Bautista glad fans aren't too rowdy in 'MLB 12: The Show'

Canadian cover for

Canadian cover for "MLB 12: The Show" with Jose Bautista. (HO)

Steve Tilley, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 3:23 PM ET

The pitching has been refined, the batting physics have been improved and the presentation is so slick you can almost smell the overpriced hotdogs wafting from the concessions.

But there's one thing missing from baseball's most realistic video game, MLB 12: The Show -- assclowns who sully the fun by swearing, fighting and running onto the field.

And that's a lack of authenticity that's OK with Toronto Blue Jays slugger Jose Bautista, the cover athlete for the Canadian version of the PlayStation-exclusive game.

"We enjoy the energy. We enjoy the guys that get rowdy and fired up about the game," Bautista said in an interview earlier this week, the day after the Jays' home opener against the Boston Red Sox was disrupted by several beer-fuelled fights in the stands, including an extended tussle during the fifth inning.

"But there's got to be a line that's drawn. There's language to be not spoken within the stadium -- there's a lot of little kids that come out and watch the game.

"You can get worked up and you can get excited and you can heckle the opponent without getting into fistfights or causing any trouble," Bautista said, although he does understand that supporting your team means shouting down those chowdah-swilling Bosox fans who have dared to desecrate home field.

"That's the Toronto fan for you. There's a lot of passion out there, and people are going to have our backs all the time. That's nice to see. But again, no more fighting."

Yessir, Mr. Bats. With that out of the way, Bautista said it's a major thrill to be on a video game box, especially since this is the first time MLB: The Show has produced a separate game cover strictly for the Canadian market. (Boston's Adrian Gonzalez graces the cover of the U.S. version of the game.)

"When you're a little boy and you're a baseball fan and you like playing video games ... you can't help but picture your face on a video game cover one day," Bautista said.

But sitting with a controller in hand and guiding a virtual version of oneself onscreen does have its pitfalls.

"It puts a little pressure on me," Bautista said. "Every time I'm hitting with myself I try to do a little extra, and I end up not doing so well."

As down-to-earth as he is skilled with a bat, Bautista -- who led the majors in home runs the last two seasons -- was an obvious choice for the Canadian game cover, said PlayStation Canada director of marketing Matt Levitan.

Since the game's release in early March, sales of MLB 12: The Show in Canada have shot up 45% over last year's iteration of the game.

"The pre-orders were outstanding the moment we announced Jose as our cover athlete," Levitan said, adding he'd like to see a Blue Jays player featured on a Canadian-specific version of the game box each year.

Meanwhile, during his rare downtime between real-world games, practices and other obligations, Bautista said he'll keep playing the video game that bears his face, and hopes to try it with the PlayStation Move motion controller. Although given how hard he can swing a bat, that might be dangerous.

"They do have a strap (for the Move controller), so hopefully I don't ever let it go," he said.

"But it's happened in my house, that somebody threw a controller through the TV. Hopefully it doesn't happen again."


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