Joey Backdoor’s Worst Bad Beats of 2022: Part 2

The streets wanted a part 2 and JSP delivered.

Time for the “better late than never” conclusion to my 22 worst beats of ’22. Here is part two: 

1. 7/12: Yankees ML vs. Reds

The Yanks were ahead 3-0 as they headed to the ninth inning. Clay Holmes came in to close it out. He was 4-0, and had been the second coming of Mariano Rivera up to this point. Cincinnati was 0-48 when trailing after eight innings. Conversely, the Yankees were 49-0 when leading after eight. Holmes didn’t have it. Five batters reached, although only one ball left the infield. Cincinnati had scored twice, and Wandy Peralta entered with the bases loaded and nobody out. He was one strike away from escaping the jam after a pair of ground balls each resulted in an out at home plate. Jonathan India then singled in two runs. Cincinnati completed a miracle comeback. It was an unfathomable loss for the heavily favored Yankees. Alanis Morissette said it best in one of her more popular songs. Thank you India. 

2. 7/21: Giants +1.5 at Dodgers

Some bad beats actually look like they will end poorly in the early stages but give me false hope before becoming extremely painful. San Francisco rallied from 5-0 down to go in front, 6-5. The knock on San Francisco going in was their defense, and they showed why in this game. There were two official errors, but they also misplayed fairly routine balls. LA had two outs and a runner on in the eighth inning. Escaping with a lead to the ninth would greatly increase my chances of winning because the Dodgers would need to win by more than one with a walk-off.

Los Angeles tied it on an RBI triple. After a walk by Cody Bellinger (terrible because he was struggling and a far worse hitter than who was up next), Mookie Betts deposited one deep to left. The Dodgers won 9-6. LA was one of those teams that seemed to win almost every game. Especially when I went against them. Then they would lose at home against an awful Washington team as big favorites when I figured they were unbeatable. 

3. 7/23: Yankees ML at Orioles

As Yogi Berra famously said, it was deja vu all over again. The heavily favored Yankees were up 3-0 with ace Gerrit Cole on the bump. Once again, they blew it. This time, Cole suffered the loss. Baltimore came back to win by a final of 6-3, but this wasn’t just on their pitching. Yankee bats were only 1-14 with runners in scoring position.  

4. 9/10: Hawaii-Michigan over 66.5

This is one of my worst losses for several reasons. The final was 56-10. I could have bought a point and won. That afternoon I actually argued with people about how buying points makes a difference and turns losses into wins. Should have taken my own advice. It made SVP’s Bad Beats segment. Hawaii had their running back try a jump pass on third and goal. I even joked about possibly losing 59-7 before the game started. My point was they might only score 66 points. It was basically a replay of their game the week before in terms of coming up just short on the over by not punching one in late.

5. 9/18: Raiders +1.5 in a teaser vs. Cardinals

Las Vegas blew a 20-0 halftime lead. Kyler Murray made one ridiculous play after another. Murray threw incomplete on fourth down with 30 seconds to play. It appeared that the Raiders had held on and wrapped up a 23-15 victory. However, defensive holding was called. Kyler scored on fourth down with no time left. He then completed a pass for two points that forced overtime. Replay reviews went Arizona’s way. It took a bunch of wild plays for the Cardinals to make their comeback.

Arizona was then stopped on fourth down in the extra session. Las Vegas appeared to be driving for the win. Even a tie would have been good enough for my teaser. Byron Murphy Jr. returned Hunter Renfrow’s fumble 59 yards. This was the first of many times that Las Vegas snatched defeat from the jaws of victory, and it was not the only time I would get burned by the Raiders. Another Las Vegas teaser that involved a 17-0 blown lead almost made the list.

6. 9/24: Oregon -6.5 at Washington State

Scott Van Pelt sometimes says that the right side covered. In fact, this was one of those times. I make my own rules. The fact that it looked like there was no shot of an Oregon cover made it even more frustrating when they came back to go up 10 before allowing a late touchdown. This game had just about all of the ingredients for a classic bad beat. First of all, I had just suffered a catastrophic loss that could have easily made this list when Florida scored two late touchdowns against Tennessee.

