Can the Yankees put any faith in (exhales for a million years) Aaron Judge and Giancarlo Stanton’s new yoga routine?
Yankees fans are among the most passionate, knowledgeable, and dedicated in the great game of baseball, proud of a franchise history that transcends generations.
They also love to get one buzz word phrase per player stuck in their head and bleat that word out, ad nauseam, for an entire season.
For Gary Sanchez, it’s, “He sucks!” For Aroldis Chapman, it’s, “Can’t pitch in the playoffs.”
Fortunately, for the paranoid wave of Yankees fans that seems to believe Judge and Stanton have never moved their gigantic muscles before, hope is on the way. Per strength and conditioning guru Eric Cressey, both men have made adjustments this offseason to help maximize their flexibility — particularly Judge, who has dived into yoga.
And it had better work.
As Bryan Hoch stated in the article, with quotes provided by Cressey:
"“In both cases, they’ve lifted less than they have in the past,” Cressey said Thursday on the YES Network. “Aaron in particular has really taken a heavy interest in a lot of yoga. We have to be mindful of the stresses on guys who are 6-foot-7, 6-foot-8, big dudes who are standing around for long periods of time in cleats. Those are things that normal people don’t encounter.“Anytime you see an athlete who has some chronic stuff, there is a perception that they’re not working hard,” Cressey said, referring to Judge and Stanton. “It couldn’t be further from the truth. Those guys are rock stars in every aspect of their preparation, from how they come into the training room to the work they put in in the weight room.”"
For years, fans who know very little about the specifics of Stanton and Judge’s workout plan have been screaming about how they’re too muscular, insinuating the increased muscle mass has turned their bodies into extremely taut gum. And it’s possible! And they’ve listened! Less lifting, more stretching.
If it works and both men play 140+ games this year? Well, that’s the beautiful sweet spot. What happens if the injuries continue? The bleachers could burn to the ground.
And now is an unfortunate time to remind you that Judge and Stanton’s injuries only *just* started seeming “chronic” in 2019 and ’20. Stanton’s repeated leg issues in 2019, with the third instance falling in the ALCS, were worrisome. Judge’s inability to play on turf in 2020 wasn’t encouraging.
But prior to ’19? Judge had a wrist fracture and overuse shoulder injury after the Home Run Derby in 2017. Stanton’s most prominent injury came from being struck in the face by Mike Fiers. Injuries remain unpredictable. Best-laid plans of mice and men.
2020 is the most recent data weighing on the fan base’s collective mind, which was a less than ideal season to judge injury tendencies upon. It was 60 games long. There was a massive, months-long start and stop in there. Everybody’s body broke down.
Will the yoga and flexibility help? What about a full offseason of Eric Cressey’s plan? The Yankees better hope so, and they better throw all the sage possible over their shoulders that these two avoid freak issues along the way.
Because this city isn’t prepared, mentally, for more bad optics.