Tom Horak | USA TODAY Sports

We have a very 2022 situation developing with Aaron Judge’s home run chase.

The Yankees slugger has hit 59 homers. He is two away from tying Roger Maris for the American League and franchise records and three away from passing him. And when he hits 62, a sizable portion of the baseball-interested population will consider him the sport’s true home run king given Barry Bonds’ 73 homers in 2001 is tainted by his reported use of performance enhancing drugs.

The Yankees are off Monday. They have a two-game set with the Pirates at home starting on Tuesday. Both night games will be on YES. They then begin a four-game series against the Red Sox on Thursday, also at Yankee Stadium. The first game will be a national primetime game on FOX.

And then Friday? The game is currently scheduled for Apple TV+. Which puts MLB in a very interesting situation. If Judge is at 60 or 61 home runs entering Friday, does the game get taken from Apple?

Our guess is no, for two reasons.


One: Judge’s home run chase just does not seem to be resonating nationally. Which makes sense, because unless he catches complete fire the rest of the way (he’d need to hit 15 home runs in the final 16 games), he has no chance to surpass Bonds. And fair or foul, he’s the actual record holder. Not to mention Mark McGwire had seasons with 70 and 65 home runs and Sammy Sosa had years with 66, 64 and 63 homers. If there is not a yearning national interest, MLB is not going to screw a well-heeled media partner like Apple in the first year of their deal.

Two: If MLB did take the game away from Apple, there is no obvious place to put it. It’s unlikely FOX could preempt WWE’s Friday Night Smackdown, even if it wanted to. ESPN is scheduled to broadcast a Syracuse-Virginia game that may get them better ratings. And who knows if YES could take it given it has sold most of its Friday night inventory to Amazon Prime.

If anything happens, it would seem to make sense for Apple’s broadcast to be simulcast on PIX locally. But even that seems unlikely. So Yankees fans need to start figuring out Apple TV+ now. Or count on Judge hitting 62 before Friday.

James Kratch can be reached at [email protected]. Follow him on Twitter @JamesKratch.

James Kratch is the managing editor of ESNY. He previously worked as a Rutgers and Giants (and Mike Francesa) beat reporter for NJ Advance Media.