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ChaseB's Blog
Still No MLB 2K11 Perfect Game? Stuck
Posted on April 15, 2011 at 05:53 PM.
I actually wrote this a while ago, but it seems more relevant now that there still is not a "confirmed" perfect game out in the wild -- there are videos surfacing of the perfect games being thrown, but there's no guarantee all requirements were met and so forth.

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The term "pick up and play" gets thrown around a lot, but if the MLB 2K11 Million Dollar Perfect Game Challenge at the MLB Fan Cave in New York taught me anything, it is that the phrase does not mean you automatically get to be good at a game. Sure, you might be able to throw a pitch or luck into a hit, but at the end of the day you're not going to be swimming in coins and cash like Scrooge McDuck.

As random New Yorker after random New Yorker flooded through the doors at the tear-jerking palace of baseball that is the MLB Fan Cave, they all suffered the same fate. New York University students, random pedestrians, out-of-towners, women, men, boys and girls all got dominated by MLB 2K11.


It might be hard to tell looking at the picture, but baseball heaven actually resides within those walls.

To put things in perspective, I think some stats are in order here. After all, we're talking about baseball here, and baseball has become synonymous with advanced statistics and amazing acronyms like FIP, BABIP, VORP and WAR.

But first and foremost, here were the parameters at the event. There were four MLB 2K11 stations where people could take a run at the perfect game. As soon as any blemish was recorded, the user had to give up the sticks and get back in line. The event ran from 1-5, but I was only there from 2-4.

With that in mind, here are some of my statistical findings.

Persistent Payoff (PP)

I'm creating my own advanced statistic here to quantify grit and perseverance. Four people tried their luck as many as three times, and only one improved. One user made it to the second inning with Madison Bumgarner on his third attempt, but the other three never improved or made it out of the first inning. My favorite persistent user was one middle-aged man who even had his girlfriend there for fan support while attempting the challenge all three times.

Ultimate Zone Rating (UZR)

UZR is a fielding statistic that tries to show how good or bad a fielder is depending on range as well as some other variables. Tampa Bay Rays shortstop Reid Brignac is a solid defensive shortstop in real life, but he received a negative UZR rating on this fateful day. One user had struck out the first two Orioles batters he faced with David Price, but unfortunately Reid Brignac fumbled a ball away in the hole after David Price induced a Derrek Lee groundout. The no-no was still intact, but perfection was lost.


It was sort of hard not to be distracted by the 15 HD television screens, but I somehow managed to avoid temptation.

Personally, my favorite negative UZR blunder of the day came via a Giants and Dodgers showdown. Matt Kemp hit a relatively shallow fly ball into left field, and that meant it was Pat Burrell time. Needless to say, his slow plodding trot ended with a pathetic dive attempt, and Madison Bumgarner's pursuit of perfection died along with it.

In general, fielding was certainly an obstruction during the event. In fact, defense in MLB 2K11 is the main reason Wade McGilberry, last year's winner of the Million Dollar Challenge, told me he thought it would take two and a half weeks before someone claimed the prize. Fielding was automatic in MLB 2K10, and the same just can't be said for this year's title.

Minutes Above Replacement (MAR)

As a slight tweak of Wins Above Replacement (WAR), I'm simply flipping the W upside down into a M to describe how many minutes users usually lasted during the challenge.

Around 60 people tested their luck during the two hours I roamed the Fan Cave. I came to that conclusion because, on average, it took seven minutes from the time the user sat down to the time the user lost the perfect game. With four stations and two hours included in the equation, that comes out to about 68 people.

However, 68 would be the baseline number had everyone lasted just seven minutes. I also had to factor in the three users who made it out of the second inning, so that number is probably closer to 60. In addition, being the home or away pitcher caused the baseline MAR time to fluctuate because some users had to hit before even getting to pitch.

Walk Rate (BB/9)

Hands down, walks were the area that led to the most laughs for this onlooker. Simply put, the walk rate was through the roof. My personal favorite moment of the day was when one user intentionally walked the first batter he faced. I'm sure it was accidental, but that does not mean I did not let out a little cackle of joy when it happened.


Spoiler warning: This gamer does not throw a perfect game.

Another user started off the game by throwing four wild pitches. The situation turned out to be even better because a 2K representative did not even notice right away and so this particular challenger just kept right on playing for another five minutes before someone finally caught on and sent her packing.

Walks, not hits, were the main culprit when people failed to get out of the first inning.

Shutdowns/Meltdowns (SD/MD)

This is a relatively new stat used to describe how effective or ineffective a reliever is beyond just saves, but here I am using it to describe reactions to losing perfect games.

There were no incredible meltdowns, but the aforementioned fella who tried his luck three times with his girlfriend in his corner lost his cool somewhat when he threw an errant ball to first and could not believe he had lost again. He did not immediately want to give up the sticks, but eventually frustration dwindled and gave way to sorrow as he moped away.

One other user was just disgusted with himself because he was a self-described god at MLB 2K10 but immediately lost his perfect game in the first inning in MLB 2K11. He immediately got back in line to try out one more time -- think of it like the equivalent of a "rage quit" that is popular in online gaming.

Win Probability Added (WPA)

If you want your win probability to increase, you probably want to have Wade McGilberry on your MLB 2K team. He told me he lost his perfect game in the fifth inning while using Halladay. For the record, had Wade thrown the perfect game, he would not have been eligible to win the contest again. Nevertheless, he went deeper into the game than any other.

WAR (Wins Above Replacement)

During the two hours I roamed around these stations, I only witnessed four people make it out of the first inning. Some of the pitchers who fell short of the perfect game included Madison Bumgarner, Ubaldo Jimenez, David Price, Josh Johnson, Jon Lester and Mike Pelfrey. Oddly enough, out of that group, Mike Pelfrey was the only one who made it to the second inning.


There should have been a scoreboard like this to keep track of the body count of people who came up short at the Million Dollar Challenge.

Roy Halladay was easily the most-used pitcher, and he was followed by Jon Lester. (I do find it at least a little bit odd that Lester got that much use in New York.) Halladay was also the pitcher that made it the farthest at this event. In addition to Wade's outing with Halladay, a 2K representative said he saw one person nearly make it all the way through the fourth inning with Halladay. Considering I never saw anyone make it through the second inning, that's an accomplishment.
Comments
# 1 waspman3 @ Apr 15
Been awhile since I've been on but wanted to comment about this game. I'm still a big fan of this game but have been kinda upset that it keeps locking up. Not sure if there's an eye inside of my Xbox 360 that needs cleaned because this shouldn't be happening. Have had some strong pitching with my Cardinals. Not sure if I'm going to have a perfect game or not. Chances aren't good.
 
# 2 Chavez21 @ Apr 17
Fun and interesting read, good job Chase
 
# 3 bradleyhutchison @ Apr 18
I'm in Canada, so I am not eligible for the contest. Still, I lost a perfect game yesterday in the 8th inning with Adam Wainwright against San Diego. Ended up completing the game with 11 strikeouts, 1 ER and no walks.
 
# 4 Kenny Halt @ May 2
hahahahaha their should be dynasty card on OS with thoose stats
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