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After Hours with Amy Lawrence PODCAST: Hour 3

Amy Lawrence Show / Amy Lawrence
The Truth Network Radio
February 21, 2023 6:07 am

After Hours with Amy Lawrence PODCAST: Hour 3

Amy Lawrence Show / Amy Lawrence

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February 21, 2023 6:07 am

Amy's very long yet rewarding Monday | NBA load management an issue? | Aaron Judge ready to hit 62 home runs again?


You're listening to After Hours with Amy Lawrence. It's funny to me that people when they're trying to insult me or when they're trying to tell me I'm not any good at what I do, they say you just work overnight. I'll tell you what, I love working this time slot. It's awesome that we get to keep people company all over the country. We have more stations cleared and listening and carrying the show around the country than any other show in the network. I love the fact that we speak to so many people, whether driving, working, whatever you're doing, we're just thrilled that you choose us to keep you company.

This is After Hours with Amy Lawrence. Hey, hey, good morning to you if you're waking up on your Tuesday, whether it's the eastern time zone, maybe central time zone. If you are waking up in the mountain time zone, oy, I feel for you. But there are people who go to work super early or wake up to get to work super early. I would rather work overnight. People ask me about my schedule and my sleep schedule more than they ask me anything else.

Honestly, that has got to be the number one point of interest for people when it comes to questions that they have about my life and my routine. I get it all the time. When do you sleep? How do you sleep? Do you ever sleep?

I've given up finally. I'm being snarky and sarcastic about it. And so most of the time I don't answer. But the question about the schedule and what time you wake up and when do you go to sleep? I even get that from my family and friends, which is kind of funny. It's After Hours with Amy Lawrence on CBS Sports Radio. I do not envy those of you who have early morning hours, though, because I can't do it.

I stink at mornings, even if it's 3 o'clock in the afternoon. I flipped the schedule, though, for my amazing Monday experience. And I'm really excited to share this story with you. It was a full circle day for me. It was a full circle moment surrounded by a full circle experience. On Monday, I had the chance to go back and speak to students at Syracuse University, which is where I got my master's degree in TV, radio and film. It was called TRF.

That was the name of the program. And I was there for a full calendar year. It was the toughest year of my academic life and maybe one of the toughest years of my life on Earth, even though it was such a long time ago, because we not only did 36 credits in a calendar year, starting three weeks after I got my diploma from my undergrad, I went right back to school.

If I didn't, though, I never would have. And we did a summer session. We did a fall semester. We started just a couple of weeks after Christmas, boom, right back into our spring semester. And then we did a summer session, including comprehensive exams that covered two days and scared the crap out of us.

So it was a full calendar year. I borrowed more than 20 grand to go and get my master's degree at Syracuse University because I didn't have a backup plan. It was the only place I wanted to go.

I didn't apply anywhere else. I just knew that I had to get into the S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications. And when I was invited back to speak to students on Monday, not only was it full circle, it was an honor to be able to answer their questions, to share a little bit about my journey, to encourage them and to remind them that there is a special cache that comes with being a Syracuse University grad in our business.

I get eye rolls and chuckles and oh, you're one of them type of comments all the time. I don't know the exact numbers, but I'd be willing to bet that nearly half of the broadcast industry, whether we're talking about on air or behind the scenes, comes from Syracuse University and the Newhouse School. This was my first time on campus in 12 years, I think. The last time I was there, I did a basketball game at the Carrier Dome on TV. Well, it's not called the Carrier Dome anymore, sorry. It was the Carrier Dome going back to the 80s. Now it's the JMA Dome, I think.

But right now it's just the A Dome because the letters keep falling off. I learned that on Monday. So the last time I was on campus, I was there for work. I was there for a game.

And it was a pretty surreal experience to be calling a game inside the dome. Monday was different. Monday was a visit to campus with two goals. Number one, speak to students. I had everything from freshmen to grad students jammed into a room.

Oh my goodness. I had all my friends and family praying that students would show up because I needed the sports media director who not only brought me back, but has also hired me to be an adjunct professor. I needed her to be impressed with the fact that students showed up. So we walked into the room and I didn't realize it was 10 minutes before we were supposed to start. And there's only seven people there and I'm thinking, oh no. And so I get ready to start and I'm mentally stealing myself to be as good as I can be for the seven students that are there. And Olivia says, no, no, no, wait, wait, we can't start yet.

