#Aaron #Judge #Yankees #fan #Wil #Crowe #Pirates
Wil Crowe’s family history and baseball history collided, and he wanted to know everything he could. He had no relationship with Charles Herbert Ruffing – better known as ‘Red’ – who died eight years before Crowe was born.
So in the days leading up to the reliever leaving the Pirates for the first time at Yankee Stadium, he dove deep into his great-great-great-uncle. He knew he was a Hall of Famer; had known about the mining accident that had cost him four toes and forced him to give up playing the field, so he became a pitcher; had known much of his life, but not all.
“I read more a few days ago before I came, just to find out more about him – as much as possible,” Crowe told Post Sports+ on Wednesday. “I think that’s really cool. I knew the general pattern of all this, but it’s really neat. He’s one of the big names in the Yankees.
Hours before Tuesday’s game in the Bronx, the Pirates right-hander, along with his wife, Hilary, and their young son, Koa Ruffing Crowe – “I hope the baseball juju can wear off on him,” said Wil said of the middle name – visited Monument Park to see their ancestor’s plaque.
“It was awesome,” Crowe said. “It was a day – the start of the day – was something I will never forget.”
He wouldn’t mind forgetting the ending.
The Pirates came closer in the ninth inning with an 8-4 lead that he wiped out with five batters. The history books won’t care too much about the grand slam he gave away to Giancarlo Stanton, but they will remember Crowe’s first game of the night.
Crowe trailed Judge 3-1 and refused to back down.
“We’re trying to play the odds here,” said Crowe, 28 in his third major league season. “He’s hitting .316, which is great in baseball, but it’s still any percentage of the time [68.4] He goes out.
Crowe threw a sinker — a pitch that had only been hit once this season — to Judge, and he got too high. The Yankees superstar powered him 430 feet into left field, the No. 60 outburst that tied him with Babe Ruth for second in a season in American League history.
On Wednesday, in the Yankees’ 14-2 victory over the Pirates, the No. 61 did not come. Roger Maris’ AL and club record lives for another day because Judge simply went 2-for-4 with a pair of double-roped and a walk, taking his league-best average to .317.
If and when the home run record falls, Judge might be the happiest – but Crowe won’t be far behind.
“I hope someone [a non-Pirate] in the next three days… give up the next one. Then I can stop seeing myself on TV and stuff,” said Crowe, who appreciates the story but doesn’t want to be remembered for licensed dingers. “The next is more important than the last. So… maybe I’m in the history books, [but] as soon as he reaches the next one, I think I will be eliminated.
Crowe, whose grandfather was Ruffing’s nephew, will remember his few games at Yankee Stadium because of the opportunity it provided to refresh himself with his own family history. Ruffing played from 1930 to 1945 – except for 1943 and 1944, when he served in World War II – with the Yankees. In 22 major league seasons, including years with the Red Sox and White Sox, he won 273 games.
Crowe read Ruffing’s legend, soaked up his 3,000+ innings pitched, and then played a part in Judge’s spread.
“It’s cool to watch from afar,” Crowe said ahead of Wednesday night’s game of Judge, who will now start a four-game home game against the Red Sox. “I don’t want to be part of it anymore, that’s for sure. So hopefully he breaks all the records this year, but it’s not against us tonight.
He was spared, and now one more person encourages Judge to blow up another.
Today’s last page
The fight for 61
The judge failing to connect on the No. 61 home run has left many fans looking for history — or, more specifically, a piece of history that would be valuable — out of luck.
Fans, many of whom arrived wearing gloves, were ready to scramble for Judge’s home run. It’s unclear how much No. 61 would go for on the open market, but Barry Bonds’ record-breaking 73rd homer sold for $450,000 in 2003.
Fans battled for No. 60 in a dog pile in the stands on Tuesday, and a fan named Mike Kessler emerged with the ball. The 20-year-old later traded him for Judge for signed balls, a bat and a group photo.
Kessler was nice. Not everyone may be when Judge’s next circuit lands. A few fans with seats in the stands or in the outer stands were ready to fight for No 61 – and we mean struggle.
“We’re in the stands,” said Mike Carbone, 24, of Hoboken. “There are no rules in the stands.”
He and his brother, Nick – both wearing judge’s shirts – said they bought bleacher seats on Monday. They had a loose plan if the ball came their way: Nick would dive “on the ball like a football player” while Mike would try to peel and throw the other fans away from the pile.
Mike said he would pay the tuition if he picked up the ball. Nick was “running out of the stadium” with the ball, both hoping to trade with the Yankees and Judge for the right price.
Matt Robinson and Dana Anglum, Yankees fans from San Diego, had similar hopes.
The couple said they were ready to fight with other fans if the ball came near the left center field seats they were sitting in.
Dana suggested that they should throw the ball back to the judge if they caught it. “Not without a coin,” replied Matt, who was wearing a Babe Ruth jersey.
She was okay with that.
“We are about to get married,” Dana said. “We would like our wedding to be paid for.”
A sour drink for the Mets
The Mets didn’t lose ground to the Braves on Wednesday when both teams fell, but it’s hard to imagine a more painful day that didn’t affect the NL East standings.
The Mets watched Atlanta lose a game in Washington in the afternoon, then couldn’t capitalize because their offense couldn’t hit six Milwaukee pitchers, and Drew Smith made his return from the injured list by retiring a grand slam on his fifth pitch.
More embarrassing than the result was the fact that Brandon Nimmo was taken out in the first inning with a left quad strain. The centre-back didn’t think he would miss much time, and an MRI scan on Thursday will decide that.
Almost as concerning was the status of Jeff McNeil, who suffered multiple left-field spills – including a hard fall on a home run, he attempted to steal – and limped for much of the game. McNeil told reporters after the game that he was fine, but he’s clearly not 100%.
The Mets, already without Starling Marte, can’t afford to lose many more players or many more games.
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