A confession, to begin with: I am not particularly a fan of the All-Star Game Home Run Derby.
Like the NBA dunk contest, it's a contrived event, and I've never been a big fan of contrived events. (This occasionally includes allegedly legitimate events, like Formula One races and professional boxing matches). Watching muscle-y supremely coordinated dudes hit batting practice pitches into the upper deck just doesn't do it for me. It's what muscle-y supremely coordinated dudes are supposed to do when you thrown 'em batting practice pitches. Where's the wonder in that?
But tonight I may have to make an exception. Tonight I might watch.
I might watch because Aaron Judge is in the thing, and Aaron Judge is the size of an NBA small forward. And when he hits a baseball on the screws, it tends to go an absurdly long way. There's also, in a sport tied to its history like no other, a significant historical context to him: He is the Next Great Yankee.
For one thing, he wears an unusual and iconic number (99). So when you watch him step to the plate, you're acutely aware that, barring injury, that 99 will someday join 2 and 3 and 5 and 7 and a host of other numbers in the ever-expanding Yankees pantheon.
For another ... well, he hits baseballs an absurdly long way.
And so, tonight, I might watch. I might watch because there's an off chance Aaron Judge will actually become the first human to put a baseball in orbit. I want to say I was there to see that.
Now that would be a wonder.