Joey Backdoor’s Worst Gambling Beats of 2020, Part 1

Narrowing my list to 20 wasn’t easy. It has been a brutal year. Here is the first 10 of my top 20 bad beats from 2020.

1. LSU-Clemson:

In a battle of the Tigers, LSU prevailed to become champions. I should have loaded up on LSU after riding them all year. A guest on WFAN talked me into betting the total early in case it went up. 67 points were scored. Not over 69. Somehow, the total was bet down and closed at 66. I also could have gone for insurance by popping an LB on the under. Bet more on the lower number. Done a teaser. Total debacle. Literally, since it involved the total. Great way to end the season and start my year. 

2. Kings-Bucks:

Getting in early burned me again. Milwaukee beat Sacramento by 12. The line went down to 10, but that was after my bet went in. Giannis skipped the game. Apparently becoming a father is somewhat important to people. 

3. San Francisco-Gonzaga:

A late three by the Zags gave them a 71-54 victory. Some people won on -16.5, but I had 17.5. Bet it too soon. The line went down. This story seems familiar. Another problem with early wagers is I’m not able to buy points. I am great at finding ways to lose. 

4. Iowa-Michigan State:

MSU defeated Iowa 78-70. I had the Spartans -8.5, and Cassius Winston missed a late free throw to cover. Teasing with the over would have worked. It especially hurt because Winston was shooting free throws at an 87 percent clip.

5. Braves-Mets:

Edwin Diaz blew a save, and the Mets fell to 1-1. They were one out away from starting 2-0 against Atlanta in the shortened 2020 campaign. This set the tone for their entire season, and mine.

6. Mets-Braves:

I could not leave out the Mets losing 11-10 to Atlanta. It was 8-2 Mets. They also were ahead 10-5. Atlanta scored once in the sixth inning, but still trailed 10-6 in the eighth. Travis d’Arnaud doubled in three runs against his former team. That capped Atlanta’s five-run eighth, and the comeback was complete. Or, choke job. Depends on your point of view. 

7. Rockets-Mavericks:

Dallas squandered a 138-131 lead with under 50 seconds remaining. Seth Curry’s late miss at the free throw line gave Houston hope, but James Harden was shooting two free throws with less than 4 seconds left and the Rockets still trailing 139-136. Harden made his first. The second was missed, and Robert Covington’s tip forced overtime. Dallas went up by four in the extra session, but Houston went on to win. Could have loaded up on the over. Even at halftime.

8. Jazz-Nuggets:

The NBA postseason kicked off in fine fashion. Denver covered the game in overtime despite 57 from Donovan Mitchell. Another example of me not jumping in on the over and turning it into a profitable game. This was also another example of overtime not being a friend of the underdog bettor.

9. Mavericks-Clippers:

Hours after Denver and Utah’s overtime game, Dallas took on the Clippers. Kristaps Porzingis was ejected, and things turned. Dallas scored 13 points in the third quarter. 135 combined points were scored in the first half. It ended 118-110. Not over 229. Tim Hardaway missed the game’s final shot. Could have covered and put it over. I didn’t tease the two. Lost them both individually. Two bad losses, but I’m going to combine them. Not getting over 229 had to be the real bad beat.

10. Indiana-Rutgers:

It appeared the Scarlet Knights had scored on a wild play to cover that featured a number of laterals. Replay overturned the touchdown. A Halloween disappointment. That’s what I get for letting Joe Benigno and others talk me into liking Rutgers. 

15 Times Real Life Overtook Sporting Events

There have been many times when the games we love were overshadowed by an event that was tragic and unexpected. Probably more than you would think. I have come up with a list of 15, and surprisingly left out a number of others. Preseason football games were wiped out for one reason or another. Regular season NFL schedules have been adjusted due to conflicts with playoff baseball games. We’ll declare them part of my “Honorable Mention” list.

I am excluding strikes and lockouts. Since I was not born until 1977, I am not including WWII or JFK’s assassination. The NFL played that Sunday (immediately following JFK’s death), but games were not televised due to assassination coverage. Some college games were postponed a day earlier. As I stated, not everything made the list. You might recall another game. This article is already very long. As the kids say, don’t at me. My decision was to only list events from the past 35 years, and I decided to list them in chronological order.

