Aaron Vieau, also known to some by his Beat The Streak username "yount84," is inching toward perhaps professional baseball's most unattainable feat: Joe DiMaggio's Major League-record 56-game hitting streak.Vieau, a 33-year-old resident of Menomonee Falls, Wis., extended his streak to 44 straight successful selections on Friday after picking Astros second
Aaron Vieau, also known to some by his Beat The Streak username "yount84," is inching toward perhaps professional baseball's most unattainable feat: Joe DiMaggio's Major League-record 56-game hitting streak.
Vieau, a 33-year-old resident of Menomonee Falls, Wis., extended his streak to 44 straight successful selections on Friday after picking Astros second baseman Jose Altuve. It didn't take long for Altuve to reward Vieau's selection, as the veteran hitter legged out an infield single in the first inning against the Red Sox at Minute Maid Park.
• Play Beat the Streak, win $5.6 million
With Altuve's single, Vieau moved to within seven correct picks of the all-time BTS record (51) set earlier this season by contestant Robert Mosley, who saw his streak come to an end on May 15.
"I picked Altuve because he had great odds of getting a hit. I didn't think it would have happened right away, I was really surprised and relieved," Vieau said. "I found out about the hit on MLB.com."
Though MLB.com's flagship fantasy contest is formidable, the rules of the challenge are straightforward. Each user must correctly choose a batter or two each day to record a base hit in a game. The user has to repeat the process 57 straight times to surpass DiMaggio's legendary 1941 hitting streak. The first user to reach that total takes home a cool $5.6 million, but there are other ways to earn prizes, as well.
Should Vieau fall short of the grand prize, he has a chance to claim the $10,000 consolation prize given to the player with the longest streak. That is, of course, contingent on nobody breaking DiMaggio's mark. Additionally, the BTS game makers hand out millions of other prizes for streaks as small as five.
This is the second season of playing BTS for Vieau, an employee of the Menomonee Falls public works department who found about the challenge through a coworker.
"I play Beat the Streak with four other guys and every day we talk about who everyone has starting that day," said Vieau, "but they won't pick the same guy I have because they don't want to jinx the streak."
After maxing out at 11 successful selections prior to his current streak, his new tactics are working. The longtime fan of the Brewers has watched his picks hit a combined .391 (66-for-169) during the streak, slightly below the .408 (91-for-223) average DiMaggio posted over his incredible 56-game run during the summer of 1941.
The streaker has successfully called on Yankees second baseman Starlin Castro and Red Sox third baseman Xander Bogaerts four times each, but he has balanced his picks nicely across a multitude of stellar offensive threats. Only once did Vieau select a player who did not record an official at-bat (Mets outfielder Michael Conforto on May 24), although he's cut it close 25 times, as the player he chose only recorded a single hit in the game he played.
But make no mistake, there is a great deal of skill involved to reach Vieau's streak. Eight times he has used the BTS "Double Down" feature, which allows participants to select two players on the same day. If both batters record at least one hit, the user's run advances by two games. However, if either player goes hitless, the streak falls back to zero.
"The guy I pick has to be batting around .300 and has to be batting at least .350 against the pitcher he is going against," Vieau said.
As Vieau continues to try and top DiMaggio's total, we will all be watching.
"If I did Beat the Streak, I would pay some bills and have my parents retire," he said. "And get season tickets for the Brewers."
Oliver Macklin is a reporter for MLB.com based in Washington, D.C. Follow him on Twitter at @OMacklinMLB.