Michael Kay has considered Aaron Judge homer history call

Michael Kay has thought about the calls, but doesn’t know if he will have the chance to say them.

That is the life of the TV voice of the Yankees as Aaron Judge approaches Roger Maris’ 61-homer mark. Judge enters this weekend in Milwaukee with 57 home runs and history on the horizon.

While the next five Yankees games will be carried by YES, when Judge could be primed for the magic numbers (60, 61 and 62), the Yankees are on a scattershot of channels after that.

Next Thursday, for the start of the four-game set with the Red Sox, Fox will have a national broadcast with Aaron Goldsmith and John Smoltz on the call. Next Friday, Apple TV+ is scheduled to have the Yankees-Red Sox exclusively with Stephen Nelson, Hunter Pence and Katie Nolan in the booth. Kay will get another shot the next day with YES before ESPN’s Karl Ravech, David Cone and Eduardo Perez will get a crack on Sunday night. (Kay will be on his “Kay-Rod” alternative broadcast with Alex Rodriguez that Sunday night.)

Kay has been able to put some precise words with some great moments, with his top ones celebrating Derek Jeter’s accomplishments, so, yeah, he would like to be the one to call this history.

“I’ve thought about it,” Kay said. “I’m not going to be selfish. When he does it, he does. It will be a bummer if YES is not covering it. Forget about just me, but for YES, that would stink. It is what it is. And if he hits it on one of the days that we’re not doing the game and we just have to live with it.”

(One quick aside: If I’m MLB and Judge has a chance to hit any of the magical numbers, I would be trying to figure out how to have YES, Fox and/or ESPN have the broadcast, along with Apple TV+ because you need the broadest distribution. Apple, of course, will likely just want it for itself, as is its contractual right).

Michael Kay and Aaron Judge
Michael Kay and Aaron Judge
AP (2)

On the radio side, John Sterling is scheduled to do all the games the rest of the way, except for the three games in Toronto at the end of the month when Ryan Ruocco will handle the WFAN play-by-play.

Which brings us back to Kay, who still has the best shot of anyone to get the TV calls, even if next weekend could be an issue.

Kay has had some memorable moments in the booth over his more than three decades calling Yankees baseball. His best was Jeter’s 3,000th hit, which was a home run off the Rays’ David Price.

Everything to know about Aaron Judge and his chase for the home run record:

“The 3-2 … That one is drilled, deep to left field … going back Joyce … looking up … See ya! … Three-thousand! History — with an exclamation point! Oh, what a way to join the 3,000-hit club. … Derek Jeter has done it in grand style!”

Kay said he does think about the moment and what it means, but not exactly what he will say. What Judge is gunning for is a bit odd, because of the steroid question that hangs over Barry Bonds’ all-time record of 73.

Kay has a talk show to endlessly debate what the real record should be, but on the call he said he won’t wade into that discussion. He just wants to get it right.

“You get a little nervous because you want to do it justice,” Kay said. “You don’t ever want to mess up his moment. That’s all I care about. I don’t care about putting my imprint on it. I just want to know 40 years from now when [Judge] watches this that you know, it’s not going to be a screwed up call for him. I just think about making the call, but certainly not what I’m going to say.”

These calls go down in history — in no other sport more than baseball. A few years ago, I named the Top-10 calls of all-time and three were from baseball, the most from any sport — and it could have had more.

Kay was on the call for the 2001 “Mr. November” World Series Game 4 home run and Jeter’s last hit, which won his final home game in 2014.

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“When [Jeter] made the Hall of Fame, I actually thanked him for letting me piggyback on all his great moments,” Kay said. “And the other day when we did the ‘Kay-Rod’ thing, he said it’s amazing. He said I was watching some of the moments and you made every single call.”

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