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Feb 10

Feb 10

Attention To Details: The Little Things That Help MLB 09 The Show Shine

Greg Batalucco's Avatar Posted by

Designer, MLB

Hey everyone, Greg Batalucco (Game Designer) and Clayton Read (Associate Producer) here to bring you the next installment of the MLB 09 The Show blogs. This entry will focus on all the little details added this year to The Show that give it an added touch of realism. For this year’s version we wanted to make the game as accurate as possible and included in MLB 09 The Show are actual team mascots, new and improved stadium jumbotrons with game related movies, K boards, realistic crowds, and improved lighting and skies throughout the stadiums. All these enhancements add to the overall gaming experience to make MLB 09 The Show as real as it gets.

One of the main things we wanted to accomplish this year is to add as much realism to the stadiums and the crowd as possible. We’ve listened to what the community has been telling us: “We want that same experience that we get at a real ballgame, the look and sounds of the crowd, accurate and detailed stadiums, the smell of popcorn and hotdogs, etc.” Well we can’t add in smells (or can we?) but you can imagine. We devoted many, many hours of research to get everything as realistic and accurate in detail as possible in hopes of making it seem like you are actually at the game. We want your friend, spouse or whomever, to walk in the room while you are playing the game and say ,“Hey what game are you watching on TV.” That’s how real it is! In this blog we will go over a few of the things that help to make MLB 09 The Show the most realistic baseball game ever.

As both kids and adults we’ve laughed at, and had fun with, team mascots. They always make us feel young and truly enhance the ambiance of a live baseball game. This year in The Show you get to watch as your favorite mascots come to life. Thanks to the brilliant work by The Show’s character artists (and some interesting MOCAP sessions) you can see the Phillie Phanatic get the crowd fired up, Mr. Met dance on top of the dugouts and Bernie Brewer slide down his slide to the amusement of everyone at the game. You can also spot the Swinging Friar cheering by the rally bell, The Bird getting Orioles’ fans out of their seats and Wally the Green Monster leading a “Let’s go, Red Sox” chant. In over 20 stadiums, these mascots will help entertain and make each game more real and enjoyable. So whether it’s razzing the visiting players, having a dance competition with a few lucky (or not so lucky) fans or just trying to score a few laughs, the mascots will undoubtedly be something fun to watch out for in MLB 09 The Show.

MLB 09 The Show Screenshot  PIT MASCOT

Jumbotrons and Videos
For years we have talked about sprucing up our in-game jumbotrons. Yes, we did say sprucing. This year we took it upon ourselves to view every MLB stadium and get a good idea of what each stadium showed. Combing through countless hours of MLB video and artist photos we got a good feel of how we wanted to layout realistic jumbotrons. As you will see, the new jumbotrons throughout the MLB stadiums in The Show will show full statistics, lineups, pitcher matchups and anything you might see at a real MLB game. Another must-have feature that consumers asked for was added this year – game related videos. Go to any real life baseball game and watch your favorite home town pitcher strikeout a batter or favorite slugger hit a home run. Well, what do you see on the jumbotron? A really cool video that rocks out! From homerun and RBI videos, to “get loud” crowd meter and “stand up” videos which pump up the crowd, all these elements of realism go into making MLB 09 The Show true to life.

MLB 09 The Show Screenshot  STLJUMBOTRON MLB 09 The Show Screenshot HR JUMBOTRON

Every development cycle we find little things we’d like to improve on. One thing in particular this year was to get a better and more accurate crowd. What I mean by this is getting fans to actually wear the appropriate clothing, cheer at the right moments with the right level of sound and show up to the ballpark in real to life attendance figures. To do this we watched many hours of MLB games to view the crowds and get an idea of attendance levels for each team versus every other team it could possibly face. For example, a Red Sox/Yankees game should always be packed, and depending on where it is, Fenway Park or Yankee Stadium, there should be a mix of both fans. Now if you’re playing a game down in Florida with the Marlins, well you’re not going to see as many fans and you just might see more fans of the visiting team on certain days or nights. Crowd accuracy was a big thing added this year and we wanted to get as much detail into it as possible.

Another area we wanted to get more accurate was the clothing crowds wore to each game throughout an MLB season and fans leaving during a game. First, in dealing with fans’ clothing, we wanted to make sure they weren’t wearing t-shirts and shorts in April in, Detroit! Each team was charted out by looking at weather forecasts for each city and every month that a baseball teams plays. So now you will see fans in pants and warm jackets at appropriate times of an MLB season. Maybe even a few earmuffs! As well as in San Diego, most fans will be in warm weather attire, but once the sun sets, break out the jackets…burr!! What you might wear at a game for your favorite team is what our crowd will wear.

