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.

Giving John Sterling His Flowers: A Tip of the Cap to a Broadcasting Legend

The first thing that blows me away when it comes to John Sterling’s incredible career is his remarkable streak of calling every Yankees game for over 30 years. The man called 5,060 straight games. Every single inning. He likes to add that part. Regardless of what you think about his style or performance, that is a phenomenal accomplishment. It might never be duplicated. John has also mentioned that he called Braves and Hawks games for years in Atlanta. More than 200 combined each year, although he could not announce every single game for both with overlapping seasons. Since Suzyn Waldman became his partner in 2005, John has handled the play-by-play for every inning he was there.

Sterling has called the action in numerous sports for various teams. He has announced Nets games (including one last year), and even called hockey 40 years ago. John turned 81 this month. He was born on July 4, 1938. Same birthday as George Steinbrenner. John was born 8 years after George. Perhaps that’s one of the reasons they got along so well. Imagine spending your 60s and 70s doing all that travel for work. Sterling has been so durable and reliable. John said that people told him he needed to take days off. Otherwise, his streak would probably still be growing.

Many people are familiar with his calls in recent years. I’m one of the people who has complained that he does not accurately describe the action when I’m driving or home listening to the radio. However, I remember how much his calls were anticipated when I was a teenager. Some of you probably don’t know what a transistor radio is. Perhaps you have heard of a stereo or Walkman. Anyway, I would often turn on Sterling and listen to his calls. They were usually much more exciting than the local or national television call.

Chris Carrino and Ryan Ruocco were solid on WFAN filling in for Sterling. I don’t know if either will replace him permanently when the time comes, and I’m not sure if Sterling will step away anytime soon. My guess is that John will not if he has anything to say about it. Carrino is from Yonkers. I met him about 20 years ago in New Jersey when I interviewed for a Nets internship. Chris would probably be my early choice. I think the time off has worked. John sounds stronger. That was the idea.

Meanwhile, let’s give credit to Suzyn as well. She has been nominated for the Radio Hall of Fame. John might also have some special recognition in his future. They have been quite a pair. Although I find the impressions of Sour Shoes entertaining (plus Craig Carton over the years), both John and Suzyn have done terrific work for decades. Not just as voices calling Yankees baseball. I’m sure people will say nice things about them when they stop working. Here is a tip of the cap while they are still going strong.


A Blessing in Disguise: Reviewing The 1995 Yankees/Mariners Playoff Series

***Follow Joe From Yonkers on Twitter @FootballnHoops***

Another baseball season is in the books. We saw an exciting playoff run for the Yankees. They played a decisive fifth game for the eighth time in less than 25 years. Their series against Cleveland reminded me of some 90s baseball. Cleveland beat them 20 years ago. It looked like history was about to repeat itself. Perhaps the season is more like 1995. Buck Showalter was dismissed after a disappointing loss against Seattle. Fans were irate. Joe Torre came in. A newspaper headline called him Clueless Joe. Long story short, the Yankees beat Atlanta in 1996 and became World Series champs.

That 1995 matchup with the Mariners was crazy for many reasons. Baseball had a television deal that showed playoff games regionally at the same time. Only this Yankees-Mariners pairing went 5, so their last game was televised nationally. Boston and Cleveland played an exciting series. I couldn’t watch it. Anyway, it’s funny to look back on the Yanks-M’s series now. Tino Martinez and Jeff Nelson played for Seattle. Those players helped the Yankees win a championship one year later. Luis Sojo also played for Seattle in 1995 and won with the Yankees in 1996. Derek Jeter was a rookie. Brent Musburger called game 5. He mixed up Bernie and Gerald Williams on the final call. Don Mattingly played well. That was his only playoff appearance. The Yankees had not been in the playoffs since 1981. They appeared to be headed for a playoff spot in 1994 until the strike ended play. 1995 would begin a streak of 13 straight playoff appearances. That year’s format was 2-3, and the Yankees failed in all three chances to wrap it up in Seattle.

