I’m supposed to be a good person and be grateful for what I have. Ordinarily I am. But right now I am not and a part of me is not happy with myself as a result of it.
You see, the Yankees had no business making it to the playoffs this year. We were rebuilding. We wanted these kids to learn, to grow, to become our team for the next generation. But we got so much more than we thought we would. We got so much more than we expected. It may have also been more than we deserved.
Nevertheless, we made it as a Wild Card Playoff team.
We won that one game playoff.
We entered the ALDS best of five and I prayed for at least four games so I can get at least one Yankee win and an extra game.
Well we got five and an amazing comeback performance moving us to the ALCS. It was incredible. I was walking on air, like so many Yankee fans.
We get to Houston, drop two, head to NYC and play like champions. We take three, and our mouths start to water.
The World Series is in our sights. We are one game away. Just one. But, alas, it was not to be. Houston was the better team and won.
Today I feel the same way I feel the day after the season ends every year…with a modicum of depression…but that’s baseball, isn’t it?
Even if we win it all, it would have to end and this feeling will still hit me.
So, with 158 days and a few hours until the March 29, 2018 Opening Day festival of all 30 teams playing in 15 games – the first time every team opens on the same day since 1968 – I received a text that have gave me this to help get me through….
If you are paying any attention to Major League Baseball you know the future of New York Yankees looks more exciting than it has in years. Fortunately, now that Comcast and the YES Network have put their big boy pants on and came to an agreement, I have Yankee baseball in my home once more. Even though it is about damned time, it could not have come at a better time. if it had not, I would be missing out on something special.
The story of the season thus far has centered around right fielder Aaron Judge. I unabashedly join in the chorus of Bomber fans everywhere singing his praises.
The man is a powerhouse. He stands 6′ 7″ tall and 282 lbs. To give a better perspective, Yankee Magazine tweeted out this photo of him with our shortstop Ronald Torreyes. Standing slightly smaller than the average American male, Torreyes is 5′ 8″ and 151 pounds.
That is a big boy.
Just last night, in the 25th game of the year he hit home runs 11 and 12 of the season and in the process is becoming the best thing that happened to MLB’s Stratcast since its 2015 inception.
I know. I had no idea either. But since it keeps coming up when people talk about him, I felt it was time to learn. Now it’s your turn.
Statcast is a high-speed, high-accuracy, automated tool developed to analyze player movements and athletic abilities.
With respect to hitting, it measures exit velocity, launch angle, vector, hang time, hit distance and projected HR distance. The latter by calculating the distance of projected landing point at ground level on over-the-fence home runs.
One month into the season Judge is at the top of the list. last week he hit a shot that got out of there in a hurry, exiting at 119.4 MPH. In doing so, he sent Mr. Rawlings 435 feet. No one this season has hit one harder.
Further? Yes. Harder? No.
When reviewing Stratcast’s Top 50 hardest hit balls of the season, Judge is responsible for nine of them. NINE! Let’s do quick math: 30 teams. 25-man rosters. In the NL, pitchers can hit. This makes a total of 375 potential NL batters and 240 American League batters who are on active rosters.
I have been hearing a lot of comparisons to Derek Jeter lately. That initially gave me pause until I learned these comparisons are with respect to Judge’s mannerisms on and off the field. Polite. Respectful. Professional. Pausing and thinking before he speaks. He does not shoot from the hip. For a young athlete in NYC, that is impressive.
“He’s a little bit like Derek to me,” Yankee Manager Joe Girardi said on Monday. “He’s got a smile all the time. He loves to play the game. You always think that he’s going to do the right thing on the field and off the field when you look at him. He’s got a presence about him. He plays the game to win all the time, and that’s the most important thing. It’s not about what you did that day.
Even Jeter himself is becoming a fan.
“The good thing about him is you can tell from his demeanor and his attitude that he wants to improve,” said Jeter on a video posted on yankees.com “He wants to be better and he handles himself the right way, not only on the field but off the field. So I’m a fan of his.”
Judge’s reaction? He is staying silent. I think Jeter would have done that, too.
In my limited experience in watching him, Judge comes to play everyday. He comes to win, everyday. That’s also what Jeter did. That’s what all the great Yankees have done in the past and do today.
With a bit of luck, Judge will be one of them. The coming years will tell us yes or no.