Here they are:

1. Giants-Athletics World Series (Earthquake,10/89)

Allow me to set the scene. It was a Tuesday night. I went to return my Hulk Hogan VHS tape at Video Visions. The World Series had shifted sites for game 3, and San Francisco was minutes away from hosting Oakland. At least that’s what was scheduled to happen. You could imagine my surprise when I found Roseanne on ABC after returning home. This made no sense. What happened to the World Series? Soon I discovered that an earthquake had caused a delay. Well, surely they would start momentarily. Everything seemed fine. People quickly realized that there was extensive damage, and the game was postponed. San Francisco would finally host the game more than one week later. A 49ers game was moved to Stanford Stadium. Since I mentioned Hulk Hogan, a WWF show scheduled for October 20 was also postponed. It took place on October 25. The Canadian Earthquake debuted on television a short time later, but his attack on the Ultimate Warrior actually happened on October 2.

2. NBA Playoffs (L.A. Riots, 4/92)

The suddenly underdog Lakers were playing their first season in more than a decade without Magic Johnson. I liked several players on the team, and told my neighbor we had to somehow get them into the postseason instead of those boring Rockets. An improbable late-season run culminated with an overtime victory in game 82. I found out about their win from Steve Somers after midnight. WFAN didn’t have an update anchor overnight back then. Flashes were recorded, and the host came on when they ended to report late scores. The Lakers then won a thrilling third game against Portland to stay alive. A fantastic watch on youtube. Ernie Johnson had studio duties, but Fred Hickman was preparing to go on as host of Inside The NBA. Announcer Pete Van Wieren, who called the action with analyst Hubie Brown, said that the Lakers would be back in their home building for a fourth game in that series.

It didn’t happen. Riots had already started outside, and game 4 ended up getting moved to Las Vegas. Although game 4 was already scheduled to be in May and finally took place on May 3, the rioting began on April 29. It was already happening during game 3. Fires were set after officers accused of police brutality were acquitted. Similarly, a Clippers contest scheduled for the Los Angeles Memorial Sports Arena was also postponed. Game 4 of their series was played in Anaheim.

3. NBA Finals (Pursuing O.J. Simpson, 6/94)

This is the only example on my list where a sporting event took place as planned. However, NBC either split the screen or completely removed it. I could go off in a million different directions about how ridiculous it was for this to be covered instead of a Knicks-Rockets NBA Finals game. Today, the contest would be moved to an alternate channel. In fact, it could easily be shown on ESPN because ABC has replaced NBC. Even if basketball was still on NBC, one of their cable channels could show the game. Years later, WNBA fans had to suffer. NBC aired coverage of the John F. Kennedy Jr. plane crash. This injustice for basketball fans didn’t get quite as much attention. Anyway, basketball fanatics in New York listened to Rockets-Knicks on WFAN. Houston won in 7, but the Knicks prevailed on this night to take a 3-2 series lead.

4. NHL Playoffs (Columbine, 4/99)

An unspeakable tragedy occurred in Colorado 21 years ago. It took the lives of 15 people and injured more than 20 others. Sadly, school shootings have become almost commonplace in subsequent years. This was at a time when communication was just starting to take off on computers. Teenagers were away at college and messaging people. It really scared a generation of kids, and also scarred them. Although the Rockies and Nuggets had their original schedules adjusted, the major change in sports was with Colorado’s NHL team. The Avalanche were preparing to open up at home against the Sharks. That first round pairing was delayed, and it opened in San Jose. The Avalanche won twice in California to start it off. This series had been changed to a 2-3-1-1 series instead of the typical 2-2-1-1-1 format. Colorado came home and lost a pair before winning the final two games and advancing. Round two was the same story. Six games were played between Detroit and the Avalanche. There were five road wins. Once again, only game 5 was won by the home team. Colorado eventually fell to Dallas in 7.

