Rickwood Field comes to life in MLB The Show 24 (2024)

June 19th, 2024

Rickwood Field comes to life in MLB The Show 24 (1)

Brian Murphy


Thursday's game at historic Rickwood Field between the Giants and Cardinals promises to be a can't-miss event. But with a ticketed-seating capacity of only about 8,300, a relative few will have the first-hand experience of enjoying an MLB game from inside the oldest professional ballpark in the United States and the place where a 17-year-old Willie Mays began his Major League career.

However, you can get the sense of what it must have been like to step onto the hallowed grounds in Birmingham, Alabama, and play as the young Mays with MLB The Show 24.

On Thursday, MLB The Show 24 will add Rickwood Field to the game as part of its latest storyline celebrating the Negro Leagues and Black baseball. This storyline is centered around Mays, who roamed the Rickwood Field outfield with the Birmingham Black Barons in 1948.

The incomparable Willie Mays began his professional baseball career with the Negro Leagues’ Birmingham Black Barons who formerly called the historic Rickwood Field, the oldest professional baseball field in the U.S., their home.

Experience the thrill of playing as “The Say Hey… pic.twitter.com/BVmp9ehxbQ

— MLB The Show (@MLBTheShow) June 17, 2024

“The Willie Mays-Rickwood Field storyline is extra special," said Ramone Russell, MLB The Show's product development, communications and brand strategist. "Me and [PlayStation senior narrative game designer Jarred Schiff] were talking earlier this morning because we were playing through it again. All of [the storylines] are great, but this one just hits a little bit different, so we can't wait for people to play it."

Mays, who passed away Tuesday at the age of 93, played 13 games with the Black Barons in '48, three years before he made his National League debut with the New York Giants.

"The first big thing I ever put my mind to was to play at Rickwood Field," Mays said in a statement released a couple of days before he passed.

Capturing the majesty of the 114-year-old ballpark and its ties to one of the greatest players in baseball history was of paramount importance to Russell and the entire MLB The Show team.

"Once the Major League Baseball told us a little early about the Rickwood Field game, it was obviously a no-brainer -- we have to put the stadium in the game," Russell said. "We have to do a storyline based off of Rickwood Field and Willie Mays in the grand scheme of things of why the Negro Leagues history remains so important to baseball and American history."

  • Rickwood Field game takes on new meaning: Mays will 'be watching over'

A 24x All-Star, 12x Gold Glover, 2x MVP, World Series Champion, & Hall of Famer.
MLB The Show joins the baseball world in mourning the loss of the Legend, Willie Mays. 🧡🖤 pic.twitter.com/Cz10grrIpe

— MLB The Show (@MLBTheShow) June 19, 2024

As with all of the Negro Leagues storylines in MLB The Show, this latest one is part video game experience, part history lesson. The gameplay in each storyline is combined with in-depth cutscenes narrated by Negro Leagues Baseball Museum president Bob Kendrick, who sheds light on the life, career and legacy of the Negro Leagues legend at the center of the storyline. Josh Gibson, Henry Aaron, Toni Stone and Buck Leonard are among the 11 Negro Leagues luminaries who have their own storyline in MLB The Show 24.

“For this entire project, if Bob's not involved, we don't have a project," Russell said. "... We're just really lucky that not only is Bob a Negro Leagues historian, he just also happens to be one of the best storytellers out there."

MLB The Show introduced its "Storylines: The Negro Leagues" game mode in 2023, with Jackie Robinson, Satchel Paige, Buck O'Neil and others featured in that year's game. Implementing this side of baseball history into the game has been a passion project for Russell, who said the positive feedback has been overwhelming.

"Bob has told us the Negro Leagues Baseball Museum has broken their attendance record two years in a row, and he directly attributes that to the Negro Leagues storylines in the video game, and that's amazing," Russell said. "That really was the ultimate goal: ‘How do we keep this history alive?’ We've just been so amazed to see how people have responded to it."

MLB The Show 24 is available for PlayStation, Xbox and the Nintendo Switch.

Rickwood Field comes to life in MLB The Show 24 (2024)


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