Beat the Streak leader extends run to 40

Beat the Streak leader extends run to 40

A new challenger has emerged in Beat the Streak.

User "csteele12" pushed his or her streak to 40 on Wednesday by selecting the Marlins' Dee Gordon and now needs 17 successful picks to claim the $5.6 million grand prize. The game's active leader is nine picks away from matching Terry Sims, who set the all-time BTS record earlier this season.

In Beat the Streak, participants establish virtual "hitting streaks" by picking one or two big leaguers per day, with participants' runs continuing as long as their selections collect at least one hit. To claim the lifetime's worth of fame and fortune, a Streaker must top Hall of Famer Joe DiMaggio's magic hitting-streak total of 56, set in 1941, by one. In nearly 16 years of BTS play, nobody has "bested" Joe D.

Play BTS, win $5.6 million

On Wednesday, csteele12 chose Gordon, the Miami leadoff man, who entered the day batting .296 in 38 games this season. At Cincinnati's Great American Ball Park, Gordon singled to right field in the third inning off Homer Bailey and finished 1-for-5 to move the streak forward.

It's now easier than ever for players to chase down DiMaggio's 56-game hitting streak, and "csteele12" is a good example of that, as the streak would have ended on the 12th pick if not for the "Mulligan" feature. The "Mulligan" a one-time streak savior that can be used early on, specifically on streaks that are 10 to 15 picks long.

Although "csteele12" only picked Gordon on Wednesday, users have the option of employing the "Double Down" feature by selecting two players on the same day. If both get a hit, the streak advances by two. If either 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. BTS players can also take days off between selections if they don't find ideal matchups.

Of course, the game is now about more than just extending the streak. There's also MLB.com's new BTS challenge -- the ".406 contest," where 0-for nights are OK. This secondary competition is an ode to Ted Williams' incredible .406 batting average in 1941.

If a player's BTS picks "hit" .406 or better from July 20 through the season's end (with a minimum of 250 plate appearances), he or she will be eligible to win four tickets to six regular-season games in 2017.

Additionally, whenever a season goes by without someone claiming the $5.6 million grand prize, a $10,000 consolation prize is awarded to those atop the calendar year's leaderboard. On top of that, the BTS game-makers hand out millions of other prizes for streaks as small as five.

It would be especially fitting if a BTS user broke the BTS drought this year. After all, it's the 75th anniversary of DiMaggio's remarkable streak, which was 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.