Yankees fans ready to explode after special Aaron Judge home run at home

Aaron Judge to make home run record
Sara Molnick
Tuesday September 20, 2022

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It was October 1, 1961, and the Yankees were playing the last game of the season. Roger Maris had already tied with Babe Ruth’s 60 home runs and needed one more in this game at Old Yankee
to set a new AL record. Maris lifted a pitch from Red Sox’s Tracy Stallard and it crossed the right field to land on the bleachers. Maris got a new AL record after 37 years.

After 61 years, history is set to repeat itself. The venue is Yankee Stadium. The player is Aaron Judge, who is at 59 home runs and is two away from Maris’ record. But he has 16 games to play and the next six are at the home ground of the Yankees. A two-game series against the Pirates will give way to a four-game series against the Red Sox.

As the slugger contemplates history, the Yankees fans are waiting to explode and celebrate the occasion. The Stadium is expected to be as loud as it has been in recent years for a team that hasn’t hosted a World
Series game since 2009 or a postseason game since 2019. Each of Judge’s at-bats is accompanied by a steady stream of flashbulbs, smartphones, and fans waiting with bated breath.

Judge got his No. 59 at Milwaukee. His 30 home runs, including the last four, have come on the road. The rest 29 came at home, where he will play the Pirates again on Tuesday. He needs two more home runs to tie Roger Maris’ AL and the franchise record of 61 and just one more to become just the second American
League player since Babe Ruth to hit 60 home runs.

After hitting his double homer against the Brewers on Sunday, Judge was asked what it would mean to reach the next milestones in The Bronx. He paused and said:

“If it happens during a win, that would be great. It would be great to be able to do it at home, too. If that time ever comes, we’ll talk.”

The Yankees are to play two against Pittsburgh and four against Boston, before they go to Toronto. This time could come any day. Judge hits a home run about once every 10.7 times he comes to bat, or 2.41 games, this season.

However, Judge is focused and he avoids looking far ahead. It remains one of the things that has helped him do so well this season, but others don’t have that problem.

Gerrit Cole was raised in California as a Yankees fan, and he went to some games at the old Yankee Stadium. He thinks that 161st Street and River Avenue will get crazy starting on Tuesday. According to him:

“The fans are gonna be over the edge and slapping the wall. There’s gonna be beer flying everywhere. It’s not gonna be a child-friendly environment in the bleachers. It’s gonna be nuts.”

Aaron Boone said of his expectations of the environment at the stadium”

“It should be really special. We’re in a pennant chase and with Judge sitting where he is, there’s added buzz every time he comes up. It’s an event.”

This has been true for most of the season, but never as much as it is right now.

Judge has also added some drama to his season by trying to become the first player to win the Triple Crown since Miguel Cabrera of Detroit did in 2012. Since September 3, his recent hitting streak of 27-for-53 has raised his average from .294 to .316.

Even when the Yankees aren’t at home, Judge’s at-bats have been the focus of fans everywhere for most of the season for hitting home runs.

After Judge hit his second home run of the day against the Brewers on Sunday at American Family Field, a Yankee rally in the ninth inning gave him one more chance to hit. Before he went up to bat again in the ninth inning, the ball was changed to number for every home run he hit after No. 59.

Judge said he was too focused on what he had to do to notice the ball swap, but he may have been the only one.

Since Judge hit a two-run double to add to the Yankees’ lead earlier this season, nothing else or the ball switch has changed his approach.

Judge has stood out this season because of what Boone called his “ability to not get caught up in it.” He put in play five balls – all over 110 mph – making him the only player to do so in the Statcast era.

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