Introduction: Covering the Nationals in MLB the Show 20

If you’re anything like me, you miss watching, reading and writing about baseball. 

In January, if you had told me a live sporting event would be difficult to find on TV, I would’ve laughed and told you to stop drinking before you text an ex. Before the novel coronavirus shut down some of the greatest world economies and seemingly put a halt on life, I never realized just how much my daily entertainment bubble depended on some sort of live sporting event.

Whether I was doing homework, hanging out with friends, or just simply sitting on the couch, a sport, generally basketball, baseball, hockey, auto-racing or football, would be playing in the background on TV. Whenever a conversation died with a friend or a homework problem became too difficult to solve, I could glance up and distract myself with sports.

Now, I’m stuck with watching grainy recordings of games from the late ‘90s — I wasn’t even born yet.

When NASCAR became the final American sport to suspend its season in mid-March, I knew that I would be bored. What I didn’t know was that I would be heavily invested in watching UFC 246 for the first time in my life a few weeks ago.

Even with NASCAR’s big return earlier this week, races are only just about every other day and none of the everyday sports leagues like the NBA, NHL or MLB have yet returned to action.

With baseball being my favorite sport, I closely follow MLB and as a colossal Washington Nationals fan, I tend to watch a considerable amount of their games. (Disclaimer: Oct. 30, 2019 will forever be the best day of my life, my eventual wedding day won’t even top the day the Nats won the World Series). I even started this website in January 2019 so that I could put my two treasured passions together at once: baseball and writing.

As the MLBPA and the Major League owners continue to go to war with each other over issues such as money, player safety and season length, I figured I would use this downtime to improve my writing skills by promoting myself to become the beat writer of the defending World Series champions this season.

How am I going to write recap stories about a team that hasn’t sniffed the field since a spring training game in March? Re-create the season myself.

I have yet to find a summer job and after an internship that fell through, I find myself with a lot of free time and quite frankly, I’m bored. So, as an attempt to improve my writing and fill the empty void of baseball in my life, I’ll write game recaps, trades that happen within the game, injury stories, making this simulated universe as real as possible.

Thankfully, I own a Playstation 4 and I’m able to get my baseball fix through a simulated video game (sorry XBOX users). Through MLB the Show 20, the game’s franchise mode has the ability to adequately sim through an entire season and track both simple and advanced stats to allow me to tell an alternate story as if the season were actually happening.

Though the season begins and March, I stood in steaming hot water Friday morning thinking about different ways to tell the story of the Nationals’ 2020 season.

Do I start on March 26, the day Washington was supposed to open the season at Citi Field against the New York Mets? Or do I simulate nearly two months into the season to today’s date? 

As I debated where to start the story of the reigning baseball champions, I landed on the latter. This series might be a little confusing at first, but in the long run, it makes more sense to start the season on the date of the one year anniversary when the Nationals turned their 2019 19-31 season around.

As for the lineups, pitching rotation and 40-man roster: I used RotoChamp’s projected lineups and rotation for the original planned Opening Day. For trades and roster transactions: I gave the CPU complete control so no, I will not be controlling the Nationals’ roster moves. The 26-man roster is the original 28-man roster the real Nationals set before the league shut transactions down. Wilmer Difo and Austen Williams, the presumed extra two players on the roster, were sent down to Triple-A Fresno. 

Don’t worry about being confused if you so choose to follow this alternate reality, I posted a story about how the MLB The Show Nationals are doing. You can find the story here and the daily updated stats here.

I hope you choose to follow this blog and find some sort of benefit from this silly project. 

It’ll be fun, I promise.


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