MLB The Show 23 got a big content update last week, and it generated a lot of conversation within the community. This content update included the regular Monthly Awards Program, and like the other ones so far this year it was pretty well received. However, the new Great Race of ’98 program was very controversial in the community.
Not So Great Race of ‘98
The newest Other Program celebrates the Home Run Race of 1998 between Mark McGwire and Sammy Sosa. This was one thing everybody was excited for when it was announced that the two would be added to MLB The Show 23. The Home Run Race of 1998 forever linked these two legends together. Many credit the excitement generated by the race with saving the sport in the late 90’s.
Sadly, this new program didn’t seem to live up to player’s expectations. The program is filled with 97 OVR players that had good seasons in 1998, including guys like Derek Jeter, Jeff Bagwell, and Pedro Martinez. While these new cards didn’t excite players, the main draw of the program are the two cards at the end of the program. These cards were 99 OVR Mark McGwire and Sammy Sosa.
Let’s start with the good card. The new 99 OVR Mark McGwire card is a great card. It is an improvement in almost every way over McGwire’s other 99 OVR card. However, the 99 OVR Sammy Sosa was incredibly disappointing. The card is a downgrade in every rating except one compared to Sosa’s other 99 OVR card. Which is weird considering Sosa’s other 99 OVR card is also based on his 1998 season. At the very least they could have given this new card the exact same ratings.
It seems like this program is for newer players that are picking up the mode up late and haven’t completed the Live Series collection to get the other McGwire and Sosa 99 OVR cards. This program gives those players a superior McGwire card and a passable Sosa card. It gives them versions to play with while still giving them reason to finish the Live Series collection. If this was all that was added with this program, it would be disappointing but understandable.
New Choice Pack
However, what really frustrated players were the cards available in the new Great Race of ’98 Choice Pack. This Choice Pack has a base and rare round. The rare round cards are the best cards added with this content update. This round includes 99 OVR versions of Carlos Delgado and Shawn Green. These cards are easily superior to the 99 OVR version of Sammy Sosa featured in the program.
This frustrated players, since Delgado and Green did not have nearly as good of a season in 1998 as Sosa did. Sammy Sosa’s 1998 season is one of the greatest offensive performances in baseball history. Fans criticized giving these players better cards and locking the cards behind packs. Some have even gone as far as to say the program is a slippery slope towards Diamond Dynasty becoming pay-to-win.
August Monthly Awards Program
Lost in the whirlwind reaction to the Great Race of 98 Program was the stellar August Monthly Awards Program. This newest Monthly Awards Program is slimmed down and streamlined, making it easier for players to complete in a timely manner.
The Lightning Player of the Month for August was Mariners CF Julio Rodriguez. Rodriguez has been super hot lately after a bit of a slow start to the 2023 season. In the month of August, Rodriguez hit .429 while blasting seven home runs and driving in 30 runs.
The 7th roster update was also a part of the latest content update. This update saw six players being upgraded to Diamond status. These six new Diamond players are:
- Mariners CF Julio Rodriguez (86 OVR)
- Mets SS Francisco Lindor (86 OVR)
- Diamondbacks 1B Christian Walker (86 OVR)
- Phillies 1B Bryce Harper (85 OVR)
- Brewers SP Brandon Woodruff (87 OVR)
- Rays SP Tyler Glasnow (85 OVR)