by Timothy Geigner

Filed Under:
baseball, cheating, mlb2k12, perfect game

2k sports

2K Sports Botches Their Perfect Game $1 Million Contest

from the it's-just-so-baseball dept

Ah, baseball. The national pasttime (for every month the NFL isn't playing) is rife with the most wonderful of traditions: Fenway's Green Monster, cheating, Wrigley's ivy, cheating, the divisional rivalries, cheating, the evil empire Yankees, and, of course, cheating.

Yes, it seems that for as long as baseball has been in existence, scandal has followed in its wake. We're finally beginning to emerge from the steroids era, but those of us that love the game are also familiar with the spitballs, corked bats, stolen signs, Pete Rose, and the 1919 Chicago Black Sox scandal. And so it's perhaps with little surprise and a shrug of the shoulders that we receive news from Deadspin that at least one of this year's $1 Million dollar candidates of 2K Sports' MLB2K12 Perfect Game Challenge rigged things in his favor. And there may be more.

For those of you not familiar with the game or the promotion, for the past several years, 2K Sports has paid out $1 Million to the winner of their Perfect Game Challenge. If you can manage to pitch a perfect game against the computer opponent (no hits, walks, or errors in a complete game shutout), you're entered into their bracket to play against the other perfectos, culminating in a championship being awarded on Spike TV. It's a big deal, especially for a game franchise that basically has this contest going for it and nothing else. But, as Deadspin's Owen Good notes, there's a problem:
"Two days ago, I reported on an exploit within MLB 2K12's $1 Million Perfect Game Challenge, in which contestants in the qualifying round of the contest could substitute opposing batters before the game began and still throw an eligible perfect game. I reported very strong evidence indicating that one of the eight finalists 2K Sports is flying to New York this week used the exploit in pitching his perfect game. And that same person has said he believed others in the finalist pool used it too."
That player was William Haff, who insists that his perfect game is legitimate. Ah, it's so simple! Just sub out every good hitter on the other team before the game starts! Face nothing but .200 hitters and we're in the clear.

In the end, I don't know that I can put the blame for this on Haff or any of the other finalists who may have also used this exploit. The blame belongs on the game developers and the ones running the contest. The very idea that 2K Sports would have allowed this in their famous (now infamous?) contest surely caused the kind of stunned embarassement that would result in a heartfelt mea culpa, right? Especially since there was something like 900 other players that threw perfect games, most of which likely were far more legitimate than Haff's substitution-filled no-no. According to 2K Sports...not so much.
"The contest was run properly," 2K Sports said. "We look forward to awarding someone a million dollars on May 10 in New York."
In the end, I'll feel a bit bad for the honest gamers who threw a perfecto and won't get the chance at the money because of dubious actions such as those of William Haff. But mostly I'll chuckle at the fact that 2K Sports' game at least got one part of their baseball simulation correct: cheating. Haff used the exploit that 2K Sports allowed for and explained it away by pointing out there's no rule against it in the contest...much the same way as Jose Canseco could explain his steroid use in the 90's by saying Major League Baseball had no rules against it. And technically, both of them are right.

But they're also both wrong. 

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  1. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 14 May 2012 @ 9:50am

    He played to win

    As lame as exploiting something like this is, he completed the task within the confines of the rules and reaped the rewards. While it seems scummy, he didn't break the rules. If you want to win, you have to play to win, and that means using every inch given to you by the rules and regulations. It would be unfair to strip him of his standing due to a rule change. Look at Chapparal in the old Can-Am racing league's crazy cars like the 2J, that let them corner at insane speeds, or Mazda's 787b Le Mans entry. Or tire warmers in current Le Mans competition. If you want to win you play to win, and anything not against the rules is fair game.

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