5. Various (September 11, 9/01)

We all know what happened in 2001. I certainly don’t need to tell people in New York about the terrorist attacks. As it relates to sports, football games were postponed for one week. Similar story with baseball. Week 18 was added to the NFL season for Week 2 games. 2002 had our first February Super Bowl. Shea Stadium was used as a staging area for volunteers and supplies. Personally, I had just started working in New Jersey. My boss called and told me to stay home. In the days and weeks that followed, I drove to and from work. That George Washington Bridge view was forever changed. As years went by, I could see the tribute beams. I had never experienced anything like this. It would be many more years until things were so strange again. Unfortunately, that time is now.

6. Dolphins-Chargers (Wildfires, 10/03)

A scheduled game between Miami and San Diego was moved to Arizona. This game was televised by ABC on a Monday night. Wildfires in California forced the move. Qualcomm Stadium in San Diego was used as an evacuation site. The Dolphins won 26-10. Neither team reached the postseason that year. Miami went 10-6. San Diego finished tied for last. The Chargers and Raiders each lost 12 of their 16 games.

7. New Orleans Saints (Hurricane Katrina, 8/05)

Although numerous hurricanes have impacted sports and most notably the NFL, few if any hurricanes that hit the United States drew national coverage like Hurricane Katrina. New Orleans played no regular season games at their usual home in 2005. It sustained significant damage, and also was used as a shelter for those who did not evacuate. The Louisiana Superdome closed for about a year. It finally reopened when the Saints hosted Atlanta in 2006. New Orleans was victorious in an emotional game that was televised nationally on ESPN’s Monday Night Football. I chose to only use one spot on my list for a hurricane. People from this area obviously remember Hurricane Sandy. It also caused extensive damage. The local sports postponement was an NBA game between the Knicks and Nets.

8. SEC Men’s Basketball Tournament (Tornado, 3/08)

The third of four scheduled games on March 14, 2008 at the Georgia Dome was in overtime when the building was struck by a tornado. Alabama and Mississippi State completed their overtime following a delay, but remaining games for this tournament were played at Georgia Tech’s home court. The Kentucky game against Georgia was postponed to March 15, and the Bulldogs prevailed. Georgia then won another Saturday game hours later before defeating Arkansas on Sunday. The Bulldogs captured their conference tournament to earn an unlikely NCAA Tournament bid in unique and bizarre fashion. Georgia was given a 14 seed. They entered SEC Tournament action with a 13-16 record before the amazing run. Xavier ended Georgia’s season when they met in their first round game on March 20.

9. Minnesota NFL (Snowstorm: Roof, 12/10)

Brett Favre’s record streak of consecutive starts ended when he was inactive for the Giants-Vikings game in 2010. Snow caused the teams to play at Detroit’s Ford Field. The Hubert H. Humphrey Metrodome’s roof collapsed. One week later, Minnesota played an outdoor contest against Chicago at TCF Bank Stadium. Favre sustained a concussion. That was his last NFL game.

10. Vikings-Eagles (Blizzard, 12/10)

Maybe this team was cursed. After having two games moved following their stadium’s roof collapse, the Vikings headed to Philadelphia for their game against the Eagles. Mayor Michael Nutter declared a snow emergency for Philadelphia. The December 2010 North American blizzard caused a rare Tuesday NFL clash. This was the 20th Tuesday game in NFL history, but the first since 1946. When they finally played, new Vikings quarterback Joe Webb ran for a touchdown to help Minnesota upset Philadelphia.

11. Numerous (Boston Marathon Bombings, 4/13)

The Red Sox, Bruins, and Celtics all had their schedules impacted by the Boston Marathon Bombings (and subsequent manhunt) in 2013. When baseball finally returned to Fenway Park, David Ortiz made a passionate speech. It was memorable, and also profane. On April 28, a Senators-Bruins game was played after all other NHL regular season contests were completed. This game needed to be played for seeding. Playoff pairings were not finalized until after Ottawa upset Boston. The Celtics only played 81 games, which might have been important if you made an NBA futures wager. Kansas City played a doubleheader at Fenway Park on April 21. That Sunday doubleheader was scheduled because of a postponement two days earlier.

