Does This Mean I Can Go Home Now?

© Nick Turchiaro-USA TODAY Sports

While it is bittersweet to see anyone tie my father’s single-season American League home run record, it’s an honor to know that he shares it with a player as talented and as gracious as Aaron Judge. Aaron plays with passion, puts the team first, and wears Yankee pinstripes. In all of these ways, he is a true successor to Roger Maris. On behalf of the entire Maris family, I would like to offer my sincere and heartfelt congratulations to Aaron Judge.

I would also like to take this opportunity to ask a question: Does this mean I can go home now?

I can go now, right? Please let me go home. It has been so long. I have a cat. I am worried about him. It has been eight days and I need to check on Professor Whiskers.

Lest anyone forget, I already did this 25 years ago. I watched Mark McGwire hit his 61st home run in St. Louis. He was so very large. He was somehow the biggest man I have ever seen in my life, but also much smaller than Aaron Judge. I once saw McGwire pour a bottle of Gatorade into a tub of protein powder, stir it all together with the skinny end of a baseball bat, then drink the whole thing like a milkshake.

I cannot stress enough how thrilled I am that a man like Aaron Judge will have the American League record. He’s a special individual. He has borne all the media scrutiny with unbelievable dignity. But what if it takes him another week to hit number 62? I was only gone a couple days when they came for me in 1998, and they let me call my neighbor Jill. She watered my plants and fed my old cat, Roger Meowis.

This time I didn’t have the chance. I was bringing groceries in from the car when a pinstriped limousine pulled up and Anthony Rizzo and Giancarlo Stanton popped out and grabbed me by the shoulders. They are so big. Not quite Aaron Judge big, but together I think they’d make a fantastic tag team duo. My groceries are still sitting in the driveway.

Once we got in the car I took my phone from my pocket and said, “I’m just going to ask my neighbor to look after things while I’m gone.” Or I tried to say that. I got as far as, “I’m just going to,” and then Rizzo grabbed the phone right out of my hand and snapped it in half like a graham cracker. Stanton said, “Why’d you do that?” Rizzo didn’t say anything. Not just then, but for the entire ride. I live in Gainesville. It’s a 16-hour drive to New York City. Anthony Rizzo didn’t say one word the entire time. Stanton was actually quite nice. Turns out he has a cat named Pepper.

I’m so worried about Professor Whiskers. I mean, I think he’ll be ok. He’s so smart. He wasn’t always named Professor Whiskers. I used to call him Mr. Whiskers, but he just has such a knowing way about him. You look at him and you think, “This is a cat with answers.” Plus he has these little marks around his eyes that kind of look like glasses.

I was in Toronto for four days and ate so much poutine. I have other siblings, you know. Kevin, Richard, and Sandra, they all get to sit in the owner’s box and load up on chicken tenders. For some reason I had to be behind the dugout surrounded by cameras. Aaron’s mom is perfectly nice, but we ran out of things to talk about on Friday. She’s a dog person.

On Monday, I tried to see what things were like up in that owner’s box. I filed out casually with the rest of the fans during the seventh inning stretch, but right as I was turning off the concourse, there was Rizzo again, just standing there waiting for me. He wordlessly escorted me back to the stands, put his hand on my shoulder, and ever so gently pushed me back down into my seat. I had never been more scared in my life.

Then on Wednesday, Aaron delivered. Home run number 61! He has made so many people happy. He has made so many people proud. I am thrilled for Aaron Judge and for baseball, and I very much look forward to watching him hit number 62 from my couch. Please let me go home now. If you had a cat, you’d understand.

Davy Andrews is a Brooklyn-based musician and a contributing writer for FanGraphs. He can be found on Twitter @davyandrewsdavy.

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4 months ago

Bring back NotGraphs

4 months ago
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