It’s easy to judge this powerful Yankee

Written by ECA Review

Slugger Aaron Judge, the current face of the red-hot New York Yankees, is in the midst of what could be an historic statistical season.

Since the pennant-race drama concerning the Yankees in the American League East has been all but over since the summer solstice — the Yanks had an insurmountable 12-game lead in the A.L. East going into August — baseball watchers have instead concentrated their focus on Judge and his prodigious batting exploits.

The Yankees’ right fielder, a mountain of a man at 6-foot-7 and 282 pounds, hit his 43rd homer Aug. 1. His 42 blasts by the end of July was a team record, and it’s safe to say the Yankees have had some powerful sluggers over the years — Ruth, Mantle, Maris, to name just three.

Judge was making a mockery of the home-run race in the American League, 13 ahead of his closest pursuer. His 2022 home-run burst made him the second-fastest hitter in history to get to 200 career home runs, with only Ryan Howard of the Phillies getting there earlier (658 games to Judge’s 671).

But the best part of the Judge story this year is that back in the spring, the looming free agent turned down the Yankees’ offer of a contract extension that would have paid him $213.5 million for seven years of service.

Judge and his agent decided to roll the dice, bet on him having a great 2022 season and then see what kind of offers free agency would bring at the end of this season.

It was a great decision. If sports fans thought there was trade-deadline hype over Juan Soto and Shohei Ohtani, wait until the off-season and the free-agent hype surrounding a 30-year-old slugger coming off perhaps one of the greatest seasons ever.

Barry Bonds ‘officially’ holds the single-season home-run record of 73, but it’s tainted by the scent of performance enhancing drugs. If Judge were to carry on with his prodigious pace and finish with 65 or even — gasp! — 70 homers, it might stand as the all-time best in the eyes of many.

“Like I’ve said a thousand times, I’m focused on winning baseball games right now,” Judge told after a recent game.

“The stats and stuff like that, we can talk about that at the end of the year.”

Despite all the home run chatter, Judge says his No. 1 goal is to bat at least .300, telling the  New York Post: “I’ve always said a good hitter is a guy with a high average,” said Judge, sitting at .300 on the nose on Aug. 6. “That’s what I saw in a lot of greats (like) Albert Pujols and Miguel Cabrera. They hit .300 and the power came with it.”

Slap shots
• RJ Currie of “The late Ralph Baer, called the father of home video games, conceived a prototype joystick in 1966, the year Toronto began its last NHL championship season. Since then the Leafs have had lots of sticks, but no joy.”

• Headline from “Study finds joggers burn up to 200 calories from repeatedly pulling down bunched-up shorts.”

• Comedy writer Alex Kaseberg, with a comment that’s hardly comical: “Let me get this straight. Donald Trump hosts a Saudi-backed LIV tournament just miles from ground zero where the Saudis funded 9/11. And the trophy looks just like the Twin Towers.”

• Another one from Kaseberg: “In a Missouri Senate primary featuring two guys named Eric, Donald Trump said he endorsed Eric and took credit when an Eric won.  If Trump went to a basketball game he would say he was betting on the tall guys.”

• Dwight Perry of the Seattle Times: “San Francisco rookie righty Sean Hjelle, who made his major league debut May 6, stands 6 feet 11. Well, they are the Giants.”

• Another one from Dwight Perry: “The Mariners have released pitcher Daniel Ponce de Leon. So much for the team’s hopes of getting younger.”

• RJ Currie again: “Curling Canada has announced an unprecedented March-Madness-style elimination event in September with a total purse in excess of $350,000. Talk about sweeps-takes.”

• Headline at the “Slumping Aaron Judge fails to hit home run in entire at-bat”
Headline at “Rhonda Rousey suspended indefinitely from WWE after grabbing SummerSlam referee post match instead of sneaking up from behind with a metal folding chair as wrestling etiquette dictates.”

• Eamon Lynch on, on the LIV lawsuit against the PGA Tour fracturing friendships: “It’s tough to remain pals with the roommate who moved to a sumptuous new mansion but returned to burglarize and then torch the house you’re still living in.”

•   RJ Currie to wrap things up, on Tom Brady celebrating his 45th birthday: “NFL quarterback, winner of seven Super Bowls and married to a supermodel whose net worth is over $400 million. Good luck finding him a gift.”

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by Bruce Penton

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ECA Review