12. Jets-Bills (Snow, 11/14)

Ford Field hosted an unexpected football game on a Monday, again. In the fall of 2014, an extreme weather event moved the Jets-Bills game to Detroit. This happened four years after the Giants and Vikings were moved from Minnesota to Michigan. Both nights featured a Ravens road win. Baltimore beat the Saints in New Orleans on this night. Houston fell at home against Baltimore in the scheduled 2010 ESPN game. Baltimore beat Houston 34-28 in overtime, and apparently the magic number was 34. Ironically, the Ravens defeated New Orleans by a score of 34-27. As for the Jets, they lost 38-3. Both New York teams being involved in these games that were moved to Detroit is another coincidence.

13. White Sox-Orioles (Unrest, 4/15)

In 2015, Baltimore hosted the first ever Major League Baseball game played with no fans. This was because of civil unrest in Baltimore. The White Sox were defeated by a score of 8-2.

14. Clippers-Lakers (Calabasas Helicopter Crash, 1/20)

News of Kobe Bryant’s death broke just before the AFC-NFC Pro Bowl. It made for an awkward atmosphere. The next scheduled Lakers game was against the Clippers, and that game was postponed. Players didn’t feel like playing their NBA games. Kyrie Irving chose not to play for Brooklyn. Even announcer Mike Breen talked about how he didn’t feel like working.

15. Everything (COVID-19, 3/20)

The actual sports postponements in this country didn’t start until March. We can only speculate on when things will return to normal. It goes well beyond sports. Still, seeing events that had taken place annually for decades get postponed or canceled has been shocking. At this time, we can’t put final numbers on deaths or postponements. Life is changing by the day. Sports will be appreciated like never before when they finally return.

Joey Yonkers’ 10 Worst Gambling Beats of 2019

Thanks to Mike for making me relive my worst moments of the year. Here are my most painful losses from 2019:

10. Texas Tech-Virginia: A magical run for the Cavaliers ended by winning their title game in overtime. Usual mix. Controversial replay and clutch play. Buying points with the underdog only made it more expensive. As SVP says, overtime is not a friend of the underdog bettor.

9. Pacers-Blazers: The second half total was in doubt. I needed a late basket. Indiana missed one shot after another before hitting a shot just after the buzzer. Although the game had already been decided, a review would determine whether or not the second half went over. No basket. Second half over loses.

8. Chargers-Broncos: Few teams suffer more excruciating losses than the Chargers. I took them to win as a road favorite in Denver. The game appeared destined for overtime after an LA field goal. So hard to not call them San Diego. Denver threw up a prayer and benefited from an awful pass interference call before booting the game-winning kick with no time left.

7. UNC-Gonzaga: It was an easy win for the Zags. They were ahead by 19, but North Carolina hit a pair of late threes to sneak under the number. I only bought it from 14 to 13.5, and could have used an extra point. Also, the line went up. My dilemma was not being able to buy points until it gets close to the start. Could not buy down when the number was lower. Teasing with over would have worked as well.

6. Rockets-Warriors Game 1: Golden State was up by three. I bought it down to Warriors -4.5 instead of going ML. Chris Paul picked up a technical in the closing seconds. Golden State then went up by 4, so Houston didn’t foul. At 103-100 they likely would have fouled Curry and lost by 5. Frustrating for numerous reasons. Not buying enough points. Could have gone ML. Technical probably cost me the win. Also, I was at a party. Got the news after it happened, then suffered through an overnight replay to catch up on all the brutal details.

5. Alabama-Auburn: The Iron Bowl again provided us with a memorable contest. Alabama’s defense was poor, but unpredictable happenings ultimately doomed them. The Tide appeared headed for six when an interception was returned 100 yards by a backup linebacker. This pass hit Najee Harris in the back. A late field goal to tie was no good off the left upright. Auburn benefited from the clock stopping for replay just before halftime. It allowed them to score three points, and they won 48-45. Down goes my Alabama ML. Would have been an easy over.

