Written by: Shane Shoemaker (@SShoemaker24)
There’s a term in pro wrestling called “getting over.” The term refers to being liked by the crowd, or, more specifically, generating fan interest (of any kind) from a crowd. So, in wrestling, when they try to make an upcoming wrestler popular amongst the crowd, a guy that can possibly sell tons of merchandise, tickets and increase ratings and interest, they will put him with the most popular guy in the company who is already doing that. If the crowd agrees and sees that he’s capable of being in the spotlight, he’s then all but made.
For example, back in the day if you wanted someone to get over, you put them with Hulk Hogan because he was the biggest star in the entire industry. People could begin to know who his opponents were if they booked to compete well against him.
Pro wrestling can manufacture things like that; all other professional sports can not.
That’s why I believe the MLB has to be singing praises right now because one, Aaron Judge is in the playoffs, and two, that he’s a Yankee.
As the MLB has continued to struggle due to the slow pacing of games — the fact that the AL Wild Card game on Tuesday night was only in the sixth inning at 11 est time is insane — ratings, and therefore interest has declined — not to mention lack of stars.
The Cubs provided a much needed boost to the sport last year, however, as watching a team chasing a 100-plus year-old curse in the most dramatic fashion was entertaining to watch.
But what’s next? That was last great storyline baseball had, a storyline that was as classic and antique as the sport itself.
This is where the Yankees come in.
Baseball needs the Yankees to be relevant again so baseball itself can be. The NY logo all white plated over a navy blue background is synonymous with baseball that gives reflection back to the glory days of the past and to the ones that contributed to it like Babe Ruth, Mickey Mantle and others.
The Yankees make baseball better, plain and simple. Because you either love them or you hate them, and when there’s no middle ground between love and hate, that creates a perfect recipe for interest.
Look back at this years Home Run Derby. When Judge was hitting monster home runs seemingly everyday that earned him a spot in the Derby, it wasn’t just because he was hitting those monster home runs, it’s because he was doing it in a Yankees uniform.
The Yankees name itself is large-than-life, no player surpasses it, therefore every player is made by it that is associated somehow by it, either playing for them or against them in certain situations.
Judge is easy to like — big, strong, hits the fan favorite long ball and seems well-mannered and respectful to all. He’s not controversial (so far) in the least bit, but he’s a star because of the logo he wears on his cap and jerseys, and, of course, his playing abilities.
He’s making others a star now, too.
Giancarlo Stanton is the greatest example of this. It wasn’t until Judge started hitting mammoth shots out of every stadium he went to that people took more interest in Stanton, who has been doing that his whole career.
Stanton has been in the league since 2010, and while I don’t think he’s been overlooked — injuries, bad teams, lesser known team and overall bad luck haven’t helped him — I’m not sure he was even close to where Judge is at now in star power. In half a season, in his rookie season no less, Judge helped put people like Stanton on the map for others to pay attention to.
The Yankees make players, teams and baseball more popular — they get things “over.”
It’s all about association. It’s kind of like high school popularity — if you want to be popular, you have to hang out with the popular people.
The Yankees are the most popular team in the entire sport, and having them advance further and further into the playoffs is great for baseball.