Aaron Judge lowered the boom on the Red Sox on Saturday night with a 445-foot home run in the first inning of Game 2 of the Division Series, then turned up the volume on his boombox while it blared “New York, New York’’ as he walked past the Red Sox clubhouse at Fenway Park.
There likely was way too much concrete between the hall and the clubhouse for the Red Sox to hear the song, but the players basically invoked radio silence on the subject anyway when asked what they thought about it during Sunday’s media gathering at Yankee Stadium.
Xander Bogaerts and Andrew Benintendi said they were unaware of the likely-to-go-viral video of Judge playing the Frank Sinatra version of the song heard after every Yankees home game. Manager Alex Cora didn’t take the bait, either, saying, “No, no. I don’t know. Maybe one of [our] guys when we played the Marlins earlier, we had Pitbull in our boombox.’’
The Yankees did not have a scheduled workout, so Judge was not around to explain if there was any motivation to his actions, but he is not known as one to stir up the opposition. “ I heard about it too, but I wasn't with him,’’ Didi Gregorius said. “ He went on the first bus. I went on the second bus. I don't know what message, but I mean, we just go out there and play the game. The rivalry is always there, so it's always good to have a little bit of fun with it, I guess.’’
Asked if this adds to the fun. Gregorius said, “Oh, yeah, definitely.’’
Aaron Boone didn’t think Judge was giving the Red Sox any fodder for the bulletin board. “It's a good song,’’ he said. “And Aaron, he's one of our resident deejays, so he's got a pretty extensive playlist. I guess that's the one that was going. We like to hear that song sometimes when we win a big game. I saw it. I think it's fun. It's something to talk about. But I think it's just a good-natured whatever.’’
Boone was asked what his reaction would be if a Red Sox player walked past the Yankees' clubhouse playing “Sweet Caroline,’’ the Red Sox anthem. “I like that song too, actually,’’ he said, “So whatever. I think both teams are really good, have a lot of respect for each other, and I'll just kind of leave it at that.’’
Music aside, the Red Sox have to deal with Judge on the field. He is 5-for-9 with two home runs in this series and 7-for-12 with three homers and two walks in the Yankees' three postseason games. Cora does not have the luxury of pitching around Judge because of the Yankees' lineup of home run hitters, especially Gary Sanchez and Giancarlo Stanton and also including Gregorius, Luke Voit, Miguel Andujar, Aaron Hicks and Gleyber Torres.
“You've got to be careful, too,’’ Cora said. “You create traffic to those guys behind him and you're going to pay the price. We just have to make better pitches, I think. Yesterday he hit the ball out of the ballpark ... Like Gary, he's a dangerous hitter regardless of the numbers. The numbers don't matter now. It's just the quality at-bats, and you see it ... So regardless of the situation, if we're pitching around [Judge] or even with nobody on and we have the lead, we still have to be careful.’’
That Judge is in the postseason at all is a big bonus for the Yankees, considering his slower-than-expected recovery from a chip fracture in his right wrist. “I knew, once I got told it was broken, I knew it was probably going to be probably an eight-, nine-week process of getting back,’’ he said late Saturday. “I just checked the calendar and just went to work. tried to get back as soon as I can so I could help the team and get my at-bats so I could be in a position like this to help the team out in the postseason.”
With Erik Boland