MLB The Show 23 struggles with how to approach the steroid era

I’m no gamer, but I am an avid baseball fan. As such, I’m pleased to see that the MLB The Show video game series has added players from the Negro leagues to its roster for the 2023 edition. These players, who for decades were denied the opportunity to compete at the highest echelons of their sport because of the color of their skin, have long deserved such a moment in the spotlight, as well as an introduction to generations of fans for what could be Unfamiliar names like Leroy “Satchel” Paige, Josh Gibson and John Jordan “Buck” O’Neill Jr.

MLB The Show 23 – Storyline: The Negro Leagues Season 1 | PS5 and PS4 Games

Gibson drew comparisons to Babe Ruth, Paige’s career spanned five decades and her actions on the mound are the stuff of baseball legend, and O’Neal became one of the game’s most admired ambassadors long after his career ended. . All three are in the National Baseball Hall of Fame.

Unfortunately, my excitement over the inclusion of these players has been somewhat tempered by a questionable marketing decision that undermined that great decision. a tv spot for mlb show 23 —which has multiple publishers including MLB Advanced Media — features a montage of Negro league greats and recently retired modern-day standouts like Hall of Famers Derek Jeter and David Wright. However, Mark McGwire and Sammy Sosa are also present – two of the most infamous poster boys of baseball’s steroid era. ,McGwire admitted to using steroids during his career in 2010. And Sosa tested positive for performance-enhancing drugs in 2003,

I understood. McGwire and Sosa are still two of the most famous sluggers in the game, and I’m sure their inclusion in the game has many fans excited. However as a diehard fan of baseball – specifically the New York Yankees – the steroid era came dangerously close to turning my back on one of my life’s great loves and passions. In fact, I know several longtime baseball fans who walked away from the sport for good because they were so disheartened by the steroid scandal. Which is why it’s so puzzling and disturbing to see some of baseball’s greatest villains turn out to be the true heroes of the Negro leagues. This raises questions about how the sport of sport should deal with notorious and alleged cheaters.

steroid era

I’m not one of those people who would argue that records set by players who use or have used performance-enhancing drugs should be struck out of the books – although it doesn’t hurt my feelings that they vote necessary. have been unable to earn induction into the Baseball Hall of Fame (I’ll leave that argument for someone else’s article). But it cannot be denied that Sosa and McGwire’s feats were influenced by banned substances.

In the four seasons between 1998 and 2001, Roger Maris’ single-season home run record of 61, which stood for 37 years, was eclipsed a total of six times by three players: McGwire, Sosa and Barry Bonds, another infamous Steroid Era Shape. Bonds hit a staggering 73 home runs in 2001, and it took 21 years for another player to surpass 61 home runs in a season. This happened after Aaron Judge of the Yankees hit 62 home runs last season.

MLB The Show 23 Legends Trailer!! (Check out the new legends in the game)

Amazingly, some underestimate Judge’s historic season – after all, he is 11 homers behind Bonds’ mark – but it just shows how the steroid era warped the game and sent it into a slump that led to It is still struggling to recover. Yes, Bonds holds the record, but Judge was the first man in 61 years to achieve Maris’s mark without the shadow of scandal clouding the accomplishment. (Bonds has never admitted to knowingly using steroids, but It has been widely alleged that he used a variety of drugs such as,

It doesn’t help that Major League Baseball continues to make changes to baseball that result in swings between seasons where home runs are off the charts and seasons where pitching dominates. A total of 3,298 home runs were hit in 2019 – which is 6oo more than the previous season and almost 300 more than the second highest total of 3005 recorded in 2000, during the steroid era. The home run total last year was 640 less than in 2019 as pitching experienced a resurgence.

It’s impossible to put any stock in these numbers.

How should sports games handle this?

All this leads to a complex question of how sports video games should handle athletes who have cheated or been accused of cheating. Should players like Sosa and McGwire be dropped altogether? This is not the correct answer. Controversies are as much a part of baseball’s history as its records and athletic achievements.

Mark McGwire hits a baseball with a bat on MLB The Show 23.

I don’t really have a problem with him being highlighted in commercials; He has his fans and has achieved many of his achievements without the help of performance enhancers. I just think that there should be more attention paid to how they are highlighted and how these athletes and their achievements are contextualized in the context of a sports game and its marketing strategy.

A lot of casual players may not register the dissonance of bloating steroid statistics with Negro league players, but I still think the latter group should never have been made to share the spotlight. Both fans and athletes, who are where they are by playing fair, deserve a little more sensitivity and honesty in their sport’s simulators.

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