Losing on Oregon pretty much completed the double whammy. I could have won by going ML or teasing with the over instead of giving points with the Ducks. Washington State’s final touchdown was set up by a long pass with just seconds left. The time remaining didn’t appear on screen. It had been taken down. There was confusion about whether or not another play could be run. That long pass was originally ruled a touchdown before being reversed by replay. This allowed Washington State time to get down the field, set up, and snap the ball with five seconds remaining. It was incredibly chaotic, and heartbreaking.

7. 11/2: Blazers +4.5 vs. Grizzlies

Portland trailed 111-104. They missed a late three before scoring on an offensive rebound. Memphis won 111-106. My +4.5 lost. It went to 5.5 after my bet was placed. I didn’t buy a point or wait until the spread went up. That final dunk helped some people, but not me. 

8. 11/20: Jets +3.5 at Patriots

Obviously, I had been covering the entire time if it was tied at 3 with under 30 seconds remaining. The Jets lost on a punt return touchdown when they seemed destined to cover and probably head into overtime. An absolute debacle. It was a horrible bad beat and an excruciating team loss. Also, their quarterback has been broken since this game. The season was a disaster after that punt return. Oh the pain.

9. 11/29: Blazers ML vs. Clippers

It was my second rough loss on a Blazers home game in less than a month. Portland was winning 91-73 with three minutes remaining in the third quarter. LA pulled within 95-82 before the fourth quarter began, and outscored the Blazers by 19 points during the final period. Norman Powell, a reserve, scored 32 points against his former team. He scored 22 of those points in that decisive final quarter. 

10. 12/3: TCU -1.5 in the second half vs. Kansas State

Overtime started with the game tied at 28. TCU went for two at 28-26. If they missed, it would have been a second half cover because they trailed 14-10 at halftime and it would have been 16-14 after halftime. When there was a third and goal from inches away in overtime I started to see how this would turn out. TCU didn’t score. Well, they were close once or twice and maybe did break the plane. Officials didn’t give it to them. Kansas State only needed a field goal to win after holding, and prevailed 31-28. TCU outscored them after halftime, but only 18-17. I didn’t get my over 60, either. A nightmare scenario. I figured this would happen because that was how I would lose both bets. 

11. 12/11: KC -6.5 at Denver

The Chiefs were favored by 8.5, so I bought two points. Often I like to get it down under 6, but crossing past 7 is expensive. The Chiefs jumped out to a 27-0 lead, so it looked like they would cover easily. Jerry Jeudy bumped an official. He should have been ejected. Instead, he continued to play and scored three touchdowns. Kansas City won, but by six. Another case where I could have won by teasing with the over or going ML. I also could have bought that one additional point. 

Joey Backdoor’s Worst Bad Beats of 2022

It was another roller coaster ride of a year betting for Joey From Yonkers.

Let’s look back on the first half of the year’s bad beats. Part 1 of 2 in my 22 worst beats of ’22. Here it is below.

Editor’s note: It’s only looking up for J Baby in 2023 with his first-ever smartphone purchase. Welcome to the 21st-century, JBD.

1. 1/17: Bucks ML vs. Hawks.

One day I will learn not to go against Atlanta on MLK Day. The Hawks had lost 10 straight home games. Milwaukee held a 97-86 lead with under 9 minutes to play. Atlanta scored 35 of the final 52 points. Milwaukee had been 23-0 when leading after three quarters. Both long streaks came to an end. 

2. 3/10: Michigan -3 vs. Indiana.

The Wolverines seemed to be in control of this conference tournament clash between Big Dance hopefuls. Michigan lead 60-43 with just over 11 minutes left. Things changed quickly. A 28-4 Indiana run put the Hoosiers in front by a score of 71-64. Indiana went on to a 74-69 victory. 

3. 3/29: Jazz +1 vs. Clippers.

Utah had been 235-0 when leading by 25 points since the 96-97 season. Best record over that span. The Clippers closed on a 34-12 run and erased a 16-point deficit in the fourth quarter. 

4. 3/31: Nets ML vs. Bucks.

Brooklyn was ahead by 9 with 3:01 to play in regulation. The lead was 7 with two minutes remaining in the fourth period. Khris Middleton had been ejected from the game for a flagrant foul in the third quarter. Milwaukee rallied to force overtime. The Greek Freak was fouled with three seconds left in the extra session. Milwaukee was down by one. He hit both foul shots to put his team in front. Kevin Durant missed a shot to win it for Brooklyn. Shades of a painful game 7 loss against the Bucks in 2021. 

