Connect with us

Texas Rangers

What the Aaron Judge Chase for 62 Experience was like at Rangers Globe Life Field

What the Aaron Judge Chase for 62 Experience was like at Rangers Globe Life Field

Monday’s game and Tuesday’s doubleheader at Globe Life Field are experiences I’ll never forget, and I’m sure those in the stands won’t either. Entering the ballpark on Monday, a bunch of questions hit me. How will the Rangers pitch to Aaron Judge? How loud is the crowd going to be? Will there be a stoppage if it happens? But then, you walk inside Globe Life Field and feel the anticipation that magic could happen. A slew of national media attention hit Arlington. If you’re a baseball fan, your eyes are glued to the Rangers and Yankees series. The Yankees’ side of the field pregame was packed full of cameras, photographers, and journalists with names many of you know. Then, Aaron Judge came out of the dugout and roars hit from the fans. After warmups, Judge returned to the dugout to prepare for batting practice, and loud cheers and autograph requests bellowed from the crowd.

Rangers PA announcer Chuck Morgan announced Aaron Judge on Monday, and the crowd was electric. He came up to bat in the first, and after Martín Pérez threw the first pitch, silence hit. As Martín would deliver each pitch, it felt like there were 1,500 people instead of 30-35,000. I told Rangers Catching Coordinator Bobby Wilson it felt like a church atmosphere or in tennis during a rally. The umpire makes a call, and the likely crowd boos because it’s either a called strike or a ball. Fans let out some oohs and ahhs when Judge into a double play on Monday, but there wasn’t much for a ball put in play. I asked Martín about the silence, and he said he didn’t notice when he was on the mound. Baseballs were pre-marked before each at-bat and there were about thirty available each game.

However, some guys in the bullpen did mention it being an eerie atmosphere. A guy like Jon Gray kicked it into a higher gear and ended up retiring Judge in all three at-bats he had against him. “When [Judge] came up to bat, there was an extra gear in there, I guess, because of the situation,” Gray said. “At the same time, we didn’t go away from him. We went after him. Sometimes you can get on your heels as a pitcher because you don’t want to give it up, [but] it’s a blessing to be in that position and to have that pressure. It was a lot of fun [and] I enjoyed it.”

Then the crowd got restless. One of the biggest gasps I’ve ever heard was when Judge flew out to Bubba Thompson in right field (medium right). Then when Judge reached on a single in the sixth, boos started hitting, which confused me. The first game ended, and there was discussion on whether the record-breaking feat would occur. Then the second game hit, and with Aaron Judge leading off, everyone stands back up again. They got their phones out, and sure enough, a slider left over the plate by Jesús Tinoco was blasted over the wall in left field. The fans in attendance filing in went insane, and it was one of the loudest cheers I’ve ever heard.

Keep in mind Tinoco didn’t find out he was starting game two (or opening game two) until after game one. “When he hit it, I didn’t see it, and I looked up, and I saw it going, and I was like, it was going out. He hit it off the end of the bat, and it was still 100 MPH off the bat,” Rangers catcher Sam Huff said. “I sat there, and in my head was like that’s how you want to do it. You didn’t get it because I told you what was coming, he got it because you worked for it and stars aligned, he got the pitch, and he didn’t miss it. That’s all that matters.” For Jesús Tinoco, there were no nerves. It was business as usual for Jesús. “It’s part of the game. I challenged [Judge], and he hit a home run.”

The next day we spoke with Sam Huff, who caught game two and was a few feet behind Aaron Judge, celebrating with his teammates. “Looking at the history of baseball, that’s [not] something a lot of people can do. To have a season like that and be able to keep with it and not get in his own head or let the pressure get to him. He never seemed stressed or seemed like he was jittery when he would go up,” Huff said. “I would watch every at-bat when I was not playing. I would try to follow each and every guy’s at-bat. His was a normal at-bat, and the pitches he was just missing and balls he got, he was getting hits because he’s a good hitter. Good hitters don’t miss sometimes, and he didn’t miss a pitch.”

Sam said an old coach texted him a picture of him and home plate umpire, Chris Segal, looking up and suggested Huff ask Aaron Judge to sign it. “It is history, and you have to respect that,” Sam said. For Judge, it’s about the small details he’ll remember about his quest for American League and Yankees history, “The fans at home, on the road, the constant support, [and] seeing Yankee Stadium on their feet for every at-bat. They’re booing pitchers for throwing balls, which I’ve never seen before. I got a base hit and got booed for a single. It’s little moments like that you look back on,” Aaron said after Tuesday’s historic game. Rumbles hit throughout the press box, and it was a type of game showing both teams on highs, with the Rangers winning the game and the Judge hitting historic number sixty-two. It was a night I’ll never forget. One of the best parts was finding out Yankees fans made donations to the Texas Rangers Foundation (whether it was 62 dollars, cents, or 99 included) to honor Judge and the Rangers for pitching to Judge.

At this point, Globe Life Field hosted a World Series, was home to two no-hitters, and is now the face of Aaron Judge’s sixty-second home run. So the atmosphere is there, but the question becomes what historical feat will take place at the Rangers park next, and will the Rangers be the beneficiary?

Credentialed Media Staff Writer covering the Texas Rangers for Dallas Sports Fanatic | 2014 University of North Texas graduate with a Bachelor's in Radio, Television, and Film. I talk about things. Find me on the tweeter @aplinckTX

Click to comment

You must be logged in to post a comment Login

Recent Posts