When Red Sox shortstop Xander Bogaerts came to the plate in the seventh inning Thursday, a 63-year-old fan in Arizona was rooting for him as hard as anybody at Fenway Park.Just as the Red Sox did, Terry Sims needed a base hit from Bogaerts, his chosen player for the day
When Red Sox shortstop Xander Bogaerts came to the plate in the seventh inning Thursday, a 63-year-old fan in Arizona was rooting for him as hard as anybody at Fenway Park.
Just as the Red Sox did, Terry Sims needed a base hit from Bogaerts, his chosen player for the day in Beat the Streak. Sure enough, Bogaerts came through with an infield single in what could have been his final at-bat of the game, later adding a walk-off single in the 10th to beat the White Sox.
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And with that, Sims is now tied for the longest streak of the season at 47 games, just two behind the all-time best and 10 picks away from the game's $5.6 million grand prize. To beat the streak, one must make 57 straight successful selections to surpass Joe DiMaggio's magical 56-game run from 1941.
With a little bit of skill and a touch of luck, the former D-backs season-ticket holder has accomplished something astounding.
"I am not your typical baseball nerd; can't recite stats like some guys can," Sims said.
"Had season tickets to the D-backs when we lived in Phoenix. Got to see them win a World Series in the seventh game. This [streak] feels similar."
If Sims pulls off a streak of 57, he'll have the late-game efforts of Bogaerts to thank for keeping the streak alive.
"This is crazy! Don't know how many thousands [of people have played] BTS this year, but to be on top is amazing," Sims said.
The infield single by Bogaerts was a bit of a close call -- White Sox third baseman Todd Frazier fielded his slow grounder near the bag, and the throw went wide as Bogaerts reached safely. Then Bogaerts made his second hit of the day really count, dropping a single into short center for the win in the 10th.
Sims went with Bogaerts for good reason, as the 23-year-old shortstop entered play with more hits than anyone in the game. Meanwhile, the starting pitcher he faced -- James Shields -- had allowed opponents to bat .485 from May 31-June 18.
Bogaerts did not come through against Shields, though, going 0-for-3 to open the matinee. Still, Bogaerts got the hit Sims needed in the seventh, managing an infield single.
"Just liked [Bogaerts] against Shields, that didn't work, but he got a cheapy late in the game."
Bogaerts has been a recurring theme in Sims' ascent, extending the leader's run most recently at 40, 46 (Wednesday night) and, of course, 47.
Now that he's tied with Ken Gilman for the longest run of the year, Sims does not have many to leapfrog up BTS' Mount Rushmore. The others with comparable success in the contest's 15-plus year history are Mike Karatzia (49 games in 2007), Bob Paradise (48 in '08), Steve Summer (48 in '11) and William Bryan (47 in '13).
While Sims told MLB.com that this is the first time he has enjoyed a streak longer than 20 in four or five years of playing BTS, it's now easier than ever for players to chase down DiMaggio. For example, users have the option of employing the "Double Down" feature. Double Down allows fans to advance their streak by two games, but only if both of their picks get a hit. If one goes hitless, the streak ends.
Additionally, BTS research filters such as batting-order position, right- or left-handed pitchers and cold opposing pitchers are at fans' disposal to help make their decisions. They can also take days off between selections if they don't find ideal matchups -- just as long as they exceed 56 by season's end.
Should Sims string together 57 consecutive correct picks, he would be the first player to claim the grand prize. Whenever a season goes by without a winner, a $10,000 consolation is awarded to those atop the calendar year's leaderboard. Additionally, the BTS game makers hand out millions of other prizes for streaks as small as five.
It would be especially fitting if Sims or another BTS user could break the BTS drought this year. After all, it's the 75th anniversary of DiMaggio's remarkable streak, which is being commemorated with daily recaps on MLB.com and @TheStreak on Twitter.
Zachary Finkelstein is MLB.com's fantasy editor.