New York Yankees play-by-play announcer Michael Kay defended the Toronto Blue Jays’ announcing crew regarding what became controversial comments made about Yankees slugger Aaron Judge earlier this week.
“I don’t blame Dan Shulman or Buck Martinez. They see one of the greatest players in baseball, his eyes darting,” Kay said during “The Michael Kay Show” that airs on ESPN New York, per Jordan Bondurant of Barrett Sports Media. “So they just brought it up.”
In the top of the eighth inning of Monday’s game in Toronto, Shulman and Martinez pointed out how Judge appeared to glance near or into the away dugout on multiple occasions before the reigning American League Most Valuable Player ended the at-bat with a towering home run:
Neither Shulman nor Martinez directly accused Judge or the Yankees of violating rules, but their comments went viral and generated headlines throughout the sports world.
Judge later said his eyes shifted due to constant “chirping” coming from the dugout following the ejection of manager Aaron Boone for arguing balls and strikes, but the 31-year-old acknowledged ahead of Tuesday’s game between the clubs at Rogers Centre he had some “choice words” for Shulman and Martinez that he wouldn’t share at that time.
According to Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic, Blue Jays right-hander Jay Jackson has admitted to tipping his pitches during the at-bat versus Judge on Monday. Yankees first base coach Travis Chapman communicating one of Jackson’s tells via a hand signal is permitted, assuming something along those lines occurred before Judge went deep.
“That’s absolutely legal,” Kay said of anybody from the bench alerting a batter about tipped pitches. “It is not illegal as long as there are no electronics involved. That is a legal way to pick up a sign. The Blue Jays have to do a better job of waiting ’til the last moment to set up and where the pitch is going to be.”
Tuesday’s matchup between the clubs featured arguments among opposing coaches and Yankees starting pitcher Domingo Germán getting tossed from his outing for an apparent “sticky stuff” violation.
While it seems Judge did nothing wrong on Monday evening, the Wednesday night game in Toronto could nevertheless offer more heated moments involving the AL East rivals and make for must-see television.