People asked me questions on Twitter, so I shall answer them

34 Comments

Oh, and you’ll really want to watch me do the questions on HBT Daily today because I make an extended “Watchmen” analogy that totally loses Tiffany. But for now, the rejects. No, not you, just the questions I didn’t use:

Q: Why do the Yankees refuse to score runs?

It’s a test of Joe Girardi’s aptitude. If they scored ten runs last night, he never would have been faced with that Colon/Rivera decision and we’d have no way of knowing how he handles such tough spots.  I think the whole thing was set up by Hank Steinbrenner. He got a grant for the study and everything.

Q: What was your favorite class in law school?

Snarky answer: Tax law, because I used to stay up late in law school and I could always catch up on my Zs in tax.

Less snarky answer: Law and Accounting. Really: there was a visiting professor at GW that year — who now seems to be permanent — named Lawrence Cunningham, who actually made what could have been a boring topic — the legal aspects of corporate accounting — really interesting and fun.  While it could have easily been a rote crash course on LIFO and FIFO accounting for laywers, he focused on the little sneaky accounting tricks that business tries to use in order to portray liabilities as assets and other such devious things.  While we’re well aware of all of that in this post-Enron, post-AIG world, this was 1997, and no one was talking about this in polite circles.  Let’s just say that his class, more than any other class I took, has stuck with me these past 14 years, enabling me to understand the nature of big business and, because of that, to be skeptical when anyone proposes “fixing” schools, governments or baseball teams by using good old entrepreneurial know-how.

Q: Wanna get a beer?

You buyin’?

Q: What gives you the right?

It’s my blog, dude.

Q: Red Sox had a walkoff win on Monday after trailing the entire game till the last at-bat. Should that have a special name?

I think you intended to send that to Bill Simmons, who likely has a 26-part “levels of walkoff wins” column in the chamber, ready to fire if he ever wants for content.

Q: We know New York and Boston plyers are overrated and guys from small markets and west coast teams are underrated. What team’s players are rated exactly right?

As we all know, this is a function of the dreaded east coast bias. The answer, then: players who play for any team located 2.7 miles northeast of Plato, Missouri are rated exactly correctly, because that location is the precise geographic center of the U.S. population as of the 2010 census.

Q: Serious question: Do you think fantasy average draft positions will be used for HoF consideration? Insight to fans’ view.

Never. It’s a worst-of-both-worlds kind of thing.  The more traditional voters would dismiss it out of hand because it’s rather nuts on the surface. The more progressive, stats-oriented voters would likewise dismiss it because most fantasy leagues focus on counting stats like steals, wins and saves and thus where someone is taken in a fantasy draft is misleading with respect to their actual value as players. So, points for creativity, but nah.

Q: I’m managing my co-ed softball team this summer. Because I’m in Atlanta, how often am I required by Fredi Law to bunt?

Ah, Fredi Law. That new area of scholarly inquiry that tries to explain the inexplicable moves of new Braves’ manager Fredi Gonzalez.  Because of my Braves fandom and legal background I was recently asked by West Publishing to write a treatise on it, but I declined due to the toll it would have on my mental health. And it’s only May.

As for the bunts: it’s not really a quota. It’s more about making sure you do it at exactly the wrong time and/or burn a perfectly good bench player for the express purpose of bunting when you could have used a pitcher to do it.  Oh, and you get bonus points for doing this, which is a rare instance when Charles Shultz used his well-known but seldom-discussed powers of foretelling the future of Braves’ managers’ decisions.

Q: What is the biggest home run hit in the history of each franchise?

Great question!  It’s one I’m going to turn into a post later today!

Thanks all. I love doing this. Follow me on Twitter and be on the lookout for the next time I go jonesin’ for your questions. Usually Wednesday evenings.

Yankees star Judge hits 61st home run, ties Maris’ AL record

aaron judge
Cole Burston/Getty Images
2 Comments

TORONTO — Aaron Judge tied Roger Maris’ American League record of 61 home runs in a season, hitting a tiebreaking, two-run drive for the New York Yankees in the seventh inning against the Toronto Blue Jays on Wednesday night.

