MLB) has been shut down due to coronavirus concerns, but officials have turned to a video game that simulates what the season could have been. The simulated games of the video game, MLB The Show 20, have instant inning changes and no commercials, thus only lasting around an hour and a half. While The Show had been doing well ever since its release in 2006, due to the canceling of the real season, the 2020 version of the game has quickly become the fastest-selling game in the history of the baseball franchise and the third best selling videogame of April.

Fans are not the only ones turning to The Show as a baseball substitute. The MLB Players Association partnered with Sony Interactive Entertainment to produce a 29-game series with one participating player from each of the 30 MLB teams. The players were pitted against one another and battled it out to earn money that would be donated. Each player played with their own team, and the games lasted for only three innings in order to give players the opportunity to play more than one per day. Each participant received $5,000 to donate to a Boys & Girls Club affiliate in their areas, with the winner receiving an extra $25,000.

The playoff spots of this league were cinched by the end of April. Blake Snell led the pack with a 24-5 record—good for the top spot. Behind him were Joey Gallo of the Rangers, Bo Bichette of the Blue Jays, and five other players to round out an eight-person playoff.

The quarterfinals and semifinals of the players league, which were played in a best of three format, started off quickly with Jeff McNeil and Snell beating Dwight Smith Jr. and Gavin Lux, respectively, both winning with the minimum of two games. The other two quarterfinals went back and forth, in terms of games won, but in the end, Ian Happ and Lucas Giolito bested their counterparts. In the semis, McNeil won the first game, but Snell took the following two and entered the finals, while Giolito defeated Happ in the first and third games of his matchup. In the finals, which were played in a best of five format, Giolito went down in only three games, leaving Rays pitcher Blake Snell victorious in the first ever players’ league.

Even though the Major League has come to an end, MLB The Show still has plenty to offer fans, with games following the teams’ intended schedules streamed on YouTube. Some announcers have even started recording a couple of games. Gary Smith, Keith Hernandez, and Ron Darling delighted Mets fans on Wednesday by calling game 36 of The Show and having McNeil stop by as a guest. The Show has provided us the opportunity to experience our national pastime while ensuring everyone’s safety—something baseball fans everywhere are extremely grateful for.