The sports gaming community is one of the most passionate communities of them all. From the desire to see games always improve to the ability to keep past releases alive in some way, shape, or form, there may not be a group more determined to grow a genre. In some cases — like with MLB The Show 20 — it’s gotten to the point where community members are helping major studios produce their games.
Known simply as RidinRosters in the past, Scott Spindler and his team have helped build community rosters for various baseball games over the past decade. From accurate attribute updates based on scouting reports to making sure prospects are available, Spindler wanted everyone to have the most authentic experience possible.
“I would just do it for myself with the old NCAA games and then with baseball,” Spindler said. “Then there was Operation Sports, and I had my Ridin’s Rosters originally [for everyone].”
After moving on from strictly Operation Sports to branching out on social media, the RidinRosters downloads went from 20,000 or so to well over 100,000 each year. It had gained a fanbase of its own to where developers and studios started to take notice.
First, it was Out of the Park Baseball where the RidinRoster team worked to help the baseball management game build out their in-game rosters. After the success of that effort, the largest baseball game in the world came knocking.
Spindler was approached by Sony San Diego Studios about helping finally bring minor league rosters to the MLB The Show franchise with MLB The Show 20. It marked the end of a 10-year journey for Sony to have full minor league rosters in the game. For Spindler, the fact that he had a part in that couldn’t have been more rewarding.
“It was a dream come true,” he said. “Obviously, I’m a huge baseball fan and I’ve played MLB The Show since the very first one.”
He added that being able to fly out to San Diego, work in the studio and meet some of baseball’s top prospects was a surreal feeling that felt like a dream at times.
“I had my own desk, my own workstation, and they treated me great,” he said about his time with the studio.
To get the data for the minor league rosters, the team utilized information that has been gathered over the years from doing community rosters, talking with scouts, watching videos, and being at various camps. He added that his team used “every avenue” they could to get as much information as possible.
With the success of RidinRosters and the popularity growing, Spindler launched ScoutScoops in January 2020 to bring baseball players and fans together in one location.
“We are an all-encompassing baseball site that has over 10.4K followers on Twitter and growing including players from all levels,” Spindler said. “The unique thing about our site is we have players from MLB and MILB in our community interacting with gamers and fans.”
Helping Those Who Need It
As the group’s reach grew, so did the desire to help give back. That’s why Spindler’s team has partnered with the Groundouts For Kids charity to present an MLB The Show 20 tournament on March 14-15.
The charity, which was started by Miami Marlins pitcher Sterling Sharp, raises money for the “Sharpest Player of the Year” Award, an award that helps African American youth in Sharp’s hometown of Detroit, MI with scholarship assistance.
“I started the Sharpest Player of the Year Award to give scholarships to deserving African American kids who show high character on and off the field,” Sharp said. “We tied it into my actual play in real life. I’m a sinkerballer so I get a lot of groundballs. I thought it’d be cool to base it off of how many ground ball outs I get.”
With the tournament, Sharp said it felt like a no-brainer to use the game to help give back and that partnering with ScoutScoops made perfect sense.
“We thought it’d be a cool way to raise awareness for my foundation and what I’m trying to do back home in Detroit,” he said. “Scott’s been a big help and I appreciate him and his team.”
Spindler and Sharp became close back when RidinRosters was still producing community rosters. From there the relationship blossomed into something that has turned into a way to do something bigger than themselves.
“He’s been a big supporter of mine and I’ve been a big supporter of his, so it’s a mutual [wanting to do more] thing,” Spindler said.
And though things are growing at a fast rate for Spindler and Scoutscoops, he wants to assure everyone that the work that RidinRosters does for community rosters in games isn’t going away anytime soon.
“[It’s] still going to continue to pump out the content of rosters including some new things that the community hasn’t seen done before,” he said. “The team hopes to continue the partnership they started with Sony through this season and into next season’s launch of the next generation and beyond.”