The Mariners are going to take on some of their biggest fans in a game of baseball. Obviously it’s not real baseball, with Major League Baseball shut down during the coronavirus pandemic and, well, the Mariners are professionals while their fans most certainly are not.
Pulling from a plan started by MLB Network, which featured players from all 30 teams squaring off in short games of MLB the Show 2020 on the PlayStation 4 video-game system, the Mariners are hosting a tournament of virtual games with their fans.
The event called “Mariners Showdown: Players vs. Fans MLB The Show 20 Tournament” features 16 players going head to head against 16 fans to start the first round of the 32-team tournament. The first “game” is at 10 a.m. Tuesday.
The bracket of Seattle players and fan matchups was announced Monday during a selection show hosted by broadcaster Dave Sims on the Mariners’ YouTube channel.
“I’m excited,” second baseman Dee Gordon said. “Any chance we get to interact with the fans is awesome. But hopefully they don’t have too much fun when they’re playing me. Unless they have fun losing, then I hope they have tons of fun.”
Gordon’s confidence has been met by his first-round opponent, Matt Powers of Issaquah. While he works as director of sales for eFinancial during the day, Powers is an experienced gamer, including more than a few hours playing MLB The Show in its earlier versions. The rigors of work and life the past few years and the addition of daughter Rose on Dec. 13 have cut into that gaming time.
But with the pandemic shutting down the life that we used to know, Powers bought the latest version of MLB the Show a few weeks ago to pass time. When he received an email asking season-ticket holders if they would be interested in participating against Mariners players, he jumped at the chance.
“I responded immediately,” he said. “I was gamer for a long time, but now that I’m a little older in life I don’t play as much. I was way into The Show in 2015-16 seasons. I’ve had less time for video games lately. But with the pandemic, I bought The Show and had been playing Road to the Show. And once I got that email I’ve been playing online regular games to get up to speed.”
Asked if he was nervous about facing Gordon, a known trash talker and big fan of video games, Powers didn’t seem concerned.
“Oh no, no, no,” he said. “I’m not worried about him. I’m going to run the table. I’m not worried about Dee. He just had a kid, too, so I know he’s busy. I’m worried about the younger players. (Pitcher) Taijuan Walker worries me. I bet he has some game.”
As part of the tournament, the Mariners will make a $5,000 donation through the team’s nonprofit foundation, Mariners Care, to COVID-19 relief efforts in the name of the winner. If a fan is crowned champion, he or she will receive front-row tickets to a future Mariners game and the opportunity to throw out a first pitch.
Fans wanting updates on the tournament can follow along at Mariners.com/Showdown with schedules, results and highlights from the competition. The games will all be livestreamed on the Mariners’ Twitch channel: Twitch.tv/Mariners.
The games will be three innings, with both participants playing as the Mariners on the game. Round 1 winners will advance to Round 2, which starts next week.
- 10 a.m. — Daniel Vogelbach vs. Stevie Robinson (Seattle)
- 12:30 p.m. — Taijuan Walker vs. Jack (West Seattle)
- 3 p.m. — Tim Lopes vs. Mikey Frisch (Bellevue)
- 5:30 p.m. — Carl Edwards Jr. vs. Ryan Kidwell (Seattle)
- 10 a.m. — Dan Altavilla vs. Anthony Avery (West Seattle)
- 12:30 p.m. — Shed Long vs. Rory (Seattle)
- 3 p.m. — Julio Rodriguez vs. Derek Severson (Burien)
- 5:30 p.m. — Dee Gordon vs. Matt Powers (Issaquah)
- 10 a.m. — Art Warren vs. Luka (Bothell)
- 12:30 p.m. — J.P. Crawford vs. Allen Avery (Seattle)
- 3 p.m. — Justin Dunn vs. Axel (San Luis Obispo, CA)
- 5:30 p.m. — Donovan Walton vs. Janio Suppini (Seattle)
- 10 a.m. — Kyle Lewis vs. Jacob (Bellevue)
- 12:30 p.m. — Jake Fraley vs. Tanner Bengen (Seattle)
- 3 p.m. — Zac Grotz vs. Mark Woods (Seattle)
- 5:30 p.m. — Cal Raleigh vs. Alex (Seattle)