Aaron Judge
Brad Penner | USA TODAY Sports

Aaron Judge will swing for history on Apple TV+. But not if YES Network has any say in the matter.

The Yankees are trying to pry Friday’s home game against the Red Sox away from the streaming service, according to The Post. The overtures come with Judge on the verge of tying and passing Roger Maris for the American League and franchise single-season home run record.

From The Post:

The Yankees have tried to facilitate a trade with Apple, offering Michael Kay, David Cone and Paul O’Neill plus production support to put Friday’s Yankees game on YES, The Post has learned.

While Apple and MLB have so far declined the offer to put the game on YES, Kay is in play on a loaner deal that would make him part of the Apple broadcast for Friday night as Aaron Judge approaches Roger Maris’ record of 61 homers.


While YES officials are still holding out hope that MLB and Apple would be willing to allow YES to air the game in conjunction with Apple TV’s national stream, sources with knowledge of Apple and MLB’s thinking remained pessimistic. YES, according to sources, is also amenable to just running Apple’s broadcast on its air to make it easier for Yankees fans to watch. This would allow Apple to maintain its exclusivity around the country.

A trade, in the traditional sense, is when two parties exchange items of value. It’s easy to understand why YES wants Friday’s game on its airwaves, whether it be its own broadcast or a simulcast of Apple’s. But what exactly would Apple get from the swap?

Apple became an MLB media partner and spent millions in rights fees to drive subscriptions to its service. The schedule gods have smiled upon it and it now has the ability to potentially broadcast history. And YES thinks it should just give it up? Or bump someone from its own broadcast team for Kay on a whim? Plus it sounds like Kay wouldn’t even do it.

If Judge was bidding to break Barry Bonds’ single-season record of 73 home runs this weekend, it would be different. MLB would have taken the game off Apple long ago. And everyone would have understood why. A moment of major significant belongs on FOX or ESPN. But that is not what is happening here. Judge’s home run chase is a big deal locally, but not nationally. Which means there is no reason for MLB to hose not just a new partner, but arguably the most influential company in American life. The Yankees and YES are just wasting energy here.

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James Kratch can be reached at james.kratch@xlmedia.com. 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.