Judge, Aaron Judge, New York Yankees
Courtesy of the New York Yankees


It was a moment to sit back and assess. The Toronto Blue Jays have not been shy in showing their desire to unseat the New York Yankees as the premier team in the American League East. The celebrations have been excessive whether its a dramatic home run to win a game to twirling an imaginary bowl for a double. However, this particular series in Canada had not been going well. The Yankees were winning 6-0, when their captain and all-around good guy Aaron Judge, took a side glance and soon after launched a blast as final as a court judges final gavel strike.

After the game, the unthinkable was implied by Blue Jay announcers.  Judge was stealing signs which aided his successful foray into the deep bleachers of Rogers Centre, the site of his 61st home run last season. It was astonishing to hear because Judge is one of the more well-liked players in the MLB.

Judge, who normally takes most things in stride, was surely not pleased to hear the accusation from a rival even mentioning that he had "choice words." He refused to let it change the direction of his battleship, which over the course of the series continued to shoot its guns hard and true between fielders into open grass or over the fences.

Now coming back to the word cheating. There is something that has invaded even the world of baseball. The world where definitions change, word salads replace primal force and flipping established traditions becoming the new norm. Even Judge was seen as a player for this era, as he often avoided controversy until now. 

However, there is one problem with this spin. If Judge was peeking for a sign, it's called gamesmanship. It is not illegal nor is it cheating. It has been a precedent in baseball for its entire history. It is why catchers hide their fingers against their thighs and look up at batters to make sure they are not looking. Its why signs are changed constantly because someone is always watching. It is an attempt at gaining an edge and everyone in baseball knows it and has done it.

Aaron Judge is far from a cheater. He plays the game hard and with enthusiasm in as pure a way as anyone. He works for every success from diving plays, throwing out runners with his cannon arm and smacking titanic home runs on a regular basis with a body that is not fueled by anything to add or subtract from the trueness of his performances. Judge showed what a captain does by leading by example.

"I'm not happy about it, but people can say what they want, I've still got a game to play. I've got things to do," said Judge.

Judge has since gone on to do just that. Judge hit two home runs on Monday, including one in the second game that broke the Maple Leaf sign. Talk about optics. Then after the Yankees were shut out in the third game, Judge placed his stamp on the final game of the series with a two-run shot which marked not only his twelfth home run ,but was his 32nd against the Blue Jays, the most by any Yankee which passed Jorge Posada, who had 31 against Toronto. In the sixth, a double that hit the top of the outfield line in right was reviewed and found to be another home run, his fifth of the series.

 Judge left Toronto in glory, something that has eluded the Yankees in recent years, leading the way to a crucial three out of four wins on the road. As important Judge did not lose any luster of the image that he brought to MLB from day one. He surely answered the critics in the way he knows best by using the lumber to give his answer which in this series he did over and over again. That's a gamer, that's a leader, that's a captain, a Yankee captain.

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