Photos: MLB 12 The Show Launch Party With José Bautista

By Paul Hunter

Boston Red Sox first baseman, Adrian Gonzalez? Let the MLB 12 The Show fans to the south have him. For us living up here in Canada, we're treated to a separate cover athlete -- the extraordinary Toronto Blue Jays hitter, José Bautista -- marking the first time that Canada has received an exclusive cover athlete for the hit PlayStation baseball franchise.

To celebrate the launch of the latest entry in this hit baseball franchise, PlayStation Canada hosted an event featuring the star athlete himself. At the event, media were invited to participate in a Home Run Derby challenge using a PlayStation Move controller, with the winner going head-to-head with Bautista. Check out a pair of photos from the Home Run Derby event:

José Bautista preparing to hit a home run with a PlayStation Move controller

The swing-through homer

Bautista's career has been nothing short of remarkable, especially since his breakout season in 2010, having hit a major league leading 54 home runs and again leading the league with 43 home runs in 2011. Last year, Bautista was the second runner-up for the 2011 American League (AL) Most Valuable Player (MVP) Award, and for the second year in a row won the prestigious 2011 Hank Aaron Award as the most outstanding offensive performer in the AL.

In his 2010 season, Bautista set a Blue Jays record for the most home runs in a season with 54, surpassing slugger George Bell who hit 47 homers in 1987.

“Being named the cover athlete for the Canadian edition of MLB 12 The Show is an exciting honour for me,” said José Bautista. “This is hands-down the best baseball game out there, which makes my inclusion as both cover athlete and an ambassador a very special one.”

The MLBThe Show series has been home to an elite cast of cover athletes and spokespersons representing the franchise, including Minnesota Twins catcher and 2009 AL MVP Joe Mauer, Red Sox second baseman and 2008 AL MVP Dustin Pedroia, Philadelphia Phillies first baseman Ryan Howard, and New York Mets third baseman David Wright.

This year marks the first year the MLB The Show series lands on Sony's new portable device, the PS Vita, and also the first year that the series isn't appearing on the PSP. MLB The Show 12 is also available on PlayStation 3.

During the launch event, Sony surprised Bautista with a custom-built PS3 system, featuring a wood casing with his trademark signature engraved on the top. Have a look:

PlayStation Canada gave José Bautista a custom-built PS3

Closer look at the José Bautista PS3

As a plus for Blue Jays fans, MLB 12 The Show will showcase the Blue Jays’ brand new 2012 uniforms.

MLB 12 The Show is available now for PS3 and PS Vita.

[This article originally appeared on the Future Shop Tech Blog]