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MLB The Show 17 brings in MLB Network broadcast presentation

Commentators, graphics and more

Samit Sarkar (he/him) is Polygon’s deputy managing editor. He has more than 15 years of experience covering video games, movies, television, and technology.

Sony’s MLB The Show franchise is getting a long-awaited, sorely needed presentation overhaul with the debut of the MLB Network in MLB The Show 17, according to a new developer diary.

Stale audio commentary has long been one of the few shortcomings of The Show, and at the very least this year, it’s going to be a major departure from the past. Matt Vasgersian has served as the play-by-play announcer for every MLB The Show game since the series’ debut in 2006. He will be joined in the broadcast booth by two other MLB Network analysts, Harold Reynolds and Dan Plesac, both of whom had long MLB careers as players before they entered the TV world.

Plesac and Reynolds have both worked as studio analysts for MLB Network since its launch in 2009. Reynolds also contributes to Fox Sports’ baseball coverage, and he has broadcast commentary experience, having served in the booth for Fox to cover multiple All-Star and World Series games. However, Fox replaced Reynolds and fellow analyst Tom Verducci after the 2015 season due to criticism from viewers.

It’s unclear if Plesac has contributed to video games before, but MLB 17 won’t be Reynolds’ first video game appearance. He narrated training videos in EA Sports’ beloved Triple Play Baseball and MVP Baseball games back in the early 2000s.

Commentary isn’t the only aspect of MLB 17 that’s getting an infusion from the MLB Network — developer Sony San Diego is integrating the network’s full broadcast presentation package. “Everything from the announcers to the on-screen displays to the theme music will emulate what MLB Network does when they broadcast a real live game,” said Kirby St. John, designer and scriptwriter on the game, in the developer diary.

That means you’ll see MLB Network graphics for information like batting lineups, defense positioning and score boxes. Sony San Diego is also putting its own spin on Major League Baseball’s vaunted Statcast technology, with MLB 17 tracking data on every play and then surfacing it in pop-ups branded “ShowTrack.” Check out the gallery above for a look at ShowTrack and the MLB Network presentation in the game.

MLB The Show 17 is set for release on March 28, exclusively on PlayStation 4. For more details, read our article on its new fielding AI.

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