5. 4/8: Jazz ML vs. Suns.

Utah was ahead by 17 after three quarters. The Suns used a 22-4 run to go in front. Phoenix outscored Utah 36-13 in the fourth period. Utah had collapsed again. This time at home.

6. 4/11: Mets ML vs. Phillies.

Philadelphia rallied from down 4-0 in the eighth inning and came away with a 5-4 win as the Mets and their fans suffered through a major bullpen meltdown. I easily could have taken +1.5 and still won. That did not happen.

7. 4/21: Timberwolves +1.5 vs. Grizzlies.

Minnesota was ahead by 26 points. However, the Timberwolves lost by 9. Minnesota was outscored 37-12 in the final period, and 42-12 in the last 13 minutes. An 83-62 advantage was erased with a 21-0 Memphis run. Minnesota also put up just 12 points in the second quarter. 

8. 5/20: Rangers +1.5 vs. Hurricanes.

Carolina won 2-0, but their second goal was scored with 1.8 seconds to play. In fact, the Rangers actually had control of the puck with 5 seconds left and turned it over. I was winning for 59 minutes and 58.2 seconds.

9. 5/20: Mavericks +6.5 vs. Warriors.

Dallas fell apart shortly after the Rangers debacle. Despite leading by 19 points, Dallas lost 126-117. Golden State took a shot clock violation. It would have been nice if the Mavs decided to throw one in late and cover. Often I will jump in with a second half over or live bet. There were 75 points scored in the fourth quarter, but I decided to stand pat. Didn’t buy it up to 9.5 or tease with the over. Lots of missed opportunities.

10. 6/19: Yankees ML vs. Jays.

Another New York bullpen meltdown was my downfall. The Yankees were up 8-3 and appeared to be headed for an easy win. After Toronto rallied for a 10-8 lead, the Yanks tried to come back. Anthony Rizzo’s home run made it 10-9. Four Yankees were stranded in the final two innings. It was a shocking loss.

11. 6/30: Twins +1.5 vs. Guardians.

Minnesota held a 3-1 advantage in the eighth inning. Cleveland scored twice to tie it. This was an unlikely rally. It consisted of a hit batter, two walks, an infield hit, and a throwing error. I turned the game off and checked online as I prepared to leave. The Guardians won with a walk and home run in the ninth inning. Only a deep ball with somebody on base could beat me. That’s what happened. Cleveland finished with 5 runs on 3 hits. I then left to attend a wake, and got Covid. R.I.P. Donnie Naps.

Joey Backdoor’s Worst NCAA Bad Beats Of 2021

The final edition of JBD’s worst bad beats of 2021 is here.

Editor’s Note: When you’re losing money gambling on professional athletes, it’s always a smart move to turn to our brilliant college students playing in the NCAA.

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Honorable Mention: Gonzaga-St. Mary’s 1/16:

My worst college basketball beat came early in 2021. I worried that Gonzaga would put in their scrubs. They were up by 17. I might have used another term to describe the lesser players. A late three pulled St. Mary’s within 14. The Bulldogs had one final chance to cover. A missed dunk (not contested) ended up costing me.

My top 5 college beats were all from football.

5. Western Kentucky-Army 9/11:

How could you not take Army when they have a September 11 game at West Point? The line was just under a touchdown. Army went ahead 35-14 with 10:31 remaining. This quickly became 35-28. A late field goal made it 38-28, but left the back door open. Army’s prevent defense allowed Western Kentucky to drive down and score a touchdown with just 22 seconds to go. 

4. Oregon-Stanford 10/2:

The Ducks were favored by more than a touchdown. I went with the substantial but seemingly safe ML. Unranked Stanford’s injured quarterback returned to throw a touchdown with no time on the clock. Stanford was given an untimed down after a holding penalty with zeroes on the clock, and the undefeated Ducks would end up losing in overtime. Three Oregon penalties aided Stanford’s late drive in the final 1:59 of regulation to tie the score.

3. Penn State-Iowa 10/9:

Both teams were ranked in the top 5. Iowa was a small favorite. It went up to 2.5. I probably would have bought Penn State to 3.5, but it was lower at the time of my bet. With the score 14-3 Penn State, it looked like the Nittany Lions were driving for a 21-3. They ended up getting just a field goal, and lost their quarterback to an injury. Sean Clifford’s replacement missed numerous open teammates, but threw passes to some open Iowa defenders. Penn State fell 23-20.

