Yankees: Aaron Judge has wrong mindset about 2020 postseason plan
By Adam Weinrib
Yankees slugger Aaron Judge on the 2020 MLB Playoffs: Thanks, I hate it.
We haven’t seen as much Aaron Judge in 2020 as we wanted to, as the Yankees superstar went down with a recurring leg injury just as he was establishing himself as the face of baseball in this 60-gamer.
Though Judge has returned in recent days, it’s clear his rhythm isn’t all the way back yet ahead of his arrival in October.
And his mindset doesn’t seem quite right, either.
Ahead of the postseason, the Yankees need their stars angry and motivated to deliver to the city what Brian Cashman has called perhaps the most difficult championship in MLB history.
But Judge, instead, simply seems disillusioned with the whole process, even before really starting it.
When asked about the expanded eight-team playoffs on Tuesday night, Judge made it clear he’s not into them whatsoever.
“We’ll see how it goes this first year, and all we can do is play,” Judge said, in response to the current postseason expansion, which honestly might have been necessary to get the 2020 Yankees into the dance in the first place.
Without it, they’d be in a dogfight for the second Wild Card. With it, their participation was already assured with a week to go in the shortened season.
We agree with Judge that any playoff expansion for beyond 2020 seems like a terrible idea, but that worry is for another day. For now, there was no other choice but to expand the playoffs, really.
This postgame conversation from Judge comes on the heels of another slightly confusing take he delivered the other day: The right fielder believes the postseason bubble “doesn’t really reward” the league’s best teams. That, though, is not the point of the bubble.
With all due respect, whether an enclosure benefits any team more than any other seems largely irrelevant. We’ve seen mounting evidence that it’s impossible to guarantee a player, group of players, or entire team can avoid interaction with the coronavirus, and that was during the summer. As October approaches, flu season ramps up, and close, indoor quarters become the norm, the risk for spread intensifies. MLB, to their credit (kind of), was not going to let infection derail the postseason, so they instituted the necessary adjustments the NBA and NHL paved the way for.
Why Judge isn’t vibing with that, we’re not sure.
But if he can’t get in the right mindset soon, instead of hyper-focusing on the annoyances of 2020, then he might have a short and unsatisfying postseason run ahead of him.