Justin Upton did a really cool thing for a local Atlanta Braves fan.
Anyone familiar with MLB‘s Beat the Streak game knows that it enables anyone with a few seconds and an internet connection a chance to win $5.6 million. It is free to play and has a simple premise. All one has to do in order to walk away with the grand prize is assemble a 57-game hitting streak, one more than the unbreakable feat Joe Dimaggio set in 1941.
But as players since 2001 have realized, nothing about a 57-game hitting streak is easy. No one has yet to win the grand prize, which started at just a few thousand dollars, and has now matched Dimaggo’s 56 with $5.6 million. The closest anyone has gotten is 49 games of correctly picking which player would get a hit. That meant that Will Bryan was several games away from making history.
And maybe he would have if one of the players he had used to ride to the top didn’t have a hitless, 0-for-4 game on the night Bryan picked him. That player was Upton, someone who was riding a season-long 13-game hitting streak entering the game.
Bryan’s pick seemed smart. He had picked Braves players 21 times during his streak and it had paid off each time. Upton was hot, hitting .331 during his own hitting streak. As Upton later said, “it was a pretty safe pick.”
Unfortunately for both Upton and Bryan, the pick didn’t pan out — but the story for these two didn’t end there.
Upton’s girlfriend had actually been following the BTS competition and saw that the leader had unsuccessfully chosen Upton. She told him and as soon as he found out, Upton was disappointed to have let the man down. He even said that he felt terrible about it. So the outfielder decided to reach out to the man and offer him tickets to a game and a chance to meet the Braves’ young superstar.
He didn’t have to do any of it. After all, BTS is just a game and one that Bryan chose to play knowing the chances of victory were slim.
But the fact that Upton did what he did just shows what a class act he really is. Bryan was an unknown police officer from Atlanta, but now he is a man that gets to meet one of his favorite team’s players just for spending 15 seconds a day picking which players might get a hit during a baseball game.