MLB The Show 2023 to feature Negro Leagues Legends
For the first time, MLB The Show 2023 will honor the Negro Leagues in a new game mode where players can experience legends of baseball in a new light
Major League Baseball has partnered with the Negro Leagues museum to bring history to life with a new game mode called “Storylines: The Negro Leagues - Season One.”
Eight of the greatest to ever play baseball; Negro League legends Satchel Paige, Jackie Robinson, Buck O’Neil, Rube Foster, Hilton Smith, Hank Thompson, John Donaldson and Martín Dihigo; will feature in the latest version of the popular video game.
Negro Leagues Baseball Museum president Bob Kendrick says, “The story of the Negro Leagues is not an African American story, it is an All-American story. You see, it’s the kind of story that we as Americans have typically embraced. Because it’s a story about pride, passion, perseverance, determination, the refusal to accept the notion that you’re unfit to do anything.”
Sony product development communications and brand strategist Ramone Russell agrees, adding, “The Negro Leagues are an important part of baseball and American history, whose iconic figures are not nearly as well known as other baseball players of the era. We’ve thought about introducing the Negro Leagues into MLB The Show for years, but we needed to figure out how to do it the right way for an interactive medium.”
When asked how the Storylines players would be experienced within the game, Russell expanded, “The best way I can explain it is, it’s an amalgamation of a short documentary series combined with curated moments of gameplay. Each of the eight players has a storyline, and the coolest part is learning about these players then immediately being able to play as them in the game. That transition from the images and video to the on-field gameplay experience is powerful and immersive. The ambiance is carried through, from the uniforms, to the crowd and everything in between.”
The overall concept is to introduce new players in each edition of The Show, with eight more legends from the Negro Leagues scheduled to appear in Season 2.
History of the Negro Leagues and MLB
The history of the two North American baseball leagues is complicated, and swings from indifference to antagonism to begrudging respect. Now, finally, it is only fitting that MLB shows the rich history of the Negro Leagues and how baseball has benefitted from the players who manned their teams.
As a relic of a bygone and distasteful era of our nation’s history, the Negro Leagues were an institution that never should have been necessary, but made such a thrilling success born of horrible circumstances that they must never be forgotten. They deserved better than simply being stripped for parts by an avaricious MLB once desegregation was a fait accompli.
Bringing the history of these stars to life for future generations is the right thing to do, and for all of their faults, it seems as if MLB is trying to set things right by the Negro Leagues. Some of their records have been absorbed into the MLB history books, although often with an asterisk next to it. And who knows? Maybe one of these days, an expansion team may revive one of these legendary teams so that they can finally compete shoulder to shoulder with their MLB counterparts.
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