Aaron Judge will wait another day for a home run that the entire baseball world is waiting for. Though over 180,000 fans the past four Yankees games in the Bronx were disappointed they were denied a chance to witness baseball history.
Sunday night in the Bronx, with Judge due to bat again in the bottom of the seventh, the rain came in stronger than the 60 home runs that Judge has hit out of Yankee Stadium and other ballparks around the league.
But the 61st home run has been elusive for Judge. There have been 15 at bats since hitting number 60 last Tuesday night against the Pirates. With every at bat, the baseball world and eyes were focused on #99. In due time, perhaps Monday night up in Toronto, Judge will hit the milestone and tie the AL season home run record 61 of Roger Maris.
He will hit number 62 to break the record, and it may not come in the Bronx. Many of the 46,707 on hand waited over an hour and a half Sunday night because they wanted to see Aaron Judge one more time. The rain shortened 2-0 win and four game sweep of the Red Sox also gave the Yankees their seventh straight win.
So, Monday night the Yankees’ storylines are Aaron Judge, and a win will clinch the American League East division as they left the Bronx with a magic number of two.
Remember, as much as the significance of this home run record, the Yankees goal is to finish first and get the first round bye to the best of five American League Division Series. Also, Judge is vying for the AL elusive Triple Crown, in a tight race with the Red Sox’ Xander Bogaerts who was 0 for 2.
After the game was called Sunday night, of course the rain stopped, which had fans perplexed because they were denied an opportunity to witness Judge one more time and be a part of baseball history.
If anything, a bolt of lightning that struck Yankee Stadium may have been an omen to take this home run record to Toronto. Perhaps, Judge has been pressing, though Pirates’ and Red Sox pitchers, who were tossed a special baseball, were cautious and threw their share of sliders and changeups.
They kept Aaron Judge out of his element except for the few at bats including his last, a slider that was hit hard but became a routine flyout to left- center field. So we will wait for Monday night at the Rogers Centre.
“I think anybody would want more at bats,” Judge said when asked about the rain denying one more chance to tie the record before the home crowd. “But you can ask anyone in that room, we’re excited we came away with a narrow victory, and one win closer to clinching the division.”
All along this ride, it has been the Yankees goal to win their division and they will also do that away from the Bronx, so perhaps all along, as much as Aaron Judge wanted to hit that home run at Yankee Stadium, the pressure is off his back on the road.
“We just went 6-0 on the homestand and he was right in the middle of that,” manager Aaron Boone said. “The script will play out. It’s the drama of the sport. Things happen if and when they’re supposed to. You’re competing at the highest level.”
In other words, as they say this is baseball. As Boone said, pushing buttons will not allow a home run or game winning hit to happen. Aaron Judge will not push a button but get his pitch and the weather elements will not interfere.
“You can’t think along those lines,” Judge commented when asked
If he was disappointed about not hitting Number 61 at home. “It’s not our last home game, so I’m not worried about it.”
But this has become a challenge, then again, home run hitters, like Judge, hit them in bunches. Monday night there could be another multi-home run game north of the border. If not Tuesday night and Judge hits them high and far up in Toronto.
”I don’t want to put any expectation on him,” said Boone. “I feel like he’ll get there and when he does it’ll be amazing.”
But not as amazing as a record breaking home run and history at Yankee Stadium. We just have to wait another day and for sure the rain will not interfere or be a distraction. Neither will the pressure to do it before a home crowd.
Hey, this is Aaron Judge. Not even the elements or pressure will stop him from achieving a baseball milestone and that Yankees single season home run record.
Rich Mancuso:Twitter@Ring786 Facebook.com Watch “Sports with Rich” live on Tuesday Nights at 8pm EST on The SLG Network/Youtube with Robert Rizzo Available on Apple Podcasts and Spotify under The SLG Network.