We've got a bunch of other students that will be showing up right at four o'clock. So that was great. It was standing room only. Nobody even ate pizza. There was pizza.

No one was eating pizza, which is kind of cool. It's neat to go and speak to students who are really engaged and interested in what they're studying because you know that they're going to be a captive audience, which they were. So it was an honor. Tough questions though.

Oh my goodness. Some of the questions I expected like career highlight, but also career lowlights. Some of the questions about one of your most memorable interviews or one of your toughest moments on the air. One student asked me about a moment that I would deem as a failure or a moment that I would deem as a real learning lesson. And so that was hard to admit because I recall the humiliating experience that I had on the air actually here at CBS Sports Radio, though there have been hundreds of them.

But that's one that always comes to mind when people ask me. I got some other tough questions too though about tuning out the noise. And it's interesting to hear that from a grad student because what do they know about the noise yet? You're a grad student.

You haven't even experienced what it's like to be in the public arena. To be able to kind of share my passion with them. One student asked me, this was a freshman, asked me, how do you always stay so energetic? Do you drink coffee? And I said, well I do, but that's not what gives me energy. It's a gift. I honestly don't know. Sometimes I don't feel like I have energy and then I turn on the microphone and boom, it's the passion, it's the joy that I get from doing what I love and what I was born to do.

I've known it since I was 16 years old. So that was a really cool question to be able to answer. Another student asked me, if there were 25 hours in the day, what would you spend your extra hour doing? And I said to him, personal or professional? Because I was all prepared to say sleep if he said personal.

But he didn't, he said professional. And my answer to that, and you all have heard me talk about this at times over the last several years, production and being able to spend more time creating these fun, we call them rejoins in the business, but montages of the biggest moments in sports and the emotional reaction. Like Jason Kelce crying with his brother about the end of the Super Bowl and his mom finding him in the crowd and the confetti. Those are moments that I cannot recreate as effectively by describing them to you.

To hear them is to get chills, to hear them is to be in the moment. So Jay and I, producer Jay and I both wish that we had more time to spend on those types of montages, whether it be highlights or actualities, athletes speaking for themselves, the movers and shakers giving you their first person accounts and first person perspectives. But we don't have as much time to do that anymore because it's just Jay and I, for the most part. Carlos is with us this week when Jay is out.

But the fact that we have to pick and choose. Our YouTube channel sat dormant for 11 months because we just didn't have the manpower and I wasn't here. This was during the pandemic.

I wasn't here for two and a half months and had no access to equipment over the course of that time. So that was a really challenging question to be able to answer. Another young woman asked me about the best and worst elements of working at CBS Sports Radio, which was fun. Another young woman, and there were probably six or seven females in the group, about 35 students overall, I would say, as well as some professors and some other faculty there. But it was really cool to be able to speak directly with a few of the females.

I think four of them actually raised their hands and asked questions, which was great. One young woman asked me about, well, I said the highlights of working here at the network. Another young woman asked me when did I know I made it. A couple of the moments that I knew that I had made it, which was kind of fun. And honestly, I'd never really thought about that before. I just marked 20 years in the business last year, 2022, 20 years in full-time sports radio, and I had never thought about the moments that I made it.

So that was a question that I had to think on the fly and really come up with, but I'll tell you a couple of them. When I was working in my previous network, one morning I was doing the overnight show and we shared one main studio at the time at ESPN Radio. And I remember Mike and Mike walked in as I'm finishing up my show and I remember thinking to myself, wow, okay, I was their lead-in. I was the lead-in to Mike and Mike and Greenberg, who is notoriously non-communicative until the microphone is on, said to me, wow, you have amazing handwriting. He was looking at my notes and he said, wow, you have amazing handwriting.

That was it. Not good morning. How are you? How was your show? My name's Mike. What's yours?

