MLB The Show 23 Review – Grand Slam

Jackie Robinson is many things: a hall of fame baseball player; a Rookie of the Year, MVP, and World Series winner; and, most notably, the first Black man to break baseball’s color line and compete in the Major Leagues. The legendary number 42 made his Brooklyn Dodgers debut in 1947 and lit up the diamond with his electric playstyle, all while facing intolerance and hatred from fans, opposing players, and teammates alike. Jackie Robinson’s alluring talent was one of the reasons he was chosen to be the first Negro League player to integrate into the previously segregated Major Leagues, but it was his outstanding intangibles–such as his ability to handle racist abuse with grace–that sealed the deal. Bob Kendrick, president of the Negro Leagues Baseball Museum, will tell you that Jackie Robinson wasn’t the greatest player to ply his trade in the Negro Leagues. That’s not to disparage one of the greatest players of all time, but to provide context for just how good some of the league’s other players were.

MLB The Show 23 shines a spotlight on these unknown and forgotten heroes of the Negro Leagues. A new Storylines mode explores the league’s rich history, telling a captivating story of extraordinary people triumphing in the face of abhorrent prejudice and hate. It’s a landmark moment for sports games–and video games in general–meshing The Show’s consistently excellent gameplay with educational and inspiring video packages narrated by the extremely knowledgeable Kendrick himself. The rest of the game iterates on its predecessors and shakes up the Diamond Dynasty formula with some major changes, but it’s Storylines: The Negro Leagues that stands out above all else and elevates the entire experience.

Eight players are featured in this interactive learning tool: Leroy “Satchel” Page, Hilton Smith, Andrew “Rube” Foster, Hank Thompson, John Jordan “Buck” O’Neil, Jackie Robinson, John Donaldson, and Martin Dihigo. You may have only heard of one or two of these players, but every legendary figure has a whole series dedicated to their life and career, with each one spanning between eight and nine episodes.

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