The 30-year-old slugger drove a 94.5 mph belt-high sinker with a full-count from left-hander Tim Mayza over the left-field fence at Rogers Centre. The 117.4 mph drive took just 3.8 seconds to land 394 feet from the plate, and it put the Yankees ahead 5-3.

Judge watched the ball clank off the front of the stands, just below two fans who reached over a railing and tried for a catch. He pumped an arm just before reaching first and exchanged a slap with coach Travis Chapman.

The ball dropped into Toronto’s bullpen and was picked up by Blue Jays bullpen coach Matt Buschmann, who turned it over to the Yankees.

Judge’s mother and Roger Maris Jr. rose and hugged from front-row seats. He appeared to point toward them after rounding second base, then was congratulated by the entire Yankees team, who gave him hugs after he crossed the plate.

Judge moved past the 60 home runs Babe Ruth hit in 1927, which had stood as the major league mark until Maris broke it in 1961. All three stars reached those huge numbers playing for the Yankees.

Barry Bonds holds the big league record of 73 for the San Francisco Giants in 2001.

Judge had gone seven games without a home run – his longest drought this season was nine in mid-August. This was the Yankees’ 155th game of the season, leaving them seven more in the regular season.

The home run came in the fourth plate appearance of the night for Judge, ending a streak of 34 plate appearances without a home run.

Judge is hitting .313 with 130 RBIs, also the top totals in the AL. He has a chance to become the first AL Triple Crown winner since Detroit’s Miguel Cabrera in 2012.

Maris hit No. 61 for the Yankees on Oct. 1, 1961, against Boston Red Sox pitcher Tracy Stallard.

Maris’ mark has been exceeded six times, but all have been tainted by the stench of steroids. Mark McGwire hit 70 home runs for the St. Louis Cardinals in 1998 and 65 the following year, and Bonds topped him. Sammy Sosa had 66, 65 and 63 during a four-season span starting in 1998.

McGwire admitted using banned steroids, while Bonds and Sosa denied knowingly using performing-enhancing drugs. Major League Baseball started testing with penalties for PEDs in 2004, and some fans – perhaps many – until now have considered Maris the holder of the “clean” record.

Among the tallest batters in major league history, the 6-foot-7 Judge burst on the scene on Aug. 13, 2016, homering off the railing above Yankee Stadium’s center-field sports bar and into the netting above Monument Park. He followed Tyler Austin to the plate and they become the first teammates to homer in their first major league at-bats in the same game.

Judge hit 52 homers with 114 RBIs the following year and was a unanimous winner of the AL Rookie of the Year award. Injuries limited him during the following three seasons, and he rebounded to hit 39 homers with 98 RBIs in 2021.

As he approached his last season before free agent eligibility, Judge on opening day turned down the Yankees’ offer of an eight-year contract worth from $230.5 million to $234.5 million. The proposal included an average of $30.5 million annually from 2023-29, with his salary this year to be either the $17 million offered by the team in arbitration or the $21 million requested by the player.

An agreement was reached in June on a $19 million, one-year deal, and Judge heads into this offseason likely to get a contract from the Yankees or another team for $300 million or more, perhaps topping $400 million.

Judge hit six homers in April, 12 in May and 11 in June. He earned his fourth All-Star selection and entered the break with 33 homers. He had 13 homers in July and dropped to nine in August, when injuries left him less protected in the batting order and pitchers walked him 25 times.

He became just the fifth player to hold a share of the AL season record. Nap Lajoie hit 14 in the AL’s first season as a major league in 1901, and Philadelphia Athletics teammate Socks Seabold had 16 the next year, a mark that stood until Babe Ruth hit 29 in 1919. Ruth set the record four times in all, with 54 in 1920, 59 in 1921 and 60 in 1927, a mark that stood until Maris’ 61 in 1961.

Maris was at 35 in July 1961 during the first season each team’s schedule increased from 154 games to 162, and baseball Commissioner Ford Frick ruled if anyone topped Ruth in more than 154 games “there would have to be some distinctive mark in the record books to show that Babe Ruth’s record was set under a 154-game schedule.”

That “distinctive mark” became known as an “asterisk” and it remained until Sept. 4, 1991, when a committee on statistical accuracy chaired by Commissioner Fay Vincent voted unanimously to recognize Maris as the record holder.