Aaron Judge hides his eyes, throws a jab at Blue Jays

Aaron Judge shades his eyes on May 18, 2023, in an apparent reference to Blue Jays complaining about his side glancing two days earlier.

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After a base hit on Wednesday, it was the turn of Aaron Judge to join the Toronto drama. The Yankees’ power hitter made it deliberately to tease the Blue Jays, who continue to question his side glancing in Game 1.

In the third game of the series against the Blue Jays starter Chris Bassitt, the New York Yankees slugger shielded his eyes with his palm. Aaron Judge smashed an up-the-middle single with two outs against the Blue Jays, and then he proceeded to cover his eyes in celebration.

After the replay was shown on the YES Network, Yankees play-by-play man Michael Kay commented that Aaron Judge seemed to enjoy getting that hit. He also noted that Aaron Judge covered his eyes, expressing some curiosity.

Aaron Judge responds as Jays continue to whine

Of course, Blue Jays manager John Schneider voiced his confusion over why Aaron Judge was looking sideways during an at-bat just two nights prior. His subsequent home run in the at-bat went 426 feet. The next day, Schneider revealed that the Blue Jays had approached MLB about requiring the base coaches to remain in the coaches’ boxes during games.

After manager Aaron Boone was ejected, Aaron Judge moved his eyes to look at his teammates in an attempt to calm them down. He later denied any misconduct and said he was just trying to urge his teammates to stop being loud.

That sparked suspicion from Toronto supporters and experts, heightened tensions between the teams, and irritated Aaron Judge, who weighed in on the debate on Tuesday.

On Monday, Aaron Judge said he was watching his energized teammates in the dugout after manager Aaron Boone was removed. He mentioned that there had been a lot of chirping from their dugout, which he didn’t particularly appreciate. Especially considering it was a 6-0 game and Boone had been ejected. Aaron Judge explained that he was attempting to intervene by calling a timeout. He was trying to identify who was still engaged in the chatter from the dugout, considering the score and Boone’s ejection, emphasizing the need to simply focus on the game.

Aaron Judge hasn’t let the backlash affect him. On Tuesday, he smashed his third home run of the series to help the Yankees break a tie in the eighth inning and win, 6-3.

Aaron Judge hit a massive home run at Rogers Center to lead the Yankees to victory on May 16, 2023.

Jays’ Jackson admits of tipping

After Aaron Judge hit a home run off of Jay Jackson of the Blue Jays, Jackson admitted that he was “kind of tipping the pitch.” In an interview with Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic, the Jays pitcher revealed that he tipped his pitches when facing Yankees hitter Aaron Judge on Monday.

After spending a good chunk of the at-bat gazing to the first-base side of the field, Aaron Judge blasted Jackson to the deep. It was claimed when first base coach Travis Chapman noticed Jackson’s pitch grip from his on-field perch, Aaron Judge looked at him for guidance.

However, it’s possible that Judge didn’t require that kind of help.

According to Jackson, he was informed that he had inadvertently been giving away the type of pitch he was about to throw. After striking out the first two batters in the eighth inning, he delivered six consecutive sliders to Aaron Judge, culminating in a 3-2 count. Jackson explained that the issue was not with his grip when his hand was positioned behind his ear. But rather with the duration it took for his pitching motion to progress from his set position, with his glove moving from his head to his hip. He mentioned that he executed this motion quicker when throwing fastballs compared to sliders, and the opposing team had started to notice this pattern.

Smart teams often engage in such gamesmanship to gain an advantage. The Blue Jays have not accused the Yankees of any wrongdoing, beyond possibly bad coaching positioning. Since the Astros’ sign-stealing scandal, MLB has banned the use of certain technological equipment. However, no one has accused the Yankees of employing any of these devices.

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Jackson’s words provide important context, but in the post-Astros era of baseball paranoia, fans will think what they want to believe, the result of the league failing to enforce its laws and end unlawful electronic sign stealing in the late 2010s.