2. Colorado-Oregon 10/30:

Another Ducks game involved snatching defeat from the jaws of victory. At least where the point spread was concerned. I bought the line down one point to 23.5. It was a 45-14 lead for Oregon. Colorado converted twice on fourth down to keep a drive alive, including on their touchdown to pull within 24. Oregon’s quarterback threw an interception on the next drive.

Another touchdown followed. Once again, Colorado was able to keep the drive alive with a conversion on fourth down. The math says to go for two, and Colorado pulled within 16. Oregon answered with a touchdown, but only won by 23. Guess I should have bought two points instead of one.

1. Wyoming-Boise State 11/12:

I had been haunted by the Broncos all year. Their blown lead against Oklahoma State narrowly missed this list. It seemed like I was not on them when they played well. This debacle made SVP’s weekly Bad Beats segment. Wyoming seemed to have no sense of urgency. Boise had a 23-7 lead as the final seconds were ticking away.

A long pass was not only caught, but inexplicably taken in for a touchdown of 74 yards with just 4 seconds left. Wyoming had no timeouts remaining. If the tackle had been made inside Boise’s 5, the clock would have restarted after stopping temporarily. There would not have been time for any more plays. It was without a doubt my worst bad beat of 2021. 

Joey Backdoor’s Worst NFL Bad Beats of 2021

The state of New York rushed to legalize gambling in early 2022 because of bettors like Joey.

Editor’s Note: Even though the calendar flipped to 2022, Young Joey still has plenty of bad beats to get to. We’re now onto what was a rocky NFL season for J Baby and rumor has it his betting tendencies played a major role in New York’s push to legalize sports gambling come January.

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5. Falcons-Cowboys 11/14:

Dallas entered their game against Atlanta off a home loss. Denver inexplicably hammered the Cowboys. I thought Dallas would be a good teaser pick, but got cold feet and settled for the over. Most of my losses will be blamed on what is said by somebody on WFAN, and a shootout was expected. My bet needed 49 points. It was 36-3 at halftime. Dallas scored a third-quarter touchdown. I needed 3 more points. I’m still waiting. 

4. Niners-Bears 10/31:

Maybe Chicago should have worn orange for their Halloween game. This bet was definitely a trick. No treat. Despite predicting victory for San Francisco, I decided to tease against them. This was a multi-faceted disaster. I only teased 6.5 because the line was 4. I’m unable to do 10-point teasers in my current situation. 11 would have been a push. The line later went to 4.5, so teasing 7 would have given me 11.5 and a winner. Most of my teasing is with 7 points. Chicago missed a PAT. San Francisco late field goal came shortly after a long run and pushed their lead to 11 points. So many things had to go wrong, and they did. 

3. Bills-Titans 10/18:

The first of two Tennessee appearances on this list falls into a familiar category. When in doubt, take the over. There were several times in this group when I could have done that but got suckered in by the favorite instead. Buffalo settled for a pair of early field goals. I worried that this would cost them, and me. Buffalo was ahead 31-24 in the fourth. Tennessee went up 34-31. With only seconds remaining, the Bills faced a fourth and short at Tennessee’s 3. This time, Buffalo didn’t kick a field goal. That would have tied it. Buffalo went for a first down with hopes that a touchdown to win it would soon follow. Josh Allen slipped on a quarterback sneak. Buffalo fell short, literally. 

2. Titans-Seahawks 9/19:

I debated between the Titans and Seahawks to complete my teaser. Tennessee plus a bundle was tempting, but Arizona had just won by 25 in Tennessee. The second week is always tough. You don’t really know who is good yet, and the tendency is to overreact after openers. Seattle won comfortably at Indianapolis. I thought they should find a way to win at home. This was Seattle’s first game at home with fans in attendance since before the pandemic. They were up 24-9 at halftime and 30-16 in the fourth.

A missed extra point helped open the door for Tennessee’s comeback. The Titans tied it up with under 30 seconds remaining before winning on an overtime field goal. This was Seattle’s first loss when leading by 15 or more at halftime since 2004, and only their fourth such loss in franchise history. It was a tough way to close the late afternoon window, but my worst NFL beat of 2021 actually happened about four hours later. 

