MVP Baseball is a baseball game series published by EA Sports. In 2003, it became the official successor to EA's long-running Triple Play Baseball; however, it bore little more than a graphical similarity to that series, which had been much maligned in its final years.
Until 2005, the game featured all players in the Major League Baseball Players Association (MLBPA), as well as fictionalized counterparts for players who are not in the union, such as Jon Dowd in place of Barry Bonds. Some other players who are not members of the MLBPA were omitted completely. For example Kevin Millar, who is also not a member of the MLBPA, was omitted completely from the 2004 edition, with David Ortiz leaving his real-life DH spot and filling at first base for the Red Sox. In MVP Baseball 2005, he was replaced by the fictional Anthony Friese.
MVP Baseball 2004 featured a unique addition to any baseball game, allowing users to play as the Minor League affiliations of Major League teams, a feature that was expanded in the following year. Various editions of the game have featured Randy Johnson, Miguel Tejada, Albert Pujols, and Manny Ramírez on its cover. Of those four, Tejada and Pujols have won Most Valuable Player (MVP) awards during their careers, and the other two have been named MVPs of the World series. Randy Johnson has also won the Cy Young Award five times.
In 2005, in response to EA Sports' exclusive license with the National Football League and ESPN, Take-Two Interactive signed an exclusive third-party licensing contract with Major League Baseball (MLB), MLBPA and MLBAM to produce MLB games. The agreement, which runs from Spring 2006 to 2012, allows for the console manufacturers Sony, Microsoft, and Nintendo to produce MLB titles for their respective platforms, but bars third party developers such as EA Sports from continuing or developing their own MLB games. As a result, the MVP Baseball series featured college baseball, with MVP 06 NCAA Baseball having been released in late January 2006, and MVP 07: NCAA Baseball in February 2007. However, the college baseball game did not fare well, and was not produced after 2007.
Upon its release in 2003, one of the game's most inventive aspects was its pitch/throw meter. Until then, most baseball games' pitching schemes required players simply to press the button corresponding to the pitch they wanted to throw, and hold the button down for a certain length of time to determine how hard the pitch was thrown. In MVP Baseball, the player first holds down the pitch button (or throw button) to judge the power; once the desired power level is attained, the player must release the button and attempt to tap the same button within a target area. The closer the player gets to the target area, the more accurate the pitch or throw will be. While innovative within the field of baseball games, EA in fact adapted this feature from golf games, which often feature a moving meter to determine the power and accuracy of shots (ironically, golf games largely abandoned shot meters around the time that MVP Baseball introduced it).
As well as the meter, the way of hitting changed slightly to aid hitters. A strike zone, divided into 9 rectangles, had each rectangle showing a certain color. Red, white, and blue. The colors represented how well each hitter hit a pitch thrown in that specific area. Red represented they hit it very well (hot), white represented they hit it average (normal), and blue represented they hit it very badly (cold), but not always the case!
Like all recent EA Sports games, the soundtrack to each MVP Baseball title contains licensed songs, called EA Trax. The MVP Baseball series typically featured alternative rock, ranging from mainstream artists like Sum 41 to indie acts like stellastarr*. The games featured several minor hits before they became popular such as "C'mon C'mon" by The Von Bondies which is also used as the theme song for the TV show Rescue Me.
Despite the fact that MVP Baseball 2005 was the last official MLB release from EA Sports, a very active modding community exists for the PC version of the game. Modders have added much to the game, including roster updates, uniforms, players, and stadiums, as well as total mod conversions for foreign and classic teams at MVPMods  and EAMods .