It was enough for Shulman and Martinez to see Aaron Judge’s eye movement and question aloud what he was looking at, given the prevalence of social-media conspiracies in the modern world. However, in this instance, everyone’s giving you the evil eye for no good reason. The onus is on the Toronto pitchers to be consistent in their deliveries, mask their grips, and do whatever is necessary to disguise their pitches, even if the Yankees coaches were outside their respective boxes, a point Jays executives brought to the league on Tuesday. Similar to pitchers, catchers are responsible for hiding their teams’ bases, but Blue Jays manager John Schneider claimed “he didn’t see anything” with his team’s catcher, Alejandro Kirk.

When The Athletic’s Kaitlyn McGrath told Schneider of Jackson’s comments, Schneider declined to respond. But before the game, he stressed the significance of preventing opponents from recognizing patterns.

Schneider stated that if actions were performed openly, there should be a willingness to rectify any mistakes and accept the resulting consequences. He believed that if the process was conducted fairly, it was an integral part of the game, with everyone seeking to assist their teammates and identify patterns. According to Schneider, anything legitimately transpiring on the field was completely permissible.

According to a league source, there was no indication that anything that occurred the previous night had violated their rules. Yankees manager Aaron Boone further expressed his lack of anticipation regarding an investigation by the league. Additionally, Schneider made it clear that he was not advocating for such an inquiry.

Jackson stated that the Jays initially informed him that he might be tipping after he left the game on Monday. He had been informed by one of his teammates that there was a possibility of him tipping his pitches. Later, the video analyst approached him and mentioned that they had potentially observed a difference between his slider and fastball. They suggested that the opposing players might have been picking up on this difference and advised him to be conscious of it and consider making changes in his approach for future occasions.

When an opponent notices a pitcher tipping, it’s usually the runner on second base who acts as a detective and transmits the information to the batter. Jackson stated that he could accept such a result better than a batter who is “peeking off somewhere.” Coaches, he added, shouldn’t be relaying signs. 

In his opinion, if he is giving away pitches, that is on him. He acknowledged the need to rectify the situation and improve his performance, particularly when facing a 3-2 count. He admitted that he had left his pitch placement in an unfavorable position, which required adjustment.

Aaron Judge emerges as the tormenter in chief for the Blue Jays with back-to-back home runs at Rogers Center leading the Yankees to victory.

The Major League Baseball Regulations forbid communicating signs or pitch information from the bench. PitchCom, which allows direct communication between the pitcher and catcher, has rendered sign stealing nearly obsolete. However, the rules, which are amended annually, indicate unequivocally that a coach or baserunner on the field can relay additional cues.

“No club personnel may in any way during a game communicate to a batter, baserunner, or coach on the field the signs or pitch information of the opposing team,” A baserunner or coach on the field who recognizes an opposing team’s signs or pitch information through his independent observation of the pitcher, catcher, or opposing team’s dugout is allowed to share that information with the batter or another on-field coach, according to Regulation 1-1(B).

“Pitch Information” is defined as “any information regarding the nature or location of an incoming pitch, or any cues of the pitcher that may assist a batter in recognizing information regarding a pitch, such as ‘pitch tipping’ information.”

The Yankees’ history is not completely spotless. They were penalized $100,000 by Commissioner Rob Manfred for communicating information regarding opposing teams’ signs during the 2015 season and a portion of 2016. The Yankees started using the video replay room in 2015 to learn other teams’ sign sequences, which was a popular practice before the league started to tighten down on it before the 2018 season.

Following the Astros controversy, the league continued to develop additional rules and enforcement measures. In this more stringent era, the Yankees are among the most astute clubs at lawfully recognizing pitching trends. Last season, they caught Tigers pitcher Elvin Rodriguez tilting his pitches, causing the right-hander to remark, “They got me.” And they got Jackson on Monday night.

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