Yankees: Why Aaron Judge Is Not Really Slumping

There are certain advantages to watching Major League Baseball from England that counterbalance the pain of red-eyed sleeplessness.

The pure shot of escapism, for example, when a home run lands in McCovey Cove on a blinding summer's day in San Francisco, when outside the window here there is only darkness. In the dichotomy there is a strange kind of comfort. The window of the television makes the distance to Kansas City and Kaufmann Stadium, for instance, under floodlights on a Friday night both incredibly close and further away than the thousands of kilometers it really is. We are there and we are not there, like astronauts observing the curvature of the Earth from space.

Whatever the distance, there are some monuments that are hard to miss, especially when they stand six foot seven inches and blast home runs more than 450 feet into the upper decks of North Amwerica's stadiums. Aaron Judge sent comets back into space during the first half of the season, then he crushed the Home Run Derby, and then…

Perhaps when you have seen a comet once, twice, three times and more you keep craning your neck to the sky, looking or even expecting more to follow. Judge, it was hard to miss in the American sports media, equalled an MLB record on Saturday with a strikeout in a 36th consecutive game, this one against the Boston Red Sox and the superbly unorthodox pitches of Chris Sale.

"What's wrong with Aaron Judge?" Asked the Bronx Pinstripes website on Monday. Judge struck out again on Sunday against the Red Sox in a 5-1 loss, dropping his batting average to .171 in 36 games since the All-Star break, according to Newjersey.com. "Yeah," Judge said when asked if he was letting the Yankees down. "I know I'm not getting the job done."

When you stand right up close to an Impressionist painting, only the mess of paint blobs is apparent. Take those steps back, and the beauty of the composition becomes apparent. Judge has 37 home runs this season, second only to the streaking Giancarlo Stanton. If he gets hot again, Mark McGwire's rookie home-run record of 49 is still within reach. He's probably going to end up, still, as Rookie of the Year.

Perhaps Joe Girardi should admit some kind of partial defeat and move Judge down the order, if only to preserve his slugger from the fierce lightbulb glare of the New York sports media, especially if a shoulder injury is bothering him and affecting his swing.

In the case of Judge, television and distance act as an odd kind of reverse-magnification, allowing the silly old English to see America's national pasttime with a degree of objectivity and even, maybe, coldness. Which is to say, the "slumping" Aaron Judge remains a superstar.