Before The Show, Greatness on the PSP
Sony’s MLB The Show is the standard of baseball games on home consoles today, but their legacy on the baseball field is far from perfect. Sony Computer Entertainment America’s debut baseball game, MLB Pennant Race, was particularly lacking, but its sequel MLB 98, with its sexier polygonal graphics, began to look the part of a top-notch baseball series. At the same time, while Sony continued to make strides, series the likes of All-Star Baseball, MLB Slugfest, High Heat Baseball and particularly Electronic Arts Triple Play and later MVP Baseball and 2K’s World Series Baseball, later renamed Major League Baseball 2K, always seemed to either steal attention or clog up the field. Simply put, there were so many competitors in the genre that to crown a real champion was next to impossible.
By 2005 however, the dust had cleared. Of all of the previous competition, just EA’s MVP Baseball 2005 and Sony’s MLB 2006 were released on consoles. On handhelds, Sony’s MLB, their last release before they rebranded it The Show, was released. Although not as deep as its PS2 big brother, it’s arguably one of the best portable baseball games of its time. While later editions of The Show on the PlayStation Vita, in particular, would trump it in nearly every category, MLB was the start of something truly special. Featuring top-shelf commentary from San Diego Padres play-by-play announcer Matt Vasgersian and longtime ESPN analyst Dave Campbell, as well as beautiful renderings of every stadium and solid load times, it’s an experience that has aged well, too.