In light of the coronavirus pandemic, Major League Baseball has come up with a temporary solution to keep its fan entertained while baseball is away, The Players League.
The Players League is played on MLB The Show 20, and is played by one player from each MLB organization, hand picked by the league to represent their team. Each game is a three inning event, and each of them are live streamed on Twitch. The league will be 30 games, giving each team an opportunity to play each other.
The mix of names taking part in the tournament vary. League superstars such as Blake Snell, Bo Bichette, Fernando Tatis Jr, Josh Hader and Joey Gallo mix with lesser known players like Brett Phillips, Niko Goodrum and Dwight Smith Jr. The Cardinals representative is Matt Carpenter. So far, the standings show that Gallo, and his Rangers, are running away with the league, as he is sitting at a record of 17-3 after 20 games. After Gallo comes a pair of NL West teams as Gavin Lux has played to a 12-4 record with the Dodgers and Tatis has an 11-5 record with his Padres. As for the rest of the divisions, Reds’ reliever Amir Garrett has put their team in front with a 10-6 record, Jeff McNeil has piloted the Mets to a 11-3 record in the NL East, Lucas Giolito has put the White Sox in first with a 9-5 record. The tightest division race comes in the AL East however, as Snell, Bichette and Smith Jr sit atop the division, at 13-3, 9-3, and 11-5 respectively.
While it is not real baseball, the tournament has been widely popular, as each stream pulls in a viewership of roughly 10,000 watchers each. On top of being entertained by the players, fans also get the opportunity to interact with them through the Twitch chat feature. This gives fans a path into the players’ lives, and get to ask them questions about their time on and off the field, which are opportunities that are not always presented to the fans.
The league has had its fair share of highlights as well, including a 17-1 rout of Goodrum from Smith Jr, many walk off homeruns, and many players meeting for the first time. For instance, Yankees reliever Tommy Kahnle met Royals outfielder Brett Phillips, and mistook him for a pitcher, asking him about what pitches he threw on stream.
The Players League can be seen each night on Twitch starting at 7 PM, and highlights can be watched on the MLB.com video page.