Yankee fans get last laugh as history is not made during Apple's stream of Friday's game

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Yankee fans get last laugh as history is not made during Apple's stream of Friday's game
Let's assume for a second that you are not a baseball fan so you have no idea who Aaron Judge is and why fans of the team he plays for, the New York Yankees, were upset at Apple. Judge is currently baseball's greatest slugger having hit 60 home runs this year. That is a significant number because the American League record (and the Yankee team record) is 61 which is held by Roger Maris who achieved the feat back in 1961.

Baseball history could have been limited to Apple TV+ viewers on Friday night

When Maris had his amazing year, he felt pressure from fans (who were rooting for his more beloved teammate Mickey Mantle to hit 61), the media, and the commissioner of baseball who decreed that Maris would have to hit 61 in the same 154 games it took the immortal Babe Ruth to pound 60 for the 1927 Yanks. Because Maris hit his 61st home run in the last game of a 162-game season, his achievement always carried an asterisk next to it.

But then came the steroid era and Barry Bonds transformed himself from a greyhound with a slight build to a muscle-bound freak who pounded 73 homers in 2001. And while that is the major league record, many dismiss it because players like Bonds, Sammy Sosa, and Mark McGwire used chemicals to build themselves up. But no one accuses Aaron Judge of using steroids and if you cancel out the records set by players who doped, Maris' 61-round trippers is considered the real record to break by baseball purists.

Going into Friday night's game against the Boston Red Sox, Judge had 60 home runs and Yankee fans were looking forward to watching Judge tie and maybe even surpass Maris on local or cable television; the game had already been scheduled to be shown on Apple TV+. Before the season started, Major League Baseball signed a deal with Apple allowing the company to stream certain Friday night games on Apple TV+. Months before Judge put himself in this position, the Red Sox-Yankee game was locked into Apple TV+.

After a seven-day free trial, Apple's streaming television platform is $4.99 per month. Those who wanted to watch the game could have signed up for a free trial and then canceled it after seven days. But not everyone has access to Apple TV+, especially older fans. And some sports bars in the Big Apple, normally expecting a huge till on Friday from Yankee fans watching the game while buying a few drinks, might not have been able to "tune in" Apple TV+.

The Yankees were offering Apple a trade to allow its cable network to show the game

The Yankees were so concerned about the situation that the club offered Apple its production equipment and lead play-by-play announcer Michael Kay if the tech giant would allow Friday night's game to be shown over the YES cable network which carries many Yankee games over several cable outlets in New York. But Apple wouldn't budge.

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However, Yankee fans who had to do what this writer did as a young fan and listen to the game on the radio (it's actually more exciting that way) got the last laugh. Judge did not hit a home run on Friday night, going 1-4 with two strikeouts. He still is looking to become the first Triple Crown winner in baseball since Miguel Cabrera pulled off that task for the Detroit Tigers in 2012. Judge leads the American League in batting, home runs, and runs batted in which would give him the Triple Crown if he ends up topping these categories at the end of the regular season.

Major League Baseball, looking to expand its fan base, has worked out streaming deals with not only Apple TV+ but also with Amazon Prime Video and NBC's Peacock. Yankee fans will get to watch Judge resume his chase of Roger Maris on Saturday over YES. Sunday night's game will be on ESPN.

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