4. Mets-Nationals: Washington came back from 10-4 down in the ninth inning. Jacob deGrom’s bad luck continued, and so did mine. First of all, I didn’t take the run line. That cost me. An epic collapse by the Mets was capped off when Edwin Diaz allowed a home run to Kurt Suzuki. The Mets scored five runs in their final frame to go up by six runs. This created a level of comfort for manager Mickey Callaway. He took out Seth Lugo, who was his best relief pitcher. This was the largest ninth-inning comeback in Nationals history. There were other stats about just how crazy this comeback had been. I started to hear them choking while driving, and they had already lost when I finally put SNY on.

3. Bengals-Dolphins: This game cost me on a parlay sheet. Hard to say losing on the Bengals is a bad beat when they were down 23 midway through the fourth, but I’ll explain. At 35-33, Cincinnati made their conversion with no time left and forced overtime. I had +3. Miami scored with no time remaining in overtime to finally win. A tie would have been good for me. There were other things that made it worse. After picking Miami to win during the week, I listened to people and settled on Bengals +3. It pushed, and Miami would not have won either. Ties are losses unless picked, which is ridiculous. Finally, it really wasn’t Dolphins -3 by late in the week. Miami was an underdog. My official pick was 19-18 Dolphins. If the sheet had Miami +1, I would have taken the underdog and won.

2. Falcons-Niners: Another parlay sheet goes down. Atlanta scored a pair of touchdowns in the final two seconds. A replay review prevented the final from being 22-17 San Fran. Laterals and insanity resulted in another Falcons score with no time remaining. This is probably considered the worst beat of 2019 by most gamblers. Definitely one of them. I didn’t realize it had cost me until sorting through my picks later on. Three other sheets lost only one game that weekend. These things have haunted me since I went 10-0 on a sheet in 1994. Even then, I was given 200-1 when a competing sheet had better odds. By not getting the 300-1 payout, I felt cheated out of 500 dollars. First, I’m rooting for Atlanta. The last touchdown doesn’t even register with me until SVP tweets about it putting that game over. My thought was what idiot would take that under. Then I checked my sheets.

1. Utah-BYU: I call this the SVP game. He talked me into BYU. Live bets were flying. This game took place in the summer. Football games that take place in August are sometimes delayed by bad weather. We saw that during this year’s Jets-Giants preseason affair. A delay prolonged my agony, but also provided hope that bets would be wiped away because 55 minutes had not yet been played. During SVP’s show an update on the bottom showed that it had gone final. This made me think that is was cut short. The game had resumed and finished. ESPN didn’t return to Utah-BYU, and never even told us about play resuming. A debacle on all fronts. Nothing happened late except for a very long drive killing time, and all game wagers becoming official. SVP even addressed an angry tweet about this, saying that he didn’t know what channel they were on at that point. ESPN taking it off air and the false hope of losses getting wiped out make this the worst beat of 2019 for me.

Countdown Continues Until WFAN Turns The Paige

Just one month. That is how long we have left until the Tony Paige reign of terror on WFAN wraps up. I need to continue celebrating the end of his awful radio show, and also explain how terrible his program really is to those who don’t spend their overnights listening.

For years Tony has joked about how fans are “on the ledge” when they panic about a team. He talks about how the ledge is full when things don’t go well. This is pretty much deep analysis by his standards. Tony also likes to say that he will make fans think by coming up with a topic. Usually this happens if he feels like nobody will call and there is an extra need for him to urge the hardcore overnight listening audience to participate. It reeks of desperation and incompetence.

Joe Benigno never came up with some corny topic and begged listeners to chime in on a specific survey question just because the previous evening was a slow sports night. Paige has even said that when both baseball teams win there are usually not many callers complaining, so he prefers when at least one team loses. He gets excited when neither one wins. Even though he’ll try to claim that he roots for both teams. I recall a number of times that prove otherwise. He wanted the Mets to lose ten straight after firing Willie Randolph, and didn’t want a Mets win when Vargas pitched. Sounds like one loyal fan.

