Friday, June 19, 2020

Black Power Trumps Slugger Power: A Guest Post by Tim Turner

     [Tim sent me this cri de coeur yesterday evening. As I’m a huge baseball fan and have been since 1960, it definitely struck a nerve. -- FWP]

     Since 2013, the only gaming company that has enjoyed the imprimatur of the Major League Baseball Players' Association is Sony's PS4 platform and its software partner, San Diego Studios', game Major League Baseball, the SHOW. {MLB The Show} This is a big deal to those of us who like to (heck, need to) pretend-manage skillful professionals who successfully do what we mostly did miserably in our youths.

     But, see, that's baseball. There were entire generations of Americans caught up in the mystique of baseball. Not just as players of the game, but as watchers and admirers of the game.

     To some of us, the Kevin Costner film, "Field of Dreams," isn't a euphoric spike of memory. It's just another thread in the ongoing weave of Americana and baseball, as in, "Bang the Drum Slowly," "Angels in the Outfield," "The Pride of the Yankees," "The Natural," The Sandlot," Major League," The Bad News Bears," "The Rookie," "Take Me Out To the Ball Game," "Damn Yankees," "Rookie of the Year," "It Happens Every Spring," "Cobb," Eight Men Out," "For Love of the Game,"

     . . . There are many more, but you get the idea.

     The point is, America's relationship with baseball isn't a unicorn fantasy of anime proportions. It is a working class story of sweating, practicing, trying OVER AND OVER and often losing, but sometimes winning. And the winning meant something, because you were able to work and hone a skill that made a difference, however mundane or small. And an entire country recognized that effort, for not being just participation, but a state of grace that comes from being the absolute best at something so many aspire to, but that so few can do.

     So. The MLBPA (Major League Baseball Player's Association) has the sole right to grant to a game company (ANY company) the use of a United States professional Major League player's name.

     Think of it. The MLBPA was started in 1966, and since then no major league baseball player's name or face can appear in a game or any other money-making regime, without the MLBPA's say-so.

     Ok. Ok, that's kind of odd, but such is the state of so-called capitalism in the West, today. (It isn't "capitalism," but Fran and others can discourse on this much better than I.)

     ANYWAY! The Sony PS4 has licensed San Diego Studios to create the ONLY baseball game that is allowed to use the names of real baseball players. And, thus, it is the ONLY baseball game that actually sells. (Really. No matter how good your graphics or stats, if your teams are all college students, it's not gonna sell. Ask Apple.)

     So. Ok. You get it. Sony, PS4, and San Diego Studios. You gotta go there for your real American baseball fix. Sony's game is called 2020 (or whatever year it is) The Show. As in, "2020 The Show."

     And their website is

     So. You want to point out a bug in the 2019 version of the game? Or you want to ask when the 2020 version will come out? Or what the Major League Baseball Players' Association [MLBPA] thinks of the lockdown's effect on baseball?

     This is what you will see when you log on to

     We at San Diego Studio stand in solidarity with our community of Black creators, players, employees, families and friends. We’re working to develop programs and plans that amplify their voices and specifically impact our industry to help address racial and social injustice.
     In addition, we are making donations to the Jackie Robinson Foundation Scholarship Program, Know Your Rights Camp and Urban League of San Diego County.
     This is just the first step we are taking to do our part to work towards a more inclusive and equitable future.
     Black Lives Matter

     Got it now?

     Identity matters. Not your identity. Public, whiny, make-a-fuss, "IMPORTANT" identity.

     You know damn well where this ends and we're all guilty of not knowing how to stop it. It isn't Christian, and it isn't Clint Eastwood or Gary Cooper. It's god-damned violence and I wish we'd figured out something better, but we have not.

1 comment:

Linda Fox said...

If I WAS inclined to buy it, I wouldn't now.

And, I have a sneaking suspicion that the Spanish-speaking part of the market, who absolutely HATES Black culture, will not get on board with this. And, who constitute the biggest single ethnic group in baseball.