Nah, none of that. Wow, you have amazing handwriting. And then gave me a look like, get the hell out of my seat. That was pretty much my interaction with him. But that was kind of a moment where I felt like, okay, I'm here. This is, I'm part of something here. And also a couple of moments from my play-by-play career doing a game at Cameron Indoor Stadium, and not just a game at Cameron Indoor, but an NCAA tournament game at Cameron Indoor Stadium. Calling my first two games ever on Westwood 1, and one of them being an Elite 8 game, and the winner went on to the Final Four.

That was pretty phenomenal as well. And then I said to them, being back at Syracuse and speaking to students, that's also a moment where I think, okay, I've made it now. So that was kind of a fun question. The sports media director, her name is Olivia, she's the one that's hired me to teach a class. So get this, she's making them call me Professor Lawrence. I would have said Amy is totally fine, and apparently it's a house rule, a new house house rule. You have to address them by professor and their last name.

That is going to be so strange in the classroom. But I dare not defy her because she's the boss and because I love Olivia to death. And so she's also a TV producer. She produces events year round, some of the biggest events on the sports calendar. And so I am grateful to her. We have very similar stories about not having female role models or female mentors, and how much it matters to her that I want to invest in the students and that I've been mentoring for 20 years whenever I had the opportunity. And so she's given me this chance to teach a course that I've created actually myself. And so to be there with her as she was serving as the moderator for this Q&A was pretty amazing. This is how she finished. She said, if you could give one piece of advice, just one line to 22 year old Amy, as you're going through the grad program here at Syracuse, as you're getting ready to graduate and make your way into this wild blue yonder that is broadcasting, what's the one line that you would tell younger Amy? And I said to her, can I have two?

She said, okay, because instantly the two lines came into my brain. One is, and I share this every now and then on the air, but I've also shared it on social, choose your battles. Choose your battles. Not every battle is worth fighting. Not every battle is worth your time and your energy. Not every battle is winnable. Choose your battles. And when I was younger, and I recognize this with other young women who are in the industry.

So I tried to help them with this. It's a tough thing to do. You have to fight and scratch and claw for every little foothold as a female in this business. It may be 2023.

It hasn't changed much. You still have to prove yourself. But it was much more, it was much more of a battle when I was breaking into the business because I was the first to do a lot of things, or the first in a long time. And so I was constantly, and I say this, I've said this to students, I was constantly challenging everyone to put their dukes up.

Like, come on, fight me. And it was hard for me to let that go. It was hard for me to stop fighting.

In fact, I'll even admit this, it's part of my past and I see it now, I didn't see it then. It really affected personal relationships with men in my dating life because I couldn't drop that. I was so used to fighting for everything. I was so used to challenging everything. I was so used to having to grab and hold on for dear life that I couldn't drop that and be just Amy a lot of times in my personal dating relationships.

And so I'm sure it ruined some of those. Although I wasn't choosing well either, so it's probably just as well that they're not still permanent to my life. But it was hard for me to figure out how to choose your battles. Not every hill is worth dying on.

So that was one piece of advice that I would give my younger self. And the other, the other is this, it's all going to be worth it. It's all going to be worth it. If I had known the personal sacrifices, if I had known the brick walls, the failures, getting fired three times, the discrimination, the harassment, the constantly having to fight and work harder than my male counterparts, if I had known all of the moving, all of the tears, all of the really challenging moments where I wondered, is this worth it? Is it ever going to be joy?

Is it ever going to be a breakthrough? Is it ever going to be a blessing? And I look back now and I am not who I am today without all of that, without all of the blood, sweat, and tears. But I didn't know if it was going to be worth it.

I shared this with the students on Monday and there was an audible gasp in the room. There was a moment, I think it was after I'd been fired the second time, I think. It may have been after I'd been fired the first time, but I believe it was the second time.

My mom was listening to me cry, hearing me lament, what am I going to do now? How am I going to resurrect my career again? I moved for this job and after a year it's gone. And I was fired on my annual evaluation with no notice and really no reason.

Just, hey, we're going a different direction. Clean out your office. See ya. That was it. And my mom said to me, how long are you going to chase this dream with nothing to show for it? When I said that to the students on Monday, there was a gasp in the room.

There were multiple people who gasped and you could have heard a pin drop. My mom didn't mean, you suck at this, it's going nowhere, it's not worth it. She didn't mean you should give up. What she meant was, is it worth it to you? You've been chasing this dream for a long time. Is it still worth it to you?

