Wednesday, October 5, 2022

Larger Than Life


So let me get this straight:

61 years after Roger Maris (sort of) broke Babe Ruth's home record by hitting 61 home runs in 1961, Aaron Judge broke Maris' record (and tied the Babe) by hitting 62 home runs in 2022.

Judge—No. 99, as opposed to Maris' No. 9—did it, moreover, in a game that left the Yankees' record for the season at 99-62. And the guy who served up the big home run was named Jesus.

They gotta be making this up.

Last night they dressed the Empire State Building in pinstripes—for exactly 62 seconds—in honor of Judge, which seems a fitting tribute.

There was a famous sports editor back in the 1950s and '60s who used to warn his charges against "godding up the players." But it's hard not to god up Aaron James Judge.

An adopted kid, of seemingly every possible race and ethnicity, seemingly raised to perfection by his parents out in Sequoia country in the West, where they grow 'em big. 

A splendid, all-around ballplayer, who seems to have learned how to stay on the field for a whole season, and how to adjust to the raw deal he regularly gets at the plate—even if the umpires have not.

A modest young man, who speaks only of team—but who at the same time has a sneaky smile that seems to indicate he's enjoying it all, just as amazed as we are, but glad to be along for the ride.

Who knows? 

Maybe tomorrow, we'll find out that this Hollywood version of the Kid from the Heartland has been juicing all along. Or that he has a baseball annie in every city, or he loves to hang out with Roger Stone.

Chances are, our adoration alone will change him. Isolate him, make him chary and untrusting.  Our displeasure that he cannot remain indefinitely at the height he has achieved, will be burden enough for any man to carry. 

Thanks to the incompetence of the Yankees' general manager, chances are he will never win the ultimate team prize here that he craves here—and thanks to the overarching greed and indifference of the Yankees' owner, he may not even be around for another season in the Bronx.

But that's all in the shrink-wrapped future. For now, Aaron Judge has given us one for the ages, a season like none other. 

Yes, he is the true MVP. And yes, he does hold the true, home-run record. 

We can only say thank you.


The Hammer of God said...

Congratulations to Aaron Judge, for a job well done!

For a while there, it looked like he wouldn't be able to do it before time ran out. Shame on all the doubters, me included. We'll never doubt you again, Aaron. You had it all the way.

Now let's win a World Series.

The Hammer of God said...

And of course, thank you to Aaron Judge for a magical season!

I would caution against anyone holding any of these guys up to demi-god status. They're just ballplayers, athletes who have "faults like any other one", in the words of the Animals. ("Oh Lord, please don't let me be misunderstood.") They were demi-gods between the white lines, but the only real demi-gods lived in the world of Greek mythology, like Achilles and Hercules.

The only thing we can do is to cheer on Aaron Judge in his quest for the Golden Fleece ... er ... World Series Championship this postseason. And let's hope that Judge prevails, as did Jason and the Argonauts way back in the old days of sea going galleys and hard bronze armor and weapons.

HoraceClarke66 said...

I admit, I was a doubter, too. More because of how these jerks were not pitching to him. But again, all tribute to Jesus Tinoco and the Texas Rangers.

Kevin said...

Lord help Judge (assuming he stays) if he hits less than fifty home runs and/or plays in less than one hundred forty games. He has become one of the gods of Olympus where weakness is verboten.

MJ said...

He owes us nothing.