Secondly, in dealing with crowds leaving early from a game, we have gone through each team, their attendance levels, scores of games, who they are playing at the time and figured out when they would get up and say enough is enough, my team is getting blown out! As you can imagine, there are the die-hards out there and we track it, so no matter what, these fans always stay and support their team. And finally, we have added fans walking up, down and in and out of the aisles throughout each MLB stadium. Fans will also be seen milling around the concession areas and actual vendors are walking around the stadiums. So grab a hot dog and soda, because the little things matter to our team and hopefully you’ll notice these little details as well.

NEW LED and K boards
When you head out to the ballparks these days, you notice that each stadium has a unique look and feel. What we wanted to do is replicate this for our fans by having all the LED boards and K signs that real stadiums have. Fans can view every statistical category imaginable throughout our stadiums with the new LED boards that range from batter and pitcher stats to lineups and pitch count boards. Watch as the boards change and give you updated information for every batter and pitcher. Also, each stadium either has a section where the fans put up K signs or an LED K sign board. These track every K for the home team pitcher so look for this as you rack up the strikeouts. Hopefully you stat junkies out there will love the little added details and accurate statistical displays throughout each and every stadium!

MLB 09 The Show Screenshot AMBER MLB 09 The Show Screenshot LED

When you play baseball, you want to feel like you’re watching a game, not a video game. For MLB09, the lighting methods were rebuilt from ground up to make everything fit together naturally. Employing Global Lighting techniques, we light the stadium using the sky, then turn around and light the players with the sky and stadium. This makes players feel like they belong to the part of the stadium they are standing in front of. Keep an eye on color, reflections and highlights on players as they move through the environment. Also watch the dirt as every step and slide of a long game shows itself, and as chalk lines get disturbed. Day time games vary over your season, from the soft feel of a cloudy sky, to the harsh rays of a clear summer day, and even overcast days if the time and place is right. Night games are now true to life as we capture those long shadows which stretch across the field at the start, stretching farther until finally the sun goes down and the stadium is fully lit by its own lights. How dark it is at the start of the game depends on the day of the year so don’t be surprised if your spring training game is dark at 7pm. All of these little details add together to help immerse you in the game, and bring you back to the core – playing hardball.

MLB 09 The Show Screenshot NYY

Player Accessories
A key theme throughout this development cycle was realism, from stadiums to true-to-life batter stances and pitcher motions. We think we have it nailed. One area we wanted to really focus on this year was the player accessories and beefing it up. We have added eye black, glasses, wrist tape, and batting gloves in the back pockets to name a few. These are some of the player accessories that add to the realistic nature of our game. When you look at your favorite player and you see an arm band or shin guard you will know that we took the time to get that in the game. Focusing on the little things this year and listening to our fans, we have tried to get the details down pat.

MLB 09 The Show Screenshot DET ACCESSORIES

MLB 09 The Show Screenshot PEDROIA MLB 09 The Show Screenshot ELLSBURY

Final Thoughts
You may have noticed in this blog I have mentioned realism quite a bit. Well there is a reason for this. The MLB 09 team really wanted to convey the sights and sounds of baseball to you, our fans, in the best possible fashion. So when you are playing with your favorite team or player, check out all these details mentioned here. We know you’ll love it.

We appreciate your feedback and will always listen to our fans as we try to make the best game possible. Thanks for your time and we hope you enjoy MLB 09 The Show and the realism we bring to you. OK, that is the last time I will say realism…oops. Sorry, I said it again.

Add Your Own

FriarFan said:

February 11th, 11:50 am


#1: Are the beach balls going to be reduced or eliminated?? I’ve watched hours upon hours of games, and beach balls rarely, if ever, occur. It’s a bit obnoxious.

#2: Just checking to see if weather is on next year’s agenda. I love how NCAA had real-time weather when connected to the network. Something along those lines would be amazing!

Finally…I continue to be in awe with the effort you all put into this series. Honestly, with exclusive rights, I worried that the game would suffer w/out competition, but it’s beyond clear that you guys not only care a GREAT deal about this product and its customers, but your expertise with baseball is also evident. OUTSTANDING EFFORTS! THANK YOU ALL!!

Greg Batalucco's Avatar

Greg Batalucco said:

February 11th, 11:55 am

The amount of beachballs has been decreased and the stadiums they play in has been decreased.

As for the weather, the real time impact would be really nice!

Thanks for the kind words, we really do care and put a lot of effort into the game.

