After a night of processing implications that he cheated, Aaron Judge has responded.
He’s not satisfied.
The New York slugger spoke to reporters on the subject on Tuesday, a day after Toronto Blue Jays broadcasters Dan Shulman and Buck Martinez insinuated he received nefarious messages from the Yankees dugout while at the plate. They did on the Sportsnet broadcast as Judge hit two home runs in a 7-4 Yankees victory.
Here’s what Judge had to say.
“I don’t see why it’s a story to be honest,” Judge said. according to the New York Daily News. “If their broadcasters want to make a deal on it, they can say what they want. I’m not happy about it, but people can say what they want. I’ve got a game to play. I’ve got things to do.”
Judge then replied whether he thought the speculation was reckless.
“I have a few words of choice on that,” Judge continued.
He kept those words of choice to himself.
Aaron Boone: ‘Nothing… was against the rules’
MLB, meanwhile, concluded that nothing from Monday’s game indicated any major rule violations. This is reported by Greg Joyce of the New York Post. Yankees manager Aaron Boone told reporters the team has been in contact with MLB on the subject and does not expect an investigation.
“None of what happened last night was against the rules,” Boone said.
Even if Judge’s coaches or teammates were to pass on information, it is not against the rules in itself. It is up to players, managers and coaches to protect their information. If they tip pitches via signals, catcher setup or otherwise and the other team does find out, that’s on them.
It is only when teams use unfair advantages through devices, technology or otherwise that cheating comes into play. See the 2017 Houston Astros.
Blue Jays broadcasters make implications
The fuss stems from comments during the eighth inning of Monday’s game. As Judge faced Blue Jays successor Jay Jackson, Shulman and Martinez noticed Judge’s changing eyes and began to speculate. Cameras repeatedly caught Judge watching the Yankees dugout just before pitches were thrown.
“Okay, Buck, so you and I had a good look when we saw this three pitches ago,” said play-by-play announcer Dan Shulman.
“Look what he’s looking at,” replied color analyst Buck Martinez.
“What is that?” replied Shulman.
“What is he looking at? And he did it more than once,” Shulman replied.
Shulman then got to the heart of the implication that a coach or someone in the Yankees dugout tipped him to incoming pitches.
“You don’t want to throw accusations without knowing it,” Shulman said, throwing an accusation without knowing it.
“I had guys look back when I was catching, and you could clearly see that,” Martinez replied. “He couldn’t see the catcher with the way he looked there.”
The conversation continued as Judge hit his second home run of the night.
“He just did it again,” Shulman said just before Judge waved Jackson’s 3-2 slider. And he hit him. He hit a country mile for his second home run of the night.
They continued to analyze Judge’s looks as they watched a home run replay.
“Again, he’s looking at something, then the next move is that power swing,” Martinez said. “And he shoots one to midfield. I’ve never seen that with him before. I’ve never seen that.”
Judge’s reaction after the game
Judge briefly responded to the speculation after the game when he first heard about it from a reporter.
“There was quite a bit of chirping from our dugout, which I really didn’t like in our situation of a 6-0 game,” said Judge. … “I said a few things to some guys in the dugout and especially after the game. Hopefully it won’t happen again.”
Blue Jays manager John Schneider was suspicious, saying the team would investigate the issue so it is “not susceptible” to tip-off information.
“It’s kind of strange for a batter to look in that direction,” Schneider said after the match. “He’s clearly looking in that direction for a reason.”
He said Tuesday after watching the video that “we could probably be a little tighter with some of our inclinations, catcher locations, gloves — anything.”
“As far as the league is concerned, we just want to make sure that every coach is on the field where they are supposed to be and confident that they will move forward.”
So it sounds like the Blue Jays are pleased with the correspondence they had with MLB on the matter. And they are working to tighten their own ship.
In the meantime, there’s plenty of fuel between the AL East rivals in what promises to be one of baseball’s most competitive divisions in the early part of the season.