Aaron Judge is shattering AL records and chasing the Triple Crown down the stretch for a New York Yankees team that nearly went off the rails, but got back on course recently, thanks in large part to Big No. 99.
It’s hard to imagine any player possibly doing more to provide value for their team, unless you could invent some kind of player who could … I don’t know … pitch at an ace-caliber level and hit bombs?
What? That guy exists? And he toils for a team out west that never wins and got a manager fired midseason this year as the capper? Interesting discussion for sure, but we’re gonna go ahead and give the hardware to the guy whose value has defined the narrative of the 2022 season and will be carrying his momentum into the postseason.
Some may disagree. The term “value” is nebulous. It’s all open to interpretation. And there is, of course, the CC Sabathia corollary: Shohei Ohtani is the best player in the world. And so, as the left-hander wondered last week, why wouldn’t he win?
Starting a franchise? You’d go with the 28-year-old Ohtani over Judge entering his 30s. Trying to win a playoff series? You might go with Ohtani, as Mike Petriello argued this week. The MVP remains a regular season award, though, and Judge’s regular season has dropped jaws. It’s probably the only possible regular season that might dethrone Ohtani, built in a lab to make this a battle.
And Sabathia finally relented to that fact on national television on Wednesday, rocking an awesome shirt that summed up the argument, with fellow MLBers Chris Young and Cliff Floyd on his side.
Yankees retired icon CC Sabathia relents; Aaron Judge is the MVP
Judge has a chance, against the Boston Red Sox this weekend, to pay homage to Roger Maris and the sluggers of Yankees’ past by setting a new AL record against the same team that facilitated the old one. Every at-bat, regardless of result, will be overwhelmed by iPhone cameras, the modern and less abrasive version of flashbulbs. All eyes will be on Judge, who hasn’t allowed that idea to intimidate him yet.
Ohtani? Freshly eliminated from the postseason, his Angels will be playing out the string at an airplane hangar in Texas.
He may be the best in the world, but for at least the 2022 season, Judge is something just a hint more meaningful.