Are you prepared to be a sellout, essentially, for what you want? How long are you going to chase this dream with nothing to show for it? It was a moment where, I mean, maybe cry instantly.

Mom, how could you say that to me? It was a moment that I replayed in my head over and over again for days, maybe even weeks. But ultimately came to the point where I realized I would chase it as long as I needed to.

And so to be able to tell that to my younger self at 22, 23, when I was trying to break into the business would have been extremely valuable. It's all going to be worth it. It's all going to be worth it. So this was a really, as I say, a cool experience. It was an honor to be invited back.

I did share a photo of the S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications where I spent the toughest year of my academic life. The seeds were planted there, though, and it was an honor to be back. And I will be teaching a class. It's a one-credit, four-week class coming up in April. It's the final rotation before the students graduate or before the semester is done for those who are not graduating. And we had 10 students signed up. I think they kept it open based on me being there yesterday and have now said that they will take a few more students who are going to do late ads, so to speak, because they were there in the room and now they want to take the class, which is freaking amazing. So this is our trial run.

We hope to expand it to a three-credit, 11-week class coming up next year, which will be a lot. I will be continuing my radio show. How many people have asked me, are you quitting radio? No. In fact, Olivia only hires professors who are still working in the business, so no, I'm not quitting radio.

Also, I have a two-year time stint left on my contract, so I can't be quitting anytime soon. But if you want to know more of the details, I did put a blog post up. The link is on both Twitter and Facebook, or it's, but as I say, the link is on social. I'll try to get some photos up on Facebook, but I can't do it here. It's going to have to wait until I get home because Jay is not here.

He's out of the country, and I wouldn't be asking him anyway on vacation. Anyway, so it was a really amazing day. Lots of people lining up to talk to me after it got done.

Olivia finally had to say, she's got to leave. Yeah, I ended up staying an hour and 15 minutes longer than I planned, and then drove back the three and a half hours. So it was 250 miles one way, and it was totally worth it.

It was, yeah, it was seven hours of driving on Monday, about a 45-minute nap when I got back to my house, and the pets were happy to see me, and then into work here. But it's all worth it to be able to share and to know that I have an opportunity to teach a class. Also, my classroom is sweet.

It's got a big-screen TV. All of the desks come with these huge flat-screen computer monitors, and they have to call me Professor Lawrence, which is just odd. Like when I teach my fourth and fifth graders, and they call me Miss Amy, or they don't even know my last name.

They have no idea what I do for a living, which is totally fine. If you want to check out the photo on Twitter, A Law Radio, it's up there, and I'll be sharing more about my experience teaching as I head through the rest of this spring. Yeah, so thanks for all of your kind words. So many of you reached out to me after reading my blog, and just encouraged me and supported me, and some teachers out there giving me advice, which I also appreciate because I need it. Your girl has to build a syllabus. I don't know the first thing about building a syllabus.

I've got teacher friends of mine who are like, don't worry, we'll give you a crash course. So that's my next thing is building a syllabus and figuring out how I'm going to grade these students on the class which is titled The Art of Radio because it is a creative art, an art that I fell in love with when I was 16 years old. So thanks again.

I appreciate all of your tweets and your Facebook posts. It's After Hours with Amy Lawrence on CBS Sports Radio. You are listening to the After Hours Podcast. The legendary Kareem Abdul-Jabbar with 38,388 career points. The debate will continue as to who is the greatest player in the history of this sport.

This fact, though, might prove quite persuasive. No one has ever scored more points than LeBron Ramon James, Sr. Congrats, LeBron. You're listening to After Hours with Amy Lawrence on CBS Sports Radio. The version of the Oklahoma City Thunder radio team. LeBron's historic moment that happened right before the NBA All-Star break.

And then what do we know after that? He had been playing a little banged up, to be sure. And he did not play again. It was load management, I suppose, but mostly that he was nursing injuries. And we also know from LeBron himself that the chase for Kareem's record and for the NBA scoring record had been exhausting. He had been worn out by it. So after he sets that record against the Thunder, then he doesn't play for a week and only played one more game before the All-Star break itself.

