They still wouldn’t make the playoffs. Thanks, I’ll be here all week. Don’t forget to tip your waiter.
The more the sporting world focuses on Judge’s chase for…well, that’s just it. What exactly is he chasing? As we said, 60 homers still sound like all the homers in the world to us, because it’s only been done so few times. But he’s there. Do people really care about an American League record? We stopped splitting the NL and AL in our minds long ago, as interleague play mostly put an end to it. Do you know what the record for hits in a season in the AL is? ERA? Strikeouts? No, you don’t, and you don’t care. Yes, home runs have a special place in our consciousness, and are the easiest to identify. You don’t have to do any calculations, and the numbers are manageable in our minds. It’s easier to keep track of 60 home runs than say, 383 strikeouts (the modern AL record held by Nolan Ryan).
But it’s really nothing more than an oddity that all the home run seasons that surpassed Roger Maris were in the National League. It makes it cleaner for everyone who wants to MIB flashy thing those out of memory to play up the AL aspect of Judge’s season, but no one would care in any other sense. No one said Barry Bonds only set the NL record with 73 when he did it. It’s convenient now.
Moreover, only Yankees fans care that it’s a Yankees record. But of course, Yankees fans get to dictate a national discussion. Were Judge an Angel or a Ranger, FOX isn’t picking up their games on a Thursday night when they’ve already clinched a playoff spot.
Judge’s season is remarkable, historic, and worth talking about. But it’s definitely spilled into the “trying way too hard” definition category.