SD fan wins Postseason Bracket Challenge

November 2nd, 2019

When the MLB Postseason Bracket Challenge launched prior to this year's playoffs, 629,000 people submitted a bracket in the quest to win the largest grand prize ever offered in October: $250,000.

In the end, there was one fan standing: Tom Lewis of San Diego.

"Oh, you're kidding me -- 629,000 entrants?" Lewis said after being informed of just how pristine his submission was.

That was the first time Lewis used that phrase. The second was when he was told how he won the tiebreaker after 11 people (.002 percent of entrants) picked a perfect bracket and also guessed Stephen Strasburg as the World Series Most Valuable Player Award winner and that the Fall Classic would last seven games. Lewis was the only fan who guessed that 95 home runs would be hit over the postseason, the correct answer to the first tiebreaker question.

When the Dodgers were upset by the Nationals in the National League Division Series, one percent of all brackets submitted remained.

How did Lewis survive that round, which was clearly the one from which the most brackets were elimniated?

Much of Lewis' bracket hinged on two factors -- Lewis being a fan of San Diego State alum Stephen Strasburg, and Lewis' loyalty to the hometown Padres, which naturally leads to his distaste for the Dodgers.

"I guess I used a little bit of brain power and a little bit of heart power," Lewis said. "If I was gonna bet my own money, I probably wouldn't have picked the teams I did. I picked the Astros to go all the way in the American League because I saw all those matchups and I thought, 'Oh man, they're going to go all the way into the World Series.'

"With Washington, I saw how they did from when they were [19-31] and they went on to win almost as many games as the Astros did from that time moving forward. But then I also wanted Washington to win because Stephen Strasburg is from San Diego, and I kind of followed him in the news and things like that. And as a Padres fan, I don't like the Dodgers very much."

As to what Lewis will do with his winnings, he honestly doesn't know yet.

"I'm a baseball fan forever," Lewis said. "I get the newsletter daily in my email. They sent this thing out and I thought, it doesn't take all that much to just fill out a bracket. And I filled one out."

As for Strasburg being named World Series MVP, that one's not so far-fetched. But the Dodgers losing in the NLDS? That's a gutsy call, and it paid off big.

"I could not fill a bracket out with the Dodgers winning anything," Lewis said. "I go to a fair number of Padres games at Petco Park. And when the Dodgers are in town, their fans come in and act like they own the place.

"And I'm thinking, 'You guys are just rude.'"