TK-855 said:

February 11th, 12:00 pm

Regarding the comment about ‘hey, show us the fans’ view of a homer’ – I’m not playing MLB: The Fans, I’m playing MLB: The Show. It’s not Ryan Howard reacting, it’s ME (albeit vicariously). And in RTTS, it’s definitely ‘all about me.’

If the view is that this REALLY needs to be part of the game experience, how about it being on a toggle like ‘broadcast presentations’? Set ‘fan reactions’ to Many, Normal, Few, None.

LilRick110 said:

February 11th, 12:04 pm

Will Home Run Derby be in this year’s game?

GoPhillies36 said:

February 11th, 12:08 pm

The Phanatic looks great. :)

MrMet2488 said:

February 11th, 12:12 pm

Amazing…the game gets better every week…

2 questions for the SCEA team though…

1. Did the mets all white home uniforms make it into this years game?

2. Are the walls in citi field going to be blue or grey?…they are grey in real life

Green94 said:

February 11th, 12:25 pm

Any reasoning behind not adding the correct players to their respective dugouts and bullpens this year? I’d love to see them reacting to the play on the field next year…

Great news about the fireworks…

Best sports game ever, thanks again for the hard work!

PhillyManOfSteel said:

February 11th, 12:26 pm


1.Do the clouds move in the sky in realtime?

2. Are there Chooppers,Planes,Blimps flying around the ball park?

3. On windy days will you see trash blowing around the field?

4. Will we see a fly over from outside the ball parks with fans coming into the gates before a game starts?

5. Wil we get to hear the whole National anthem at the start of every game. With the oprion to press the X buttom to skip it?

And also will users have the option to use our own version of the National anthem?

Samething for 7th inning “take me out to the ball game” song?

I think these are all great idea for the show!!

SONY MLB The Show Team is the BEST!!!

Green94 said:

February 11th, 12:28 pm

Is that Mike75?

PhillyManOfSteel said:

February 11th, 12:40 pm

LOL Yes its me mike75 from OS :)

cutthroat21 said:

February 11th, 1:00 pm

i would have to say you guys do a great job of answering questions and giving us updates. Keep up the great work looking forward to 09!

PhillyManOfSteel said:

February 11th, 1:01 pm

Is the attendace dynamic? Or is it hard coded already for each team and stadium? If you take a weak team and then make a pennant chase, will the stadium start filling up?

    Greg Batalucco's Avatar

    Greg Batalucco said:

    February 11th, 2:23 pm

    dynamic based on performance in season mode.

Kingslayer360 said:

February 11th, 1:09 pm

Any chance that the sites of the All-Star game will rotate every year during franchise mode?

RSN_04 said:

February 11th, 1:26 pm

PhillyManOfSteel: It was answered in a previous blog…

Greg Batalucco replied on February 11, 2009 at 10:02 am
“Yes, if you are in a season, then attendance is performance based. Some teams like the Red Sox sell out their home games no matter what. Look for crowds leaving early in blowouts as well.”

Cougster16 said:

February 11th, 1:31 pm

I was wondering if in the All-Star Game are the players wearing all-star jerseys or are they going to be wearing their own team’s jerseys.

IceRat23 said:

February 11th, 2:16 pm

holy crap look at the vines (changing) at Wrigley in that video

about the only thing missing is trotting back to the locker room for an extra injection of roids

ps. I want to use Mr. Met as my HOME avatar (he’s got some wicked moves with the ladies)

Scarecrow-- said:

February 11th, 2:47 pm


If this ain’t reason enough to get a ps3 I don’t know what is

Best sports game, never freaking questions asked!

Ecko1325 said:

February 11th, 2:49 pm

Being a Twins fan, will I be able to see the Twins’ mascot TC in the game? And will there be tie-breaker games at all during franchise? Damn White Sox…lol

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    Clayton Read said:

    February 11th, 3:19 pm

    TC is in the game.

BoneOfWorld said:

February 11th, 3:05 pm

My thanks to Greg for his reply to my earlier post (#47).
So can we assume that there are no improvements at all in the PSP version of MLB ’09 over last year’s version? And if there are, what are they?

jdogg0312 said:

February 11th, 3:18 pm

Hey did give authentic stances to the rookies last year who didnt have one like Kosuke Fukdome and Geovany Soto???

Is Soriano’s Stance fixed???

    Greg Batalucco's Avatar

    Greg Batalucco said:

    February 11th, 3:31 pm

    Yes all of these got in and fixed if necessary.

