Aaron Judge's explanation for 'cheating' makes so much sense (sorry, Blue Jays)
By Adam Weinrib
On Monday night in a 6-0 game in Toronto, Yankees slugger Aaron Judge gave some side eye to his team's dugout that changed the world forever.
Unfortunately, since there's no room for nuance these days, he was immediately branded an Astros-level cheater by a Toronto fan base, roster and manager desperate for a rivalry they can call their own.
The side-eyed glances were first noticed by the Blue Jays broadcast booth, and announcers Dan Shulman and Buck Martinez discussed them with the always-helpful caveat, “You don’t wanna go throwing allegations around without knowing but…”
Oh, you don't? You don't want to do that? Then why did you do exactly that?
The whispers only got louder when Judge drilled a cement-mixer breaking ball 462 feet to dead center shortly thereafter.
Here are the facts: Jay Jackson threw six straight sliders in the at-bat. I could've stolen the signs from home. But, after the game, Judge was forced to address why he was looking in the dugout. He barely seemed to know why there was any controversy at all, but quickly responded that he was trying to be a Captain and keep his teammates in line after Aaron Boone's late ejection due to low strike umpire malfeasance.
Yankees slugger Aaron Judge didn't cheat before taking Blue Jays deep Monday
Pretty good on-the-fly explanation for a behavior that makes perfect sense, in context.
The Blue Jays claim they saw Judge looking in the dugout's direction multiple times during the at-bat, thought. And you know what? Since Judge was the third batter of the inning, it's certainly possible they'd picked up on one of Jackson's tells. He could've been tipping pitches. After all, he threw nothing but sliders, and the worst one of all went 462 feet.
But the Yankees would have to be the stupidest team on earth to watch the Astros get caught banging trash cans, then decide to go on the road and devise the only cheating method more obvious than loud trash can noises: direct, obvious staring.
After the game, both Jackson and Blue Jays manager John Schneider threw more suspicion Judge's way. To the manager's credit, though, he seemed more concerned with cleaning up his own team's processes, admitting that the Yankees might've picked up on something obvious.
Whether it was Judge trying to keep his teammates in line or the Yankees picking up on Jackson's patterns, this was nothing nefarious.
Now, will it come up again on Tuesday night in a Kevin Gausman-Domingo Germán mismatch? You bet it will! Hopefully, MLB investigates and ends up firing the Red Sox video room coordinator again for some reason.