And so over the course of roughly two weeks, he's going to play one game. Load management has become a curse phrase in the NBA. How often hockey fans will say to me, guys don't take nights off in hockey and they play the same number of games. Or in football, you don't get load management. Well, for obvious reasons in football. Contracts are not guaranteed, number one.

Number two, they play once a week. But we know there are guys playing hurt in the NBA. It's not as though everybody out there is only stepping on the court when they are 100 percent completely healthy. But count Anthony Edwards among those who hate the idea of guys sitting out when they are able, physically able to play. If there's anything I could change about the league to make it better, probably just all the guys sitting resting.

That's the only thing I probably don't like. Just play, man. Eighty percent, you got to play. I don't like all the sitting, missing games and stuff like these people. These people might have enough money to come to one game. You know what I'm saying? And that might be the game they come to and then you sitting out. You know what I'm saying? So I take pride in trying to play every game because I don't know, it might be one fan that has never seen me play and I'm trying to play.

So that's the only thing I don't like. Guys just sitting out. So that's Anthony Edwards who's 21 years old. He's a Timberwolves guard. He's 21 years old.

I love that perspective. But the commissioner of the NBA, who admittedly does care about load management, he talks about it a lot. It comes up almost every time he does a press conference or makes any public comments. He pushes back on the idea that load management is as big a problem as what Anthony Edwards or fans would think. I hesitate to weigh in on an issue as to whether players are playing enough because there is real medical data and scientific data about what's appropriate. And sometimes, to me, the premise of a question as to whether players are playing enough suggests that they should be playing more. There should be some notion of just get out there and play. And having been in the league for a long time, having spent time with some of our great legends, I don't necessarily think that's the case of the world that we used to have where it was just get out there and play through injuries, for example.

I don't think that's appropriate. At the end of the day, these are human beings many of you talk to and know well that players are often playing through enormous pain or play through all kinds of... I hesitate to label them injuries, but play through all kinds of aches and pains on a regular basis. And the suggestion, I think, that these men, in the case in the NBA, somehow should just be out there more for its own sake, I don't buy into.

Adam Silver, with extensive comments there on load management, and he is trying to underscore the fact that it's not as big an issue as what many people would make it out to be. It's not as though, and he says the numbers bear this out, it's not as though the Stars are sitting half the games on the schedule or a quarter of the games on the schedule. That guys are playing hurt, but with the challenges of a schedule that very often will put you in five cities in seven days or something like that, these long road trips and the back-to-backs. The NBA has eliminated back-to-back-to-backs. That was something that was more about the pandemic and the labor shortage or the labor stoppage that shortened seasons in the past. They would go back-to-back-to-back.

They don't do that anymore, but the travel can be challenging. And when you have a schedule that runs from late October through mid-April, the point is to be able to peak at the right time, to be healthy at the right time. So I understand the balance, but I also get it from a fan's perspective. When you've got a nationally televised game in which four starters are sitting out because they're all banged up at once and fans have paid for those tickets or the league has sold the broadcast rights for a product that is nowhere near what people expected or what it could be, all right, well then that's also a problem. But again, Adam points to numbers, different numbers, as evidence that it's not as big a deal as what social media might suggest. There's the fan aspect saying, all right, well, if that's going to be the case, that players are not going to be able to participate in a certain amount of games, what should the response be from the league and how should you be presenting your product?

It's interesting because even given where we are now, I don't think the issue is quite what some suggest. I mean, our stars are not missing that many games for resting. I mean, we have injuries. I think we'd all agree that's a separate issue, but as a measure of single games missed, it's not that bad. I then look at the data and think, all right, well, this year, we're going to likely break the all-time record for tickets sold.

We're likely going to have the all-time record for season ticket renewals. So our fans aren't necessarily suggesting that they're that upset with the product that we're presenting. It's true, put your money where your mouth is, right? That's what we do as fans. The NBA may not have the same TV ratings that the NFL does, major league baseball in that same boat, but when it comes to ticket sales, when it comes to that revenue stream that indicates that fans are putting their money, their monies where their mouths are, there's not a drop-off.

It's the opposite, actually. Fans love the experience of being there. Of course, I still say the NBA does a phenomenal job of marketing at superstars, and when you market them and when you build your promotional platform around, this is where the stars play, come to see the stars.

These are household names. You can't miss this. You can't miss TV.