Gomez81 said:

February 11th, 3:25 pm

Hello Greg. I do not know if this would be the right blog to post the following question. In reading the details for MLB 09 The Show, it states that in addition to Sportstracker, users are able to listen to actual live games broadcaster’s. Is this really the case? Also, will the live tracking be revamped a little. Last few games, the team logos have been mismatched and real game situations were not always accurate?
All in all I am extremely excited for March 3rd.

Thank you for any feedback yourself or fellow gamers can provide!!!

Shepherdfox15 said:

February 11th, 3:25 pm

Ok, I was wondering if anyone out there knows, or if someone who helped create the game can answer this? How updated is the official rosters when the game is released, in other words would free agents in real life that didnt sign with a team until say february 25th or so be on there new team in the game when it is released? Thanks, Also this game is the best sports game ever created!

    Greg Batalucco's Avatar

    Greg Batalucco said:

    February 11th, 3:32 pm

    The rosters are as up to date as possible and all free agents that have not signed yet are in the free agent pool in the game and you can add them accordingly when they do sign.

Gomez81 said:

February 11th, 3:26 pm

a live roster should be implemented a few weeks after games release as in previous years

    Greg Batalucco's Avatar

    Greg Batalucco said:

    February 11th, 3:33 pm

    yes, live rosters will be the same as in the past in dealing with after game is released and throughout the year.

Gomez81 said:

February 11th, 3:37 pm

Thanks Greg for the response. Could you please respond to my prior post, # 121. I am really curious to see if that is the case.

stupidsuck said:

February 11th, 3:46 pm

things look awesome and it’s the details that add so much to a game.

however, will we finally be able to select uniforms before a game in franchise?

cvan5504 said:

February 11th, 3:47 pm

Are we gonna be able to play an online dynasty like ncaa football 09? Basically meaning can me and my buddy play in the same franchise as different teams?

SIim_Shady said:

February 11th, 3:56 pm

thanks… missed the video… THAT A BOY JACK… houston in 09, bad first half, amazing second, wild card winners

cLOLe said:

February 11th, 3:58 pm

Hopefully you guys are still answering questions.

I have a weird one!

If a game were to go very… very long. (I know what I’m about to say would almost never happen, but hey.) If the game extended into the dawn hours, would it start getting light out again? Or would the game remain dark?

    Greg Batalucco's Avatar

    Greg Batalucco said:

    February 12th, 10:31 am

    Not sure this would happen…maybe in 2010???

Shepherdfox15 said:

February 11th, 4:22 pm

Live Rosters Updates? Are they only for if you play online?

    Greg Batalucco's Avatar

    Greg Batalucco said:

    February 12th, 10:31 am

    You can take them offline as well.

Shepherdfox15 said:

February 11th, 4:32 pm

Because the AI in these new games are so good I almost prefer to play offline 99% of the time you know

UNIT-352 said:

February 11th, 5:18 pm


    Greg Batalucco's Avatar

    Greg Batalucco said:

    February 12th, 10:32 am

    That is something we can discuss for next year.

Ecko1325 said:

February 11th, 5:24 pm

Ha. Can you take steroids during RTTS? This would definately add realism wouldnt you agree? Hey it worked for A-Rod lol

BWillis15 said:

February 11th, 5:35 pm

I have played the demo about 20 times and I am more and more impressed every time. I would never have thought you could have made last years game any more impressive but you did. And thats just 4 innings, I cant wait to play RTTS.

UNIT-352 said:

February 11th, 5:35 pm


    Greg Batalucco's Avatar

    Greg Batalucco said:

    February 12th, 10:34 am

    They do try to reach for foul balls and home runs…would like to add in reaching over foul walls down the line though.

dtman02 said:

February 11th, 6:11 pm

It would be good to be able to argue calls and, as a catcher, go to the mound.
Thanks for the great game, have em’ all, can’t wait till 09 comes out!

speedyg123 said:

February 11th, 6:53 pm

GREAT JOB WITH THE GAME! im really excited to get the game. i was just wondering does the crowd do the wave and other stuff? i think that would be kinda cool. i also think that adding different weather conditions would make it look more realistic. and is the game in 1080p? please write back and congrats on the awesomest sports game i have ever seen!

