In case you hadn’t heard, a man named Wade McGilberry recently won $1,000,000 for being the first person to pitch a verified perfect game in Major League Baseball 2K10. Since the announcement was made yesterday, Wade, a 24-year-old 401K record keeper, and his accountant wife Katy have been on a whirlwind press tour, a tour that included a brief over-the-phone stop with me.
G4: You just won a $1,000,000 playing a video game. How is that treating you?
Wade McGilberry: We’re enjoying it. Trying to take it all in.
G4: Are you big baseball game fan? Did you play a bunch of games beforehand to prepare?
WM: Before all of this, I wasn’t really into baseball games so much lately. I’ve just been playing mainly shooter games [i.e. Halo]. About two weeks before the contest, I saw on Xbox Live an advertisement for the game that said “Be the first to pitch a verified perfect game on MLB 2K10, and win $1 million." And I thought that was pretty interesting. So I went to my wife and said, “Hey, can I go get this game?” and she said, “Yeah.” She was very supportive about it.
G4: So take us through the perfect game run. How did that day play out?
WM: I did it as soon as I got home from work that day. I put it in immediately, and started playing it. It took me several tries, and then on the seventh try, is when I actually did it. Overall, it took me about an hour and a half to do it. It was crazy, because I was thinking, “That was too easy.”
G4: One of the contest rules was that you had to use the game’s MLB Today mode, which lets you play the actual MLB games being played that specific day. What games were available on the day you pulled off the perfect game?
WM: On March 2 [the first day of the contest], the only game that was playing was the New York Mets versus the Atlanta Braves, and I chose the Braves because they were my local team.
G4: Who was the pitcher that day?
WM: Kenshin Kawamaki.
Katy McGilberry: Kawakami.
WM: Kawakami. Sorry.
G4: So take us through the game. At what point did you start to feel like the perfect game could actually happen?
WM: Right after the sixth inning. When I started the seventh inning, I start thinking, “I just have to get through the lineup one more time. I was coming really close to doing it. If I get through seven, then it’s just two more, and then just one more inning. I didn’t want to be counting down in my head, but I knew I was getting close.
G4: Where there any close calls during the game that could have ended the perfect game?
WM: There were several throughout the game. It actually started out with the first batter I faced. He hit the ball right back up the middle, and hit my pitcher, and my shortstop was able to run up and get it just in time to throw out the runner. And I thought, “That’s got to be something special. Maybe this will be it.” It got really intense in the eight inning, because I got two flyball outs that I have no idea how my outfielders got to them. One of them went all the way to the warning track, and I thought that one was going to be out, but it was very close.
G4: What was the closest you had come to the perfect game in previous attempts?
WM: I never got past the sixth inning. I only made it like the fifth or sixth inning every time.
G4: So the final out is made. 27 up, 27 down. What was your reaction?
WM: I gave out a shout of joy, and that was about it. I’m a pretty low key person, so that was a lot.
G4: So you pitch the perfect game on March 2, submitted the recorded footage to 2K, and then how long did you have to wait to find out you had actually won the contest?
WM: We found out on Sunday [May 2].
WM: Oh, Monday. Right. On Sunday, I got a call that they actually had to come check my Xbox. They were checking the other finalists to make sure the Xboxes weren’t hacked or modified in any way, that it was truly legitimate; and they were flying out to each person. Monday rolls around, and I hear the doorbell after work, and I go and answer the door, and there’s a camera out there, and there’s this giant check out there.
G4: We love giant novelty checks!
WM: I’ve always wanted one.
G4: Us too. [sigh] So totally original question: What are your plans for the money? I mean, after you’ve handed over the finder’s fee to your supportive wife who allowed this whole thing to happen.
WM: [Laughs] Yeah. Besides that, I think we’re going to pay our mortgage off. We don’t really have any big plans. We always talked about starting a family, and I think this will give us the financial ability to support children.
G4: Plus you’ll have a great story for them when they ask where the money came from. Of course, now it kind of makes it difficult to tell them that they should stop playing those darn Nintendos.
KM: We can try. [Laugh]
G4: So what was your reaction when you found out that Wade had actually won the contest?
KM: Well, Wade gets off work a little before me, so I was coming home a little later, and they had already surprised Wade with when I showed up. And I pulled into my driveway to find a bunch of strange people in my yard carrying this huge giant check, and there’s a camera crew. And I was on the phone making dinner plans for the next day. Wound up having to cancel them. I was just like, “Oh my gosh!” I knew there was a possibility, because they had said they were checking the Xbox, so I thought that Wade must have been kind of close, because he did do it on the first day, but I didn’t think he had actually done it.
G4: So now I guess it will be kind of hard to tell Wade he can’t buy a particular game should the mood strike him. This has kind of set a gaming precedent, no?
KM: Within reason. I didn’t lose my sanity just because of this. [Laughs]
G4: Fair enough. Well, congratulations again, Wade, and good luck to you both.
WM and KM: Thanks!