Aaron Judge’s wandering eyes spark controversy

by Jacob Fuller

Rob Issa, FISM News

Aaron Judge peeked over toward his dugout while in his hitting stance during an at-bat before launching a 462-foot home run, sparking a lot of speculation about whether the New York Yankees slugger was getting Toronto’s pitching signs.

Judge had a simple explanation. He just wanted to know which of his Yankees teammates was still yelling at plate umpire Clint Vodrak moments after manager Aaron Boone was ejected for arguing a low strike call.

“There was kind of a lot of chirping from our dugout, which I really didn’t like in the situation,” Judge said. “I feel like after the manager does his thing it’s like, ‘Fellas, our pitcher has still got to go out there and make some pitches. We’ve got the lead, let’s just go to work here.’ I said a couple of things to some guys in the dugout and especially after the game. Hopefully, it won’t happen again.”

A few pitches after Boone came out of the dugout to yell at the umpires, Judge looked sideways toward the bench before he drove Jay Jackson’s pitch 462 feet out to left-center field to put the Yankees up 7-0.

Blue Jays broadcasters Dan Shulman and Buck Martinez noticed on a replay Judge’s eyes wandering off the pitcher and discussed it.

“Alright Buck, so you and I looked at each other at the same moment right when we saw this three pitches ago. What is that?” Shulman asked.

“Where’s he looking?” Martinez responded.

“Yeah and he did it more than once,” Shulman replied.

“Really, really unusual,” Martinez said.

“You don’t want to go throwing allegations around without knowing, but…” Shulman answered.

“He’s looking at something and then the next move is that powerful swing and he blasts one to center field. I haven’t seen that before with him,” Martinez continued.

“Do you think he’s trying to see if Alejandro Kirk is set up away?” Shulman questioned. “You know, it’s more likely to be a slider if Kirk’s in, and if he can’t see Kirk it’s more likely to be a fastball?”

“I’ve had guys look back when I was catching and you obviously could see it and he couldn’t see the catcher with the way he was looking right there,” said Martinez, a former major leaguer.

Both broadcasters said they have never seen Judge do that before. Judge was the 2022 American League Most Valuable Player when he hit 62 homers, breaking Roger Maris’ single-season AL record.

“It’s kind of odd that a hitter would be looking in that direction,” Blue Jays manager John Schneider said.

Boone said Judge’s explanation was valid.

“Judge was kind of looking over like, ‘I’m hitting here,’” Boone said.

Judge hit two homers Monday night during New York’s 7-4 victory and now has 10 this season.


Batters have tried to steal signs throughout baseball history. It’s easier to hit a pitch they know is coming. It’s not against the rules, depending on how the signs are discovered.

The Boston Red Sox were fined for using an Apple Watch to relay stolen signs to hitters in the 2017 season.

An MLB investigation into the Houston Astros found the team illegally used a video camera system to steal signs during their 2017 and 2018 seasons. The organization was fined $5 million, forfeited first- and second-round draft picks in 2020 and 2021, and general manager Jeff Luhnow and manager A. J. Hinch were suspended for one year.