TORONTO — The Yankees beat the Blue Jays Monday night, but it was some sidelong looks from Aaron Judge caught on camera while at bat that caused a stir. The Blue Jays said it was weird. The Yankees said it was nothing.
So, what exactly happened?
In the eighth inning of what would eventually be the Yankees’ 7-4 victory over the Blue Jays at Rogers Center, Sportsnet television cameras indicated that Judge, the MVP of the American League, was glancing at the visiting team before game one. The pitch is wrong. In the end, he would hit a home run off of Toronto reliever Jay Jackson in a 3-2 slider that put New York up 7-0.
During the Blue Jays telecast, cameras showed Judge giving a sideways look at his dugout. Sportsnet announcers Dan Shulman and Buck Martinez said he did it “more than once” and they wondered aloud what he was looking at.
“What is this?” Shulman said.
“Where is he looking?” Martinez said.
Blue Jays announcers could not speculate what the judge might have been looking at. But the giant shadow of the 2017 Houston Astros’ sign-stealing scandal still hangs over the game today, so it’s not hard to discern the implication of the footage is that Judge could have been looking in his dugout for hints about pitches that might be coming his way.
What do blue jays say
After the game, Blue Jays manager John Schneider was asked if he was aware of the judge’s snaps. He said he saw it and it was “odd for a hitter to look that way”. The manager said it was the first time the Blue Jays had noticed the judge doing this.
“It’s clearly looking in that direction for a reason,” Schneider said. “And I think we’ll (go) into it a little bit more tonight and tomorrow and just make sure we do everything we can to not make ourselves vulnerable to inclinations or location or pitches or anything like that, but yeah, it was weird to see him looking in there before he The pitch comes.”
Schneider was asked if there was a reasonable explanation as to why a judge would look this way at such short notice.
He said, “I’m not the caliber that Aaron Judge was and never was.” “But he’s obviously looking somewhere besides the pitcher for a reason at that moment in his bat, so you have to ask him.”
After the game, Jackson told Sportsnet’s Hazel Mae, “I’ve never seen hitters do that before (in my experience), so I can’t say what he was doing. … We’ll see what comes of this. Next time we’ll have a different game plan.”
What do yankees say
When the judge was first asked what he was looking at, he seemed not to know what the reporter was talking about.
“till when?” said the judge.
After Al-Basiq was asked again, he laughed to himself a bit. He said his Yankees teammates were still yelling at panel umpire Clint Vondrak, who had fired manager Aaron Boone during the judge’s game. The judge said he simply wanted them to shut up so they could collide in peace, and that he was looking into the dugout to see which mouths were still running.
“It was kind of chirping out of our hideout,” he said, according to a clip YES Network posted on Twitter, which I really didn’t like in a situation where it’s a game of 6-none and I know Boonie’s been banished. I was trying to save Boonie by calling timeout, like, “Hey, hang up here.” Let me work here. I was trying to see who was tweeting in the stash. It’s 6 nil. Bonnie got dumped, let’s get to work now.”
Was it weird? certainly. Were Martinez and Shulman right to point this out? naturally. This is their job. And does any baseball player deserve the benefit of the suspicion, after revelations about sign theft over the past half-decade? Mostly not. It didn’t help the Yankees’ case that Judge drove 462 feet home just seconds after looking into the Yankees dugout, either.
If you’re in Toronto, you have every right to be fishy – or at least to stir the pot and beat your opponents in the division. If you’re a Yankees, either Judge and Boone’s explanations are good enough, or you might be wondering if Judge is, in fact, looking toward the dugout to try to figure out what kind of pitch is coming next.
In fact, let’s imagine for a moment that the judge might actually have been looking for a cue. This, in and of itself, is not necessarily illegal. The Yankees could have detected how Jackson tended pitches and then used a cue to relay that to Judge in real time. Doing so would not be a crime. However, the Yankees excuse might hold up better when you zoom out and look at the rest of the game.
Were other Yankees hitters also eyeing the dugout? Did Gleyber Torres or Anthony Volpe stroll around just before the end of the match? Sportsnet didn’t call anyone else out, and if the Yankees had broken a code, they’d probably tell the rest of the hitters, right? – cutie
(Top photo of Aaron Judge swinging in front of the Blue Jays on Monday: Cole Burston/Getty Images)