While the actual MLB season has been delayed for months, baseball simulations have gained ground. Here on Twinkie Town, T.J. has been simming the season in Out of the Park, and both Twins Daily and The Athletic have hosted write-ups of simulations from their Minnesota staff.
But the effect is that of reading about the game in the newspaper: it’s great to follow the team, but it’s better to be able to watch.
With three weeks before the season starts, we can watch.
Austin Thune of Brooklyn Park has been simulating the Twins’ season in MLB: The Show 20, commentating each matchup on his Twitch channel as the computer plays it out. I’ve been watching for a little over a month, and each game is a blast to watch: not only is Thune’s announcing up to quality, enthusiastic and engaging without sounding like a game show host, he engages with the chat, talking about everything from the game to vacation plans to anecdotes about Manny Ramirez and fireworks.
Like T.J., Thune’s broadcasts have matched with the calendar, with a notable exception early in June when he broadcast several double- and tripleheaders in the week before his wedding and honeymoon. Since coming back, he’s been airing games like clockwork.
However, with the professional season scheduled to start, Thune has concluded the regular season early, playing through the All-Star Game (featuring Mitch Garver and Max Kepler in the starting lineup, and Jose Berrios and Trevor May out of the bullpen) on July 4 and simulating to the end of the regular season. He’s set the following schedule for the simulated playoffs:
- July 5-9: ALDS
- July 10-14: ALCS (if applicable)
- July 19-22 (or 23, depending on the season’s starting date): World Series (if applicable)
A few highlights from his broadcasts:
- Eddie Rosario walks off the A’s
- Jorge Polanco hits a two-run homer in the top of the 13th on Easter
- Kepler greets old friend Martin Perez with a bomba, and a fan makes a one-handed grab in the seats
- Thune predicts a shot off the bat of eventual Home Run Derby champion Miguel Sano
- May raids the stream and shows up in the chat
- Rosario goes yard on the final day of broadcast regular season action, bringing the Twins back ahead of Cleveland
Led by Luis Arraez’ league-leading .324 average and Mitch Garver’s second straight Silver Slugger, the sim-Twins won the AL Central with a 97-65 record, earning a trip to the ALDS to take on...
And the Yankees had a better record.
How else would it be.
Until actual games start, Thune’s MLB: The Show simulation may be the best option for watching MLB commentary. I’ll be catching as much as I can.