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The simulated Cubs 2020 season and you

MLB The Show notes and other tidbits

The Show 2020 cover

If you’re reading this, then you’re probably aware that we’ve run two broadcasts of simulated spring training games, with varying results. The Cubs split the games, losing to the Reds 3-0 and defeating the Padres 6-1. Kris Bryant went 3-for-8, best on the team. Kyle Hendricks threw a 116-pitch four-hitter last time out, leaving the game after he allowed a run in the ninth.

The first game was run on MLB The Show 2019, the second on MLB The Show 2020. While the quality of the broadcasts isn’t much different, they’re quite a bit different on the back-end.

The Show 2020 has done away with a lot of the roster control aspects. The user can no longer control all teams, augment Road to the Show players by buying points via the Show Shop, or or create highlights via the broadcast interface.

One of the main selling points of the game is the Road to the Show mode, where you play a created player on his journey through the minor leagues. They earn points in various categories by playing, interacting with teammates, and practicing. No more buying packs from the Show Shop to give a player a leg up, and no more applying game points on your own discretion. Now everything is controlled by the game itself.

It’s probably fairer, but it isn’t an improvement. It’s the most fun part of the game, and they’ve made it less fun, from my point of view. It’s impossible for a created player to be drafted in the higher rounds, no matter their performance in the two showcase games that are played before the draft.

I had a player go 5-for-8 and drive in seven runs, bring a home run ball back, and throw two men out at home in that set. He was drafted in the 16th round, rated as a 60-point player with ‘B’ potential.

Seems a bit low.

The same player in the 2019 game, with lesser performance in the two-game set, was a second-round pick, rated 71 because I bought 1000 points for two bucks and change.

It’s a step backward. I’ve been playing this game since its inception, as Triple Play ‘95 on the Sega Genesis platform. It’s the only video game I play at all regularly, and one of the only three that I own (Carmageddon and Madden ‘18 are the others), so to say I’m familiar with it might be understating the case.

The other popular mode is Diamond Dynasty, which is a fantasy-type mode. I hate that kinda stuff and have never investigated. I don’t understand why it is popular and that popularity dominates how the developers have configured this version of the game, instead of Franchise Mode, which to me is why the game exists. The IGN reviewer doesn’t seem to have played any other mode and has no clue about the massive changes wrought to the game.

Here we are concerned with Franchise Mode and the ability to broadcast same via live stream — that ability was created to allow people to play head-to-head live on the PS network and has been adapted to YouTube/Twitch.

It’s also taken a couple of steps back. The 2019 game allowed the making of clips from the game highlights, had a custom highlight reel, and generated other data. The 2020 game* doesn’t allow highlights or clips, it’s damnably hard to turn off the broadcast once it’s started. and there’s precious little documentation. The developer does livestreams and Youtube videos but he concentrates on gameplay — which is improved, but at the cost of the other features previously mentioned.

So we’re at the cutting edge, and I’m spending hours and hours chasing phantoms in order to bring viewers a representative product. I don’t mind ... much. Al and I have to accept that we don’t have as much control over the product as we’d like.

For the sake of the updated schedule and current player data, we’re going to run with the 2020 game, and Franchise mode so the game can set up the playoff teams and compile comparative data. If the 2019 game would run the accurate schedule, we’d use that version. But the 2020 schedule wasn’t available in 2018 when that game was finished.

What this means to you — no recaps. Instead the results and any highlights will be noted in the gameday post and on Cub Tracks, where I’ll add a ‘game notes’ section and probably make up some ‘interviews’ for fun.

We’re not altering any players, other than changing uniform numbers or positions when necessary.

We do have some issues up in the air which we can talk about. For the sake of the 26-man roster, Trevor Megill is up with the big club and Daniel Descalso is stashed in A ball. The vagaries of the game have Dan Winkler as the dominant reliever, with an 85 rating (same as Hendricks, the top starter). That doesn’t necessarily mean he will be the most effective but it gives him a leg up.

So we can determine what to do with those players. The game will make random trades as well. I tried to turn that off but it didn’t take. That’s just as well, since we have no control over the other teams anyway. And the manager isn’t David Ross. I dunno what’s up with that. Tommy Hottovy is on the coaching staff but the other names are who?

The accurate 40-man rosters (as of March 15) help. It’ll be a fun season to watch, and no doubt we’ll have a good time. Remember that it is done for your enjoyment and doesn’t have real-world consequences. It’s just fun. We’re not looking to replace the 2020 MLB season itself.

Also — time changes. For sanity’s sake (mostly my family’s), all games, unless otherwise noted, will start at 1 pm AZ time (3 pm CT), on the dates shown on this schedule:

Each game will be archived on the YouTube channel: Bleed Cubbie Blue 2020 Cubs game simulations. I don’t know if we have infinite capacity there but we’ll preserve all of them if possible.

The gameday posts will have player ratings and other data pertinent to that day’s broadcast. Thanks as always for reading.

*Mind you, I have the basic version of the game, but there’s no evidence that more expensive versions have those features either.