Goodrum takes Tigers' reins in 'MLB The Show'

April 11th, 2020

DETROIT -- forged a full-time role on the Tigers two years ago with his ability to play everywhere. He has an everyday spot at shortstop now, but for the next few weeks, he’s managing … sort of.

When Major League Baseball and Goodrum’s agent approached him with the idea of representing the Tigers in a 30-player online league for the popular video game “MLB The Show,” Goodrum was in. He’s an avid gamer, and his newfound time at home in the Atlanta area while baseball pauses for the coronavirus pandemic has left him spending a good chunk of his days either working out or playing games.

“I think it's just a good way to get the fans to be able to watch sports,” Goodrum said. “Since we're not doing it, it's a good way for us to interact. Playing against the guys we see day to day will be cool. It'll be fun to watch.”

Plus, the opportunity to play games for a good cause was too good to pass up. Major League Baseball, the MLB Players Association and Sony Interactive Entertainment are donating $5,000 on behalf of each participating player to a Boys & Girls Club affiliate in their team’s community. The player who wins the 30-team tournament will get an additional $25,000 donation.

Boys & Girls Clubs are facilitating provision of meals, lending support to families of first responders and medical workers, offering mental health services, and providing virtual programs for their members.

“Anytime you're able to give back is key,” said Goodrum, who has been active in community causes like clean water for Detroit and Flint since joining the Tigers in 2018. “This game is about us enough as far as what we're doing on the field, so anytime you can make time to give back, it's a positive. So when they asked me, it was a no-brainer to do it.”

Now comes the tricky part: Putting together a team to try to win -- with a virtual audience.

The Players League will be livestreamed on MLB social media accounts (Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, Twitch), MLB Network's Twitch site, "MLB The Show" social media (Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, Twitch), the clubs’ social media accounts and Each player who has one will also stream it from their individual Twitch or YouTube accounts.

Aside from those streams, in order to provide a full gameday experience, MLB will provide a live stream in which it will select the best one-on-one matchups and look into other game results and friendly banter.

Goodrum received a camera kit to go with his Sony Playstation earlier this week.

“I've never done it that way. We'll see,” he said. “I guess we’ll have to watch the language probably. We're going to find out.”

Goodrum gets the current Tigers roster, including offseason signings Jonathan Schoop, C.J. Cron, Cameron Maybin and Iván Nova. The games are just three innings long, so starting pitching is important, Goodrum said. But the lineup matchups are up to him.

“The biggest thing is to see what their lineup is doing,” Goodrum said. “If they have a lot of right-handed bats, they're probably going to do better against a lefty than a righty.”

One thing Goodrum knows: He’s playing shortstop and batting second.

Goodrum’s teammates have his back. Nova and outfielder Travis Demeritte replied to his Instagram post wishing him well.

“You better win,” Nova said jokingly.

Goodrum doesn’t have to wait long to gauge his chances. The “regular season” is a round-robin format, with Goodrum facing every other team once before the top eight teams advance to the postseason. Goodrum said he has eight games scheduled for Saturday.