Attention, Yankees fans. Stop going silent before opponents deliver pitches to Aaron Judge. You’re freaking your pinstriped heroes out.
“I start getting nervous when it’s that quiet,” catcher Kyle Higashioka said. “I wish they would actually get loud. I feel like I’m so on edge when no one makes any noise.”
Pitcher Gerrit Cole, however, noted that when the count went to 2-2 on Judge in his ninth-inning at-bat Thursday night, the 43,123 fans at Yankee Stadium produced more of their normal ruckus.
“It wasn’t quite as dead quiet,” Cole said. “I was kind of like, ‘Why don’t you guys just go berserk the whole time?’ If it was the World Series, they wouldn’t be holding their breath.”
Ah, but it’s not the World Series. It’s a player chasing history. A different kind of experience for this generation of Yankees fans, distinct even from Derek Jeter’s countdown to 3,000 hits in 2011.
Judge, in trying to break Roger Maris’ 61-year-old American League record of 61 home runs in a season, is performing the rarest of feats for an athlete in a team sport — silencing the home crowd.
As he sits on 60 homers, Judge’s breaking of Maris’ record in the Yankees’ final 13 games seems inevitable. The moment is big, all right. Bigger than Judge’s pending free agency. Bigger than his pursuit of a Triple Crown.