Ryan Howard star of The Show

Philadelphia Phillies slugger named as cover athlete for Sony's annualized MLB franchise, coming to the PS3, PS2, PSP in spring 2008.

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One of the primary tweaks Sony made to its annualized MLB: The Show baseball franchise last year was to the game's pitching mechanics. That's good, because pitchers will need to be on the top of their game to counter Philadelphia Phillies' all-star slugger Ryan Howard, named today as the cover athlete for MLB 08: The Show.

Ryan Howard knows a thing or two about this pose.
Ryan Howard knows a thing or two about this pose.

Howard finished the 2007 season with 47 home runs, 136 runs batted in, and a hitting average of .268. Howard's performance helped him set the record for fastest player to reach 100 home runs. Ryan counts several other distinctions to his name, including being the second player to win the Rookie of the Year (2005) and Most Valuable Player (2006) awards in successive seasons.

MLB 08: The Show is expected to arrive for the PlayStation 3, PlayStation 2, and PlayStation Portable this spring. Sony's focus this season will be amping up authenticity, and as such the game maker will be including more than 3,000 individual player animations. Traditionally a hallmark of the series, the batting mechanics will also be revisited, with Sony implementing hot and cold streaks that affect a slugger's potential, among other updates.

Other features set to be included in the game are umpire personalities, adaptive pitching intelligence, and commentary from Rex Huddler, Matt Vasgerian, and Dave Campbell. Online play will also return this season, with league play for up to 30 teams, an MLB score ticker, and the new SCOUT feature, which lets players store their online preferences and set up a quick-match option that searches for players with similar partialities.

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