I get excited about a bunch of different things during the MLB offseason. International signing day, Free Agency, Arb numbers, and the Winter Meetings. They all might pale in comparison when it comes to MLB the Show and thew news and updates that come out about the game. It's combining two of my favorite things, baseball and video games, and it always gets me giddy.
Well, the cover athlete is going to be announced on January 30th, and it SHOULD be Julio Rodriguez. Really, there is no better option in the world of baseball than Julio. He is young, charismatic, exciting, has been involved in some really cool moments (the HR derby), and is one of the top faces of baseball. He's everything that you would want in a cover athlete, and it would fit amazingly to have the Mariners CF on the cover of MLB the Show 24 as a Griffey correlation between the past and the present.
However, Julio Rodriguez is unlikely to be on the cover of MLB the Show 24.
No, this isn't a West Coast bias thing. Julio Rodriguez is going to be on the cover at some point in the next few years, and if not, it's a massive failure and miss by Studio San Diego, who normally has a great grip on all things baseball.
It seems like there is some sort of legal jargon holding Julio back, actually. He was on the cover of EA Sports MLB Tap Sports Baseball 2023. Supposedly, and this is all just unofficial postings I've seen online, is that you cannot grace the cover of different games within a 3-year period. Some sort of exclusivity rights to whatever game you were on.
I don't know if it's true or not, but it makes sense from a legal standpoint. It would take away from the draw of your game, especially to see him go to the biggest game in the market, and the one that is the most well done also.
It's too bad, because it really does seem like a missed opportunity. Julio is young, but there is no better young star to put on the cover. Maybe it'll time out better in a couple years if he has led the Mariners to a World Series where they can set up notable firsts as some of the in-game challenges. Or, after he wins an MVP and that can be a special early version of his card, leading to some specialized Mariners cards who have also won rewards.
Imagine having Griffey, Julio, and Ichiro as your outfield, all with cards from special seasons. Holy Cow.
Julio Rodriguez definitely deserves to be and should be on the cover. Unfortunately, it doesn't seem like it is going to happen this year. After a miss with Jazz Chisholm in 2023 (great player, but just so unproven and injury prone) let's hope that they get it right this year and crush it like they did in 2022 with the amazing Shohei Ohtani cover.