The MLB The Show franchise, since its inception in 2006, has been the measuring stick for sports games. Unlike other sports games, The Show has stayed consistent in the years following its creation. As the series went on new features have been introduced and others have been removed from the game. So Graydon Webb and I will be going over the nine things we want to see in the next-years edition of the game. Why nine? Baseball is a game of nine. To steal from a baseball series “Nine players, Nine innings, Prime 9.”

  1. Create-A-Stadium
Credit: IGN

With the added feature of “rebranding teams” to franchise mode, came a problem. There is an abundance of ways you could rebrand your team but there is currently a huge problem for those who want to re-introduce teams that are no more such as the New York Giants, Brooklyn Dodgers, and Montreal Expos. That is the fact that while the Polo Grounds is in the game for the Giants, Olympic Stadium and Ebbets Field are not in the game.

The fact that MVP Baseball 2005, which came out fifteen years ago, has it infuriates me. While I do realize the sixth-generation of video game consoles were easier compared to the current generation and The Show is an annual series I understand. But it feels like the franchise rebrand feature was introduced half-cocked.

2. Retooled Trade System

Credit: AZCentral

In MLB ’15 The Show, the trading system in Franchise mode was finally altered after nearly a decade. From that game on, you have the ability to shop players for prospects, stars, or a bit of both. However, after 15 years we are still limited to three players per team. I get it, they are on a yearly dev cycle with most of the focus going towards the wallets of Diamond Dynasty players. But I am not the biggest fan of the Diamond Dynasty game mode and am more of a Franchise mode guy.

What I am proposing is multi-team trades, increasing the number of players allowed in a trade, and something that Out of the Park Baseball does; allow you to retain money on a traded player, or trade a player for a PTBNL, (Player To Be Named Later) or cash considerations.

3. More Recent Players For Diamond Dynasty

Credit: NY Daily News

While I did say I am not the biggest fan of Diamond Dynasty in the previous paragraph I will say that I enjoy the game mode. In the past few installments of MLB The Show they have added players from Baseball’s golden age, the 1980s-1990s, and with this year’s edition: prospects. I want to see more players from the 1990s to the 2000s. Players like Bernie Williams, Roger Clemens, David Wells, Nomar Garciaparra, and others.

It shouldn’t be a situation like adding players from the early 20th century as the players I mentioned have appeared in previous entries of the MLB The Show video game franchise. Also in certain people’s eyes, these players were their favorites from a young age and the beginning of their fandom with Baseball.

4. Custom Soundtracks

Credit: PlayStation Blog

The seventh generation of game consoles was a golden period for MLB The Show. But one of the features from ninety percent of the MLB The Show games released on the PlayStation 3 was the ability to take the music you had on your hard drive whether it was imported or transferred and use it in The Show.

One of my fond memories includes having the 2011 Yankees accurate walk-up music for every player on the team. While this is possible in the PlayStation 4 versions of the games it was one of those things you had to look up on YouTube/Google in terms of how to effectively do it.

5. Guess Pitch Quadrants

Credit: Patrick Will

Stop me if you’ve heard this one before. I’m serious, if you’ve somehow found this feature possible in MLB 20, please stop reading this, move on to the next, and let me know in the comments just how I can get my quadrant guessing back. My god, if I had a nickel for every time I try holding the right trigger down to guess the pitch quadrant, only to be let down and miss the ball? I’d have enough nickels to buy MLB 21! Which will hopefully bring back this feature I miss so dearly.

The only positive thing about its absence this year was that it forced me to really learn the game better. I feel I was more accurate in my timing and it helped with my patience. Of course this is a plus, and I probably shouldn’t be whining that my training wheels are gone. But it’s the precedent of the thing, man! It’s such an easy, simple fix and they just had to leave it out this time around. I’d love to see it make a return. Unless, of course, I’m just blind. In which case, moving on!

EDIT: I found it. I’ve been searching since March and I finally found pitch guessing. But tell me why they’d hide it deep in the User Settings?! Oh well, I’m keeping this one in because my rant holds true. Next time around? Just put it in the game by default, please and thank you.

