Aaron Judge has 60 home runs this season, needing one more to tie Roger Maris for the American League home run record. It’s a big deal and the most exciting thing Major League Baseball has had in terms of a record chase in years.
However, if there is a group of fans that will not care all that much about a member of the New York Yankees trying to tie an American League record (and reach a tie for 7th on the all-time list), it’s college football fans in the South. So, as Auburn and Missouri played a tight (and ugly) game, and Clemson and Wake Forest played a tight (and much more entertaining) game on Saturday afternoon, those fans were not exactly clamoring for Judge updates as the Yankees played a matinee game against the Red Sox.
ESPN thought differently, and cut in to Judge at-bats, putting up a split screen during its ABC and ESPN games and shifting sound to YES Network every time Judge stepped to the plate.
Sam Hartman with a DIME to Donavon Greene for the 28 yard TD — with the Yankee game call because ESPN keeps forcing us to watch Aaron Judge not hit a HR/strike out. pic.twitter.com/9k1qQoXKeV
- Advertisement -
— 𝗙𝗢𝗟𝗟𝗢𝗪 @𝗙𝗧𝗕𝗲𝗮𝗿𝗱𝟳 (@FTBeard7) September 24, 2022
Unsurprisingly, neither at-bat yielded a Judge home run, which only further infuriated fans (and college football media), who made their displeasure known to ESPN — particularly those watching Wake-Clemson where both cutaways happened in the middle of big plays.
Why am I missing critical plays in this Clemson game so ESPN can cut into a Yankees game? I could understand if like, USF was playing, but presumably college football fans want to watch the college football game?
— Matt Brown (@MattBrownEP) September 24, 2022
i truly can’t see anything worth noting in the clemson game b/c of this split screen on abc.
- Advertisement -
— Michael Felder (@InTheBleachers) September 24, 2022
Clemson going for 2 to tie the game…and we’re looking live at Aaron Judge dig into the batters box.
— Miller Yoho (@MillerYoho) September 24, 2022
- Advertisement -
I’m an enormous baseball fan and love the history of the game but I don’t care this much about Judge hitting 62. Don’t need split screens on college games. Maybe I’m alone
— Stuckey (@Stuckey2) September 24, 2022
Oh my God @espn, I AM HERE TO WATCH FOOTBALL! PLEASE STOP FORCING AARON JUDGE FAILING TO HIT A HOME RUN DOWN MY THROAT! EVENTS THAT ARE ACTUALLY IMPORTANT IN THE GAMES I’M ACTUALLY INTERESTED IN ARE HAPPENING!@ESPNCFB @edsbs
— Ben Porter (@ben_porter) September 24, 2022
@espn i absolutely do NOT care about Aaron Judge trying to get his 60th HR. Stop interrupting the games.
— Confischus (@confischus) September 24, 2022
I’m a big baseball fan too, and I appreciate what Aaron Judge is doing this season….but cutting to every at bat to watch him tie for the 7th most HRs in a season is a bit much
— Bryce Trotter (@brycetrotter_ga) September 24, 2022
.@espn WTF is wrong with you? Clemson is going for 2 to potentially tie with Wake Forest, and you break in with Judge going for a baseball record?
If you *must* do the inset thing, fine. But at least let us keep the audio. Twice you’ve done this and both times, no record. Dumb.
— vegtabill (@vegtabill) September 24, 2022
Those who are mad about this are, of course, going to be more vocal about it, but it does feel like a bit of a misjudgment (no pun intended) from ESPN in assuming there’s a great deal of crossover from college football fans wanting to see this live. Some pointed out that they did this during McGwire and Sosa’s record chases, but that was also a very different time where you didn’t have MLB.TV and various streaming services that allowed you to watch games from out of market if you wanted. The split screen probably would’ve gotten some folks upset, but the real mistake was switching to sound for the entire at-bat rather than the football game people were trying to watch.