Aaron Heilman left the Mets following a 3-8 season in 2008. Tony often stated that he would win 23 games in his first season with a new team. One assumes that there was some sarcasm or at least exaggeration, but Paige seemed somewhat serious. I think Tony honestly believed that Heilman would do well. There is absolutely no doubt in my mind that he would have congratulated himself and repeatedly reminded us of his prediction if it was anywhere close to happening. I remember this well because Tony constantly said it. Not just daily. Paige usually would repeat himself after about 5-10 minutes. This became a crutch for him. That’s how the show would usually go. Lots of repeating. If there occasionally were callers, they usually brought very little to the table.

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I was very tempted to call and say that I was quite sure about Heilman not going on to win 23 games in 2009. I’m pretty sure that Tony would not have accepted a bet. Heilman went 4-4 in 2009. He won a total of 13 games in his three seasons after leaving the Mets. I wonder if we could have made a bet about Heilman getting 23 more victories before his career ended. Tony would have lost either way.

One great example of a regular caller to Tony is Terry from Amenia. Paige mistakenly calls him Terry from Armenia. The guy lives in New York. Dutchess County. Not Eurasia. This has gone on for many years, and really sums up the host. Nobody corrects Tony. They have had ridiculous conversations. Terry listens to baseball on the radio, and apparently other sports as well. One time Terry spoke about listening to the Patriots winning a Super Bowl with field goals in a blizzard. Tony “corrected” him by saying that it was the AFC Championship game. Also not true. I think we can all talk about fond memories of the many classic Super Bowls that were played in horrible snowstorms. Obviously I’m being facetious.

Tony and Terry have also discussed the 1985 World Series. An obvious wrong call was made. Terry, who again apparently was not watching or hasn’t seen the replay in recent years, talked about how today they would catch the mistake but back then there were not many cameras or the quality has improved. This didn’t happen when all screens were black and white with no replay. It was known within seconds that a terrible call had been made. However, plays were not reviewed or challenged back then. The umpire simply made a really bad call. Terry makes terrible calls to Tony almost every week. That’s the irony. He just doesn’t understand what happened in the World Series and NFL playoffs. Also, he doesn’t realize that his contributions are comical. Terry keeps begging Tony to stay. Maybe Terry at least knows that somebody like JJ would catch his mistakes and call him out.

Another overnight regular is Stewart from Brooklyn. He called back recently after Tony hung up on him. Stewart changed his name, but the voice is pretty recognizable. Not many people address Tony as sir, so that was another telltale. Of course he got right back in with no callers on the line. If you couldn’t figure out that Stewart was on again, he praised the caller who was just on. I don’t ever remember another caller talking about how great Stewart’s call was. It could only be Stewart.

A caller asked Tony if he was going to Fanfest last month. Paige was apparently not planning on it. Tony didn’t seem to be aware of the event, so I think it’s pretty safe to say that nobody associated with WFAN invited him. Eventually Tony decided to show up. Even if management hadn’t asked him.

Tony took score predictions before NFL games and wrote them down. I can remember my boss criticizing this. Actually, I thought it was okay. A great show would have some other highlights, but at least Tony was being fan friendly. More importantly, he documented what people predicted. Callers predict scores. This happens a lot. I remember somebody called in the afternoon and spoke about how the Stars were a good NHL team that had a chance in the postseason.

He called back after they had playoff success, but of course his call had been forgotten. Not by me. I just wasn’t hosting. So, taking predictions and then giving proper credit after the fact isn’t an awful idea in my opinion. Naturally, Tony screwed this up. He forgot his pad one day and wrote scores somewhere else. People called in the following week to brag about their predictions. Paige did not have them. In fact, Tony told callers that they had not given their picks to him. He accused at least one person of being mistaken, and said the call must have been to another host.

It reminded me of a scene from Friends. Phoebe wrote about Chandler and Monica. However, she used fake names. Phoebe wrote down their conversations. Marsha and Chester were not on the same page. She knew there would be a problem. The two thought their meeting was supposed to take place at different times. This was basically me watching Tony and callers from a distance. I saw it coming.

