Archive for September 21st, 2022


GC Myers- Big Time

Big Time– Now at the West End Gallery

Baseball is a spirited race of man against man, reflex against reflex. A game of inches. Every skill is measured. Every heroic, every failing is seen and cheered, or booed. And then becomes a statistic.

–Ernie Harwell, late Detroit Tigers Play-By-Play Announcer

Aaron Judge is on a mission this year.

The physically imposing Judge hit his 60th home run of the season last night in his 143rd game of the year while also moving into position to win the Triple Crown. as he became the Batting Average leader with last night’s game.

The Triple Crown is accomplished when a player leads their league in the three major hitting statistics– home runs, batting average and runs batted in, RBIs. It’s a rarity in baseball, occurring only once in the last 55 years. That was in 2012 by the great Miguel Cabrera.

But if Judge’s season might be even more remarkable in that he is doing it while also chasing the legendary home run record. When (not if) he passes the American League record of 61 set by Roger Maris in 1961, many believe he will hold the real home run record. Several other players– Barry Bonds, Mark McGwire, and Sammy Sosa– have higher single season totals but all were tainted by their use of performance enhancing drugs (steroids) and the fact that played in what is is termed a Live Ball Era.

The Live Ball basically means that the balls used at that time were “juiced” much like the players. Inside, they were more tightly wound and would travel much further than the typical ball. You could see evidence of this and the steroid use in the numbers of players who suddenly went from being good, average hitting players into long ball hitters that racked up huge home run numbers.

As a result, the home run totals of that era are discounted. Barry Bonds’ record 73 home runs is marked with an asterisk in the record books. That same year, 2001, Sammy Sosa hit 64.

Since that last Live Ball Era, there has been a concerted effort to limit performance enhancing drug use and the baseball have had much of the juice taken from them. In the 20 years since that time, nobody has come close to those numbers.

Until Judge.

Of course, he has the size and physique that the steroid users of the past were trying to achieve, though his is natural. And being so large and strong often comes with its own problems in a game whose needed skills don’t always match up well with brute force and size. A big guy has to work harder to keep the mechanics of his swing efficient which is one of the main requirements to be an elite hitter.

Judge’s season is one for the ages. As a longtime watcher of baseball, I can attest that he is locked in as any player I have ever seen and his discipline at the plate and in staying within himself is remarkable. By that, I mean that he only takes what he is given in every at bat, not trying to hit every pitch out of the park and taking his walks when given. Not every at bat offers a pitch that can be hit for a home run and Judge will take the single or double when that is all there is to take. 

And the topper is that he is humble about his feats. When he crushes a homer (and he does crush them) he simply puts his head down and trots around the bases. No preening or posing or bat flips.

His swing did all his talking.

While there is a lot more I could say, I have probably gone on too long and in more depth than needed here. In short, watching Judge this year has been a great pleasure and a wonderful diversion from the darker aspects of our society.

Maybe that’s the purpose of baseball. I don’t know. I do know that I am happier writing this than decrying injustice and inequity.

Here’s song that echoes the title of the painting at the top. Here’s Peter Gabriel and his Big Time.

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