Thanks to Hosmer hit, D-backs fan now alone atop leaderboard
By Zachary Finkelstein
First baseman Eric Hosmer had little to celebrate during the first inning of Kansas City's game against the Astros on Friday night, as Royals right-hander Edinson Volquez allowed nine first-inning runs.
But with an early single, Hosmer sent one man -- more than 1,000 miles away -- into a frenzy.
Beat the Streak leader Terry Sims, a 63-year-old Arizona resident, has made 48 consecutive correct picks, more than anyone this year and nine shy of the game's $5.6 million grand prize. To beat the streak, one must make 57 straight successful selections to surpass Joe DiMaggio's magical 56-game run from 1941.
Using Hosmer on Friday may not have been the shrewdest move according to the numbers, as the left-handed hitter has long fared best against righty arms. But on Friday, Hosmer stepped to the plate against a southpaw starter -- and not just any. His first-inning knock came off Dallas Keuchel, the Junior Circuit's reigning Cy Young Award winner. Keuchel earned the right to mount his trophy by dominating against lefty hitters, who batted .177 in 190 at-bats against Keuchel last year.
"I am not your typical baseball nerd; can't recite stats like some guys can," said Sims, a former D-backs season-ticket holder.
"Got to see them win a World Series in the seventh game. This [streak] feels similar."
If Sims pulls off a streak of 57, he'll have to thank Hosmer, upon whom he's called five times during his remarkable run into BTS lore. He's relied most heavily on Boston's Xander Bogaerts, 10 times in all.
"This is crazy! Don't know how many thousands [of people have played] BTS this year, but to be on top is amazing," Sims said.
Now that he's surpassed fellow BTS participant Ken Gilman for the longest run of the year, Sims has little between him and BTS immortality. The others with comparable success in the contest's 15-plus year history are Mike Karatzia (49 games in 2007), Bob Paradise (48 in '08) and Steve Summer (48 in '11).
While Sims told MLB.com that this is the first time he has enjoyed a streak longer than 20 in four or five years of playing BTS, it's now easier than ever for players to chase down DiMaggio. 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 days off between selections if they don't find ideal matchups -- just as long as they exceed 56 by season's end.
Should Sims string together 57 consecutive correct picks, he would be the first player to claim the grand prize. Whenever a season goes by without a winner, a $10,000 consolation is awarded to those atop the calendar year's leaderboard. Additionally, the BTS game makers hand out millions of other prizes for streaks as small as five.
It would be especially fitting if Sims or another BTS user could break the BTS drought this year. After all, it's the 75th anniversary of DiMaggio's remarkable streak, which is being commemorated with daily recaps on MLB.com and @TheStreak on Twitter.
Zachary Finkelstein is MLB.com's fantasy editor. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.