You've got to be there. Those types of slogans and those types of marketing campaigns, and you show up to a game and LeBron's not playing or, I mean, pick anyone. And it's not because of a long-term injury. I mean, Giannis and Chris Middleton and Drew Holliday all missed a game recently, right?

So that's your Milwaukee Bucks or the Bucks playing the Celtics in a game in which it's the top two teams in the league and the Celtics are missing four starters. Now, that wasn't all load management, but still the idea that when the season stretches on, and I do think part of the issue, and I'll just say this. I think the NBA could help itself a ton here. Move up your All-Star break. I know that the league is trying to avoid having its All-Star break over a football weekend. Maybe do it in between Championship Sunday and the Super Bowl. The issue, of course, is that you're not going to attract nearly as many celebrities because they're involved with football opportunities. But the more you push this All-Star break back, the more of the schedule is played before you get to this week off, the tougher it becomes.

The wear and tear is extensive. These teams have already played almost 75% of their schedule. So the All-Star break is not at the halfway point.

It's not even close to the halfway point. It's been pushed back because the NFL season is longer now because they've added a week to the regular season and they've pushed back their playoffs. We now know the Super Bowl is Valentine's weekend, for heaven's sakes. So because of that, the NBA has altered its schedule as well. But that makes it tougher because you're going such a long time without having any extensive break. The NHL has its winter break, and they do it a little earlier.

So maybe there's a way to tweak it. When Michael Malone tells you that the game itself was the worst basketball game ever played and it was tough to sit through, and when it's really more of a glorified layup line because guys don't want to get hurt because they've already had so much wear and tear on their bodies, well, there should be some warning signals. There should be some red lights and flashing signs going off inside the league offices. But honestly, I don't know how to fix it.

I don't. It's an all-star crisis in sports right now. It really is, with every sport attempting to come up with some formula that is appealing to fans.

And the NBA's got the skills Saturday night right, but not necessarily the game. Thank you for your tweets now. I'm seeing a few of you, and also on Facebook, messages about my story being back at Syracuse. I appreciate that. That's, I hope, the type of story that will keep my students engaged as I'm teaching them. So on Twitter, ALawRadio, on our Facebook page, too. Coming up, of course someone had to ask Aaron Judge if he could replicate or beat, even, the number of home runs from last year that set the new American League record.

And so a little bit from Aaron Judge. And also, what else? There was something else that I wanted to do coming up that I will remember. It will pop back into my brain.

I'm also trying to do my CBS Sports Minute at the same time. So I promise I'll remember at some point. I do. I will. Maybe it's 6.30 a.m. Eastern time when I'm off the air.

No, no, no. It'll be before then. It's After Hours, CBS Sports Radio. You are listening to the After Hours Podcast.

["After Hours Theme"] Here's the 1-1. Swung on. There it goes! Deep left, it is high. It is far.

It is gone! Number 62 to set the new American League record. Aaron Judge hits his 62nd. All the Yankees out of the dugout to greet him.

Just think of it. Three Yankee right fielders. The Babe hitting 60 and 27. The Jolly Roger hitting 61 and 61. And now Aaron Judge hits his 62nd home run. The most home runs any American Leaguer has hit in a single season.

And the American League has been alive for 120 years. This is Judgment Day. Case closed.

Here's Amy Lawrence. Wow, that gave me chills. I hadn't heard that call in such a long time. The great John Sterling on Yankees radio. That moment that captivated fans over the course of the summer.

I remember being at a Yankees game. Oh my gosh, it was hot. This was in September.

Early September, I believe. I'd have to go back and remember the exact date. But it was hot. And we were nine rows off of the field.

And you could hear the roars. And Aaron Judge had two hits in the first inning, actually, of the game that we played or that we saw and that they played, but did not hit a home run. But the furor around every bat, the anticipation, the tension, the excitement in the stadium was palpable. So it was really driving the Yankees for a couple of months there.

Not only were his teammates getting into it, but the managers, the coaches, obviously the organization and then fans all around Major League Baseball. So what does he do as an encore? Well, considering that he remains in pinstripes to the tune of $360 million for the next nine years, the AL MVP is going to have to hear the question of 62 home runs again, maybe 63, maybe 70. What's in store in 2023, Aaron Judge? I don't really like putting a number on it.

