Brian Hoffman column – July 13th, 2017


Judge for Yourself

Just what the Yankees need, another star.

The people that brought you Babe Ruth, Lou Gehrig, Joe DiMaggio, Mickey Mantle, Derek Jeter, etc, etc, have another great face on the team. Aaron Judge looks like he belongs.

He’s handsome and he’s humble. He hits long home runs. He wears the number 99 so as not to infringe on the many retired numbers that no longer don the inimitable dark blue pinstripe uniforms.

Judge is the kind of guy baseball needs right now. He’s already topped the Yankees record for home runs by a rookie. On Monday he won the All-Star Home Run Derby in his first time entered. What else does he have to do? Maybe win two or six World Series rings?

Don’t tell me there’s no hope for baseball with young stars like Judge, Bryce Harper and Mike Trout. I’m told kids prefer football and basketball, but I just spent six days watching all or parts of 17 Dixie League baseball games at the Moyer Complex in the past week and the kids seemed to be having a blast. I took Saturday night off to take my wife to the movies, but only after catching the 4 pm Salem-Craig County O-Zone game.

Is baseball in trouble? That’s what I’m told, but if that’s the case why does it seem like every week someone is starting another travel team? How is it that the Salem Red Sox keep getting good crowds when they play 70 home games in a season? Add the attendance for the 70 games together and divide by eight and that’s the crowd you’d need at a football game to keep pace.

Personally, I like all the sports, but I think it’s funny when I keep hearing “baseball’s in trouble.” It might be in trouble for some, but football is in trouble for some as well. Truthfully, I worry more about football with the injuries and concussions affecting the way the game is played.

There was an Associated Press story by Ronald Blum in the paper the other day about how baseball is not marketing their young star players. That’s true, but it’s nothing that can’t be corrected by some smart advertisers. I know someone out there is bound to look at Aaron Judge and see dollar signs.

What do you think?  You be the judge.




Speaking of trouble, I’m troubled with the turn the NBA has taken in the past couple years. Seems like everyone is trying to lure star players to their city to try and keep up with the Warriors. That’s making for a “have and have not” league that’s as divided as our political leaders.

I’m sick and tired of hearing about LeBron James’ “legacy.” People act like his career won’t be worthwhile if he doesn’t win six or more championships. Shoot, the guy’s already been in seven finals.

This year, after going to the final and losing to the Warriors, it’s become such a big deal about what he needs to do to compete with Golden State. Will Cleveland bring in more stars? Will LeBron team up with others and go to LA or San Antonio?

What he should do is just do what Kevin Durant did. Take a big discount and sign with the team that just beat you. Then LeBron can win six or eight more championships and retire with his “legacy” intact while completely ruining any competition from the rest of the NBA.

To me, LeBron’s one championship in Cleveland is worth six Durant “wagon jumping” titles with the Warriors.




Salem’s Zach McNally hit .313 in his finial season at Southern Virginia University in the spring. Zach had two home runs, four doubles and a team high 37 runs batted in while being considered to be a great teammate everywhere he has played.