1. Chiefs-Ravens 9/19:

My first thought was that Baltimore needed this win. They have had a bad history against Kansas City, but this time the Ravens were home. Baltimore had a horrific loss in their opener against the Raiders (a game that narrowly missed this list). I initially thought that Baltimore might actually be favored or even. Kansas City didn’t look great against Cleveland, but came in 1-0 and figured to be less desperate. Another thought was to just take the over, or maybe go big on that in addition to something else. The talk on WFAN was that Baltimore’s defense could not contain Kansas City’s offense. I put all my faith in Kansas City to win. Baltimore trailed 35-24 after three quarters. Live odds on Kansas City winning must have been quite high if they were even offered at this time.

The Chiefs actually had possession up 11 late in the third, and took over in Baltimore territory after a punt return. Mahomes was picked. Baltimore scored a fourth quarter touchdown to get close, but didn’t convert the conversion attempt. It was 35-30. Kansas City punted. The Ravens went ahead, but again failed on the conversion. Kansas City drove down into field goal range, and appeared headed for a win. Clyde Edwards-Helaire fumbled. Kansas City still was not done. Baltimore faced a fourth down in their own territory. If Kansas City stopped Baltimore, the Chiefs would have probably been about 5-10 yards from field goal range and victory with about one minute remaining.

Lamar Jackson gained two yards for a first down. He needed one. Baltimore hung on. I could have teased Kansas City with the over, taken a live bet with the over, or just hit it for the second half. There were 33 points scored after halftime, so it obviously went over 27.5 second half points. So many chances to win. I missed them all. 

Joey Backdoor’s Worst Bad Beats Of 2021: New York Mets Edition

Joey’s worst gambling beats from a painful 2021 New York Mets season.

Editor’s Note: Joey is back with another treat for fans of his gambling pain. This time, he rehashes an agonizing New York Metropolitans 2021 season which featured some of those excruciating gambling losses that make you want to quit the game for good — but Joey never dies.

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5. Mets-Phillies 4/30:

Philadelphia scored both of their runs on a passed ball that was strike three and should have been out three in the second inning. Pitcher Chase Anderson was the batter who struck out but reached base against Marcus Stroman. This game was a sign of things to come. Another Stroman game would be decided when pitchers were hitting. More on that later.

As for this night, the Mets fell 2-1. They were 1-14 with runners in scoring position. James McCann had three opportunities with a man on second or third. His double play with runners on the corners ended the sixth after Dom Smith’s RBI single had given New York a run and potentially some momentum. 

4. Pirates-Mets 7/11:

Pittsburgh overcame a 5-0 deficit and the lowly Pirates were able to hand the Mets a brutal loss at Shea Stadium. New York’s Seth Lugo and Trevor May, two regular late-inning options, were unavailable despite it being the league’s final day before an extended All-Star break (four days off). Typical 2021 garbage. As a result, closer Edwin Diaz entered earlier than usual. He was able to extinguish a rally in the eighth. Pittsburgh was one out away from defeat, but scored twice in the ninth. 

3. Mets-Pirates 7/17:

After falling behind 6-0, Pittsburgh scored 5 in the eighth inning to make it close. A Brandon Nimmo home run in the ninth provided some insurance. Edwin Diaz blew his second save in less than a week. Both were against Pittsburgh, as the teams played consecutive series against each other with just the All-Star break in between. He was one out away from finishing off a New York victory, but surrendered a grand slam.

Gary Thorne worked the series. 2021 gave him a chance to call Mets broadcasts for the first time in years. He had not called MLB games since the covid shutdown of 2020. It was not one of his finer moments. Thorne temporarily thought Edwin’s final pitch had been caught for a Mets win. Perhaps in part because of games being called with road announcers working remotely. It somehow made the meltdown even worse. 

2. Cardinals-Mets 9/14:

With their postseason hopes on life support, the Mets hosted St. Louis. Somehow, things seemed to be lining up for them on the scoreboard. One NL playoff contender after another left the door open. After squandering two leads, the Mets forced extra innings with a home run by Javier Baez. Francisco Lindor came up with the potential winning run on third base in the tenth. Lindor grounded into a double play. Kevin Pillar was tagged out near third following a rundown and after first baseman Paul Goldschmidt began an unlikely twin killing by stepping on first. St. Louis scored three times in the next inning to go up 7-4, but there was more pain to come.