6. Anniversary Mode

Credit: World of Longplays

Remember when NHL 14 included an anniversary mode in honor of NHL 94’s 20th anniversary? I’m sure you do, it wasn’t that long ago. Now, remember when the Game Boy Advance e-Reader let you play classic NES games, and one of them happened to be Baseball from 1983? No? Well I don’t blame you, actually. I think I’m the only one who had an e-Reader, anyway. But that’s besides the point. You see, NES Baseball was my first real introduction to baseball video games. I loved that game so much as a kid, and as simple as it was, I’d really love to see some kind of homage to it. Something like, I don’t know, the legends and modern day heroes of baseball in all their top-down pixelated glory, duking it out in a special mode within MLB The Show 21?

I’ve actually wanted something like this for a while now, and even though it’s not a huge anniversary of Baseball next year, I think it would be super awesome to see how the developers take their technically advanced franchise and dumb it down to the simplicity of the NES era.

7. COVID-19 Mode (The 2020 Season)

Credit: Wisconsin State Journal

You knew we couldn’t go without mentioning this, right? Well, if Anniversary Mode is a bit “too retro” for your liking, what if we hit you with a mode that takes a look at the harsh reality of present day? No, I’m not saying we turn MLB The Show into some dystopian post-apocalyptic hellscape. But, what if we had a mode – much like March to October – that mirrored the current season as affected by the Coronavirus pandemic? Think about it, instead of having 162 games shortened into clutch moments and player progression, the mode would include 60 full games, playing out like a regular season would. However, teams would follow the interleague play rules, and all the weird guidelines that are currently in use.

On top of this realism making the season feel more tense and every game that much more important, I think it would be fascinating to live the experience of players wearing masks and the lack of real spectators in the seats. Of course, this would call for a lot more topical announcer dialogue from Matt Vasgersian and the gang. But overall, I think it could be a nice curveball, if you will, to the typical MLB formula.

8. Ballpark Tour

Credit: The New York Times

This is actually another feature I’ve messed around with in my mind for some time now, and when I heard Allan was going to be talking about the stadiums, I got a little nervous this would be too similar. However, I ended up realizing they’re different things altogether, and here I am. Going for it. So my big idea is the inclusion of stadium tours, not unlike the Discovery Tours from Assassin’s Creed Origins and Odyssey.

Being a lover of both baseball and history, I’d love to see a side mode where you can play as a normal person wandering around each stadium in the game, taking in its history. It would be so cool to see how much detail the developers went to, to deliver the most accurate portrayal of these iconic ballparks. Being able to take in the sights and read about the history of baseball through a digital tour – almost like a museum within a video game – could bring so many more people like me into the lore of baseball and what makes it so special. This is probably my highest on the list of requests, just because it seems so original and influential to the players of MLB 21.

9. Better RTTS Progression

Credit: Digital Trends

This is a gripe I’ve had ever since I first played Road to the Show in MLB 19. While I was quite floored by the customization options and the surprising amount of realism I felt as I stepped into the shoes of my own personal ball player, I couldn’t help but be distracted by the skill progression system. The inclusion of perks is as intriguing as it is helpful, however after two years playing as my same character, I’ve only unlocked like 4 of them? On top of this, it feels like I’ve only leveled up a skill once or twice. The sad truth is leveling up is the most pointless thing in Road to the Show, simply because it takes way too long to do.

In MLB 20, it felt like the teammate relationship bars filled faster, especially with the ability to increase relationships on the fields, which was great. But when it comes to improving stats like “Captain” or “Heart and Soul,” I never feel like I’m getting anywhere. Talking to teammates between games barely moves it a sliver, and perks are so far out of reach because of this. Please, MLB 21, I just want these narrative choices to have an impact on my progression. Road to the Show is my favorite, now let’s improve on it.


For the Co-Op review of MLB 20 that Graydon and Allan reviewed, go here.

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