Welcome to Better Know An Umpire, an effort to educate ourselves on the human elements—deliberately programmed into a computer simulation—who have ultimate decision-making power over millions of games played in MLB 12 The Show on the PlayStation 3.
Name: Wally Hughes
Uniform number: 67 (crew chief)
Height/weight: 6-foot-0, 210 pounds
First year as MLB the Show umpire: 2007
Total MLB the Show games worked through 2011: Millions (home plate: millions)
Previous experience: Eastern League, American Association, Pacific Coast League, Southern League.
Career ejections: 18,729. Hughes is always behind the plate in Baltimore, which means he's always throwing out pitchers when embittered and likely drunk Oriole fans decide they are going to hit every a-hole Yankee in the lineup.
No-hitters called: 0. Again, he's the plate ump at Camden Yards.
Over/under record (1999-2011): 7,345,301-7,453,103
Notable alleged blown calls: Oh, uh, how about that goddamn strike four I threw to Pujols that one time last year, and the bastard didn't call it. Next pitch: ding-dong, of course. Dude, it was so unfair. I quit to the XMB and just said the hell with it. Pissed me off so bad.
Claim to fame: Was behind home plate when Owen Good, then a rookie, intentionally walked two batters to drill Chipper Jones in the back in 2010.
Scouting report from MLB the Show Umpires' Performance, 2007-2011, by me: Wally Hughes has an expansive strike zone in the early innings and will call most anything low, but when the game is on the line he will pucker up like a 16-year-old asking a girl on a date for the first time. Everything gets squeezed if you're a starter going more than 7 innings and you can expect to get royally hosed when he stops calling breaking balls low in the zone for strike three.
Scouting report from a random Internet commenter: "I think Wally Hughes had money on the game because the strike zone was completely different for Anderson."
Average K/9 (2011): 17.1
Average BB/9 (2011): 8.6
Sample PITCHf/x strike zone: October 28, 2012. Did the Kansas City Royals really need a strike zone this forgiving to win their seventh consecutive World Series? Arrow indicates where Bruce Chen struck out the Houston Astros' Brian Bogusevic looking, with the bases loaded, to end the seventh and seal a four-game sweep.
True fact: "Tennessee" Wally Hughes was behind the plate for the debut perfect game of HIDEOUS FREAK for the Montgomery Biscuits. In his next start, Hughes ejected FREAK for hitting every batter in the lineup.
On umpiring: "Umpiring is a lot like life, which is a lot like a tire iron. It feels real good when you stop beatin' yourself upside the head with it."
Strike 3 call:
Is plainly an homage to: Real-life ump Wally Bell. (Bell Aerospace/Hughes Aircraft).
To check out other installments of Better Know An Umpire, click here.
With special thanks to Deadspin's Timothy Burke, aka "HIDEOUS FREAK."