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MLB The Show 19 at long last has its cover star in uniform

The 13-year, $330 million Bryce Harper, now of the Philadelphia Phillies

MLB The Show 19 - placeholder Bryce Harper cover artwork SIE San Diego Studio/Sony Interactive Entertainment
Owen S. Good is a longtime veteran of video games writing, well known for his coverage of sports and racing games.

Less than a month before its launch, MLB The Show 19 finally has its cover in place. This has to be some kind of a record for latest cover reveal in the history of console sports gaming.

Anyway, we’ve known since November the cover athlete would be six-time All-Star Bryce Harper, but not if that would be Bryce Harper of the Dodgers, Bryce Harper of the White Sox (lol), or Bryce Harper of the Phillies. Thursday’s news that Harper has inked a stupefying 13-year deal worth $330 million puts him in red pinstripes on the box for the PlayStation 4’s baseball flagship:

At the end of the 2018 season, weeks before Harper was to become a free agent, he turned down a 10-year, $300 million offer from his then-current team, the Washington Nationals. The 2012 NL Rookie of the Year and 2015 NL MVP was seeking a richer deal elsewhere, at a time when baseball’s biggest clubs appeared to be in a cost-control mode.

MLB The Show 19 placeholder cover with Bryce Harper in a hoodie holding a bat
MLB The Show 19’s placeholder cover, featuring Bryce Harper of his local 24 Hour Fitness.
SIE San Diego Studio/Sony Interactive Entertainment

Free agency has complicated video games’ modern ritual of naming a cover star. Last year, 2K Sports named LeBron James for a special edition cover, even though he hadn’t yet signed with a new team. When EA Sports chose Cristiano Ronaldo for the cover of FIFA 19, he was in Real Madrid’s uniform; later he joined Juventus. Kyrie Irving was tapped for NBA 2K18’s cover as a Cleveland Cavalier, then was traded to Boston before the game’s launch; 2K Sports released a revised cover afterward.

MLB The Show 19 launches March 26 on PlayStation 4. Sony is offering four editions plus pre-order incentives. More info on those is here.

Update: Here’s a look at Harper in action, before he even gets down to Clearwater for spring training.