The Mets pulled within a run. Manager Luis Rojas sent Albert Almora Jr. up to bat. Luis Guillorme, a better hitter, remained on the bench. A ground ball concluded matters, and pretty much ended any chance of the Mets playing postseason baseball (or any meaningful games) until 2022. This game marked my stadium return. First time back since before the pandemic. It took more than 4.5 hours to finally put everybody out of their misery. Rojas gave a ridiculous explanation about how he never considered Guillorme because a lefty was pitching. Almora Jr. had been hitting well under .200. Even against lefties. Guillorme’s numbers might not have been great, but they were not that bad.

1. Mets-Phillies 8/6:

I went with a run line bet of Mets +1.5. In the fourth inning, New York loaded the bases with nobody out. Genius Luis Rojas instructed pitcher Marcus Stroman, who can swing the bat, to take three pitches and go down looking. He was afraid of a ground ball double play, which likely would have plated a run. The next batter grounded into a double play, and the Mets failed to score any runs in the fourth. Stroman only pitched two more innings, and Philadelphia scored in the fifth. Their pitcher actually was allowed to swing. He singled in a run and broke the tie. You can’t make it up. One could even suggest that perhaps somebody should have come up to pinch-hit for Stroman if he wasn’t staying in for the long haul, but simply letting Stroman swing would have been the most logical move.

Edwin Diaz gave up a pair of runs in the eighth to blow my +1.5. A ninth inning Mets run left them short for both the game and my wager. Gary Thorne also called that series, and this was the opener. Joe Benigno would later say he knew his team had no chance after realizing that Thorne was working. Both of us were perplexed about Gary Cohen not working this crucial series, but I was a little less critical. Joe has a way with words and opinions. The Mets never recovered from this game. It set the tone for a series sweep. They lost their division lead on this night, and left town two games back less than 48 hours later. Just over one week later they had fallen to third place, and remained there for the season’s final seven weeks.

Joey Backdoor’s 2021 Bad Beats: Yankees Edition

The Yankees weren’t particularly kind to JBD’s wallet this year.

Editor’s Note (LordTreeSap): It’s the end of the year so that only means one thing for JBD, time to reflect on another painful year of bad beats leaving the king of Shop Rite in the red. He’s got so many in the pipeline to sift through that we’re going to hone in on just the New York Yankees (Never bet the locals every night folks) for now.

Stay posted for the rest of Joey’s bad beats in the coming days before the ball drops on Dec. 31.

5. Yankees-Tigers 5/28:

The Yanks were huge favorites with Gerrit Cole on the bump. A tenth inning run put the Yanks up 2-1. Aroldis Chapman was lifted after pitching a scoreless ninth. Aaron Boone opted to bring in Justin Wilson instead of letting Chapman close it out. Wilson retired two men, and was one strike away from securing the victory. Of course, there was a runner on second base to start the inning. Wilson allowed a home run, and Detroit won 3-2. This increased the struggling Wilson’s ERA to 6.08. 

4. Yankees-Orioles 9/16:

Once again it seemed like a Yankee reliever was on the verge of putting away an inferior opponent. Clay Holmes was one strike away from his first major league save. Holmes threw a wild pitch that got past catcher Gary Sanchez on a wet night.

Baltimore tied the game, and won it an inning later. Broadcaster John Sterling repeatedly expressed his frustrations before the game was even over, and the Yanks ended up falling in a meaningful late-season game that could have helped them secure a Wild Card game at Yankee Stadium. Closer Aroldis Chapman did not pitch because he was unavailable after working the previous three days.

3. Yankees-Red Sox 7/22:

Chad Green was an out away from saving a 3-1 victory at Fenway Park. Instead, he allowed a double that brought home two runs. The Yanks took a 4-3 lead in the tenth. Brooks Kriske came on to try and close things out. Kriske threw a record four wild pitches in his brief but disastrous stint, and Boston prevailed 5-4.

2. Yankees-Red Sox 7/25:

Domingo German tossed seven hitless innings. He allowed a hit to Boston’s first batter in the eighth, and was lifted after 93 pitches. A 4-0 lead for the Yanks quickly disappeared. Boston came away with a stunning 5-4 win. The Yankees had somehow suffered an even more painful loss than the bitter defeat just three days earlier. The common thread in numerous blown leads and heartbreaking defeats was Aaron Boone’s bullpen management. 