Going over these great moments makes me feel like Gorilla Monsoon roasting Bobby Heenan on his Prime Time Wrestling anniversary. I’ll enjoy these final weeks. You really can’t get this type of entertainment anywhere else.

Remembering a Sportscasting Legend: Chet Coppock

Yesterday fans were scared that the world was going to lose wrestling great Ric Flair. It sounds like he is going to be fine. However, the sports world did lose someone last month. It seemed to go under the radar. This time of year features the NHL and NBA playoffs, baseball games, and the NFL draft.

 

One month ago today, Chet Coppock passed away. He was in a car crash, and died due to the injuries he sustained. Last month I saw that Chet was trending on twitter, and knew that was bad news. Most of my memories involving Chet are from about 25 years ago. I understand that the younger generation isn’t familiar with him. Coppock was the Chicago ring announcer for Wrestlemania II, so that earns him points in my book.

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How was I introduced to a Chicago sportscaster? Well, I often paint the picture of just how different life was when I grew up. We know that this was before you could easily go on your computer or phone to get scores. Even television was very different. We didn’t have constant scrolls on the bottom line of every sports channel. ESPN2 debuted in 1993, and we did not even have it when the channel started. One place became popular for me when I wanted scores. Channel 12. It was Newsport, and Coppock hosted a show called NewSportTalk.

At first he was pretty much background noise as the scores went by. This is a good opportunity to point out that my fantastic 1994 achievement is now 25 years old. I went 10-0 on my parlay sheet. Even though it only paid 200-1 and some places gave out 300-1. When I saw that the Patriots had tied Minnesota at 20 to force overtime and the game had gone over 39, my tenth win was sealed. I remember celebrating after seeing the update on Newsport.

Anyway, a funny thing happened. I started to tune in specifically for Chet’s show. Or, I would leave it on after catching up on scores to hear his guests. Fran Fraschilla tweeted about his appearances on Chet’s program after Coppock’s passing. The “Godfather of Sports Talk Radio” was 70 years old. RIP Chet.

 

 

New York Knicks, Thank You For This Season

“The 2018-2019 New York Knicks: They walked so the 2019-2020 New York Knicks could run.”

The Knicks finished the 17-65, which officially is the worst record in the NBA. The Knicks traded away their franchise player, Kristaps Porzingis, and upset the fanbase in the process. A lineup of Dennis Smith Jr, Damyean Dotson, Kevin Knox, Luke Kornet, and Mitchell Robinson struck fear into the hearts of many opponents… kidding. The Knicks have won a total of ten games since December 1st.

After all of the losing, I can safely sit here and say I have hope. For the first time in 20 years, the Knicks have a plan.

THE KNICKS HAVE AN ACTUAL PLAN!

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The regime doesn’t have Phil Jackson so that’s a good start. David Fizdale is a proven NBA coach who wants to win in New York. Young players like Alonzo Trier and Mitchell Robinson (sorry, Frank) developed into quality NBA players with high ceilings. Because of their constant losing, the Knicks will have a legitimate shot at the number one pick to drat Zion Williamson.

Did I mention that the Knicks have room for two max contracts?

Did I also mention that Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving are rumored to sign with the Knicks?

Batman and Robin. Durant and Irving. It’s time to take back Gotham City.

None of this is possible without the 2018-2019 Knicks. So truly, from the bottom of my heart, thank you for this season. Next year will be our year.

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OR the Knicks will swing and miss in free agency and won’t draft Zion. All things are possible!

NOW HIT THE MUSIC!

Grading the March Madness Announcers Heading Into Weekend Two

It is almost time for the remaining 16 teams to get back at it in my favorite sporting event. First, here is a look at each crew that called tournament games last week:

1. Spero Dedes/Steve Smith/Len Elmore or Jim Jackson/Ros Gold-Onwude:

I start with this crew because they were the worst. We were subjected to Spero calling First Four games. Jim Jackson joined the crew. I guess they wanted him to get extra work since this was his first time doing these games, but it was strange because he worked with two different crews. Smith and Jackson sound alike. I could not tell the difference. Elmore replaced Jackson on Friday. Those guys either did not listen to each other or were competing. All three announcers made the same point in a span of about five seconds.

