No 61 for Aaron Judge of the New York Yankees, but the atmosphere remains electric

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The New York Yankees batter’s shot was unequivocal. A loud crack and arc rising to the left field seats.

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I’m referring, of course, to Isiah Kiner-Falefa’s home run. The second-round bombshell was his fourth of the season and left him just 56 points short of teammate Aaron Judge’s total.

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As for Judge, it was another display of casual productivity, less what the baseball world had been anticipating for a while now. There were no 61st home run of the season, just a single, two walks, a run scored and a few strikeouts, meaning the American League record set by Roger Maris 61 years ago has stood for at least one night what’s more. No joy in Mudville, et cetera.

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This chase is a curious spectacle. In any other season, a September series between the leaders of the American League East and their closest pursuers would be a big deal on its own. The Yankees try to clinch. The Blue Jays are trying to secure a playoff spot. Things happen. In this case, a 10e-victory of the round thanks to an RBI single from Vlad Guerrero.

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But Judge’s absurd exploits have created a subplot that overwhelms the first. Each of these Jays-Yankees games was screened in a national broadcast spot in the United States. The media presence there exploded. Groups of Yankees fans have come to Rogers Center to testify about the judge and, they hope, the story. Many Jays fans in attendance Monday night appeared to have been okay with No. 61, given the right circumstances. And so the stories went on separate tracks: would the Jays win? And would Judge catch, or even pass, Maris?

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A week ago, it seemed unlikely that the Blue Jays would end up as supporting characters in this particular arc. The judge reached his 60e home run on September 20e, tying Babe Ruth for the second-highest single-season total in AL history and the second-highest total in MLB history who didn’t have the distinct smell of steroids at this point. topic. Judge 61st was sure to come during a homestand in the Bronx. And then it didn’t work out, even though he was on base all the time. The roadshow and the anticipation that comes with it have packed up and come to Toronto.

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Before the game, Yankees manager Aaron Boone was asked what kind of reaction he expected Blue Jays fans to give to his towering slugger.

« I don’t know, » Boone said, after careful consideration. “They are playing a lot at the moment. We’re trying to clinch the division, they’re trying to push that back and obviously strengthen their playoff position. And we certainly know how that fanbase has supported that team.

Boone thinks about it a bit more.

« It will be interesting, but Canadians tend to be very polite and kind, so I imagine there would be, if he did, there would be some kind of appreciation for that, » he said. “But we will see. They’re two rivals in the American League East who play a lot, so you never know what the result will be.

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For Jays manager John Schneider, the witness-to-history stuff is simpler, because Yankee runs of all kinds are something he wants his pitchers to avoid. Not that the circus surrounding the pursuit of Maris can be avoided.

« I think you can’t ignore it, » Schneider said ahead of Monday’s game. « You obviously want that not to happen here and you want to win. The baseball fan in me respects the hell out of Aaron Judge and the year he formed and how he is as a person too. It would be nice to keep him on the ice for a few days, and hopefully we’ll win by 12 if he hits a home run.

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The Jays boss said his staff would approach the batting judge with caution. That’s to be expected because no one wants to be the guy delivering the record highlight reel, but it also happens to be a good strategy because Judge has been powdering it all season.

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« Getting a shot to hit and not missing it is hard to do, and he’s been doing it for seven months, » Schneider said. « When you try to be careful with somebody, anybody, I think that’s where mistakes happen, so you try not to be too good and execute your pitches. »

Boone noted that opponents treading carefully around Judge is nothing new. Part of what makes his season so completely insane is that the non-judge Yankees vastly underperformed with bats, and there were times when no one else posed a threat. But even when the pitchers nibbled and nibbled and nibbled some more, Judge found a way to crush.

Except, that is, for last week. Boone, understandably, is bullish about it all, as you’d expect from someone whose team still has an almost inevitable path to the division crown and an outfielder whose date with the story is just as likely.

The Yankees manager quoted Judge himself on the matter. « Home runs are thrown, not necessarily hit,” Boone said, echoing a judge line from last week. Then the manager continued, “And even to have 60 home runs, like, they’re still hard to hit. Even for him, it doesn’t happen every day.

Although it seemed to do so.

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