11 Beat the Streak leaders see streaks end

August 28th, 2019

If nearly two decades has taught us anything, it’s that topping Joe DiMaggio’s legendary 56-game hit streak is incredibly difficult in any sphere -- including the digital.

Eleven different Beat the Streak leaders saw their streaks wiped out Tuesday, increasing the likelihood that no one will claim the game’s $5.6 million grand prize for a 19th consecutive season. To claim that multimillion dollar reward, BTS players must successfully pick 57 consecutive MLB players to get a “hit” -- meaning that Sunday is the last day that someone could theoretically begin a streak and have it reach 57 by the end of the regular season. Even then, that BTS player would have to “double down” -- or pick two hitters and double one’s risk that at least one of them goes hitless and resets the streak -- every single day in September, except for the last day of the season Sept. 29, to best Joltin’ Joe.

The best hopes at a grand-prize winner lie with leader “steve.rapp,” who currently sits at 45 straight games after successfully picking National League MVP candidate on Monday and then sitting out Tuesday (a legal move under BTS rules; one must simply pick 57 straight players correctly before the season concludes). Rapp is followed by “papigoneyard” at 35 straight games and “henrycangel” at 34. BTS player Roberto Aguirre-Hunn Jr. put together the season’s longest run before seeing his record-tying streak of 51 games snapped by mere inches in mid-July.

But 11 other BTS players each saw streaks of at least 34 games wiped out Tuesday. All of them picked either or in a matchup against the last-place Orioles, but Baltimore pitching held that pair hitless across six at-bats. Six of the 11 players doubled down, but each of them had either Eaton or Rendon as one of their two selections -- enough to reset their streaks back to zero. Indeed, taking a day off might have saved Rapp’s streak, since picking either Eaton (.288 average this year) or Rendon (.331) against Orioles starter (5.79 ERA) looked like a sound decision on paper.

But even the most logical choices can only hold up so long against the whims of fate, especially when one can’t afford even one bad day across 57 straight selections.

“I would spend about an hour making a sheet of all the hitters I liked, considering the matchup,” said 28-year-old Craig Sawicki of Hamden, Conn., whose 41-game streak was snapped by Rendon’s 0-fer Tuesday night. “On a day when every MLB team is playing, I could have 10-plus matchups that I like. When I started getting into the mid-to-high 30s, I would narrow my pick for the day down to about one to three guys, and I’d ask my buddy Kevin what he thought.”

There’s still plenty of motivation, however, for Sawicki and everyone else who falls shy of DiMaggio. If no one tops his historic streak, a $10,000 consolation prize will be given to the player with the highest number (an honor still very much within Rapp’s reach). Additionally, the BTS game-makers hand out millions of other prizes for streaks as small as five.

We’re still looking for a grand-prize winner, but time is quickly running out. Start your streak today!