Five players win Bizarro Beat the Streak contest
Participants picked nine batters to go at least 0-for-27 in a day
For 14 seasons, Beat the Streak has underlined the difficulty of getting a hit every night in the Major Leagues. But as far as going hitless? MLB.com readers have got that covered.
Five MLB.com readers won the inaugural Bizarro Beat the Streak contest on Wednesday, which invited fans to try to assemble nine hitters who would go 0-for-27 or worse. All five winners managed to go hitless for the day, and they'll split the $5,000 pot that was an offer for the one-day competition.
Beat the Streak, where fans choose one or two hitters each day who will get a hit and challenge Joe DiMaggio's famous 56-game hit streak, has never had a winner in its history. Nobody did better than a 38-game streak this season, so Beat the Streak will return in 2015 still in search for that elusive champion.
Mike Mulvaney, one of the five winners of the Bizarro Beat the Streak game, said in an e-mail response that he was pleasantly surprised to learn that he had won. Mulvaney, a Yankees fan, said he has never gotten close to a 57-game hit tear in Beat the Streak despite playing it for a year-and-a-half.
But now, after winning the Bizarro version, Mulvaney said he plans on trying again to Beat the Streak next season. For the Bizarro game, Mulvaney said he chose some everyday players to struggle.
"This was difficult, because I picked some really good players with high batting averages," said Mulvaney. "But I wanted to make sure I got to at least 27 [at-bats], and the odds of getting more at-bats with better players seemed to be better than picking players with low averages and not get the at-bats."
Not everyone followed that strategy. The game's most common picks were B.J. Upton, Javier Baez and Hunter Pence, and all three players obliged by logging no hits on Wednesday. Baez is batting .161 with nine home runs in his first 49 Major League games, and Upton is batting .207 this season.
Rich Laube, another one of the Bizarro Beat the Streak winners, said that he's a Cubs fan and that his favorite players are Anthony Rizzo and Jake Arrieta. Laube said his best Beat the Streak result was a 15-game stretch this season, and he said 57 would be an "unbelievable" achievement.
"I will definitely play Beat The Streak next year, and I want to thank you for having this Bizarro Beat The Streak contest," Laube said. "As you know, there were [five] of us that won, and some others that almost tied us that only had [one] hit against them. That lets everyone that participates know it CAN be done!"
Another one of the winners, Jose Lugo-Martinez, said he employed a host of different strategies en route to his winning hand. Lugo-Martinez chose players having bad seasons, players in a slump and even some hitters with unfavorable matchups that day as he selected his lineup.
Lugo-Martinez was asked if his Bizarro win gave him confidence to win Beat the Streak.
"Not at all!" said Lugo-Martinez, whose best streak was 18 games. "However, I will keep trying. I really like the Beat the Streak in a Day contest. Hopefully, there will be more instances next year."
Mike Cioce, a Phillies fan, had much the same reaction as Lugo-Martinez: excitement and joy that he'd won, but no illusions that it would make Beat the Streak any easier. Cioce, who has played Beat the Streak since 2007, said he chose players who were struggling at the plate for the Bizarro version.
Cioce said his best Beat the Streak showing this year was 18 games, and he said he reached a five-game streak about seven or eight times. And how did he react to win the Bizarro version?
"I laughed out loud for five straight minutes in pure shock," Cioce said. "Could not believe it."