Beat the Streak leader's run ends at 47
Atlanta police officer selects J-Up, who goes 0-for-4 against Marlins
The baseball and the Beat the Streak communities saw two stellar runs come to an end on Saturday night.
Entering the evening, the Braves had won a big league-best 14 straight games.
On the back of Atlanta's remarkable stretch stood William Bryan, the superlative BTS player of 2013 to date. An ardent Braves fan and a resident of South Metro Atlanta, Bryan became the season leader by making 47 straight successful selections.
His remarkable run is over, though, 10 picks shy of the $5.6 million. In the history of fantasy sports, no game has offered such a rich grand prize.
Twenty-one times before Saturday, Bryan had picked a member of the Braves to tally a hit during his streak. And on all 21 occasions, the player came through in a manner that had started to seem like clockwork.
Pick a Braves batter. Have him post at least one hit. Watch Atlanta win. Lather, rinse, repeat.
Unfortunately, that cycle was stopped by the Braves' first shutout loss since June. Nevertheless, the 30-year-old police officer, husband and father of two has many reasons to be proud.
"The streak was a lot of fun, Bryan said. "So, I feel depressed but still happy that I did as well as I did. It is nice because in 13-plus years, there have only been three people that had longer streaks."
Bryan's impressive pursuit of the BTS jackpot ended when Atlanta outfielder Justin Upton went 0-for-4 against a Marlins squad that he'd assailed all season until Saturday (.341 average, .756 slugging percentage). There were a myriad of reasons to pick Upton, a sound pick for sure.
"Justin Upton has been ridiculously hot with the 13-game hitting streak, batting over .400 [during the stretch] and having his average climb nearly 30 points since the All-Star break," Bryan said before the cessation of his streak.
"He also [was] batting over .300 against [Miami starter Nathan Eovaldi], so I figured it was a pretty safe pick."
During Atlanta's 14-game winning streak, Upton led his teammates in a number of important categories, including average (.426), homers (six) and RBIs (14). And almost too fittingly for the purposes of a BTS story, he tallied a hit in each and every game played during the run.
The hot-hitting outfielder didn't take his first 0-fer since July 25 sitting down, lining out hard to second base during his final at-bat.
"It was sad to see the Braves' streak end, as well, but I am glad that we have a 14 1/2-game lead [in the NL East standings]", Bryan said.
"Us winning in October is much more important than a winning streak."
Saturday's outcome aside, Bryan's riveting run may garner him a lot more than "thanks for playing." If the season were to end today, he would win the $10,000 set aside for the participant who finishes atop the BTS standings, and he took sole possession of the top spot on the leaderboard with Yasiel Puig's single on Thursday.
"I wasn't aware of the $10,000 prize for the season winner [assuming no one wins the $5.6 million grand prize]," Bryan said. "When I found that out Wednesday night, I had a hard time sleeping.
"It is great knowing that I have a chance of winning $10,000. I am playing a game and I [may] win some money, what can be better? Plus the 10 grand will definitely get my wife and I out of some debt."
In Beat the Streak, participants try to establish a virtual "hitting streak" by picking one or two big leaguers per day, with their runs continuing as long as their selections collect at least one hit. In 13-plus seasons of BTS play, no one has matched Joe DiMaggio's magic number of 56, set in 1941. To win the $5.6 million prize, one must top Joe D.'s run by one.
Fans this year have been chasing the 57 mark in a more aggressive fashion than ever. And who can blame them, seeing as participation takes just seconds per day? Not a bad deal considering the millions of reasons to play.
"I will be picking my players for [Sunday]!", Bryan said. Hopefully, I will be back up top in a couple of weeks!"
If you want in on the fun, visit mlb.com/bts or download Beat the Streak, presented by Dunkin' Donuts, from the Apple app store or through Google Play. Participation is free.
Zachary Finkelstein is a fantasy editor for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.