Since 2007, MLB.com has contacted more than 40 BTS players as their streaks approached 40 games, hoping to shed a little light on their personalities and picking processes. In 77.5 percent of cases, the contestant has lost his or her streak within two days of MLB.com reaching out. Is it possible that these two events -- submitting an email interview and going hitless -- are somehow cosmically related?
The Sports Illustrated cover jinx has been well documented and the Madden cover curse seems to be going strong (just ask Cam Newton and his 78.3 quarterback rating), so why not? At the very least, several streaking authorities seem to think the Jinx is real.
Mike Karatzia, who set the all-time BTS record with a 49-game streak in 2007, adhered to a strict code of silence during the first seven weeks of his run. But with a shot at Joe D just days away, he reversed course and responded to an MLB.com interview request. The sales manager from Morganville, N.J., quickly come to regret that choice, as a Placido Polanco 0-fer ended his streak the very next night.
Karatzia had agonized for several days about whether to reply to MLB.com -- specifically worried about the possibility of jinxing his chance at the big payday -- before some coworkers talked him into embracing the publicity.
"If I had to do it over again, I wouldn't have responded," he said this week. "Polanco still hasn't paid me back, by the way."
Like Karatzia, Bob Paradise became something of a BTS legend for both his streak (48 games in '08) and his myserious identity. Despite repeated attempts to contact him, the gamer then known only as "Spooky93" refused to answer questions about himself or his streak in progress. Suspense grew to the point that we ran a mock interview in which a fake Spooky said he'd use the grand prize cash to buy a unicorn. Finally, after Ichiro Suzuki ended his streak on July 4, Paradise agreed to chat. Four years later, Spooky stands by his better-safe-than-sorry reasoning.
"When you're on a winning streak, you don't rock the boat," Paradise said. "During that 48-game hit streak, obsessive compulsiveness became my best friend. Remaining anonymous was a must, and that meant no background info until I reached Joltin' Joe's incredible record of 56. My wife and friends thought I was publicity-shy, but I knew better."
Although many top Streakers have been more receptive to MLB.com's questions in recent seasons, the Jinx still seems in full effect. Just last week, Bob "FARSIDE" Murray responded to our email after his streak reached 39 games. When his streak ended at 39 games the following day, the coincidence was hard to ignore. But despite mounting evidence of an eerie connection, Murray refused to use the interview as an excuse for the end of his run. Instead, he claimed that dumb luck, good and bad, is a part of everyday life.
"I would say that if MLB.com contacts you, it's a good problem to have because you've come a long way on your streak," Murray said. "Just keep on doing what you were doing."
Although Murray makes a strong point, the statistic about 77.5 percent of interview responders losing their streaks within a couple days -- along with the claims of BTS royalty like Karatzia and Paradise -- is hard to ignore.
So we want to know what do you think: Is the BTS Jinx in the same class as the SI's fabled cover curse? Or would you click send on that response as soon as your own streak reached 40 games?