February 26th, 2024

Jays’ Guerrero follows father’s footsteps as ‘MLB The Show’ video game cover athlete

By Neil Davidson, The Canadian Press on January 30, 2024.

Toronto Blue Jays slugger Vladimir Guerrero Jr. is seen on the cover art for the game "MLB The Show 24" in an undated handout photo, following in the footsteps of his father who graced the cover of “MLB 2006.” The new game comes out March 19. THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO-Sony Interactive Entertainment, *MANDATORY CREDIT*

Chalk up another father-son milestone for Vladimir Guerrero Jr.

The Toronto Blue Jays first baseman is the cover athlete for the “MLB The Show 24” video game, following in the footsteps of his father who graced the cover of “MLB 2006” (the last edition before the franchise was rebranded with Sony’s first-party San Diego Studio taking over development).

“I’m so happy,” the younger Guerrero, speaking in English, said in an interview. “My dad on the cover and now seeing me (on it). It’s unbelievable.”

“I grew up playing video games,” he added. “It’s a dream come true. Everyone wants to be the cover (athlete).”

The new version of the game is scheduled to launch March 19 for PlayStation 5, PlayStation 4, Nintendo Switch and Xbox X/S and Xbox One consoles.

The 24-year-old Guerrero hit .264 last season with 26 home runs and 94 RBI. Entering his sixth season in the major leagues, he is a career .279 hitter with 130 homers and 404 RBI.

The Toronto slugger says he comes as advertised in the game and is happy with the power, contact and other grades he has receive.

“They make it good “¦ I’m happy with the numbers,” he said.

Guerrero previously was the Canadian cover athlete for the 2020 edition of the now-discontinued “RBI Baseball” video game.

Not a fan of first-person shooters, Guerrero says he has always favoured sports games.

He is a fan of the look and realism of the ‘MLB The Show’ franchise, saying the game can help him in his off-field preparation – in addition to the scouting material on opposing players the Jays provide.

“It can help me to know the pitcher, what pitches they throw. If they throw a fastball, sinker or cutter. So when I go to face them, I know he’s got a fastball, sinker and cutter.”

Shortstop Bo Bichette is a favourite teammate to play the baseball game with, he says. Outfielder Lourdes Gurriel Jr., now with the Arizona Diamondbacks, was also a fellow gamer with the Jays.

Guerrero will sometimes bring a video game console with him on the road, depending on the trip.

And while he plays baseball for a living, he says playing the video game relaxes him. Especially after a tough night at the office.

“That makes me calm down, enjoy the moment – with my friends, with my family, playing the video game,” he said. “It’s something I always do, to prepare myself for the next day. It doesn’t matter how it’s gone in real life. I just try to enjoy it with my friends and (the game).”

“The next day you can wake up better,” he added. “For me. I don’t know (about other people).”

Miami Marlins second baseman Jazz Chisholm Jr. was on the cover of last year’s edition of “MLB The Show.”

Previous cover athletes include Shohei Ohtani, Fernando Tatís Jr., Bryce Harper, Aaron Judge, Ken Griffey Jr., Javier Baez and Yasiel Puig. Josh Donaldson, then with the Jays, was on the cover of “MLB The Show 16.”

Former Jays Marcus Stroman, Aaron Sanchez, Russell Martin, Brett Lawrie and Jose Bautista previously served as cover athletes for the Canadian edition of the game.

There is just one cover athlete this year.

Guerrero was one of 18 players scheduled for salary arbitration hearings that started Tuesday and run through Feb. 16 in Scottsdale, Arizona.

Guerrero has asked for US$19.9 million and has been offered US$18.05 million by the Blue Jays

Follow @NeilMDavidson on X platform, formerly known as Twitter

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 30, 2024

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