I just kind of like going out there and trying to control what I can control. But you never know what could happen. So we'll see about 62. We'll see about 62.

We'll see about history coming up in 2023. So, yeah, for Aaron Judge, because he set the bar so high now, this is Tiger Woods in his heyday. This is Tom Brady when he goes to three Super Bowls in four years and wins seven rings overall.

Nothing else but perfection will do. This is now the territory that Patrick Mahomes enters. With two regular season MVPs and two Super Bowl MVPs, the bar is so high for him that if the Chiefs do not get to the Super Bowl every year or do not continue their streak of AFC West titles and hosting, what is it now, five consecutive AFC Championship games, it's considered a failure. It's considered a down year.

It's considered a flop. That's the bar that Aaron Judge has set for himself, where if he doesn't smack at least 50 home runs or challenge the record again, it's somehow considered a slump. Or if he goes 10 days without a home run, it's considered a slump.

So good for Aaron Judge. The only goal that matters to him, though, after he's been named captain of the Yankees, which, by the way, is a rare honor, it does not happen every year. Baseball is different. They do not always have captains. Captain is reserved especially for an iconic organization like the Yankees, but even the Red Sox, too. They've gone for years without a captain.

Captain is reserved for a legacy player, one who generally has spent his entire career with that one organization or has at least built such a foundation that people almost don't remember he played somewhere else. In the case of Aaron Judge, this contract is likely going to keep him in pinstripes the rest of the way. So we're talking about a Derek Jeter-type legacy. It does not include a World Series, though. And so they're putting the C on his chest, and they're saying, we believe you can lead us back to the promised land. We believe that you represent everything that is good, that is competitive, that is iconic, that is valuable about the New York Yankees.

You are our poster boy. And to be fair, he's probably the poster boy for Major League Baseball in addition to others like, say, Shohei Ohtani, Mookie Betts, Fernando Tatis, Mike Trout, some of these guys. Aaron Judge transcends the sport of baseball. So now that he's been named captain of a team that has the most storied tradition in the sport, what matters most to him? He's pushing his team to ultimate goal, bringing a championship back to New York. That's why I'm here, one of the main reasons why I wanted to come back and wear pinstripes is we had a lot of unfinished business here. So looking forward to this new role, but I don't think a lot of stuff doesn't change for me.

It got me in this position, and I just got to keep focusing on that and keep pushing forward. The Yankees have officially hitched their wagon to his star. Now, we know there were stretches last year where, if not for Aaron Judge, they've had almost zero offense, as in negligible offense. But because of Aaron Judge, they were still a team that, once again, ran into the Houston Astros in the playoffs. It's become their nemesis. I don't want to say rival. Well, I guess you could call it a rivalry. It's different, though, because they're in different divisions, so they don't play as much during the year as, say, the Yankees and the Orioles or the Yankees and the Red Sox.

Really, any intra-division rivalries where they play 19 times a year. But it reminds me of some of the teams that have been dominant and the eras in which they've dominated that one of the byproducts is that other really good teams don't get to realize their potential. So think Golden State Warriors, five consecutive NBA Finals, the other teams that might have busted loose, broken free, finally realized their goal of winning a championship, maybe the Thunder. I don't know about the Rockets.

I didn't love their formula. But the Rockets ran into the Warriors two years in a row. Other teams that would have benefited or that would have stepped into that spotlight had it not been for the Warriors, because you never operate in a vacuum. When it comes to pro sports, well, and it comes to college sports, too, though they turn over a lot more frequently. But when it comes to pro sports, it's not just about how you play. It's not just about the number of games that you win and making it to the postseason. It's also about who else is operating in your era, so to speak. Think about maybe the number of other teams that could have won two rings or maybe even three rings had it not been for Tom Brady and Bill Belichick and the New England Patriots.

It's always not just a product of what you do internally, but the external factors. And so, yeah, for sure, the Astros are raining on the Yankees parade. Will they finally, finally beat their nemesis in 2023? Time will tell. Infinite possibilities. This After Hours with Amy Lawrence on CBS Sports Radio.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-02-21 08:29:49 / 2023-02-21 08:45:59 / 16

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