Being named the title athlete for the top video game franchise in your sport is a unique honor. You didn’t necessarily win any awards, championships, or playoff games, but you played well enough for people to consider you the busiest face they could put on the cover of their product — a product that features former MVPs, Cy Young winners, and World Series champions. It has to feel good, right?
Yesterday PlayStation revealed its athlete cover for their 2023 sequel to the popular video game franchise.MLB: The Show” — Miami Marlins second baseman Jazz Chisholm Jr.
Why was Jazz Chisholm chosen?
Why? What did Chisholm do to deserve this honor? He played 60 games last year. He played in 205 career games, played in only one playoff game in his entire career, and never played more than 125 games in a season. Sure, he earned an All-Star bid last year, but he didn’t play in a game. Chisholm never shone in the national spotlight (I guess that’s what happens when you play for the Marlins). Most people don’t even know what position they play. Oh, middle infield, you say? EHHHH! WRONG! After the Marlins traded for 2022 AL batting champion Luis Arraez is Jan. 20, Marlins GM Kim Ng stated that the plan was to move Chisholm to center this next season.
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There’s no denying that Chisholm is an exciting player to watch, but most of the time, that flashy style of play takes some catching up before that person earns a title athlete. If we were just giving that title to anyone with a flashy glove and solid stats, then Andrelton Simmons should have been the cover athlete in 2014. In fact, in 2014, Simmons is arguably more deserving given that he earned MVP honors the year before. He also won a Gold Glove and was already considered the best defensive player in baseball. Oh, he’s also already been to the playoffs twice and played in five games. Chisholm is having none of it. Simmons did not have an All-Star selection. I’ll give it to Chisholm, but you know what I mean?
Is Chisholm so exciting that he deserves a cover despite not having decent numbers? Could be. Is his swagger so intoxicating that we can’t take our eyes off him whenever he’s on our screen? Not really – he’s definitely not old school Robinson Canó or Dustin Pedroia in that category.
Honestly, there has never been an MLB cover athlete with such a small name before and I don’t like it. When it comes to “Show,” the only other cover athlete even close to Chisholm in terms of how little he had to his name at the Major League level was Yasiel Puig in 2015. But even Puig has already earned MVP votes…twice. He’s also already been an All-Star and even won a playoff series while slashing .471/.500/.529. That’s something.
Other inappropriate choices for video game covers
Even if we look at MLB video games as a whole, freeing us from the shackles of looking at “Show” covers only athletes, Chisholm still stands out for his short resume. Here are some people who MAY have had a worse case for a baseball cover athlete than 2023 Jazz Chisholm:
That’s all, and like I said, most of these are questionable. Rizzo just finished 10th in the 2014 MVP voting and hit 32 home runs, but it was his first good season. Berman is a broadcaster. Jordan just finished eighth in MVP voting and Erstad was an All-Star and finished 14th in MVP voting. Maybe I could have inserted Fernando Tatís Jr. 2021, but he had just finished his sophomore season at the time and was third in Rookie of the Year voting and fourth in MVP voting in his two years prior. . He also won the Silver Slugger. Tim Anderson was the featured athlete RBI Baseball 21but he just finished sevenplace in the 2020 MVP voting (I know it was a shortened season, but still). He also won the Silver Slugger and held the batting title back in 2019. Both had praise for Chisholm.
I understand that the athlete’s title nickname has fallen away over the years, but as a baseball fan and fan of “MLB: Show,” Chisholm was not the right choice. Can he have a great year? Of course! But that would make it even better for the cover in 2024. At this point, you could have thrown James Outman on the cover.