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Aug 29, 2022; Anaheim, California, USA; New York Yankees right fielder Aaron Judge (99) grounds out in the first inning against the Los Angeles Angels at Angel Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports

When my son and I were walking around Angels Stadium about an hour before the first pitch on Monday evening, we got to the open area out behind centerfield, and I pointed towards the water structure that separates the left field seats from the right.

“Judge is gonna hit one into those rocks tonight, I’m sure of it.”

It would be a rocky game for the Yankees as the offense continued to struggle, but when Aaron Judge came up in the eighth inning and crushed a ball into those rocks, the seven previous innings didn’t matter much anymore. It was August 30th and Judge had just hit his 50th home run, and by the time he got to second base the Yankees fans in the crowd had started chanting “M!V!P! M!V!P!,” not bothered at all that winners of four of the last eight MVP trophies were looking on from the other side.

I’d been watching the schedule for a month hoping that we might get to see Judge hit a round number, so for a moment as we stood and cheered, the 4-3 deficit didn’t matter that much, and I wasn’t even upset as we walked out of the park a bit later, the score still the same. We had seen history, and we had shared the moment with tens of thousands of other Yankee fans. I hope Judge gets 60 and 61 and 62 in the Bronx, but I’m glad he hit number 50 out here. It was a moment I’ll never forget.

Categories:  1: Featured  Hank Waddles

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1 Hank Waddles   ~  Aug 31, 2022 8:44 pm

Sorry for the delay, everybody. I was distracted by Serena. Absolutely unbelievable.

2 Ara Just Fair   ~  Aug 31, 2022 9:17 pm

Sweet story. I watched Serena win as well. The Queen.

3 Ara Just Fair   ~  Aug 31, 2022 9:38 pm

Judge had that ball 3 call to Ohtani called a strike on him at least 30 times this year. Bullet dodged.

4 Hank Waddles   ~  Aug 31, 2022 9:47 pm

I was thinking the same thing on that pitch.

5 Ara Just Fair   ~  Aug 31, 2022 10:03 pm

My first game with my dad was last Wendesday. Braves beat the Pirates 14-2. Highlight was O'Neil Cruz with the hardest hit ball in statcast history. We heard it but did not see it as we were walking up the steps for a pitstop. Lol.... We saw the info on the scoreboard a few innings later. On the way to the car I said, "I'd rather have seen the Yankees." He agreed even though he hates the Yankees. Dodger fan since Jackie Robinson.

6 Ara Just Fair   ~  Aug 31, 2022 10:16 pm

Here comes the Ohtani Homer. Thanks I. K. F.

7 Hank Waddles   ~  Aug 31, 2022 10:17 pm

I mean, if IKF can't field his position, I'd be happy to see Peraza or even Volpe out there.

8 Ara Just Fair   ~  Aug 31, 2022 10:18 pm


9 Hank Waddles   ~  Aug 31, 2022 10:18 pm

As predicted...

10 Hank Waddles   ~  Aug 31, 2022 10:20 pm

Also, I'm not sure why Fletcher's ball was ruled a hit. Official scorers are getting pretty soft. I don't care if it was a tough ball to get, if Donaldson makes a good throw, he's out. If LeMahieu comes off the bag, Fletcher's stuck at first. Or if IKF fields a routine ground ball, there's two out and they can walk Ohtani. Damn it all.

11 Ara Just Fair   ~  Aug 31, 2022 10:25 pm

And Cole walking the leadoff batter after a 2 run top half.

12 Hank Waddles   ~  Aug 31, 2022 10:29 pm

Well, that was the inning before.

13 Hank Waddles   ~  Aug 31, 2022 10:37 pm

I suppose the Angels would say the same thing about the errors that allowed Judge to get up and hit his three-run home run last night, this game isn't as much about Ohtani's one swing as it is about those two errors.

14 Ara Just Fair   ~  Aug 31, 2022 10:44 pm

Whoops. Just being pre-determined mad at Cole for former impropriety. The angels and a's are terrible and the Yankees can barely keep up.

15 Hank Waddles   ~  Aug 31, 2022 10:57 pm

Agreed. Unless they come up with something in the ninth, they'll have lost four of seven against two of the worst teams in the league -- and they'll be just six games ahead of the Rays heading into the weekend series. Not what you want.

16 knuckles   ~  Aug 31, 2022 11:19 pm

So you put Rizzo in the field for the ninth, bad back and all, and you cannot manage to get him to the plate earlier than eight in the subsequent order? Jeez.

17 Hank Waddles   ~  Aug 31, 2022 11:19 pm

A nice nugget from the Angels' broadcast: Gleyber's slugging percentage with runners in scoring position since the start of last season is the fourth lowest in baseball.
Not what you want.

