Aaron Judge
Wendell Cruz | USA TODAY Sports

Technological innovation stops for no one. Not even Aaron Judge and his home run chase.

There is a good chance the Yankees slugger will tie or break Roger Maris’ American League and franchise record of 61 home runs on Friday. Which is when the Bombers’ game against the Red Sox is set to be broadcast exclusively on Apple TV+. And MLB is willing to take that risk. The game will remain booked to Apple as previously scheduled, according to The TPost’s Andrew Marchand.

The game will be free to watch, but viewers will need to sign up to Apple TV+ to do so. And older viewers — the ones who likely have disproportionate interest in Judge’s home run pace — may have difficulty figuring out how to watch the game. The stream also creates complications for viewing at bars and restaurants, although Marchand reports MLB Network will have live look-ins for every Judge at-bat.

This was a predictable conclusion. It was hard to imagine MLB would stiff Apple, a new broadcast partner with seemingly unlimited capabilities and possibilities. There is also no obvious place to put the game if it was taken from Apple. FOX has the WWE on Friday nights, ESPN will probably draw better ratings sticking with its college football game (Syracuse-Virginia) and YES has the Friday night deal with Amazon Prime. Plus the Yankees’ network is virtually unavailable on streaming platforms.

Moreover, there does not seem to be much national interest in Judge’s chase. The fact FOX — it has Thursday’s Yankees-Red Sox game — is not having No. 1 play-by-player Joe Davis call the game speaks to that. So why upset the apple cart? Barry Bonds may have cheated, but he’s the actual record holder with 73 home runs. Not to mention Mark McGwire had seasons with 70 and 65 home runs and Sammy Sosa had years with 66, 64 and 63 homers.


Judge is currently at 59 home runs. The Yankees have a two-game series at home against the Pirates starting Tuesday night. Both games will be on YES. The four-game series against the Red Sox starts Thursday night. FOX has the first game, Apple the second, then YES on Saturday and ESPN on Sunday.

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.