The sun has all but abandoned us, but a ray of light shone through last night in Texas, when Aaron Judge finally connected on his sixty-second home run of the season, setting he new American League (and Yankees) record. For a city that hasn’t had a genuinely feel-good sports story since…Linsanity?, Judge’s chase of Babe Ruth and Roger Maris was a reminder that New York City likes a winner, and even more than that, we love the long ball. After a few frazzled and overcast days of hanging on his every at-bat, the ecstatic release of that long fly ball to left felt good (though sadly, it was not done in the Bronx).
In baseball, records still mean something, and while the true home run king will most likely forever remain Barry Bonds, as it should be, Judge has a record of his own, and is still in the running for the incredibly rare triple crown during the season’s final game today.
The home run ball itself sadly fell into the hands of a Dallas-area i-banker, who will be able to pull in an over $2 million dollar payday should he decide to sell the ball. The true home run-catching king of the evening was in NYC, however. The Mets lit up the hapless Nationals in Flushing, on what was also Citi Field’s Bark at the Park:
But the Mets’ firepower was ultimately for naught, as in classic Mets-ian fashion, the team won more games this season than any time in recent memory BUT got swept by the Braves this past weekend, thus blowing the division lead they held all season. Now, they face a perilous three-game playoff series this weekend against the Padres, with a suddenly very-human Jacob deGrom facing off against a hungry, if ultimately self-sabotaging San Diego lineup. Gulp.
But back to the fun stuff—Judge’s towering stature, million-kilowatt smile, and totally vanilla personal life make him an ideal vessel for baseball greatness in New York City. Add that all to the fact that the Yankees tried to lowball a contract extension this off-season (which would have earned him hundreds of millions, but still less than his market value), and that Judge turned it down for a chance to touch greatness and earn hundreds of millions more this off-season when he’s a free agent, makes him an absolute hero. He did it, and while the Yankees playoff path runs directly into the buzz saw of the Astros, at least one man is heading into the winter an absolute winner.
Here are some links not about baseball, and instead about our singularly heroic and disgusting city, to start your day:
- Micron has announced it could spend as much as $100 billion on a new computer chip factory in Syracuse. That’s welcome news for Western New York, if Micron actually follows through with the promise. It’s not like we haven’t seen this go horribly wrong before. New York State has dangled incentives equaling $5.5 billion for the project, a package that is, according to the Times, “one of the largest ever by a state.” .
- For New York state to reach its ambitious (but completely necessary) climate goals, it will need to convert old buildings from their carbon-spewing boilers and onto cleaner energy. Yesterday, the state announced that a series of older buildings in New York will have their heating systems converted to cleaner technologies as part of a pilot program. And the Amalgamated Cooperative apartments in the Bronx are part of this pilot. Very cool!
- Chess man probably cheated, but apparently not via butt stuff.
- A community board meeting in the Bronx went off the rails over a proposal to turn an unused Jacobi hospital dormitory into supportive housing for people recently released from Rikers. People speaking in favor of the proposal were issued death threats, shouted down, and physically assaulted at the meeting, while the NYPD and community board leaders passively watched on. Bronx Borough President Vanessa Gibson is not pleased.
- Amazon has suspended fifty unionized workers at its JFK8 warehouse in Staten Island, after they participated in a work stoppage following a fire at the warehouse. Amazon is still challenging the results of the spring’s union election, as workers continue to push for a contract. A union vote at an Albany Amazon warehouse is set for next week.
- City workers cashed out over $21 million in unused vacation time and personal days last year, including the NYPD’s former Chief of Department Terrence Monahan, who walked away with a $235,635 payday.
- Eric Adams either doesn’t have a vision for New York City or is just having a tough time spelling it out for people, but no worries—a group of wealthy real estate and finance people are here to help him out.
- The City’s permanent outdoor dining program can finally move forward, after judges struck down a challenge to the program. That lawsuit had, ironically, prolonged the City’s current temporary program while the challenge wound its way through the courts. Just desserts, we’d say!
- And finally, according to the city council, Chanukah blazes into its 300th day (which is also Yom Kippur):