The company of current stars and future Hall-of-Famers is exclusive, and on February 1st, San Diego Padres shortstop Fernando Tatis, Jr. joined this elite group of MLB The Show cover athletes.
Hailed as "the new face of baseball" by developer Sony, Tatis helped to lead the 2020 Padres to their first postseason appearance in 14 years, belting 17 homers over 59 games to earn his first Silver Slugger Award. His performance at the plate was matched both by his infectious energy and national notoriety for breaking baseball's "unwritten rules." Product Development Communications and Brand Strategist Ramone Russell said:
" was a year in which new talent announced itself to the world, flipping bats, dancing and bringing plenty of electric moments to the game. Arguably, no one did this better than Fernando 'El Niño' Tatis, Jr."
From San Diego...
Upon hearing the news, the Friar Faithful went into a frenzy. The 22-year-old Tatis is not only the youngest player ever chosen, he's the first Padres player ever featured on the cover since the video game's debut in 2006.
The city's love for The Show doesn't stop there.
The franchise itself is a creation of Sony's San Diego Studio, its organ tracks are laid down by Padres organist Bobby Cressey, and yours truly, the Voice of Petco Park, has been the game's PA announcer since the 2019 release.
The iconic bat flip captured on the cover occurred during Game 2 of the National League Wild Card Series. At home, down 6-2 to the St. Louis Cardinals in the 6th, the Padres pulled out a wild 11-9 win on the back of two Tatis home runs, That victory tied the series at a game a piece and forced a decisive Game 3 (spoiler: the Padres won).
I spoke with CBS 8/San Diego's Jake Garegnani about what it was like to witness that defining moment in person:
...to the World
Just last year MLB The Show was named the best-selling baseball genre game in U.S. history, and now it's about to reach a whole new audience.
No longer will the game be exclusive to PlayStation consoles. 21 is going cross-platform with releases for Microsoft's Xbox One and Xbox Series X|S, as well as Sony's PS4 and PS5. Users will be able to compete online, and cross-progression will allow players to earn and use game content on the platform of choice.
With their beloved superstar now firmly positioned on top of the baseball gaming world, how does San Diego feel?
I talked about it in this piece by FOX 5/San Diego's Julian Del Gaudio (1:49 mark):
We know Padres fans are pumped, but what about Tatis himself?
“It means a lot—I’ve been playing this game since I can remember,” he said, “and now being chosen and on the same level as those players, it’s just another goal in my life already achieved.”
Opening Day for MLB The Show 21 is April 20th.
For more of Alex's work in Sony's "MLB The Show" franchise, take a look at his Video Game Demo. It features his work in the role of PA Announcer, as well as trailer narration for March to October mode, and play-by-play in Home Run Derby mode.