Bob Bramos' favorite player is Miguel Cabrera. The Tigers slugger clubbed a home run in his first at-bat on Saturday, his first action since Monday.
Prince Fielder followed with a single. Bramos was likely more excited about that.
Fielder's base knock pushed Bramos one step closer to the Beat the Streak grand prize of $5.6 million.
Bramos' streak now stands at 40 games.
"This is my first big streak and the first time I have really been taking it serious," Bramos said. "I play with a big group of my friends and co-workers."
Beat the Streak participants try to establish a virtual hitting streak by picking one or two big leaguers per day, with their streaks continuing as long as their selections collect at least one hit that day. In 13-plus seasons of BTS play, no one has matched Joe DiMaggio's magic hitting streak of 56, set in 1941. To win the $5.6 million grand prize, one must surpass Joe D.'s record streak.
Bramos, 32, resides in Troy, Mich., about 20 minutes outside of Detroit. He manages the Joe Dumars Fieldhouse and used to serve as the captain of the Detroit Pistons Spare Tires Dance Team, a group of overweight dancers that performed at the basketball games.
Bramos said he has played Beat the Streak for a couple of years. He employs a method that might differ from conventional wisdom.
"I do have a pretty good strategy," Bramos said. "This is going to make me sound smarter than I am. Some people say it is good to pick guys who are on a streak or on fire. I don't look at it like that. I think the opposite. I like to pick the guys who have not gotten a hit in a few games.
"Here is why: If I have a .300 hitter without a hit in a few games, he is due. … The odds of him getting a hit are high. And the more games whoever I choose goes without a hit, the better odds I have of [him getting] a hit. It is a strategy that I have stuck with and has worked so far.
"I told myself that the numbers don't lie and to just stick with it and it has gotten me this far."
Given that technique, Fielder fit the bill for Saturday's choice. The first baseman entered Saturday's contest against the Phillies batting just .213 over his previous 24 games and .206 over his previous nine.
Cabrera, on the other hand, wasted no time in shaking off whatever rust he had accumulated while he rested with an achy back. Cabrera's 32nd home run provided the Tigers with an early lead.
"I am blessed to have the chance to watch the best hitter in baseball play right now," Bramos said, "and when he is all done, maybe the best there ever was."
Bramos is the seventh Streaker to enter "Club 40" during the 2013 season. In the first 13 years of BTS combined, only 32 contestants reached the 40-game plateau.
"I am just taking it a day at a time right now," Bramos said. "I wanted to get to 20 games. Then from there, I looked toward 30. Then it was 35, and now it is 40."
Bramos said he the reality of his streak will set in should he reach 45 games.
"If this happens," Bramos said, "then I will start thinking about it more, but until then, [I'm] just having fun and watching baseball every day, a game I love."