1. Angels-Yankees 6/30:

All appeared calm as the Yankees were ahead by four runs in the ninth inning. A pair of rain delays resulted in the contest concluding nearly six hours after first pitch. Aroldis Chapman walked three men before surrendering a grand slam to tie it up. Before the inning was over, seven Angels had scored. When the ballgame finally ended, a shocked and soaked bunch of diehard fans (albeit far less than the original crowd) had witnessed an 11-8 Angels victory. A 7-2 first inning lead had slipped away.

Pitcher Shohei Ohtani didn’t survive a rough opening frame, and what had been a celebration from about 7:30 until after midnight somehow turned into what felt like a funeral. The Angels made history. They became the first team since at least 1900 to give up seven runs in the first inning and then score seven in the ninth to win.

An Ode To WFAN Staple Steve Somers

WFAN’s original overnight host is riding off into the sunset.

I always try to come up with a word other than “legend” when describing one of the greats. For Steve Somers, it is the proper term.

Although he may return for an occasional show, his run of nearly 35 years as a regular WFAN host is coming to an end. His final regular show will be tonight, with a special sendoff on Monday afternoon.

There have been wonderful tributes to Steve, from Andrew Marchand’s column to Sal Licata’s monologue this morning. Marchand made a list of Somer-isms. My favorite was included. The Kings were from Sacratomato. Not Sacramento. Sometimes they would take on the Hollywood Fakers. There was a hockey team from Long Island. They were the Ice-Landers.

Many people know how much the station means to me. It has meant a great deal over the years. I have become friends with hosts and gone to see them at appearances. We have each other’s phone numbers. I have been at Mets and Nets games with Evan.

Many people associate me with Joe Benigno, and rightfully so. Everything started with Steve. In the late 80s I would listen to him overnight. Under the covers, as he said. Steve often talks about how intimate radio is. Especially overnight. Remember, this is more than 30 years ago. No social media. Only television to offer a possible distraction, and less than 40 channels at that. Usually, I would fall asleep listening to Steve, and intently listen in the dark to him and callers for hours. 

It is hard to believe that 24 hours of sports on a radio station was not attempted until 1987, and people didn’t know if it would work. Somers was unique. He had all sorts of comedy and audio clips. When Mike Francesa complained that Joe and Evan were stealing his thing by playing John Sterling calls years ago, Steve pointed out that he was playing calls before all of them. I can remember looking forward to hearing Steve play NFL calls on a Monday morning.

There was one young broadcaster who really stood out. His Chiefs calls were passionate, and fascinated me. That man was Kevin Harlan. I remember talking to a friend in high school about how this guy was going to become the next great broadcaster.

People didn’t really know what the WFAN studios looked like. A show on CBS decided to do a feature on Steve, and it was a peak behind the curtain. Most people had never even seen a picture or video of Somers at that time. I also remember him appearing at a softball game. Just being close enough to see him and eavesdrop on Steve’s conversation provided me with a thrill. 

In 2007 I attended the WFAN 20th anniversary celebration at Umberto’s Clam House. It was great to meet WFAN personalities and callers. Somers and Benigno interviewed me. To show that I had been listening to Steve for years, I mentioned how he used to make fun of AFC teams during their Super Bowl losing streak. He said they were too small. Lilliputian, he yelled. I’m pretty sure this was the first time I’d heard that word, and I don’t think I’ve heard anybody use it since. 

Steve didn’t want any fanfare. No farewell tour. Listeners have called in with their random memories. One caller this morning talked about winning a bet with Steve. He wants his pizza. Somers explained that the pizzeria this caller wanted to order from would not deliver, and Steve would be more than happy to reimburse him if the caller went and ate there. Before that, this guy accused Steve of arguing with someone about The Dewey Decimal System in a library. It was an amazing five minutes.

The overnight was strange. Still is. That’s why we love it. You hear from all types. Guys who work late. People getting up early. Elderly, unemployed fans. Everyone is welcome. Although Joe might have perfected the overnight and put his own spin on it, Somers got the ball rolling. He started it all. You can’t have a second without the first.

WFAN’s original overnight host is riding off into the sunset. Happy retirement, Steve. Congratulations on a job well done.