18 Hank Waddles   ~  Aug 31, 2022 11:20 pm

[16] Yeah, I was scratching my head about that also. Maybe he can field, but he can't swing a bat. But if the Yanks tie it up, he'd probably have to hit in the tenth.

19 Hank Waddles   ~  Aug 31, 2022 11:24 pm

Well, it's never a bad thing to wake up on September 1st with a six-game division lead, but this plane is leaking oil.

20 Ara Just Fair   ~  Aug 31, 2022 11:25 pm

This team sucks lemons.

21 knuckles   ~  Aug 31, 2022 11:27 pm

Just realized that Rizz had to play first given the JP pinch run, but still, seems awfully poor AB management for a trailing score and a 30 HR hitter on the bench.

22 Hank Waddles   ~  Aug 31, 2022 11:30 pm

The story is in the one-run losses. And, obviously, that what was once the most fearsome lineup in baseball can't buy a hit or a run. The Angels did what the Yankees couldn't, especially in the ninth inning. They shrewdly didn't give Judge anything to hit, because they don't want him to beat them. The walk to Stanton was unfortunate, but what did they have to worry about after that? Absolutely nothing.

People will complain about Cole, that he isn't the ace that the Yankees paid for, but he made one mistake. The problem was that Angels pitchers never had to pitch to Judge. Cole was in a spot where he couldn't pitch around Ohtani, he made a mistake, and the Yankees lost the game. Just awful.

23 Hank Waddles   ~  Aug 31, 2022 11:32 pm

Wow. Yankees were 10-18 in August, their worst month since September of 1991, and that was truly an awful team.

24 Hank Waddles   ~  Aug 31, 2022 11:37 pm

One more thing about that ninth inning. First and second and none out, and only the rookie puts the ball in play. Strikeouts for Donaldson and Torres.

25 Hank Waddles   ~  Aug 31, 2022 11:50 pm

[16] Boone just admitted that he questions his move to run for LeMahieu and essentially lose the option of hitting Rizzo in the ninth.

26 knuckles   ~  Aug 31, 2022 11:50 pm

It’s terrible to say this, but of the Yankees up and coming core of 2017-18, they seem to have turned both Sanchez and Torres into “change of scenery” players, marginalized (plus injuries) one Miggy Andujar, and pissed off the best of the bunch to ensure that his contract (if they don’t let him walk) crowds out a handful of pieces that ought to have contributed to the 2023-2027 playoff runs. Add Sevy’s health and durability and you’re talking about a total waste of Core Four 2.0.

27 knuckles   ~  Sep 1, 2022 12:00 am

[25] Meulens 2023.

28 Hank Waddles   ~  Sep 1, 2022 1:04 am

[26] I'd agree that they screwed up Sánchez, which is criminal considering the hitter it looked like he'd become. I don't know what's going on with Torres, though. Is the organization to blame? And Andújar? I don't even know.

My biggest gripe is Josh Donaldson. Is he really an upgrade over Urshella? I'd have to look at the defensive metrics, but it wasn't long ago that we were hearing about Urshella as one of the best defensive third basemen in the game. And obviously Donaldson has provided nothing on offense.

The question is this: Is everyone not named Aaron Judge in a collective slump, or is this just who they are?

First 65 games: 49-16
Next 66 games: 30-36

Which represents the real Yankees? It's likely somewhere in between, but recently it's becoming hard to convince myself of that. If I hadn't witnessed the first 65 games, what would I think then? If all we had to judge the team were the last 66 games, would we think they were underachieving, or would we just think this was a mediocre team? I really don't know anymore.

29 knuckles   ~  Sep 1, 2022 6:45 am

Not sure on Torres. He had a ~125 OPS+ in first two years and right around 100 since.
Big enough sample sizes for both eras to assume that the former wasn’t before the league figured him out. But even if it did, you have to presume an effective ML coaching staff and ascertain the talent needed to put up those first two years of numbers and then try to maintain it. Maybe he’s the poster child of guys derailed by the pandemic. Dunno.

30 Bronx Boy in NC   ~  Sep 1, 2022 9:57 am

Here's your postseason schedule:

Second week of October:
Quiet exit from division series

Third week of October:
Lots of essays about what went wrong

Fourth week of October:
Hey, football season!

Prove me wrong, Bombers

31 Hank Waddles   ~  Sep 1, 2022 1:44 pm

Back in June when they were running roughshod on the league, I remember thinking there was a lot pressure on them to validate the regular season success by winning the World Series. Now I think there’s even more pressure. If they figure stuff out and have a good postseason — I think they need to at least get to the World Series for it be considered a good post season — then we can forget this two month swoon. If not? The ramifications could be significant.

