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Andrew McCutchen joins 'The Show' vote

Fans can vote for Pirates outfielder Andrew McCutchen to be on the "MLB 13: The Show" cover. Courtesy of Sony

Sony is breaking out the big bats for its “MLB 13: The Show” cover vote.

NL Rookie of the Year Bryce Harper announced his candidacy last week, and this week, you can officially add All-Star center fielder Andrew McCutchen to the talented list of nominees.

To McCutchen, who grew up gaming back on the original NES with classics like “Super Mario Bros.,” appearing on the cover of a video game is something he never even imagined might happen to him one day.

“I used to love ‘Zelda’ with the gold case,” McCutchen said. “I was always a big gamer, that’s why it would be so fun to be on the cover of a game like ‘The Show.’ The game is super realistic. I was just playing the Home Run Derby, and I think it’s the coolest thing. I’m playing as myself, and I just finished my part of the competition, and then Pablo Sandoval, Joey Votto and Dan Uggla come up to my character in the game and they’re hitting me on the back and putting their hands on my shoulders and complimenting me. Little things like that just add so much realism. To me, it’s the little things. It’s the detail in these animations that mean all the difference to me.

“And the way they have all the individual animations down is incredible. I can tell by the animations who is out there on the field, whether it’s myself or a teammate or an opponent, so it’s pretty cool.”

These days, whether he’s playing games such as “Madden” at home, or an old-school classic such as “RBI Baseball” on the road, McCutchen still finds time to unleash his stick skills.

“I got the Xbox and PS3 setup in my room with a big TV and surround sound. I’ve got my little gamer chair, I’ve got my headphones, I’ve got it all. It’s a pretty cool setup for when I’m playing,” McCutchen says about his gaming habits. “The majority of our team plays video games. We have PlayStation Vitas and we take them on the plane and play against each other. We get on that plane, and we do so much traveling, that we need something to do. We’re playing video games all the time. A lot of guys play ‘RBI Baseball’ on their laptops, and they hook up their controllers and are playing that game all the time. I’m not the best. James McDonald and Pedro Alvarez are really competitive when it comes to video games, and if you ever beat them, they will want to play you again until they beat you.”

As for McCutchen’s favorite “RBI” team, he goes with the Bash Brothers from Oakland.

“I used to love that team,” he says. “Rickey Henderson is in there stealing bases. That’s my team.”

These days, when McCutchen comes to bat in “MLB: The Show,” he’s trying to right the wrongs of past at-bats, as he says one pitcher in particular gives him so many problems in real life, he can’t wait to hit against him in the new game.

“R.A. Dickey is probably one of the hardest pitchers to face in baseball,” McCutchen explains. “He throws that knuckleball, and nobody else throws it anymore, so he’s had my number. He’s in the American League now, so I won’t have to face him so much, so that’s good. Hopefully I can get a few hits off him in the game because I haven’t had too many hits off him in my actual baseball career.”

And while McCutchen thinks “The Show” is the most realistic baseball video game he’s ever seen, he can’t wait to see what baseball games are going to be like in the near future.

Says McCutchen: “I feel like they’ll be using us in the video game in the future. It’s not even animations anymore, they’re going to be controlling people that will look so true to life, it’ll be crazy.”

Until then, the Pirates star says a vote for him to appear on the cover of “MLB 13: The Show” is like a vote to fulfill a lifelong dream.

“The Pirates are an up-and-coming team and we’re a team that’s going to change baseball, so I know all of the Pittsburgh fans will be behind me,” he says. “It would mean so much. I didn’t think I’d ever have the opportunity to be on the cover of this game, so now that I’m in the competition, it’s just such a huge honor. If I actually win and see my cover in stores, see my face on the box, that would just be amazing to me. It’s something I can’t even explain. It’s like when I see my face in a magazine, I still get such a kick out of it. So to be on the cover of a game, that would definitely be crazy.

“You never know what will happen with a fan vote. Anything is possible. I think I have a good chance to win it, but even if I don’t, I’m honored to be one of the finalists.”

The “MLB 13: The Show” cover vote begins Jan. 7 through Sony’s social media channels, with the winner being announced Jan. 11.