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Lindor on R.B.I. 18 cover: 'It's a huge honor'

Iconic game's latest update includes franchise mode, Home Run Derby and historic players
MLB.com @MLBastian

CLEVELAND -- After setting down an oversized rendering of the new R.B.I. Baseball 18 cover at Tribe Fest this weekend, Francisco Lindor was asked if he is as good at video games as he is at playing shortstop for the Indians. Lindor did not hesitate at all with his answer.

"I'll take on anybody," said Lindor, who then laughed. "No, my nephew beats me all the time."

CLEVELAND -- After setting down an oversized rendering of the new R.B.I. Baseball 18 cover at Tribe Fest this weekend, Francisco Lindor was asked if he is as good at video games as he is at playing shortstop for the Indians. Lindor did not hesitate at all with his answer.

"I'll take on anybody," said Lindor, who then laughed. "No, my nephew beats me all the time."

Lindor will have a chance to reignite that family rivalry this March, when R.B.I. 18 is released worldwide, not only with the Tribe's energetic shortstop on the cover, but with an array of new features. The iconic video game, which was relaunched in 2014 by Major League Baseball, will introduce a franchise mode, Home Run Derby and historic players to the latest update.

R.B.I. Baseball 18

R.B.I. 18 will be available for PlayStation 4, the Xbox One family of devices, Nintendo Switch, iPhone, iPad and Android-supported phones and tablets. While the game is continuing to introduce more realistic elements into the presentation, it is also staying true to what has made R.B.I. Baseball so popular among fans: Fast-paced play and easy-to-use controls.

Tweet from @Indians: Your RBI Baseball 18 cover athlete:@Lindor12BC! pic.twitter.com/A8H6XnhaiV

Prior to the selection of Lindor, R.B.I. Baseball chose Dodgers shortstop Corey Seager (2017), Red Sox outfielder Mookie Betts ('16) and Cubs first baseman Anthony Rizzo ('15) as its cover athletes. Lindor, who was shown the newest cover at Tribe Fest on Saturday in Cleveland, was thrilled to have the Indians represented on the newest edition.

"It means a lot," Lindor said. "I love this organization. I love the city of Cleveland, and being on the cover of R.B.I. Baseball 18 and representing them, it's a huge honor."

Video: Lindor proud to grace R.B.I. Baseball 18 cover

Here are some of the updates R.B.I. fans can look forward to in the new version:

Franchise mode
Fans will have the ability to take total control over their favorite MLB team. That means making trades, signing free agents or calling up rookies, among other options, over a span of multiple seasons. There will be a new player progression system that allows players in the game to develop, improve over time and eventually retire.

Home Run Derby
Gamers will now have the option to take on a friend or go head-to-head with the CPU in Derby environment. Included will be a leaderboard to see how a fan's skills stack up against their friends or other gamers around the globe.

MLB legends
More than 100 retired MLB stars will be available for a gamer's team in franchise mode and other game features. Some of the names available include Jeff Bagwell, Ernie Banks, Johnny Bench, George Brett, Bob Feller, Reggie Jackson, Chipper Jones, Nolan Ryan, Ozzie Smith and Ted Williams.

Those are the three main areas of change, but the R.B.I. 18 will be enhanced in other ways, too.

The pool of authentic MLB players will come with completely redesigned player models, including more than 300 digitally modeled likenesses. Also included will be hundreds of new animations and player-specific animations for a new in-game experience. The ballparks will have enhanced lighting, textures, 3-D crowd elements and new dynamic camera angles, along with specifically-crafted cinematic sequences for all 30 MLB stadiums.

Tweet from @Indians: Hang on to that jersey, kid. #TribeFest pic.twitter.com/ivHoEQgfJQ

The user experience will include an online multiplayer option, allowing players to jump into ranked and friendly exhibitions with friends and others around the world. The game's soundtrack will be updated with new music from more than a dozen popular recording artists, and the team rosters can be kept up-to-date throughout the 2018 season, even in franchise mode.

Visit rbigame.com and follow @RBIGame on Twitter for more information.

Count Lindor among those who are looking forward to the launch of R.B.I. Baseball 18.

"It's fun," said the Indians shortstop. "I love whenever you can play against somebody and see what they've got. Competition, wherever it is, it's always cool."

Video: Lindor thrilled to be on R.B.I. 18 cover art

Jordan Bastian has covered the Indians for MLB.com since 2011, and previously covered the Blue Jays from 2006-10. Read his blog, Major League Bastian, follow him on Twitter @MLBastian and Facebook.

Cleveland Indians, Francisco Lindor