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Judge ought to stop trolling
Yankee in no position to boast
Good morning, all! I hope your week is going well.
It might not be a bad idea if Yankees All-Star Aaron Judge and his teammates stop trolling the opposition. I get it that Judge is still peeved at the Astros antics in 2017, which may have cost the Yankees a World Series trip. But it seems whenever Judge starts going after his opponents, the move backfires. For example, in 2018, when the Yankees beat the Red Sox in game two of the ALDS at Fenway Park to even that best-of-five series at 1-1, he was the instigator behind carrying a boom box, blaring Frank Sinatra’s “New York, New York,” the Yankees’ signature post victory song played at Yankee Stadium. He was sure to crank the volume so the Red Sox could hear the music, as the Yankees left Fenway Park. The Yankees didn’t win another game in the series.
On Saturday night, mimicking Jose Altuve’s pennant-clinching home run against the Yankees in Game Six of the 2019 ALCS, Judge was sure to clutch at the top of his uniform jersey with both hands, just as Altuve did, as he circled the bases with his home run, a homer by the way which held up in New York’s scintillating 1-0 win over the Astros, highlighted by pitcher Gerrit Cole’s complete-game victory. The Yankees continued their mimicking in the dugout in Sunday’s game, during a Gary Sanchez home run.
New York was seemingly on its way to a sweep of the three-game series, taking a 7-2 lead to the bottom of the ninth on Sunday afternoon. The win would have placed the rebounding Yankees five-games over .500 and seven games behind the first place Red Sox, who they play in eight of their next 10 games after the All-Star break. In other words, the stars were in alignment for New York to make a second-half run.
Well, a funny thing happens when you count your chickens, before they hatch. The Astros staged a dramatic rally, with no outs, stringing together six hits, capped by Altuve’s walk-off, three-run homer and Houston won the game 8-7.
You would have never known the Yankees had won the season series from the Astros, 4-2 or the weekend series, 2-1. You would have never known that the Yankees, picked by some, including me, to go 0-6 or 1-5 on their trip to Seattle and Houston, went 4-2. And as perceptive Yankees broadcaster David Cone noted: “Jose Altuve had the last troll.”
Will this loss, where the Yankees snatched defeat from the jaws of victory, send them into another tailspin? Will they make that second-half run their faithful insist is going to happen? Who is to say? As heartbreaking as the Sunday loss was, baseball players have a tendency to forget even the most difficult losses. They need to in a game played daily. It’s called mental toughness. Those clubs which have it, rebound from such defeats. But the Yankees need more than mental toughness, they need talent that is lacking on this current club.
In the meantime, Judge might want to set an example and quit trolling his opponents. Leave it to the mindless Twitter trolls, who hide behind their acerbic tweets with anonymous identities and wouldn’t know the difference between a four-seam fastball and a sinker. Besides, Judge has nothing to troll about. His club hasn’t won a World Series since 2009 and the chances of seeing Altuve in October instead of Judge grow its each passing game.
You can bet on anything
One more note on Houston’s ninth-inning comeback. Soon, you will be able to bet on anything in baseball. In other words, it will not only be a game outcome on which you will be able to place a wager, but also whether a team can comeback to win in its last at bat, in addition to myriad other wagers. Imagine if you placed a bet on Houston coming back in the ninth inning on Sunday? Think of the amount of dough you would have won? And think of the outcry by the losers, claiming the game was fixed?
It’s my biggest fear that comebacks like Houston’s will be tarnished with cries of “rigged.” And when that happens, and it will, whether its baseball, football, or pick your sport, the powers-that-be who sanctioned such activity, will have no one but themselves to blame, when the public questions the game’s integrity. Sadly, those same powers-that-be, won’t even care.
That’s it for today. As always, thanks for your support and have a great week!