Aaron Judge hits first-ever three-out home run because baseball is the wild, wild west now

It wasn’t long ago that the MLB was for the rule lovers not the breakers. Written rules. Unwritten rules. Commandments and technicalities. You name it, baseball and its army of umpires dressed like Supreme Court Justices at a barbecue enforced it. As recently as the 2020 offseason, the headlines were dominated by a rules scandal, in which The Team Who Shall Not Be Named was thrown into the pillory for all the townsfolk to laugh at and spit upon for simply breaking a rule that you’re allowed to break in a way that you’re not supposed to break it. This was the MLB we knew and loved and, of course, feared.

But that was eons ago now, as MLB Summer Camp has kicked off all across America featuring a rulebook plucked from 'MLB Slugfest' and a laissez faire attitude to make the French blush. But the most shameless violation of baseball decency and decorum didn’t come until this week, when Aaron Judge hit the game’s first-ever three-out homer. What’s next? Hip-to-hip dancing and caffeine after 5?

After an inning-ending double play in Monday night’s exhibition, Phillies pitcher Vince Velasquez was a few pitches shy of his desired pitch count. So former Yankees manager Joe Girardi turned to current Yankees manager Aaron Boone and requested that they play on so Velasquez wouldn’t have to sit back down for another half inning. Boone said sure, what the hell, it’s only a professional sports game being broadcast on cable TV, and so on the inning went . . . until Judge ended it with this gavel crack of a moonshot, that is.

As the old saying goes, everybody loves breaking the rules until they start giving up dingers.

According to our Yankees insider Christopher Powers, the MLB’s bold new look also included the pinstripes coming out to bat in the bottom of the 9th while leading 6-0 this weekend. Add all of this to a Universal DH, starting runners on second in extra innings and an inadvertently metaphorical cardboard cutout fan program, and you have a brave new baseball for a brave new world. Something tells us Aubrey Huff is going to love it.

Just kidding.