Another year of Beat the Streak has come and gone without anyone claiming the grand prize by breaking Joe DiMaggio's Major League-record 56-game hitting streak.Dozens of players have compiled streaks numbering into the 40s since the contest began 16 years ago, but no one has ever reached 57 successful picks
Another year of Beat the Streak has come and gone without anyone claiming the grand prize by breaking Joe DiMaggio's Major League-record 56-game hitting streak.
Dozens of players have compiled streaks numbering into the 40s since the contest began 16 years ago, but no one has ever reached 57 successful picks in a row -- the requisite number to take the $5.6 million grand prize. In fact, no player has even hit the 50-mark in BTS history.
Nonetheless, 2016 turned out to be a historic season in BTS game play. And Terry Sims was the participant at the center of it all.
Sims, a 63-year-old resident of Arizona, is the official Beat the Streak high-score winner thanks to his 49-game streak, which came to a close in late June. Sims' run of 49 tied Mike Karatzia's 2007 record for the longest run in contest history and earned him a cool $10,000 for posting 2016's best streak.
Sims was just eight picks shy of becoming the first to win the grand prize when a fluke injury brought his run to an abrupt end on June 26. His pick that day -- Rockies second baseman DJ LeMahieu, who went on to capture the 2016 National League batting title with a .348 average -- was 0-for-1 with two walks before exiting the game in the sixth inning with a left knee contusion.
"Feels great to be the top prize winner this year," Sims said. "I was one scraped knee away from 50 and from there, who knows?
"No secret it takes a lot of luck to get to 49."
Sims isn't the first BTS player to see a long streak snapped due to bad luck. In 2008, Bob Paradise had his 48-game streak end when his pick for the day, Ichiro Suzuki, was hit by a pitch during his final at-bat of the game. In 2007, a user who never revealed his or her real name lost a streak of 44 games when Derek Jeter didn't start and got one pinch-hit at-bat in the game.
"I actually feel terrible for him," Karatzia told MLB.com when Sims' streak came to an end. "[$5.6 million] is a lot of money and to lose your streak on an injury is a tough pill to swallow. I know what he's feeling now, going so far and not beating the streak. It's a pretty bad day, the day you get knocked out."
Sims' $10,000 prize will make for a nice consolation, however, as will the millions of other prizes handed out by the BTS game-makers this year to players with streaks as small as five. And while BTS will enter its 17th season with the grand prize still unclaimed, players have a host of features making it easier than ever to chase down Joltin' Joe's streak
For example, the "Double Down" feature allows players to advance streaks by two games in one day if both of their picks get a hit. But if one goes hitless, the streak ends.
Additionally, BTS research filters -- such as batting-order position, splits vs. right- or left-handed pitchers and cold opposing hurlers -- help in the decision-making process. Fans can also take days off between selections if the matchups aren't ideal.
If this season was any indication, BTS players are getting closer than ever to the mountaintop. Eighteen players notched streaks of at least 40 games in 2016, by far the most such streaks compiled in any season since Beat the Streak began in 2001.
Sims said he'll "most definitely" be back to play in 2017. For now, he has a couple ways in mind to spend his $10,000.
"I will probably use the money for some home improvement projects," Sims said. "Might send LeMahieu a knee pad or ace bandage."
Matt Kelly is a reporter for MLB.com based in New York. Follow him on Twitter at @mattkellyMLB.