NEW YORK — Competitive baseball is back. Even if it’s virtual in nature.
In a joint effort with the MLB Players Association and Sony Interactive Entertainment, Major League Baseball is launching the first competitive MLB The Show league featuring players from all 30 teams competing in a 29-game regular season, league sources told ESPN.
The regular season begins Friday, and will last through April 28. Games will take place every one to two days with three to five three-inning games played each game day. The postseason is scheduled to begin April 30, with a World Series played on May 2. The postseason will feature the eight best teams with a best-of-three format for the first two rounds and a best-of-five format for the World Series.
MLB, the players’ association and Sony will donate $5,000 on behalf of each participating player to a Boys and Girls Club affiliate in their team’s community, with the championship player earning an extra $25,000 donation.
The first game will take place on Friday at 9 p.m. ET when Tampa Bay Rays pitcher Blake Snell and Cincinnati Reds reliever Amir Garrett face off on Snell’s Twitch channel. Conversations have taken place with the league’s broadcast partners to potentially televise some of the games, sources told ESPN.
All players will be expected to stream games on their personal Twitch accounts, though some may decide to stream on a team’s channel. Streams will take place at 9 p.m. ET every night while “Prime Time Streams” will take place on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays, where a player with a PC streaming system will host another player with MLB Network broadcaster Robert Flores facilitating conversations between players and fans.
Gaming settings for the games will be consistent, with designated hitters turned off, the batting difficulty set to Veteran, pitching difficulty set to All-Star, with guess pitch, quick counts and balks all turned off. The biggest difference from real life? Umpire accuracy will be set to perfect, no missed calls.
Here is the full list of players participating for their teams, including 11 former All-Stars, five world champions and eight players under the age of 25: