- "MLB2K13" Perfect Game Challenge offers prizes for more winners this year
- Cover athlete, Tampa pitcher David Price, says he'll throw in a bonus if player uses him
- Price: Being on game's cover is a "thrilling feeling"
- "MLB2K13" is available now; the Perfect Game Challenge starts April 1
The chirp of a robin, the crack of the bat, the thump of a ball smacking a glove. These are the sounds of spring and the beginning of baseball season. In the video game world, that means another Perfect Game Challenge for players of "MLB2K13."
In a perfect game, the pitcher doesn't allow a single runner on base via hit, walk or other means. There have only been 23 in the history of Major League Baseball, including three last year by Philip Humber (Chicago White Sox), Matt Cain (San Francisco Giants), and Felix Hernandez (Seattle Mariners).
This year's contest is a bit different. Instead of everyone just competing to register the first perfect game, the contest is initially split among the MLB's 30 teams, with the best pitcher on each team winning $25,000.There is no limit on the number of team prizes a player could potentially win.
The perfect game scores from all players are tabulated and the top four scores will play head-to-head in a sudden death tournament for a top prize of $250,000. The challenge starts April 1 to coincide with opening day for Major League Baseball.
Cy Young award-winner and Tampa Bay Rays pitcher David Price graces the box of this year's game. While Price has never thrown a perfect game (not even in video games, he says), he was honored to be portrayed by 2K Games as its cover boy. He talked with CNN about what the recognition means to him, how tough it is to throw a perfect game, and whom he would take if he played in the challenge.
How does it feel to be on the cover?
"It's a thrilling feeling. I turned my Xbox on and my face was on there. It's awesome. I dreamed about being a Major League Baseball player and that was good enough for me. It still is. But being a part of this, it's a dream come true really. I never envisioned myself being on a video game cover. Being in one was cool enough for me. Being on the cover of 'MLB2K13' is really tough to put into words."
How tough is it to throw a perfect game?
"It is easier to throw a no-hitter because you can hit somebody, somebody can make an error, you can walk somebody, anything can happen to ruin it. It is definitely easier to throw a no-hitter than a perfect game. Whenever you talk about a perfect game, there are a lot of things that have to go your way. It just kind of happens. When it does, sometimes you don't really understand what's going on or even know you have a perfect game going."
Whom would you use to throw a perfect game in "MLB2K13" (excluding yourself)?
"I would go with Justin Verlander with the type of pitcher he is. He's obviously shown everybody he can do it, the way he pitches. A great pitcher. I'm sure he has a great rating in the game. I would go with Justin. R.A. Dickey, the way he threw the ball last year, absolutely. Toronto is going to be pretty good. Brett Lawrie at third, Jose Reyes at shortstop, they have a very good defense. I would go with R.A. Dickey. That knuckleball is so hard to hit."
Is a perfect game more of a team recognition than a pitcher accomplishment?
"The defense really has to be there to throw a perfect game. It is more than just defense. You have to have a good line on the way that you're pitching. I've heard guys talk about that all the time, the older guys. There will never be another 300-game winner because the strike zone is so much smaller than what it used to be and it is just harder to go out and win games like it used to be. (There are) a lot of things to take into effect when you talk about a perfect game."
If someone wins the Perfect Game Challenge using you as the pitcher, what will that mean to you?
"That would mean a lot. I'm sure I'll give them my own little gift package outside of the money. It probably won't mean as much to them as getting all that money. (laughs) I'll give them something out of my personal collection as appreciation for them using me for the Perfect Game Challenge."
Even if they are a Yankees fan?
"Absolutely! I like all fans. I still am a fan of baseball and fans of baseball."
"MLB2K13" is available now on the PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360, and players can practice during spring training in advance of the challenge's start. There are some rules, so go to WWW.2KSPORTS.COM/PERFECTGAME to find out how to qualify.