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Awful Announcing‘s Ken Fang tweeted that he would take AT&T announcer Phil over Spero. Dedes remarked that a player would be shooting two free throws. I had no idea why he said that when it clearly was not a shooting foul and there was no double bonus situation. He eventually figured it out and corrected himself after about a minute. The biggest mistake for this crew was made by their reporter. Actually, two of them. Ros mistakenly said that UC Irvine was 0-9 in close games. Five points or less. She obviously meant 9-0. Although UC Irvine’s coach let the incorrect record slide, he did call out her math skills. They won 70-64. He mentioned that the margin was six points.

2. Brian Anderson/Chris Webber/Allie LaForce:

Although he is not the only person to struggle with this, Webber finds himself thinking or at least saying that day games are being played at night by using the word tonight. I did hear Webber catch himself once. When Washington played Utah State, Webber combined the two names and mentioned Washington State. They did not qualify. He also said that they had a good one going as the broadcast headed to break during a game that was not especially close at that particular time.

Virginia and North Carolina each trailed at halftime Friday. Two top seeds were down at halftime against 16s in one day for the first time. Anderson either misspoke or simply got the information wrong when he said that it was the first time a 16 held the lead over a top seed at halftime. It had just happened hours earlier. A March Madness TV twitter account then tweeted the same mistake. Probably because Anderson said it.

3. Brad Nessler/Steve Lavin/Jim Jackson/Evan Washburn:

Around the same time that Spero botched the call about a shooting foul, Nessler did it twice. One time for each team in Ohio State’s game against Iowa State. Brad called Buffalo Bulls games, too. Somebody tweeted that he called them the Braves more than once. I saw a shot that did not hit the backboard, but Nessler thought it hit glass. Maybe he borrowed Marv Albert’s glasses. Chemistry seemed to be an issue with this crew, and Nessler seemed to lose focus. I remember him complaining about the long days of calling games when he replaced Uncle Verne.

4. Carter Blackburn/Debbie Antonelli/John Schriffen:

I’m still salty (that’s what the kids call it these days) that Antonelli replaced Mike Gminski. Although a friend complained to me about her last week, I did not think she was terrible from what I heard. They had some horrible games. Especially Saturday. I did not hear them a whole lot. She should do at least one regular season game with Blackburn. Antonelli broadcasts the women until March Madness. Then, she comes to the men. I don’t get it. They should leave her with the women if she knows them well and is praised for her work on those broadcasts.

5. Andrew Catalon/Steve Lappas/Lisa Byington:

A Seinfeld reference by Andrew about sending soup back went over well. There was an awkward moment when the person in charge of graphics erroneously advanced Syracuse instead of Baylor in the bracket. Catalon called them Butler at one point, but corrected himself. Probably because Baylor had a player named Butler. It also could have been because Butler knocked out Syracuse in Salt Lake City nine years ago. The Baylor-Syracuse game was in Salt Lake City. Catalon knows the history. He attended Syracuse.

6. Kevin Harlan/Reggie Miller/Dan Bonner/Dana Jacobson:

This crew got off to a rocky start with the First Four. There was a strange transition from Harlan to Jacobson before the tournament even started, but that was more of a camera thing. Prairie View A&M’s head coach is Byron Smith. Bonner referred to him as Byron Scott. Kevin confused the substitution signal for a travel call in one game. He has made that mistake before.

7. Ian Eagle/Jim Spanarkel/Jamie Erdahl:

I am a big fan of all three. They were excellent. Four of their six games were close, and the Seton Hall game against Wofford was tight before a late run by the Terriers. They had two weekend games with no others at the same time. I listened to them a lot. They were fantastic calling the exciting Maryland-LSU contest.

8. Jim Nantz/Bill Raftery/Grant Hill/Tracy Wolfson:

CBS has to be thrilled with their top crew. I still think Hill is coming along slowly, but Raftery is amazing and Nantz does a very solid job. The energy and knowledge from Raftery is unreal. However, his humor takes the cake. I like when he compares basketball contact to a New York subway ride.