One thing that I feel is misrepresented about the Seattle series in 1995 was Mariano Rivera’s role. Even this year I have heard that Buck could have kept his job if he knew what Rivera was and he had. This comes up a lot. Mike Francesa. John Sterling. I don’t think this is true. Buck gave Rivera a chance late in games. Even the last one. Jack McDowell tried to close out that game, but Rivera helped get them into extras. Mariano was not closing in 1996, either. Still, he clearly was an incredible bullpen weapon. If Buck had held Mariano for a save situation and pitched McDowell earlier, that game might have ended before Rivera ever appeared in the game.

It will be interesting to see where the Yankees go from here. If they end up starting another dynasty, we might look back at the failure of 2017 as a blessing in disguise. History might be repeating itself 22 years later.

Joe Buck Hates The Yankees…And Every Other Team

***Follow Joey Backdoor on Twitter @FootballNHoops***

Fans of the Yankees have complained that Joe Buck is rooting against them. Apparently Astros twitter thinks he is rooting for the Yanks. This happens all the time. Buck has talked about how different cities think he does not like their team. I have heard that his football partner Troy Aikman supposedly is so biased against the Giants and saying good things about Dallas. Meanwhile, he is constantly saying that a Dallas penalty was the correct call or they should have been hit with a penalty when they were not called for one. Aikman often praises Aaron Rodgers, and with good reason. He is awesome. Some of his best and most memorable performances have come against the Cowboys. I have heard that people in Dallas now dislike Aikman because of his comments against the Cowboys.

Bob Costas had a great interview with Bill Simmons. He mentioned how Cris Collinsworth supposedly hates all 32 NFL teams. When an announcer called the World Series he would get letters from both cities. They were pretty much identical, but the names would be reversed based on where the letter came from. You are so biased against my team and rooting for the other. I can remember when Costas called playoff games involving the Yankees nearly 20 years ago. He grew up rooting for the Yankees. Huge Mickey Mantle fan. Costas even carried a Mickey Mantle baseball card in his wallet as an adult. I’m not sure if he still does to this day, but I think I’ve made my point.  People called WFAN to say how he was rooting against the Yankees and how bad his broadcast was. Bob had the nerve to say that many times whatever team had the best record did not win it all. Before we give them a championship, we’re actually going to play these games. Such venom. Nothing annoys delusional fans like facts and neutral commentary.

I would say 99 times out of 100 the fans are wrong and irrational. There might be one time where criticism is justified, but usually people are just crying wolf. I remember Josh Lewin calling Yankees-Tigers in 2006. This was a dumpster fire. A-Rod was slumping and hit eighth. Detroit won easily and wrapped up the series. Lewin seemed to focus on things like payroll. Maybe the topic can be addressed in between games or early on in a season. I knew Yankee fans would not want to hear this. Josh seemed biased to me, and he seemed to enjoy seeing a Yankee meltdown. I called WFAN and mentioned this, without knowing about his background. I’m the one who would rip fans for bashing Costas, so I feel like I’ve got some credibility when it comes to the subject. Funny how Lewin used to call Tigers games and is now a Mets broadcaster. I sensed something. Perhaps my hunch was right.

However, this was a rare occurrence. Just because an announcer does not scream when the Yankees win or shout that a home run is high and far doesn’t mean that he wants them to lose. People outside of New York always assume that the announcers and officials are cheering for the big market. Just enjoy these games. Mute it if you want. Maybe listen to the radio. You have a couple different radio broadcasts. Chances are you can find one person out there who doesn’t despise your Yankees. Have fun listening to John and Suzyn calling it down the middle if you so choose. With today’s technology, it is possible to sync up the sound accurately. Pause the TV. Use an app. Do whatever it takes. There is enough sadness and hatred in this world. Don’t let Joe Buck ruin your life and the happiness that comes with Yankees playoff baseball!

The Top 5 Moments In Subway Series History


Crosstown rivals collided for the first time in 2017 last night, as the Yankees and Mets added to their laundry list of battles for the first of four Subway Series match ups. The Yankee-Met fan rivalry has dominated radio airwaves and sports talk conversations every summer since I’ve been a kid. As a New Yorker, sometimes we take for granted that our state has at least two teams representing NY in every major sport, which also creates for a divide in the local society.