I like Aaron Boone, but if this team doesn’t make the playoffs — and I think we need to embrace that possibility — I don’t see how he can save his job. I don’t see how either hitting instructor saves his job.

People complain about Cashman, but if we accept that the first three months weren’t a mirage, we have to credit Cashman for that. Maybe we blame him for not getting Castillo or even Soto, but these last two months have been more about the players than the construction of the team, in my opinion. No one could ever look at this roster and think they’re one of the worst teams in baseball, but in August that’s exactly what they were.

32 Hank Waddles   ~  Sep 1, 2022 9:06 pm

So Peraza has been called up. It’ll be interesting to see he starts at shortstop tomorrow night in the opener of what could be called the biggest series of the season for the Yanks.

33 mhoward120   ~  Sep 2, 2022 4:24 pm

So this series will go a long way towards determining how the rest of the season may well play out.

34 Hank Waddles   ~  Sep 2, 2022 6:32 pm

Agreed. Even tonight’s game feels huge. If the Yankees get the win and push the lead back to seven games, things will look a lot better. If they lose tonight, their third loss in a row, they’ll be up by just five and both teams will be thinking about a sweep.

35 Hank Waddles   ~  Sep 2, 2022 6:40 pm

Here’s a fun stat that just popped up on YES:
Since August 2, Gleyber and LeMahieu have a combined OPS of .986 — that doesn’t even seem possible. Judge’s August OPS was 1.091.

36 Hank Waddles   ~  Sep 2, 2022 6:59 pm

Benintendi out. This is awful.

37 Hank Waddles   ~  Sep 2, 2022 7:45 pm

For some reason I feel like all this team needs is a Stanton home run. They need some swagger back.

38 Ara Just Fair   ~  Sep 2, 2022 7:46 pm

Home in time for some risp fail. Sweet.

39 Mr OK Jazz Tokyo   ~  Sep 2, 2022 8:07 pm

Hank, that Gleyber & DJ stat made me throw up a little..
So they brought up the kids but they’re not in the lineup?

40 Hank Waddles   ~  Sep 2, 2022 8:31 pm

They’re saying that Peraza will play tomorrow.

41 Hank Waddles   ~  Sep 2, 2022 8:33 pm

And Germán has quietly become the Yankees’ best starter. But when the team gets three or four hits a night, and nary a home run, the pitching simply doesn’t matter.

42 Hank Waddles   ~  Sep 2, 2022 8:33 pm

Serena is much more interesting right now.

43 Hank Waddles   ~  Sep 2, 2022 8:36 pm

Forget it. This team can’t score three runs in two innings. Serena gets my full attention from here on out.

44 Mr OK Jazz Tokyo   ~  Sep 2, 2022 8:37 pm

⬆️Yeah, wish could watch that. This game stinks, and I’m almost hoping the collapse happens and Boone/Cash get sent packing.

45 rob_smith_51   ~  Sep 2, 2022 8:59 pm

That would be interesting if they fired Boone and Cahman. They have been terrible for a month and a half. They are still 2nd in MLB in scoring somehow and 3rd in runs allowed.

46 knuckles   ~  Sep 2, 2022 9:05 pm

It’s been almost sacrosanct that Cash is untouchable and the same June roster largely turned in the putrid August, but trading Monty may end up being the straw that breaks the camels back.

I have to think everything is on the table this winter.
And I was Team Meulens when Boone was hired

47 Ara Just Fair   ~  Sep 2, 2022 9:31 pm

It can only get better from here.

48 rob_smith_51   ~  Sep 2, 2022 9:32 pm

Who is the hitting coach? Perhaps it is time to replace him.

49 Hank Waddles   ~  Sep 2, 2022 9:43 pm

So tomorrow, in yet another big game, the Yankees will have a rookie on the mound, a rookie at short, and a rookie in right.

50 Boatzilla   ~  Sep 3, 2022 12:03 am

It's impossible to root for this team and maintain one's dignity.

Maybe things will get so bad that Cash will resign in embarrassment. That's my only hope.

51 rob_smith_51   ~  Sep 3, 2022 7:27 am

I doubt rookies would do worse then what they have been sending out there for the last month.

52 Hank Waddles   ~  Sep 3, 2022 2:04 pm

Confirmed. Peraza making his major league debut tonight, batting eighth and playing short.

1. Judge, CF
2. LeMahieu, 1B
3. Stanton, DH
4. Donaldson, 3B
5. Cabrera, RF
6. Treviño, C
7. Torres, 2B
8. Peraza, SS
9. Hicks, LF

53 Ara Just Fair   ~  Sep 3, 2022 3:16 pm

Good. Go kids! Go Yankees!

