Readers, today is my last day as non-millionaire. By midnight tonight, I will have won $5.6 million, and even after taxes, a house in San Francisco and several golden retrievers, I will make sure that my bank account still has seven digits to the left of the decimal point, just so I can look at it and say, “Excellent,” like Mr. Burns.
How am I going to do this? Easy. At MLB.com, the official website of Major League Baseball, they have a contest called “Beat the Streak in a Day.” The streak refers to Joe DiMaggio’s incredible streak of getting a hit 56 games in a row. MLB.com has had similar contests in which one picks a player each day to get a hit, but today, they are consolidating that lengthy contest into a single day: pick 57 players, if every one of them gets a hit today, you win $5.6 million.
Why such a generous giveaway? Well, even if we could find 57 players who each had a 90% chance of getting a hit (which is…optimistic), then the chances of all of them doing it would be 0.25% (.9 to the 57th) or once in 2,500 tries.
So, why do I think I can beat these odds? Well, I don’t think I will in the abstract. And yet, I will fill out the form at the cost of getting bombarded with Dunkin Donuts ads because some part of me believes this to be worth it. It’s the new American dream: get lucky picking baseball players and have 5 million dollars fall into your lap.
I am picking players with high batting averages, especially ones with high averages in the last few weeks. I’m not picking any Dodgers, because they are up against Matt Harvey, and no Earthling is a good bet to get a hit against Harvey. Same with the Pirates (except McCutcheon), who are up against Adam Wainwright. 57 is a lot of players to choose, so my strategy will be to pick a few pitchers to have really bad days, and pick the four or five best hitters they are playing against.
And, seeing as this is clearly a ploy of MLB.com to get plucky believers like me to look at their ads, I’ll pass that sentiment along. Like this post on facebook by midnight on Tuesday, and I will give you $5.6, on the condition that I win. Share this puppy on your wall, and you get a cool .0002% of my winnings, or $11.20. What do you have to lose?