Joe DiMaggio's 56-game hitting streak has stood as one of sports' most fabled records. On Friday, baseball fans everywhere had a chance to eclipse the mark in a matter of hours by playing MLB.com's Beat the Streak in a Day.
By the time the final pitch had been thrown, the magic number still stood, as no one grabbed the $5.6 million grand prize. Three participants ended the evening in a tie for the top spot on the BTS in a Day leaderboard, with 45 correct picks apiece. A tiebreaker will determine a final winner, with that individual taking home a $1,000 gift card from Dunkin' Donuts. You can check Friday's standings at MLB.com.
The 2013 season offered many chances for fans to knock off DiMaggio and, in the process, take home the biggest jackpot in the history of fantasy sports.
In MLB.com's traditional Beat the Streak game, participants try to establish a virtual hitting streak by picking one or two big leaguers per day, with their runs continuing as long as their selections collect at least one hit in their contests.
Beat the Streak in a Day works the same way, except for one variation: Fans make all 57 picks at once.
After a long season that saw many Streakers vie feverishly for a lifetime's worth of fame and fortune, William Bryan of South Metro Atlanta came away as the traditional BTS overall leader. The 30-year-old police officer, husband and father of two rose to the top after making 47 straight successful selections before an 0-fer from Braves outfielder Justin Upton ended his remarkable run.
The outcome notwithstanding, Bryan's streak garnered him a lot more than "thanks for playing," as he won the $10,000 consolation set aside for the individual who finished the 2013 campaign as the BTS participant nonpareil.
An ardent Braves fan, Bryan also gained a gift that isn't indicated anywhere in the official BTS rules. You see, Upton got wind that his hitless evening had ended Bryan's rise up the BTS ladder. And in arguably the classiest move in the contest's history, the outfielder invited Bryan and his family to a game at Turner Field. And guess what? The two even met prior to first pitch.
"I felt terrible," Upton said. "I had been hot. It was a pretty safe pick. But I just didn't get it done that night. If there is any consolation, hopefully I can have him come out and hopefully catch a game or something."
"I'm just completely starstruck," Bryan said. "Here I was, playing a silly game on the computer, and now I am getting all of this attention. It's great."
With another stellar regular season basically in the books, DiMaggio's record will remain unchallenged until at least next spring. Whether someone will manage to achieve BTS immortality in 2014 remains to be seen, but participating is fun and free. Not a bad deal, considering the millions of reasons to play and the potential for a life-changing payday.
Zachary Finkelstein is a fantasy editor for MLB.com.