Big Papi helps BTS leader move beyond 40

Big Papi helps BTS leader move beyond 40

Beat the Streak has a new active leader, who is now more than 70 percent of the way to collecting the $5.6 million grand prize.

User "Terry_Sims" -- aka 63-year-old Terry Sims -- pushed his streak to 41 on Friday by selecting Boston's David Ortiz. Big Papi obliged with his 521st career home run, a two-run shot in the fourth inning at Fenway Park to tie Ted Williams, Willie McCovey and Frank Thomas on the all-time list.

Sims now needs 16 more successful picks to pass Joe DiMaggio's record 56-game streak from 1941 and collect the grand prize. A path to becoming the first to do so cleared for Sims on Thursday, when Ken Gilman's season-best streak of 47 came to an end. Collin Mills, who had the second-longest active streak, saw his end at 43 the same night.

Sims told MLB.com in an email that in four or five years of playing Beat the Streak, this is his first time getting further than 20 games.

And in fact, BTS is easier than ever in 2016. For example, users have the option of employing the "Double Down" feature. Double Down allows fans to advance their streak by two games, but only if both of their picks get a hit. If one goes hitless, the streak ends.

Additionally, BTS research filters such as batting-order position, right- or left-handed pitchers and cold opposing pitchers are at fans' disposal to help make their decisions. They can also take as many days off between selections if they don't find ideal matchups -- just as long as they exceed 56 by season's end.

BTS still has not had anyone make 57 straight correct picks and claim the grand prize since the contest launched more than 15 years ago. Besides the $10,000 consolation prize, two million other prizes were awarded for streaks as small as five games last year.

Should Sims become the first, he said he has "no plans" for the money, other than leaving his job at a golf course and taking his wife and friends on a trip to play golf around the world.

If Sims or someone else finally collects the grand prize this year, it would be particularly fitting. After all, it's the 75-year anniversary of DiMaggio's remarkable streak, which is being commemorated with daily recaps on MLB.com and @TheStreak on Twitter.

Andrew Simon is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @AndrewSimonMLB. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.