After dropping 2 out of 3 to the Red Sox including a heartbreaking Sunday night defeat the Bombers bounced back with a 4-2 victory, as the 62-55 squad leads the AL Wildcard race by 2 games with a cluster of teams behind them. The Mets come into the Subway Series suffering a much different fate than most thought back in April. After a rash of injuries and selling off veterans at the deadline, the Metropolitans finally brought up prized prospects Amed Rosario and Dominic Smith to give fans a peek into the hopefully bright future, while waiving the white flag on the 2017 campaign.

No matter the situation of the two teams, this series always brings out the best in the players with the intensity of a playoff game oozing out of the fans selling out both Yankee Stadium and Citi Field over the years. The squads have done battle each year in inter-league play since the Mets took game one 6-0 behind Dave Mlicki back in 1997. The Bronx Bombers lead the all-time series though, 62-46.

I was only 7 when the Subway Series culminated with the Mets and Yankees facing off in the World Series back in 2000, so my memory of the five game series is vague. I could only imagine how it took the city chatter by storm and if it happened again in the social media era, people would absolutely lose their minds. The Mets-Yankees match up has given New Yorkers some great moments forever ingrained in history over the past 20 years, so without further a do the top five.

5. Doc Gooden Returns To Shea Stadium – July 8th, 2000

After throwing for a decade in a Mets uniform, Dr. K finally made his way back to Shea Stadium in what would be his last season in the bigs on July 8th, 2000. This time things were different, as Gooden donned the pinstripes. Doc went 5 innings giving up 2 runs to notch the win against his former squad 4-2. It was a long but triumphant journey back to Flushing for the 1985 NL Cy Young winner.

4. Mariano Rivera Locks Down Save Number 500

June 28th. 2009: Enter Sandman. The final meeting between the Mets and Yanks in 2009 proved to be a historic night in the illustrated career of the best closer ever, Mariano Rivera. Mo came on in relief for the last four outs to secure career save number 500 (only the 2nd person to achieve the feat). 42 also helped his own cause drawing a walk to earn his first career RBI in the 4-2 win.

3. The Matt Franco Game

June 10th, 1999: Six lead changes took place as the Bronx Bombers launched six homers in the back and forth battle. The Mets were down to their last strike with pinch-hitting Matt Franco at the plate after a Mike Piazza walk loaded the bases. Franco’s base hit to right off of Rivera scored Henderson and Alfonso to cap off a thrilling 9-8 walk-off win that many Mets fans still talk about to this day.

2. Luis Castillo Drops A Can Of Corn

June 12th, 2009: Seeing this play probably still causes Castillo some PTSD, as the normally sure-handed infielder dropped a pop-up that would have ended the game, but instead the error went on to give the Yankees a 9-8 walk-off victory off the bat of none other than Alex Rodriguez. Moments like these signify the big brother-little brother dynamic in this town and the dysfunction of the Mets as an organization.

1. Mike Piazza vs Roger Clemens Rivalry – 2000 Season

June 9th: The Piazza-Clemens dynamic made for many memorable moments over the history of the cross-town rivalry so I just couldn’t limit myself to choosing one. Going back to June of 2000, Piazza who killed the Yanks, launched a grand slam off of Clemens to give the Mets a 4-0 lead.

July 8th: Roger wasn’t afraid to go after anyone and Piazza was going to be his next victim of retaliation. Clemens got to face the Mets catcher a month later and beaned him with an 0-1 fastball to the head, which made a groggy Piazza unconscious and knocked him out of the game. A scary sight indeed.

October 22nd – World Series Game 2:

With intensity at an all-time high, Clemens and Piazza faced off once again in the first inning of game 2 of the Subway Series. Piazza fouled off a 1-2 inside pitch that jammed him and ended up breaking his bat, careening the barrel right back at Clemens, which he then picked up and ended up firing in Piazza’s direction up the line. The over-reaction cleared the benches before umpires restored order. Clemens claimed after the incident that he “had no idea Piazza was running on the foul ball.”