Sony’s MLB The Show 23 basically lies about having international teams for the first time

Don't promise something you're not serious about delivering.

4 mins read
MLB The Show 2

I was almost going to skip past this year’s MLB the Show 23. Partly because I’m still playing last year’s edition, and… well, no, that was the only reason. I am still playing last year’s iteration and I don’t see any value in the iterative annual upgrades of sports games these days. A new one every two to three years is sufficient. But then I saw Sony boasting about one particular new feature for the game, and I then leapt at the chance to play it.

“For the first time in history, MLB The Show 23 is partnering with the WORLD BASEBALL CLASSIC,” the game’s listing on all stores raves. “Build your dream team of national stars and Flashbacks from the 2023 World Baseball Classic tournament and customize your Diamond Dynasty squad with official uniforms from every participating country!”

Now, admittedly I didn’t read this too closely beyond the mention of the World Baseball Classic, which is the international competition that wrapped up just recently, but it’s a fair assumption that if Sony went and licensed this, the teams from the competition would be available in the Exhibition Mode at the least, right? You’d be able to, say, pick Australia and South Korea and then relive that incredible moment where we actually won that match.

Another reasonable expectation would be that they’d have a discrete World Baseball Classic mode whereby you’d be able to play through the entire competition, like EA patched into its FIFA games from time to time.

These are reasonable expectations to come with boasting about international teams for the first time in MLB: The Show. But… and of course you know where I’m going with this… Nope. Of course Sony didn’t do that. That would be too much like the logical thing to do.

Instead, all you get is some national colours and players for the stupid, ridiculous, money-grubbing card game Diamond Dynasty. The mode that rakes in dollars from whales but no one with self-respect touches. That horrible, ruinous mode. Outside of their “inclusion” in that, MLB: The Show is otherwise a case of the same old American leagues-only experience.

I have been begging Sony to actually listen and put the international competition into MLB: The Show for years now. It’s in my reviews and everything else that I write about these games. As far as I’m concerned, if Australia’s AFL – a sport that only Australia plays on any level above absolute rank amateur, can include international teams (with ratings of, like, 10 out of 100) in its games, despite there being no international demand for AFL games whatsoever, then Sony has exactly zero excuses to ignore a serious and proper international competition in its big, AAA title for a global audience.

This is especially true given – and I hate to break it to the Americans out there – you’ve now lost the last two international competitions to Japan in a row. It’s way past time that as a nation you realised that your dominance over baseball isn’t anywhere near what you think it is.

Anyhow. I’m mad about being bait-and-switched about this. You can perhaps consider this preview of the review that I’ll be working on for this game in the coming days. It’s not going to be pretty.

Matt S. is the Editor-in-Chief and Publisher of DDNet. He's been writing about games for over 20 years, including a book, but is perhaps best-known for being the high priest of the Church of Hatsune Miku.

  • It is called MLB. I doubt the MLB association wants foreign leagues in the game. FIFA is the governing body of all Football which is why EA can put multiple different leagues. If it were called Premier league 2024, it would only have the PL teams.

    I understand where you are coming from but I mean it is literally in the name.

    • Thanks for the comment! Just wanted to clarify a couple of things going on here, because I really think Sony is missing a trick and the MLB thing isn’t actually an issue here:

      I’m not the one that went and partnered with World Baseball Classic, made a big deal of it in the product description, and then didn’t put the World Baseball Classic in the game.

      Sony did that. The text in italics in my article is *Sony*, quoted directly from the product description.

      There are plenty of instances where licensed games have teams and competitions behind the license in them. Ashes Cricket didn’t just have England and Australia. The AFL games have the international competition. Older NHL titles had international teams (dunno if they do post EA but I’m playing through an international league on one of the N64 titles now).

      Hell, the *MLB* proposed the World Baseball Classic and has coverage of it *on its website*. I’m not talking about other domestic leagues (though it’s a stretch to suggest any of them are rivals to the MLB). I’m talking about the world competition between international teams, which the MLB does explicitly support. That’s probably why the half-arsed content is in the game in the first place. The MLB itself clearly has no issue with the event.

      So yeah, there’s absolutely no reason the World Baseball Classic could not have been in this as a secondary mode.

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