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MLB The Show 17 includes a small tweak that should reduce frustrating losses

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Faster animations really make a difference

MLB The Show 17 developer SIE San Diego touts a bunch of gameplay improvements in the game’s latest trailer. Some of them are more significant than others, as usual. But there’s one that fans of the series have wanted forever: faster throwing animations.

Sure, yeah, that sounds pretty esoteric; we’ll grant you that. And the trailer does highlight plenty of seemingly minor changes, like physics for the ball coming off the bat. But throws have a material effect on getting outs, which, of course, plays a role in whether you win or lose a game.

MLB The Show has been notorious for its infielders’ slow throwing animations. Previous entries in the franchise tended to make poor choices when selecting the animation for the transition from scooping up a grounder to throwing the ball toward a base. You wouldn’t necessarily want or expect a fielder to pick up the ball and immediately fire it to first — that wouldn’t be realistic, especially if the player was on the move. But you would often see players take their sweet time making a throw, pounding the ball into their glove once or twice before tossing it.

Of course, that’s a thing that happens many times over the course of a single game. Every so often, the delay would cost you an out — a play that should’ve been a routine ground-ball out to the third baseman ended up putting a runner on base. And sometimes, that out-that-wasn’t would lead to runs for the other team, which might result in you losing a game.

In MLB 17, that should be a thing of the past.

“You will no longer have to worry about players taking their time when they shouldn’t; timing issues of on-the-run catches that result in batters beating out routine types of players; lobbing throws; or throws coming out too hard from short distances,” said Ramone Russell, game designer and community manager for MLB The Show at SIE San Diego. “The system is smarter and way more efficient.”

There are many other notable improvements for MLB 17 on display in the trailer, such as a throwing meter for catchers trying to catch base stealers; a dose of human error and imperfection in the game’s AI; and team- and player-specific home run animations.

MLB The Show 17, which features baseball Hall of Famer Ken Griffey Jr. on the cover, will be released March 28 exclusively on PlayStation 4.