As an avid player (for better or worse) of the RBI Baseball franchise, I've experienced the many ups and downs of the series since its 2014 reboot. But this year ... they got it right. There is no one better to represent the excitement of the game in 2021 than our very own Tim Anderson.
The series took a big step forward in 2020 in terms of gameplay as well as keeping the player abilities updated. During my mock 2020 Covid season campaign, Luis Robert started as one of the slower and least powerful players in baseball, but after a midseason update, he became lightning fast and was cranking homers left and right. In my faux campaign, Anderson hit .407 with 24 home runs and 68 RBIs in 60 games. Remarkable, you say? Not compared to Moncada’s .490/31 HR/84 RBI performance during my 56-4 run to a World Series championship.
While I don’t anticipate numbers QUITE like these in 2021, I think Tim will be a worthy cover man.
One thing to consider ... last year’s cover went to Christian Yelich, a no-brainer given his 2019 season. However, his post-cover season was ... well ... you know. Here’s hoping that TA7 can make RBI2021 as unYelich as possible.
Oh, and I anticipate a slew of new bat-flipping and smack-talking options as well. STICK TALK, Timmy style.
Here's part of what the White Sox had to say in their media release:
After helping to lead the Chicago White Sox into the Postseason in 2020, shortstop Tim Anderson has been selected as the cover athlete for R.B.I. Baseball 21, as announced by Major League Baseball today. Anderson is the first member of the Chicago White Sox to be featured on the cover of the popular baseball video game.
“Like a lot of kids, I grew up playing video games,” Anderson says. “When I couldn’t get outside to play ball or we had bad weather, that was a time to have fun with my friends and live out some fantasies. And it was always cool to see who was on the cover every year — those were guys I aspired to be. So now to see myself on the cover of R.B.I. 21 is really part of a dream come true. And I hope that kids will see my picture on the cover and realize they can do this, too. They just have to believe in themselves, follow their dreams and work at it.”
Anderson, the 2019 American League batting champion, finished the 2020 season among the AL leaders in several key offensive categories, including second in batting average (.322), tied for first in runs (45), fourth in hits (67), and 10th in total bases (110). The 27-year-old, who was selected by the White Sox in the first round of the 2013 draft, also won his first Silver Slugger award as the best offensive player at his position as voted upon by the league’s managers and coaches, while finishing seventh overall in the 2020 AL MVP voting.
In celebration of Anderson’s selection as the R.B.I. Baseball 21 cover athlete, Topps, the Exclusive Trading Card of MLB, is creating an exclusive run of Tim Anderson Foil Cards which are available only to fans who pre-order the game online at Target and Walmart. R.B.I. 21 is also available for pre-order from Gamestop and goes on sale nationwide March 16. Pre-order information can be found here.
This is the eighth installment of the R.B.I. Baseball franchise developed by Major League Baseball. The new edition continues its legacy of offering arcade baseball entertainment with an increasing array of new features and enhancements, many of at the request of the R.B.I. Baseball player community.
This year, R.B.I. Baseball 21 – as developed by the MLB Games & VR team – offers new in-demand features including:
*Play-by-play commentary by MLB Network’s Fran Charles;
*Create-a-player mode in which a player builds the ultimate five-tool player;
*Individual Statcast data for every pitcher, modeling his real-life form and pitches, such as Dustin May’s sinker and Sixto Sanchez’ changeup;
*Progressive time of day scenarios, presenting realistic environmental factors, such as afternoon games transitioning to twilight and evening play;
*Increased customization options ranging from batting controls to camera angles;
*For Nintendo Switch players, R.B.I. Baseball 21 now features online play to match up head-to-head.
Anderson joins an All-Star roster of R.B.I. Baseball cover athletes since 2015, including Mookie Betts, Alex Bregman, Vladimir Guerrero Jr., Francisco Lindor, Anthony Rizzo, Corey Seager and last year’s cover athlete Christian Yelich.