AlabamaRollTide8 said:

February 11th, 6:53 pm

I am a huge Atlanta Braves fan, and i would really like to know if the Tomahawk-chopping Chick-fil-A cow will be in Turner Field on the game? Please reply


February 11th, 7:01 pm

man this game is gonna be the best ever, i love the little things that you guys add to the game, but i have a question, of the 20 mascots added, is the angels rally monkey been added? like to the score bored when the angels are behind in the 7th or what-not, and then it has it on the jombo-tron?

speedyg123 said:

February 11th, 7:04 pm

ohh yeah i forgot. will you be able to play at the old stadiums like polo grounds, ebbit field, the yankees old stadiums (im a huge yankee fan) but i think that would be cool to play there with the players that you can unlock like jackie robinson, babe ruth and the others. please write back


February 11th, 7:07 pm

also, one more thing, i have noticed that some of the pitching wind-ups and so-on have been a little messed up, like the look wierd when they throw, a little stiff, thought i did notice Scot Shields’ pitching motion was perfect, and as an angels fan i cant complain about that, lol, but yeah, i would like to see you guys fix this,so those guys at 2k cant say that the game isnt authentic pitching wise :roll: but then, what do you expect from 2k fans? lol

Cougster16 said:

February 11th, 7:08 pm

I can’t wait for this game to come out and wanted to know if the Mariner Moose was one of the 20 mascots in the game.

    Greg Batalucco's Avatar

    Greg Batalucco said:

    February 12th, 10:36 am

    I believe he is in the game.


February 11th, 7:22 pm

last thing, i’m very grateful of you guys adding the glasses and other accessories to this year, i mean, i could never really get my guy to look like me,(mostly the glasses, lol) but now i can, and tha will be awsome, you guys rock, hands down the best development group i’ve seen in sports games, and maybe a little sugestion, you know in tiger woods pga tour 2008 or 09? they had a face generation thing where you take a picture with either a eye toy or playstation eye or the front and side of your face and ou pic the points of your nose ears ends of mouth etc.. and in like 20 minutes it generates a face that looks like yours, that would be cool, but then incorperating it into this game would be hard i’m sure, but then, making a game is too, i mean, it aint something i could do without some training and what-not, but thats besides the point, but either way, always loved the show, always will, sometimes i still find enjoyment out of MLB 06: The Show, lol


February 11th, 7:23 pm

disregard my spelling mistakes if you will, lol

DaddyPete said:

February 11th, 7:24 pm

What a fantastic looking demo and game. I’ve never been more excited about a sports title than I am MLB ’09. Even in a touchy economy, you guys have clearly earned my $60 this year. I appreciate all the attention to detail and look forward to playing.

Just curious if Dinger (the Rockies mascot) is in the game? I know my kids would get a kick out of seeing him.

    Greg Batalucco's Avatar

    Greg Batalucco said:

    February 12th, 10:37 am

    Thanks we appreciate the kind words, looks like Dinger is in the game as well!

locoeddie11 said:

February 11th, 8:48 pm

can you guys add maybe for next year an option where we can argue a close call by an ampire.
it will be great if we could have like a couple of options like send the manager to argue a call or have the player argue the call, also have like an option of how intense the protest should be.

TheGameV30 said:

February 11th, 9:13 pm

this isn’t directly related to this blog but since it’s a new blog i thought i’d try asking you on here. i was wondering if all of the 40-man roster, waiver transactions, sept call-ups and sal arbit, etc. will also be available in season mode or just in franchise mode? thanks! VERY excited and pre-ordered the game already :)

BestGamer2 said:

February 11th, 10:02 pm

Hey guys awesome game!
I am playing 08 on my 15th season right now ready to become hall of famous when 09 releases..
my question is will stats decrease faster as your player ages in RTTS? Right now all my stats are max out and have max 9999 points as well.. cant use the points for anything, so its kinda of a waste:) Thanks

rynedee said:

February 11th, 10:48 pm

What about Cooperstown, y’all flesh that out more? It seems wrong to have a limited representation of the Hall, altho i can’t complain about the first guy on the list. : )

One of the coolest things i’ve ever seen in a video game was NFL2k5’s use of career stats. I’d love to see how i rank in all-time categories, be it franchise, league, all-time. Have y’all considered implementing something akin to Total Baseball or the Baseball Encyclopedia? A ton of agate i realize but how cool would it be to see where your RttS player ranks in doubles or innings pitched. That would get me to play 15-20 seasons without a doubt.

GimmeAD said:

February 12th, 12:10 am

quick question:

in this year’s game can you choose what uniform to play with? i found myself getting stuck with alternate uniforms and old timer uni’s oftenw hen i didnt want them.

also i would just like you guys to know that last year i bought a ps3 just for the show and it is still the only ps3 game i own. and as a HUGE phillies fan you guys nailed the batting stances and the entire stadium and vibe. ok i’m just rambling now. THANK YOU SO MUCH FOR THIS GAME!

LTbucks33 said:

February 12th, 2:53 am

i see you guys fixed the stances of mark teixeira and A-ROID and stances in the demo….they look MUCH better than they did last year…along with the many new features..GREAT WORK SCEA!!

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