54 Hank Waddles   ~  Sep 3, 2022 3:56 pm

Benintendi to the 10-day I.L. Seems about right.

55 rob_smith_51   ~  Sep 3, 2022 4:48 pm

Judge batting first. That seems like a good idea.

56 mhoward120   ~  Sep 3, 2022 5:13 pm

Why am I so apprehensive about this game?

57 mhoward120   ~  Sep 3, 2022 5:19 pm

Beyond lame

58 Ara Just Fair   ~  Sep 3, 2022 6:27 pm

How long did that take? 5 minutes? JFC! An obvious shit call like that should take 10 seconds.

59 Ara Just Fair   ~  Sep 3, 2022 6:41 pm

Yikes. That's a bad error.

60 mhoward120   ~  Sep 3, 2022 6:49 pm

I have never seen a team go from so high to so low so fast.

61 Ara Just Fair   ~  Sep 3, 2022 6:49 pm

I'm ready for hockey season.

62 Mr OK Jazz Tokyo   ~  Sep 3, 2022 6:56 pm

Hi Ara, I was thinking ‘I’m ready for the Knicks’. This team other than Judge, Stanton and Cortes is dull as feck, and now on verge of a total collapse. Boone is a bad manager but this is more on Cashman & his minions. Fire them all, pay Billy Beane $50 million and get aggressive about winning again.

63 Hank Waddles   ~  Sep 3, 2022 7:26 pm

I can't bring myself to watch. When I saw they were down 2-0 in the fifth, it was hard for me to imagine they could ever come back. It's unbelievable how inept this offense is. I could understand if they were having trouble getting the big hits to drive in runs, but they can't get any hits at all. Unbelievable.

And as Kay pointed out earlier in the broadcast, this collective slump will probably also keep Judge from getting to 61. Why on Earth would anyone pitch to him? If I were the opposing manager I'd just walk him four times without even thinking about it.

64 Hank Waddles   ~  Sep 3, 2022 7:36 pm

Here's a serious question. What do you think might happen if the Yankees get shutout again tomorrow and emerge from Tampa with a three-game lead after a sweep in which they won't have scored a single run? Would that raise any eyebrows?

65 Hank Waddles   ~  Sep 3, 2022 7:46 pm

Gameday tells me Judge has hit another home run. Somehow that just makes me angrier about this whole thing. We've got the best player on the planet, but still.

66 Hank Waddles   ~  Sep 3, 2022 7:50 pm

And the lead is four. Good god.

67 rbj   ~  Sep 3, 2022 8:08 pm

Shutout gone. Judge is about the only reason to watch this team these days.

68 rob_smith_51   ~  Sep 3, 2022 8:12 pm

3 hits? Are you kidding me!!

69 Hank Waddles   ~  Sep 3, 2022 8:53 pm

It's more than just the team being bad over the past two months. If the entire Scranton team had been called up to replace the Yankees on August 1st, they probably wouldn't have been any worse. It's comical how bad they've been.

70 Hank Waddles   ~  Sep 4, 2022 9:42 am

All you need to know about today’s lineup is that IKF is hitting sixth.

71 Hank Waddles   ~  Sep 4, 2022 12:44 pm


Why does anyone pitch to him? Why wouldn't you just walk Judge to lead off the game, then take your chances with the Murderer's Row of LeMahieu, Cabrera, and Donaldson (who's hitting .201 since early May)?

72 Hank Waddles   ~  Sep 4, 2022 12:57 pm

I'm not really sure why IKF is playing anymore.

73 Hank Waddles   ~  Sep 4, 2022 3:14 pm

How many times this year has an inning ended with Donaldson leaving runners on base? I'm going to be seeing his reaction in my sleep -- immediately bending over and setting his helmet on the plate. I say again -- not a fan.

74 Hank Waddles   ~  Sep 4, 2022 4:30 pm

I don't want to make too much of it, but that was a huge, huge win.

75 Hank Waddles   ~  Sep 4, 2022 4:51 pm

Surgery for Benintendi...

76 Hank Waddles   ~  Sep 5, 2022 12:23 pm

Even when Donaldson does something right he screws it up. Not a fan.

77 Hank Waddles   ~  Sep 5, 2022 1:33 pm

Cabrera has been struggling at the plate, but he continues to impress in the field. Just a laser of a throw there to get the out at second, which I think is his third assist. And he had only four career outfield games in the minors before this stint.

78 OldYanksFan   ~  Sep 7, 2022 2:50 pm

I love Judge and would love to see him as a lifelong Yankee. However, he will get a massive deal... one that will make the Cano deal look like a bargain. The Yankee's offer may have been a little low, but certainly in the ballpark. We will see what the numbers are (9/$300m?) but I am ready to pass.

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"This ain't football. We do this every day."
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