Yankees announcer takes classy stance amid Aaron Judge chase
New York Yankees TV announcer Michael Kay is taking a classy stance amid Aaron Judge’s home run chase.
Judge has hit 60 home runs this season and is chasing Roger Maris’ American League record of 61 home runs in a season. Each game in which Judge participates for the rest of the regular season will draw plenty of fan interest, and therefore becomes a valuable TV property.
Friday’s Yankees-Red Sox game is set to air exclusively on Apple TV+. Though the game is available without charge to anyone with the Apple TV app and an account for said app, many fans are upset that the new streaming service will exclusively air the game.
AppleTV+ Friday night baseball broadcasts have been heavily criticized, largely because of their poor broadcasting teams. In short, baseball fans are used to listening to their local TV announcers every day, so they’re already irritated that they don’t get to hear their usual announcers. But instead of recognizing and understanding this and just giving baseball fans as straightforward of a call as possible, Apple has tried to reinvent the wheel with 3-person broadcasting teams full of inexperienced announcers. The complaints about their broadcasting teams and statistically-oriented graphics have been persistent.
Naturally, Yankees fans have complained about the game only being available on AppleTV rather than their typical home on YES Network. They’re also upset that Apple TV’s announcers will potentially be calling Judge’s record-tying and record-breaking home runs rather than Kay.
The Yankees understood the matter and reportedly were trying to talk with Apple about a trade, or to allow Kay to call Friday’s game. Kay says he doesn’t want to do that.
Kay wasn’t approached about calling the game for Apple TV+, but he told his bosses at YES Network that he didn’t want the gig because he didn’t want to steal away an opportunity from Apple play-by-play announcer Stephen Nelson.
“I’m extremely flattered that the Yankees and Yankee fans wanted me to make the call, but I just didn’t feel right about it. I would be hurt if it happened to me, and although I don’t really know Stephen, I respect his position and he has earned the right to call the game,” Kay told Front Office Sports.
That’s a thoughtful and classy attitude from Kay, but it won’t help most fans. Baseball fans don’t like the Apple TV+ telecasts. Their worst nightmare is to have an important moment in baseball history broadcast by Apple TV+.