MLB players will take part in a multi-week virtual season playing each other in MLB The Show.
As we wait for real baseball to return to fields around the country, MLB and the MLB Players Association are ready to bring virtual baseball into our homes. On Friday, the league announced the creation of the “MLB The Show Players League” which will feature players from all 30 teams facing off in a virtual season.
The format of the season will be each player playing a 29-game schedule, facing every other player once in the regular season. Each game will be three-innings, allowing games to be played quickly and fit the “regular season” in over the next three weeks.
The top eight players will qualify for a postseason, scheduled to begin on April 30, with best-of-three Divisional and Championship series before a best-of-five “World Series.”
MLB is still sifting through various proposals for how to begin the actual season, but this new league will at least give fans something to watch and a way to interact with players. According to ESPN, “conversations have taken place with the league’s broadcast partners to potentially televise some of the games.”
A number of other leagues have used video games and streaming as a way to connect players with fans and fill, to some degree, the sports void that many are feeling. The NBA has had success with a similar players tournament, while soccer players in Spain played a live-streamed FIFA tournament to raise money for UNICEF.
The Mets had their outstanding TV broadcast crew call a simulated game in MLB The Show earlier this week.
The MLB tournament will also be for a good cause. According to MLB.com: “Major League Baseball, the MLB Players Association and Sony Interactive Entertainment will donate $5,000 on behalf of each participating player to a Boys & Girls Club affiliate in their team’s community. The stakes of the competition are enhanced, with the championship player earning an additional $25,000 donation to the Boys & Girls Club in his community. That adds up to a total of $175,000.”
Games for the new MLB players league will begin on Friday night with Rays pitcher Blake Snell facing Reds reliever Amir Garrett. The games will be streamed on individual player and team Twitch channels, as well as on various MLB social media accounts.
Below are the full list of players who will represent each club.
AL East: Bo Bichette (Blue Jays), Dwight Smith Jr. (Orioles), Blake Snell (Rays), Eduardo Rodriguez (Red Sox), Tommy Kahnle (Yankees).
AL Central: Carlos Santana (Indians), Brett Phillips (Royals), Niko Goodrum (Tigers), Trevor May (Twins), Lucas Giolito (White Sox).
AL West: Ty Buttrey (Angels), Lance McCullers (Astros), Jesús Luzardo (A’s), Carl Edwards Jr. (Mariners), Joey Gallo (Rangers).
NL East: Luke Jackson (Braves), Ryne Stanek (Marlins), Jeff McNeil (Mets), Juan Soto (Nationals), Rhys Hoskins (Phillies).
NL Central: Josh Hader (Brewers), Matt Carpenter (Cardinals), Ian Happ (Cubs), Cole Tucker (Pirates), Amir Garrett (Reds).
NL West: Jon Duplantier (D-backs), Gavin Lux (Dodgers), Hunter Pence (Giants), Fernando Tatis Jr. (Padres), David Dahl (Rockies).