MASHANTUCKET, Conn. -- The dazzling athleticism of rising Red Sox star Mookie Betts has landed the outfielder an impressive honor at the age of 23 -- getting to be the cover athlete for the legendary video game franchise R.B.I. Baseball 16.
The announcement was made at the Red Sox Winter Weekend event at Foxwoods Resort and Casino on Saturday morning in a room filled with hundreds of fans.
After being welcomed to the front of the room by Fenway Park public address announcer Henry Mahegan, Betts displayed the rendering of the video-game cover to the audience. The cover has Betts making a diving catch.
"It's an honor and a blessing to be part of R.B.I. Baseball," said Betts, as fans cheered, "Mook."
It is a fitting honor for Betts, who often resembles a video game with some of the jaw-dropping highlights he displays on offense, defense and on the bases.
"You see all the greats, people who were idols of mine growing up," Betts said. "You see those guys on the cover of video games. And now to be a part of that is a blessing."
Betts is the second youngest MLB video-game-cover athlete.
"I had to take a step back because I don't really realize the magnitude of it," Betts said. "I think it's a pretty cool thing, and it's a blessing to be a part of the game and to be on the cover, as well."
Fans who attended Winter Weekend were given an opportunity on Saturday to play a demo of R.B.I. 16.
The game will debut this spring for smartphones, tablets, next-generation consoles and PC/MAC via Steam. It is the third edition of the game developed by MLBAM.
The new edition of the game has many new features, including a rebuilt defensive artificial intelligence system, giving users more control than ever to make the play.
Among the new fielding capabilities are dives, wall catches and even fake throws.
An improved batting engine will feature variable perfect timing, based on live-game factors such as the pitch location and swing timing.
Pitchers will play more to their individual strengths than in previous versions of R.B.I. For example, a pitcher whose repertoire features a wide range of velocities will see his pitches change speeds more frequently.
This year's game will look snazzier, too, as all 30 MLB ballparks will feature a new lighting system based on actual geographic locations, field views and additional high-resolution realistic design elements.
For the third consecutive year, the game will be available for $19.99 on the next-generation consoles and $4.99 on smartphones and tablets. Complete details and launch dates for each platform will be announced at a later date.