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Roundtable: Play Ball! - DRB’s First Impressions with MLB The Show 20

With no real baseball to watch, diving into baseball video games is the escape many on our masthead have needed.

MLB: Houston Astros at Tampa Bay Rays Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

While we all wait for real baseball, video games will have to fill the void for now.

In honor of the Players League postseason about to begin, and Blake Snell having the best record in the regular season, we have been playing a lot of The Show

We here at DRaysBay wanted to share our own first impressions, highlights, and moments from our own experiences with this year’s version of the game so far.

Darby Robinson:

The first thing I did with this year’s The Show was start a March to October with the Rays. In this game mode, you get different moments throughout the season to play and give momentum boosts. And if this digital version of the Rays season is any indication, the Rays depth build is gonna be fun to watch. With so many mix and match options, platoons, and defensive subs I was super busy emulating Kevin Cash, shifting players all over the field late in games.

Also, Ji-Man, Renfroe, and BLowe rake like crazy. Jose Alvarado and Diego Castillo don’t have the highest rated cards (Bronze and Silver, respectfully), but man oh man do they play up. The Show’s version of Alvarado is straight filthy, and his 2-seamer is almost as nasty as his real life one.

Early Highlight - I gotta say, my favorite moment so far has been pulling the ultra rare and highly coveted diamond Mike Trout live series card on just a random pack I earned along the way to a Rays World Series.

Dominik Vega:

Simply put, this year’s MLB The Show is the best game yet. The game mode that I primarily play every year is Diamond Dynasty, and this year’s game provides some of the easiest ways to improve your team with diamond players while having fun along the way.

The newest game mode this year is called Showdown and it is by far the most difficult thing I have attempted in a The Show game. In Showdown, you find yourself needing to score 16 runs within 15 outs against a designated pitcher known as the final boss. There are nine moments you can play before that final boss that will give you runs in that final matchup, allowing you to enter the challenge with up to 15 runs. While difficult, the rewards that this game mode provides are worth the challenge and it brings you back to keep attempting the mode until you finally beat it.

There are many things that have been smoothed out compared to previous games, such as animations throughout the actual games to a completely customizable PCI for hitting. A very nice subtle change is in the broadcast, where the scoreboard and graphics on the screen are dynamic towards the era of game that is being played. As far as I can tell, there’s a pre-1990’s theme with no colors, a 1990’s theme with exaggerated scoreboard colors, a modern theme that is small and out of the way and an MLB Network theme.

Overall, MLB The Show 20 is the best version of the game so far and has brought major improvements that have not felt as big in previous new versions of the game.

Brett Rutherford:

I grew up playing the Franchise and Road to the Show modes, leading my teams and players to many championships and accolades, while making some absurd transactions along the way. Gone are those days, now I play for waste countless hours “grinding” on the game’s most popular mode, Diamond Dynasty. In this mode, you try to build the best possible team with virtual baseball cards.

Collecting the cards of my favorite players from today and yesteryear is extremely fun, but what it takes to earn some of these cards is absolutely brutal. Hours of playing the computer on easy difficulties, buying and selling players to try and beat the market, and occasionally spending even more money on in-game purchases just to try and marginally improve my right fielder. And for what? There’s no point to this gam and no grand prize once you reach a certain level. You just play all year until the next game comes out, when you hand San Diego Studios your money all over again.

With that being said, I love the game. Gameplay feels improved, and squaring up a ball feels like I imagine it does in real life. The developers are releasing a healthy amount of new content, despite no baseball currently being played. Well done, SDS.


Is there anybody else in the DRB community playing The Show this year? What are your thoughts so far? Favorite game mode? Best achievement?