Aaron Judge ‘felt bad’ for the delay in hitting his 62nd home run

Aaron Judge at press meet after hitting 62nd home run.

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ARLINGTON, Tex. — Aaron Judge‘s 62nd home run ball had a velocity of 88 mph. It was not his fastest. Even not close to his fastest hit that traveled at a speed of 117 mph in Toronto. However, it was his chase for HR no. 62 that put him under the greatest pressure this season.

With his 62nd home run on Tuesday, Aaron Judge has become the AL record holder for maximum home runs in a season. But the power hitter didn’t ever give a hint that he was under pressure though it took longer than expected and he felt the pressure while trying to break the record for home runs.

Many baseball fans have been watching every one of his at-bats for the past two weeks to see if he would hit his 62nd home run of the season and make history. Fans of the other teams also cheered for Judge. In the Yankees’ dugout, teammates and coaches hoped that the weight he was carrying would be taken off of him soon.

Aaron Judge finally showed some frustration during the first game of the Yankees’ doubleheader against the Texas Rangers on Tuesday. He had been having one of the best offensive seasons ever. After getting out, frustration caused him to slam the helmet into the rack in the Yankees’ dugout, and fans came to have a rare moment when Aaron Judge showed the sign of stress out in public. He later said that he was upset because he had been having bad at-bats and couldn’t help his team.

But once he had the moment that everyone had been waiting to come and he drove Jess Tinoco’s pitch to 391-foot into section 31 over the left field wall at Globe Life Field, Aaron Judge was able to relax. This home run allowed Judge to surpass Roger Maris and set a new record for the most home runs hit in a single season in the American League. He had completed the task at last after dealing with immense pressure.

After that, he smiled and said, “That’s a big relief; at this point, I think everyone can sit down and watch the game.”

So many people, including Aaron Judge’s family, coaches, Yankees, Roger Maris’ sons, New York fans, and also opponent teams and their fans, had been waiting for this 62nd home run. Only six people in the history of baseball have ever hit 60 or more home runs in a single season. Barry Bonds, Mark McGwire, and Sammy Sosa, who all have more homers than Aaron Judge, did it before steroid testing started in Major League Baseball. All three were linked to taking steroids.

As Aaron Judge hit more and more home runs over the summer and hit his 50th in late August, Yankees manager Aaron Boone said he started to think Judge might be able to break Maris’s 1961 record. But Aaron Judge said he couldn’t remember that moment because he was so focused on the daily grind of the sport.

After the 62nd home run, the player is so relaxed that he said, “I think I can go out there every year and hit 70 home runs.”

But the last few weeks had been stressful for Aaron Judge compared to the last five and a half months. In the first 142 games of the season, he hit a home run about once every 11 times he came to bat. But after he hit 60 home runs, it took him 35 plate appearances to hit the next one. This was because teams walked him more often and he missed the few pitches that did come over the plate.

And when Judge hit home run number 61, he was happy. But then people paid more attention and got more excited. The next home run didn’t come until 24 more times at bat.

During that time, Aaron Judge kept his eyes on the plate. In 17 at-bats, he only got three hits, and none of them went for extra bases. This probably ended his chances of getting a rare Triple Crown, as his batting average went down to .311. Luis Arraez of Minnesota will be hitting .316 on the last day of the regular season. Fans at Globe Life Field cheered when Judge stepped up to the plate and booed when he didn’t hit a ball out of the ballpark.

“I got a single the other night and people booed me,” he said with a laugh, remembering how much fans also wanted him to make history.

Aaron Judge started the last game of Tuesday’s doubleheader, which was the 55th game in a row that he had started. Since the Yankees won the AL East title on September 27 and got a bye in the first round of the playoffs, most of the team’s regular players have had a few days off. Boone said that he had thought about giving Aaron Judge one on Monday or during one of the games on Tuesday. But he said he hadn’t seen Aaron Judge getting physically tired during the chase. Boone said that Judge would mostly decide whether or not to rest during this time.

“It was a little heavy on him, but I think he was carrying it. Every day is kind of crazy and full of excitement,” Boone said.

Gerrit Cole, a starter for the Yankees, said, “This is the first time I’ve seen it wear on him a little bit. I don’t think so from a personal point of view, but more likely from a selfless point of view, like ‘I want to make everyone happy.'”

Aaron Judge, on the other hand, wanted to play. The goal was to beat a record. And Judge, who has had a lot of injuries in the past and will be a free agent after this season, has often said that the biggest reason for power hitting this season is that he has been able to play more than ever. This season was over on Wednesday.

Aaron Judge said that when he stepped up to bat to start the second game on Tuesday, he felt calm. There were 38,832 fans in the ballpark, which was the most in Globe Life Field since 2020. Texas fans cheered for him more than the Rangers. Aaron Judge felt relieved when he saw the ball going past the fence, and he remembered his family, team, and the fans who had helped him along the way.

Judge’s teammates and coaches were waiting for him at home plate, and they each gave him a hug. “It was pretty surreal,” he said, adding later, “Those guys work with me every day, and they’ve been with me on this journey through the ups and downs, so getting to share that moment with them on the field was pretty special.”

Aaron Judge waved his helmet at the Rangers’ bench and fans as he walked off the field and into the dugout. When he moved to right field, fans in the outfield bleachers started chanting his name.

Now that the record had been broken, Aaron Judge hesitated for a while when he was asked if the stress of the chase had gotten to him. He replied:

“I kind of felt bad for my teammates because every single at-bat, I got teammates stacked up on the top step waiting for me to do this, and I’d hit a double or get a walk or I’d do something and I felt like I was letting them down. Even the fans at Yankee Stadium or the fans that came here these past two games, I thought I had let them down if I had a 2-for-4 game or 1-for-4 game with a couple walks. I never tried to think about it as pressure. I tried to enjoy every single moment.”

History was made again after Aaron Judge’s 62nd home run. In the bottom of the first inning, Cole got his 249th strikeout of 2022. This broke the record for most strikeouts by a Yankee set by Ron Guidry in 1978. Cole’s teammates cheered for him from outside the dugout. And after the game, his teammates toasted him and Judge in the clubhouse.

But Aaron Judge soon became the center of attention again. When Judge walked up to the plate in the top of the second inning, he was again met with cheers and chants of “MVP, MVP!”

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