In 1991, SNK published the futuristic video game Super Baseball 2020. In the future (at the time), several of the athletes are robots. The human characters have powerful armor, computer sensors, and jet-packs. In 1992, a year after the game was released, Javier Baez of the Chicago Cubs was born. In 2020, he made cover of MLB The Show ’20. Was the future of baseball predicted? Is Baez a man or a machine?
Super Baseball 2020 – Released in 1991
Cyber Egg Stadium
Apart from the futuristic characters, the field has also been revamped and redesigned for the future. In 2020, there is only one stadium in this game, known as Cyber Egg Stadium. A ball hit over the outfield fence is no longer a home run unless it is hit directly over the fence in center field. The other areas of the outfield stands are covered with a protective glass that will cause the ball to bounce off of it and bounce back in play onto the field. The ball hitting this zone always comes back into the field but gives the batter enough time to take a base or two.
The reason the home run zone was reduced is because the hitters are far more powerful and have the ability to blast the ball tremendously far. Only the most powerful hitters can have the accuracy and strength to hit the ball far enough to get a home run.
Fact: In 1991, there were 3,383 home runs hit in MLB. This number increased exactly 100% to 6,776 the season leading into 2020.
Fact: In 2011, exactly 20 years after the game’s release, Cybertecture Egg was opened in Mumbai, India.
Due to the sheer strength of the real and robotic athletes, a stop zone was added just past the field behind first and third base. If the ball touches this rectangular spot, it will stop dead. This also protects fans from stray throws and batted balls.
However, the stop zone is small, and the ball can often bounce right over it without stopping. It can present a problem for slower runners who were hoping the ball would bounce all the way to the fence.
Fact: With Javier Baez looking on, a young girl in the stands was struck with a foul ball off the bat of teammate Albert Almora. This led to MLB adding protective netting at all 30 MLB ballparks in 2019.
The Infield Fly Rule
There is no infield fly rule in Super Baseball 2020, leading to the ability to players being able to easily turn double plays on infield pop-ups. It has been noted as a game flaw.
Remarkably coincidental (or was it), in 2016 of the NLCS Game 2 between the Dodgers and Cubs, Javier Baez intentionally let an infield liner to shortstop fall in order to turn a 4-6-5-6 double play. In the sixth inning, the Dodgers were rallying with runners on first and second. Joc Pederson hit a soft liner in Baez’s general direction. Instead of catching the ball, Baez let it drop and fired to second for the forceout before Adrian Gonzalez was tagged out in a rundown between second and third.
The Cubs ultimately won the series, and their first World Series in 108 years.
MLB The Show ’20 – Releasing in 2020
MLB The Show 20 is scheduled for release in March 2020, and Chicago Cubs star Javier Báez will grace its cover.
“I am so honored and excited to be on the cover of MLB The Show 20,” Báez said in Sony’s press release. “I’ll never forget how it felt when I saw myself in the game for the first time!”
The Puerto Rican-born Báez, 26, is the Cubs’ dynamic shortstop, nicknamed “El Mágo” (Spanish for “The Magician”) for his wizardry in the field and on the bases. But he’s also a formidable presence at the plate. Báez finished second in the NL MVP voting in 2018 with a .290 batting average, 34 HR, and 111 RBIs. Coming off that career year, he put up 29 HR in 2019.
So Did Super Baseball 2020 Predict the Future?
We are unsure whether SNK’s release of Super Baseball 2020 was foreshadowing the growth of baseball and the birth of Javier Baez as a superstar. I guess you’ll need to play the game and decide for yourself.
Brett Rudy lives in Boston, Massachusetts where he created Baseball Is My Life, and is co-founder of Charity Hop Sports Marketing, helping athletes raise money for their philanthropic initiatives. Brett helped launch Charity Wines with more than 30 professional athletes, selling more than one million bottles of wine. Brett is also the creator of the Corked Bat Collection, 100 Innings of Baseball for ALS, the Cooperstown Classic at the Baseball Hall of Fame, and Winterball for Toys for Tots. In his spare time, Brett plays outfield in the Boston Men’s Baseball League.