I wish that I had been at a sports bar on Tuesday night.
We had just sat down to watch a recording of The Good Doctor when my daughter showed up to get her dog. We had been dog-sitting. We decided to press pause and just turned to TSN and the baseball game that was just starting. They were repeating the broadcast from YES showing the Yankees game.
I think we all know now what happened in the top of the first inning – Aaron Judge had hit his 62nd home run and was now one more than Roger Maris. You can see them all here.
In today’s typical media fashion, we got to see the home run over and over from a whole lot of different angles
Obviously, this was big – no, huge news. Then, in the bottom of the first inning, Gerrit Cole struck out Nathaniel Lowe to give him one more strikeout than Ron Guidry had. Yet another Yankee record.
I remember just blurting out that the fan who caught the home run was an instant millionaire by auctioning off the ball that was caught and things would be a whole lot easier since the strikeout was caught by a teammate.
It was a big night if you were a Yankee fan. It was mildly interesting if you’re a Tiger fan.
We had an interesting conversation that would be best handled in a sports bar. Could these record-breaking performances be compared to the efforts of Maris and Guidry?
Over the years, there have been things that might have been record-breaking but were held back by drugging, etc.
Particularly, when you think back to Maris’ accomplishments which go back to 1961, 61 years ago, the game has changed so much since then.
- baseball design has been changed and new balls are used any time there’s a scratch on the cover
- baseball bats are different with custom models for every hitter and every situation
- the training facilities for sports teams are second to none and weightlifting is now just a given
- batter swings and pitcher pitching is now recorded from a whole whack of different angles; nothing is hidden
- people go to college or play in any of the minor leagues before making the big leagues
- the dimensions of ballparks have changed and shape designed to make the game more exciting
I’m sure that you can think of many more changes if you’re a baseball fan.
A vindictive team could have walked Judge if they had wanted to stop him from breaking the record.
Logic would seem to imply that these records should have been broken much sooner in the season. Judge will get a chance to go for 63 if he plays today. Cole is done now and will be resting his arm for the postseason.
Yet, despite all the changes that have been made over the years, breaking the records came down to the last couple of games for the Yankees. I can only conclude that, despite all the changes and improvements that have been made, there have been other changes and modifications to keep the playing field even.
It would have been good to debate this over a beer.
Who is better? Cole or Guidry? Judge or Maris? Do you have an opinion?
Or does it even matter; we just got to experience a nice bit of history.