Cubs shortstop graces cover of MLB’s video game


Courtesy of Sony

Chicago Cubs shortstop Javier Baez is the cover athlete for MLB The Show 2020. Baez is the first Chicago Cub to grace the cover of the MLB’s flagship video game.

Javier Báez joins an elite group of Chicago sports athletes that have graced the cover of flagship sports video games. Jonathan Toews and Patrick Kane of the Blackhawks appeared on the cover of EA Sports NHL series. Hall of famers Michael Jordan and Brian Urlacher were on the cover for the NBA and NFL games. Báez is also the first Cubs player since Anthony Rizzo to be the cover athlete for a baseball video game. Rizzo was the cover athlete for “RBI Baseball” in 2015.

“Amazing, obviously grateful to be selected for the cover,” Baez said.

It was announced on Monday, Oct. 21 that Chicago Cubs shortstop Báez would be the cover athlete for the next installment of “MLB The Show” The announcement was all over social media. From Twitter to Facebook, a short two-minute trailer featured Báez in a photoshoot for the cover. When asked in the video about being picked for the cover Báez had this to say:

“I am so honored and excited to be on the cover of MLB The Show 20,” Baez said in a statement.

“I’ll never forget how it felt when I saw myself in the game for the first time (even as a backup!). It was so surreal. Still, it’s one thing to see your virtual self, but it’s completely next level to be on the cover of a game you’ve played and love. Let’s go!”

Baez is the first Purto Rican to be on  the cover of MLB The Show in the series’ 23 years of existence.

In 2016, Baez helped lead the Cubs to their first World Series title in 108 years. The Cubs defeated the Cleveland Indians in seven games.

Damien Smith, a Youtuber from Chicago, had a lot of positive things to say about Báez getting on the cover.

“I think Báez being on the cover will bring a new generation of Cubs fans,” he said.

The impact of a player from a local team does help fans decide in whether they’re buying it or not. Cubs fan James Kanelos recalled another game that featured a Chicago player that he preordered once the cover was announced.

“Right after the Hawks won the cup in 2015 it was announced Toews and Kane would share the cover,” Kanelos said. “The cover was a recreation of a photo with them and the cup, but after Kane was facing those rape accusations EA got rid of him but kept Toews.”

When asked about Báez being on the cover Kanelos said he will buy the game — even though he doesn’t own a PlayStation 4.

“I don’t even own a PlayStation 4 I’m an Xbox guy, but I’ll buy it, Javy is the man.” Kanelos said.

Báez being on the cover of “MLB The Show” isn’t just impacting Cubs fans, but also Puerto Ricans from Chicago. Báez is from Bayamón, Puerto Rico, and playing for a city with a huge Puerto Rican community. Joseph Diaz is Puerto Rican, but a White Sox fan. “Yeah it’s dope but he is in the wrong  uniform,” Diaz said. “Now I know how Rican Cubs fans feel about [Yadier Molina]

Smith also said that for the Puerto Rican community in Chicago having Báez on the cover is a boost of confidence and pride.

Before the trailer ended with the cover being revealed Báez appeared humbled and surprised for the honor.

“You know I grew up playing baseball all the time even on video games.” Báez said. “Now that I get to be the cover and, you know, to have all this support from the kids… it’s a great thing for me.”

Although the Cubs are going through a transition, and there are rumors of Báez being possibly traded. “MLB The Show” could change the cover design if Báez were to be traded. Back in 2017, days before “NBA 2K18” was released, cover athlete Kyrie Irving was traded to the Boston Celtics and 2K games were able to release an updated cover after the games initial release. 

“MLB The Show” 20 is set to be released March 17, 2020. Although Baez might be in a different jersey by then.