Opening Pitch: An Interview with Brett Lawrie

May 6

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sees the release of MLB 14: The Show for PS4, as the venerable franchise finally hits the next generation with a vengeance.  For Canadian consumers, the game’s cover is graced by Toronto Blue Jays third baseman Brett Lawrie, the second Blue Jay to make the cover, as well as the first Canadian. CGM caught up with Brett at the MLB 14: The Show Media Event to chat about his involvement with MLB 14: The Show, and what it’s like being the first Canadian to be an MLB cover athlete.  CGM also got the opportunity to test-drive the game on the PS4.  A full review of the game will be posted when the game is released May 6

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Comics Gaming Magazine: Brett, is it exciting being on the cover of MLB 14 The Show?

Brett Lawrie: Very cool, man.  It's an opportunity that doesn't come around all that often, you know. I've been in the major leagues for a little bit now, coming up playing video games and what not, so it's obviously very cool to represent Major League Baseball and represent the Blue Jays.

 

CGM: Plus you stopped Jose Bautista from having a threepeat as MLB The Show cover athlete.

BL: [Laughs] Exactly, stopped him from doing the threepeat!  He's not Canadian, so you got to get a Canadian on the cover.  It's cool to be on the cover and represent Canada, represent my family, myself, and obviously the Blue Jays.

 

CGM: How did Sony originally approach you?

BL: I met the PlayStation people last year, when I was in Arizona doing a shoot for, I think it was, an ESPN shoot.  And PlayStation was there, shooting other stuff, in another field I think, and was introduced to the PlayStation people.  It kind of just went from there, I met with them, talked with them for a bit, and sure enough the next year, here we are.  It's awesome.

 

CGM: Did you have any involvement in the game, with regards to character design/model?

BL: Not so much in the character design, I didn't really get a chance to say how I'd like to look. They do a pretty good job, and it's amazing what they can do with the videogame, and how well they represent everybody. You look at the game and pretty much think the real game is on.

 

CGM: What do you think of the PS4, in terms of what it can handle?

BL: It's amazing, the PS4, what it can do, it's crazy, it's like a supercomputer inside, it's amazing, the graphics that they can have. It's kind of crazy.

 

CGM: Do you have the system yourself?

BL: I do have the system myself.

 

CGM: Did they give you one as well?

BL: Yeah, I get to play whenever I want.

 

CGM: Do you have MLB 14 The Show on the handheld, or just for the PS4?

BL: Yeah, I have the Vita as well, so I can take that on the airplane with me.

 

CGM: What kinds of video games did you play when you were younger, growing up, what systems did you have?

BL: I played Super Nintendo. I was into playing Ken Griffey Jr.[Presents Major League] Baseball and playing Ken Griffey Jr.’s Slugfest on the Nintendo 64.  Playing games growing up, it's crazy looking at video games now, seeing where they've come from.

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CGM: When I started playing video games, I was playing RBI Baseball...

BL: Oh yeah, RBI Baseball!

 

CGM: What do you think of how far these games have come, with regards to customization and depth?

BL: It's crazy, especially the teams, and how in-depth they go, not just on the MLB level, but AA and AAA, seeing how the rosters change, with everything connected on the internet. When players get traded, they get traded in the game as well. It's amazing how things work.

 

CGM: How long did it take you to get to the show in real life?

BL: To get to the show in real life, from 2008 when I got drafted, to when I was called up in August 2011.

 

CGM: And what about when playing the video game MLB The Show?

BL: I just wanted to get right into the game, so I played with the Blue Jays, and didn't go through the RTTS. Wanted to see what everything was about right away. I just play with our team, and our guys.

CGM: Any particular game modes that they've introduced this year that you're interested in?

BL: Speeding up the game, by introducing Quick Counts, is the big one. Now you can start with a random count, like flipping a coin, and it just shoots a random count at you, and you just have to grind from there. That's kind of cool, 'cause you get into the mentality of getting into an 0-2 approach right away, as the guy gets into the box. You have a different approach to your game, and not just starting from square one. You've kind of got to do different things, alter your approach to win the game, and now you can get it all done in twenty minutes, which are quick games.

 

CGM: Did you have any input on the batting stance that they use for you in the game?

BL: No, no input on the batting stance.  But they've done a pretty good job picking up everybody, picking up what they do after they hit, how they swing, what it looks like when they swing and miss, when you do make contact, how you get out of the box, how you do different things. They've done a very good job of emulating all of it.

 

CGM: So you’d say it's pretty accurate?

BL: They've simulated a lot of things that the players actually do, before at-bats, how they tap their feet or adjust their batting gloves, just the little things like that. When you pitch with Dickey and he comes to his full set, it almost looks like it's literally him. It's his set-up, his wind-up, his delivery and finish, everything that he does is within the game, it's amazing to me. It's just like he's actually pitching.

 

CGM: What kinds of games are often played in the clubhouse?

BL: Well, some of the guys play Call of Duty. Navarro's huge into FIFA Soccer.  Plus of course, there's MLB: The Show.

 

CGM: Any parting shots with regards to the game?

BL: It's a great product.  With the PlayStation 4 having come out recently, it’s allowing Sony to push the game further than they've gone before; it's very cool to be a part of the first MLB: The Show for PS4.