Was Aaron Judge of the Yankees cheating? Blue Jays broadcast raises questions in front of HR

TORONTO — The Yankees beat the Blue Jays on Monday night, but it was a few sideways glances from Aaron Judge caught on batting attack that caused a stir. The Blue Jays said it was weird. The Yankees said it was nothing.

So what exactly happened?

In the eighth inning of what would ultimately be a 7-4 Yankees victory over the Blue Jays at Rogers Center, Sportsnet TV cameras highlighted Judge, the reigning American League MVP, throwing a shot. eye from the visitors’ dugout before the first game. batting pitch. He would eventually hit a home run against Toronto reliever Jay Jackson on a 3-2 slider that put New York ahead 7-0.

During the Blue Jays’ telecast, cameras showed Judge glancing down at his dugout. Sportsnet broadcasters Dan Shulman and Buck Martinez said he did it “more than once” and wondered aloud what he was watching.

“What is this?” Shulman said.

“Where is he looking? Martinez said.

Blue Jays broadcasters did not speculate what Judge might have been watching. But the giant shadow of the 2017 Houston Astros sign-stealing scandal still hangs over the game today, so it’s not hard to recognize the implication of that streak if the judge could have looked down his dugout for clues about locations that might happen. his way.

What the Blue Jays say

After the game, Blue Jays manager John Schneider was asked if he was aware of the footage of Judge. He said he had seen it and it was “a little strange that a batter was looking that way”. It was the first time the Blue Jays had noticed Judge doing this, the manager said.

“He’s obviously looking that way for a reason,” Schneider said. “And I think (we’re going to) dive a little deeper tonight and tomorrow and make sure we’re doing everything we can to not make ourselves susceptible to trends or location or locations or something like that, but It was, yeah, a little strange to see him looking over there just before a pitch came.

Schneider was asked if there was a reasonable explanation why Judge might look that way during an at-bat.

“I’m not the caliber hitter that Aaron Judge is and never was,” he said. “But he’s obviously looking somewhere off the pitcher for a reason at that time in his at bat, so you’ll have to ask him.”

After the game, Jackson told Sportsnet’s Hazel Mae, “I’ve never seen a hitter do that before (in my experience), so I can’t say what he was doing. … We’ll see what comes of it. Next time we will have a different game plan.

What the Yankees are saying

When the judge was first asked about what he might have been watching, he seemed unsure what the reporter was talking about.

“When?” said the judge.

After the slugger was questioned again, he laughed a little to himself. He said his Yankees teammates were still yelling at plate umpire Clint Vondrak, who ejected manager Aaron Boone during Judge’s at-bat. The judge said he just wanted them to be quiet so it could strike in peace, and he was watching the canoe to see what mouths were still running.

“It was kind of a chirp from our dugout,” he said, according to a clip posted to Twitter by the YES Network, “which I really didn’t like in a situation where it’s a game at 6 and I know Boonie got dumped. I was trying to save Boonie by calling a timeout, like, ‘Hey, wait here. Let me work here. I was kind of trying to see who was chirping in the room. canoe It’s 6-nothing Boonie got fired, let’s go to work now.


Was it weird? Of course. Were Martinez and Shulman right to point this out? Of course. It’s their job. And does any baseball player deserve the benefit of the doubt, following revelations of sign theft over the past half-decade? Probably not. It didn’t help the Yankees’ case that the judge absolutely crashed a 462-foot homer mere seconds after looking at the Yankees dugout, either.

If you’re in Toronto, you have every right to be suspicious – or at least to stir the pot and get under the skin of your division rivals. If you’re the Yankees, either Judge and Boone’s explanations are pretty good, or you might be wondering if Judge was actually looking down the dugout to try and figure out what kind of pitch was coming next.

In fact, let’s imagine for a moment that Judge was looking for a signal. This, in itself, is not necessarily illegal. It may be that the Yankees figured out how Jackson was swinging his pitches and then used a signal to relay it to the judge in real time. Doing that wouldn’t be a crime. Still, the Yankees’ excuse may hold up better when you zoom out and watch the rest of the game.

Were other Yankees hitters also looking toward the dugout? Did Gleyber Torres or Anthony Volpe peek just before a pitch the rest of the game? Sportsnet didn’t call anyone else, and if the Yankees had cracked a code, they probably would have told the rest of their hitters too, wouldn’t they? — Kuty

(Aaron Judge’s home run top photo against the Blue Jays on Monday: Cole Burston/Getty Images)

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