Overlooked Wrestling Superstar Paul Orndorff Gone At 71

Mr. Wonderful may be gone. His accomplishments will not be forgotten. Rest in peace. 

Even people who were not big wrestling fans in the 1980s can probably name a number of popular wrestlers from that era. Hulk Hogan usually tops the list. Guys like “Macho Man” Randy Savage. Andre The Giant. Rowdy Roddy Piper. Ultimate Warrior. Jake “The Snake” Roberts. George “The Animal” Steele. Ricky “The Dragon” Steamboat. I could go on for quite some time. One name that seems to slip through the cracks too often is Paul Orndorff. Monday he passed away at 71 years old. It is safe to say that “Mr. Wonderful” had an extremely underrated WWF run. Although Orndorff’s wrestling career was much more than just his time in WWF, Paul was absolutely one of the company’s top stars between his arrival in late 1983 and his final WWF rivalry in 1987 (against Ravishing Rick Rude). Records indicate that Orndorff battled Rude one final time in early 1988 before departing the company. 

There were so many epic moments featuring Orndorff. Let’s start with 1984. Hogan won the title in January at Madison Square Garden. That ushered in what many people consider to be the golden age of wrestling. Hulk’s first challenger at MSG a month later? You guessed it. None other than Orndorff. He challenged Tito Santana for the Intercontinental Title in March. Basically whoever held that belt was considered second in the company. April held a special place in my heart. Orndorff was part of a card held approximately one block from my house at a high school gym. In fact, he participated in the main event and was on the winning team. There were more clashes with Hogan and Santana throughout 1984, and Tito squared off against Orndorff at MSG again in May. Orndorff prevailed. Since Santana was counted out, the title did not change hands. He also claimed wins against Hogan, but with Hulk getting counted out or disqualified. 

By 1985, Orndorff had really taken off. Perhaps people forget that he competed in the main event at WrestleMania. Back when it didn’t have a number, as Roddy Piper once said. The original. Eventually he would become a good guy. Fans were cheering him. Orndorff became wildly popular. His action figure was one of the early ones made by LJN. Orndorff began taking on former manager Bobby “The Brain” Heenan. He also tangled with Piper, who was a former manager of Orndorff himself. They had also teamed up in the big WrestleMania main event. 

1986 was the peak of Orndorff’s WWF career. He was teamed up with Hogan in a match against King Kong Bundy and Big John Studd. Following the bout, Orndorff turned on Hogan. He surprised him with a clothesline before delivering a piledriver that left the Hulkster in a heap. This generated incredible heat, and resulted in an epic feud. Orndorff even stole Hogan’s music and tried to claim it as his own. The two battled across North America, including an outdoor show at Toronto’s CNE Stadium. Approximately 70,000 fans gathered to see the event, which set a new World Wrestling Federation record at the time. With 1986 coming to a close, Orndorff and Hogan would collide in steel cage matches throughout the United States. Their cage match in Hartford was aired on NBC’s Saturday Night’s Main Event. Despite being taped in December, that air date was January 3, 1987. It actually aired hours after one of the worst playoff losses ever suffered by my New York Jets. This memorable clash was billed as the first steel cage match in network television history, and helped ease my pain.

A huge crowd saw Hogan battle Andre The Giant at WrestleMania III in March of 1987. About 90,000 fans were in attendance. Another record. Orndorff was suspiciously left off the card. There was talk of Orndorff being held out as a possible substitute because Andre’s health was a serious question mark. However, Paul had his own issues to deal with. He had injured his arm during a weightlifting accident. Instead of taking time off, Orndorff continued to wrestle Hogan in front of large crowds. Finally, he stepped away after the profitable program had concluded. Shortly after his return, Paul once again fired Bobby Heenan. He turned face, or good, once more. The first annual Survivor Series took place in November of 1987. Yet again, Orndorff found himself in the main event. He was part of Hulk’s team in the big showdown on Thanksgiving night. 

Another legend has left us. Maybe you hadn’t heard of him, or perhaps this terrific career was somehow lost among the greats. It truly is amazing that he was somehow overshadowed by the other giants of 1980s wrestling. He deserves his flowers. The guy stacked up with everybody. He had the look. A body of work. Put fannies in seats. Had memorable interviews. He did everything you could have possibly imagined. Mr. Wonderful may be gone. His accomplishments will not be forgotten. Rest in peace.