It was 6:30 in the morning when Miami Marlins star Jazz Chisholm Jr. got a life-changing call from his agent.
In professional sports, an early call from an agent isn’t normally a good thing. Did the Marlins sign someone to take his position? Was he getting traded? Thankfully, Chisholm’s agent ended the drama early. “You’re going to love this,” the call began.
That was the moment Chisholm found out he would be the cover athlete for MLB: The Show 23.
“When I say I was jumping up like a little kid,” Chisholm told Yahoo Sports. “Ecstatic. I couldn’t get the smile off my face. It felt like Christmas before Christmas. It was amazing.”
Gracing the cover of The Show is quite the honor. The video-game franchise has always used superstar-caliber players for its cover. Aaron Judge, Bryce Harper and last year’s cover athlete Shohei Ohtani are among the biggest names chosen to represent the game, which has sold millions upon millions of copies since its inception.
Chisholm is shaping up as a perfect choice to carry on that legacy. His on-field skills make him the epitome of a video game create-a-player. He's fast, he's got immense power and he likes to celebrate big plays. He also enjoys playing video games. Chisholm and his Marlins teammates fire up Call of Duty during their off time. Chisholm is a longtime fan of MLB: The Show, so being the cover athlete for the game is a big deal.
That accomplishment carries even more meaning for Chisholm, who is one of eight Bahamian players to reach the majors since 1957. He knows his MLB: The Show cover will have a huge impact on young ballplayers in his home country.
“I’m giving everybody the hope that they need to do whatever they want to do in the world,” Chisholm said. “I’m from the Bahamas, it’s a very small country and you rarely see it. This is the first time you’ll ever see a Bahamian on the front of a cover of a video game. So, I know everybody from the Bahamas knows now they can do anything after they see this.”
With the cover, Chisholm is also lifting the Marlins into the spotlight. He’ll be the first Marlins player to grace the cover of MLB: The Show in the United States. The 2017 version of the game featured Marlins pitcher Wei-Yin Chen as a regional cover in Taiwan.
That also carries meaning for Chisholm, who has spent half his life in Florida.
MLB: The Show 23 releases March 28. It is available on PlayStation 4, PlayStation 5, Nintendo Switch, Xbox One, and Xbox Series X|S. The game will also featured cross-platform play, so you can play with your friends no matter what version of the game they own. It also features cross saves and cross progression, so all of your save data will carry over if you own multiple versions of the game.
Jazz Chisholm looking to win a Gold Glove in center field
It's been quite the eventful offseason for Chisholm, who will turn 25 on Wednesday. In addition to landing the MLB: The Show cover, he'll also cover new ground on the field ... literally. Chisholm is making the switch from second base to center field in 2023.
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It's a drastic change, but one Chisholm believes he can handle. In fact, he was the one who came up with the idea. Chisholm asked if he could run down fly balls in the outfield as part of a conditioning drill. His trainer approved the idea and Chisholm felt so good doing it he decided to tell new Marlins manager Skip Schumaker a switch to center could work.
"I went to Skip like, 'Oh yeah, I can do this s***,'" Chisholm said.
The move freed up the Marlins to trade for infielder Luis Arraez and gives them positional flexibility with infielder Jean Segura — who the team signed in the offseason. Though Chisholm has never played the outfield in the majors, he has high hopes for himself. Chisholm's personal goal is to win a Gold Glove in center this season.
"I want to challenge myself to be the best defensive center fielder out there," Chisholm said. "I know I’m going to hit. So my goal isn’t to be the best hitting center fielder out there because I know I’m going to be amongst that. My goal is to be the best defensive center fielder out there."
After playing in just 60 games last season due to injuries, Chisholm is also looking to play 160 games in 2023. If he can do that, and the rest of the team stays healthy, Chisholm sees big improvements from the Marlins this season.
"If everybody stays healthy, we’re going to be a plus .500 team," he said.
It's a bold prediction considering the Marlins finished fourth in the NL East last season with a 69-93 record. If the Marlins turned things around that quickly, they would be one of the biggest surprise teams in baseball this year.
For Chisholm, "bold" is something that should be embraced. Everything about him — from his electric play style, to his willingness to take on a new position, to his on-field celebrations — requires a fearless attitude and has aided in Chisholm becoming one of the brightest young stars in the game.
If that philosophy also lands you on the cover of MLB: The Show, well, you're clearly doing something right.