Umpire shuts down critics questioning Aaron Judge over side glancing in Toronto

aaron-judge-new-york-yankees
John Allen
Tuesday May 23, 2023

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The side glancing by Aaron Judge in Toronto was whipped up by the Blue Jays, their commentators, and fans on social media. It even went to the extent of accusing the AL MVP of foul play. However, the strongest rebuttal of those critics came from now other than umpires managing the game.

The eighth-inning plate appearance of Aaron Judge during the Yankees’ 7-4 win against Toronto on Monday night has garnered significant scrutiny, reminiscent of the detailed analysis of the camera shot. In this particular at-bat, Aaron Judge faced controversy as he took a called strike on a pitch that seemed low. The incident escalated with Boone’s ejection, and Aaron Judge was observed giving glances and hand gestures toward his teammates and manager in the dugout, leading to extensive examination and discussion among media and observers.

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The direction of Aaron Judge’s gaze became a subject of speculation, and it seemed highly unlikely that he was signaling his dugout to calm down instead of persistently expressing their dissatisfaction to plate umpire Clint Vondrak, as Aaron Judge himself maintained in his postgame comments.

Blue Jays manager John Schneider commented after the game that it was peculiar for a hitter to be glancing in that particular direction, suggesting that there must have been a reason behind Aaron Judge’s actions.

There was wide speculation that Aaron Judge and his teammates had deciphered the pattern of pitch location. Scouts have noted that Toronto catcher Alejandro Kirk is not known for being particularly skilled at concealing such details.

Umpire stood by Aaron Judge

A seasoned umpire who was not part of the Toronto series shared with Newsday his belief that Aaron Judge was indeed telling the truth regarding the reason he glanced at the dugout and made the hand gesture.

The umpire confirmed that Aaron Judge’s actions were consistent with his previous behavior, suggesting that he wanted to convey that the at-bat was his responsibility and that he could handle it without interference from the dugout.

Despite being the recipient of numerous strike calls on low pitches, surpassing any other player since his AL Rookie of the Year season in 2017, the current AL MVP maintains a respectful rapport with umpires. This harmonious relationship has been a consistent feature throughout Aaron Judge’s professional baseball career, as confirmed by conversations held between Newsday and multiple umpires who have officiated Aaron Judge’s games over the years.

“Absolutely,” the umpire said. “He’s done stuff like that before. Like [he’s saying], ‘This is not your at-bat, it’s my at-bat. Leave him [the umpire] alone. I’m at the plate, I’m man enough to handle my own business.’ ”

“He always treats us with respect,” another umpire said.

Umpire compared him to Jeter

Another umpire shared that Aaron Judge consistently displays respect towards them during games.

“He lets us know if he thinks we kick one,” the first umpire said. “But in a genuine way. Very similar to Jeter. Never shows us up.”

Aaron Judge, often compared to Derek Jeter, doesn’t shy away from speaking up when necessary, but he does so in a subtle and understated manner, similar to the Yankees‘ legendary shortstop.

Aaron Judge and Derek Jeter
AP Photo/Seth Wenig

With a slight downward gaze and softly spoken words, Aaron Judge conveyed his thoughts while discreetly tapping the dirt in the batter’s box with his bat. He might have offered a stern remark or two, but his approach is consistently respectful and polite.

The first umpire mentioned that Aaron Judge expresses his disagreement if he believes they make a mistake but in a genuine manner. He emphasized the similarity between Judge and Jeter, highlighting their shared characteristic of never showing them up on the field.

Throughout Jeter’s illustrious 20-year career in the majors, he never experienced the ejection from a game. Similarly, Aaron Judge, who has been playing for over seven seasons, has also never faced an ejection. It seems highly unlikely for such a scenario to unfold with him on the field.

Aaron Judge has a credible persona

Aaron Judge has consistently maintained his unwavering stance on umpires. His views and beliefs regarding the role of umpires have remained steadfast since his rookie season.

He shared his perspective on umpires back in 2018, emphasizing his respect for their role on the field. Aaron Judge acknowledged that umpires have a job to do, just like he does as a player. He recalled advice from his college coach, Mike Batesole at Fresno State, who emphasized that a player’s role was to focus on hitting and not to try to second-guess the umpire’s calls. Aaron Judge embraced this philosophy throughout his career, understanding that his primary responsibility is to excel in his own role as a hitter.

Aaron Boone’s admission

During his extensive 12-year career in Major League Baseball, Aaron Boone was ejected five times. As the manager of the New York Yankees for over five seasons, he has been ejected 29 times. In a recent interview with Newsday in Cincinnati, Boone reflected on his experiences and shared that he has discussed with Aaron Judge the idea of being slightly more outspoken with umpires, while still staying true to his character.

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Charles Wenzelberg / NYP

Boone acknowledged that he occasionally discusses this topic with Aaron Judge, providing guidance on when and how to express his dissatisfaction with umpire decisions. He observed that Judge has been improving in choosing the right moments to speak up or convey his displeasure through subtle body language. However, Boone emphasized that Judge understands the importance of leaving the arguments to him as the manager.

The manager expressed his commitment to advocating for his players and mentioned that Aaron Judge knows how to carefully select the situations in which he expresses his thoughts. Judge’s infrequent comments carry weight and respect due to their rarity, and he maintains a respectful demeanor when voicing his concerns. Boone believes that umpires appreciate Judge’s approach in handling such situations.

Umpires gave their nod

According to a third umpire, Aaron Judge displays his frustration when he believes they have missed a pitch, but he does so in a respectful manner. When he does speak up, there is a sense among the umpires that they may have indeed made an error. The Yankees captain’s limited comments contribute to their impact, as he generally keeps his words to a minimum.

Teammates, in a lighthearted manner but with an underlying hint of truth, have playfully suggested to Aaron Judge that his imposing 6-7, 282-pound stature could potentially have an impact on the persistent low-strike issue if he were to express his frustration towards an umpire.

However, it’s highly unlikely to witness a Judge tirade of that nature. With a smile on his face, but a serious tone, Aaron Judge told that he was uncertain about the possibility of him getting ejected anytime soon.

What do you think? Leave your comment below.

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2 thoughts on “Umpire shuts down critics questioning Aaron Judge over side glancing in Toronto

  1. I agree 100% gotta keep the cool whip down arron judge is a professional ball player he can handle his self I always compare him and Jeter when it come upto the plate no matter what the call is.. respectfully guy let’s go Yankees

  2. Excellent article. I totally agree withall the points you’re making. First and foremost it’s a disgrace how these umpires call balls and strikes. There’s specific guidelines for the strike zone. Judge has been subjected to a very low zone since he became a pro. It’s beyond comprehension how they consistently make these horrendous mistakes and never have to answer for their actions, when ballplayers are held accountable for their actions. I do realize umpiring is a tough job but let’s do a lot better so the game is enjoyable. Last but not Least Judge should always keep his cool, we do not want him being ejected, he’s so valuable to the team. The umpires should recognize they aren’t who the paying public come to see. A great umpires is one who isn’t spoke about after the game. Thanks

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