In the time of the coronavirus, MLB is adapting. Not by playing games at an isolated spot in Arizona, but by bringing a virtual baseball competition to the masses.
MLB announced on Friday that it is launching a competitive MLB The Show league, which will feature players from all 30 MLB teams in partnership with the MLB Players Association and Sony Interactive Entertainment. Starting Friday, the league will embark on a 29-game regular season that will last through April 28. The postseason begins on April 30, and will feature the eight best teams facing off in four three-game series. The World Series, which will be a best-of-five series, will take place on May 2.
The games themselves will last three to five innings, which will allow players to simulate multiple games per day. To keep things fair, every player’s game settings will be the same.
Gaming settings for the games will be consistent, with designated hitters turned off, the batting difficulty set to Veteran, pitching difficulty set to All-Star, with guess pitch, quick counts and balks all turned off. The biggest difference from real life? Umpire accuracy will be set to perfect, no missed calls.
There’s a charity aspect to this as well. MLB, Sony, and the MLBPA will donate $5,000 for each of the 30 players, with the money going to a Boys and Girls Club affiliate in their team's community. The player who wins the World Series will get an additional $25,000 donation on their behalf.
Players will stream the games on their personal Twitch accounts or their team’s Twitch account. They’ll take place every night at 9:00 pm ET, and according to ESPN, special “Prime Time Streams” will happen on Monday, Wednesday and Friday. Those special streams will feature MLB Network broadcaster Robert Flores offering commentary on the games and leading interactions between players and fans. No games are currently scheduled to be shown on TV, but talks with MLB’s broadcast partners are reportedly ongoing.
The first game will kick off at 9:00 pm ET on Friday, and feature Blake Snell of the Tampa Bay Rays taking on Amir Garrett of the Cincinnati Reds. Other notable players include Washington Nationals outfielder Juan Soto, Milwaukee Brewers reliever Josh Hader, Toronto Blue Jays shortstop Bo Bichette, San Diego Padres shortstop Fernando Tatis Jr., Chicago White Sox pitcher Lucas Giolito, and Los Angeles Dodgers shortstop Gavin Lux.
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