Eric Hosmer was able to get hands-on with Sony’s new PlayStation 4 and PlayStation 3 game, MLB The Show 16, during Spring Training. With Opening Day upon us, and the Royals set on defending its title, we caught up with the slugger to talk video games, baseball, and eSports in this exclusive interview.
CraveOnline: What’s a favorite video game memory from growing up that you can share with us?
Eric Hosmer: My favorite video game I remember growing up was Ken Griffey Jr. Baseball. He was my favorite player growing up. Being a left-handed hitter, that’s who I wanted to model my swing after. Any time he was in a video game, you got to see his stance and how everything was, and you got to control him. That made you feel like you were that player that day, and that’s the coolest experience you can have as a young gamer.
What are your thoughts about how far games have come today for this generation of gamers?
The coolest thing about today’s game experiences — not only for kids playing the game, but for someone a little older that still like enjoys video games — is that they give you the actual grind and what it takes for guys to make it to the Big Leagues. A lot of people don’t realize the process of getting drafted and trying to get scouted and becoming a minor leaguer, and then trying to work your way throughout the system, and the different stuff that comes along in sacrificing those times in the minor leagues. And then in the Big Leagues you can enjoy different merchandise and apparel deals. That’s the coolest thing about The Show, introducing you to the grind that every player has to make and sacrifice to make it to the Big Leagues.
How big a gamer were you growing up?
I was a huge gamer growing up. One of the thrills was being able to create a player and get to see my name on the back of a jersey and putting on a Big League uniform. That’s the coolest thing when you’re in a Big League uniform and you’re playing next to some of your favorite players, or competing against some of them. That’s really the coolest experience that you can have as a kid in a video game.
At this point are you used to seeing yourself in a video game?
It’s something that’s hard to get used to. Even everything that’s happened throughout my baseball career, and especially last year winning the World Series — you continue to see the highlights and all the clips on TV or social media — and it’s just something that doesn’t really sink in too much. But getting to look at your player, and especially nowadays with how good the graphics are and how spot-on they are as having the neon grip that I use on my back, it’s unbelievable when you get to see your character and you realize how identical the uniforms from throwing sleeves to batting grips are just spot-on with what you do during an actual game.
How has that World Series win impacted your video game character’s player stats?
It’s definitely helped my clutch attributes. Last year in the playoffs I was fortunate to have a lot of big hits, a lot of big runs driven in, and that’s one of the best attributes that I have is my clutch factor. I believe it’s in the 89 range, coming off a world championship. One of the coolest attributes you can have is being known as a clutch player. When the game is on the line and they need you, you’re a guy that they count on.
One of the things that stood out from the World Series is that clutch play you made with the dash to home plate in the ninth inning of Game 5, down 2-0. What type of “aggressive moves” are available in this video game that you would recommend people to play with or try out?
There’s actually a new ShowTime feature that basically gives the player the ability to slow down time with any big play that’s happening. That’s something that when I think back on that play that always goes through my mind. Right as David (Wright) looked towards first to make the throw to the base, everything just stopped and slowed down for me. I just decided from that point on that I was going to take a chance and see what happened. And that specific moment definitely compares to the ShowTime feature that’s brand new in The Show16 this year.
What are your thoughts on the rise of eSports and the fact that kids can make a living playing PlayStation 4 games like Call of Duty?
It’s unbelievable. It just gives kids a motivation throughout these days that they can make it in something that they’re talented in. There’s kids out there that the strategy that they create, and what they do in these video games is truly unbelievable. What they do — and just to see video games come this far and be as competitive as they are nowadays — it makes it fun for people to watch. And it makes it fun for people like me who was a big time gamer when I was a kid, and doesn’t have the ability to play as much as I used to, to go and watch and even learn these games quicker just by seeing how these people play these games.
What advice would you give to someone who is going to pick up MLB The Show 16 and play as the Royals?
The first thing I would advise is that you would play as the Royals. And the second thing that I advise them is definitely play in Kauffman Stadium because with the new improvements in the game — especially with the crowd emotions that go into it — everyone saw how tough it was to play in the post season and how much of an advantage we felt we had playing there. So make it a home game.
What if they’re playing as you in the game?
I would advise them to point the analog stick up and to the right and try and get something high that you can hopefully fly out of Kauffman Stadium. It’s a big stadium in the gaps in center field, so you got to try and lead through one of the corners there. That’s the easiest way to sneak a home run in there.