Are the Yankees giving too much credit to Aaron Judge?

Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports
Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports /

Yankees’ rookie Aaron Judge has taken the Yankees and the baseball world by storm with his immense power. But, are the Yanks giving him too much credit too fast with the new outfield section dedicated to the youngster?

Aaron Judge is quite an anomaly. From striking out consistently in his call-up to the Yankees last season, he’s completely turned his ship around this season. He’s hit 15 homers already, and he’s showing no signs of stopping. And he’s carrying a .315 batting average with him to boot. He’s done so well in fact that the Yankees have decided to dedicate a section of Yankee Stadium entirely to Judge.

Section 104 is now called ‘The Judge’s Chambers.’ If you’ve had the luxury of taking part in jury duty, you’ll notice the new section is modeled after the juror’s box of a courtroom. This fits quite well with the hashtag the Yankees Twitter account has designated for Judge all season long,

If you’re not familiar with the layout of the stadium, 104 is in right field where Judge has made his home. The Yankees, however, do not allow just any fan to sit here. They’ve elected to personally select fans they feel are worthy enough to sit in The Judge’s Chambers.

I’ve Seen This Before

Being born and raised in LA and going to Dodgers games all the time, this situation reminds me of what the Dodgers did for Manny Ramirez. When Manny became a Dodger and hit home runs left and right, he took the fanbase by storm. Soon, every souvenir stand in the stadium sold hats modeled after his dreadlocks. Then to play up the hype, the Dodgers dedicated the left corner section to him and dubbed it ‘Mannywood.’ This was mainly because all of his homers seemed to end up in the same place.

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So now, looking at Aaron Judge’s newest honor, it’s easy to spot similarities between the two. Manny’s brief hype came to a grinding halt when he got popped for steroids. When he returned and was off the juice, he was never the same player again.

What I don’t believe for a second Judge is on steroids. As mentioned in one of my previous articles, he has the power that’s all-natural just like Stanton. Judge is also a lot younger than Manny was when he joined the Dodgers, meaning this stunt may last a lot longer especially if PEDs aren’t involved.

Is This Dumb or Brilliant?

From a marketing standpoint, this is a brilliant move by the Yankees organization. For a historic team to dedicate a section to you says a lot about what they think of you as a player. Clearly, Judge is thought of very highly within the upper management of this team.

This is what baseball, and all sports in general, needs to be about. Players need more personality to get fans excited about watching these sports both live and on TV. If you want your fans to get interested, hype and build up players as personalities rather than just athletes.

This is what every major sport can learn from the NBA. Basketball has done such a good job of building names as brands that even non-basketball fans know. This is how you create the next Derek Jeter or the next LeBron James. While of course, you need a vast amount of skill, having a personality only helps the players and the leagues even more.

This is a golden opportunity for both the Yankees and Judge to cash in. For the Yankees, they’ll get younger fans excited about seeing a dynamic player just start off his career. They’ll also sell a ton of shirts and jerseys. For Aaron Judge, he’ll become a household name amongst baseball fans if he keeps his performance up.

Too Soon?

The primary argument I would expect fellow Yankees fans to make is that Judge hasn’t earned this right yet. Most will say it’s just way too soon to dedicate a section entirely for him. And, to be fair, I can see this point. But, personally, I think it’s a great way for the Yankees to market him as a player and get fans excited about this team. It’s a way to get people to recognize the team more for their talent and players than just the NY caps and pinstriped jerseys.

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I’m all for this type of stuff. Call it gimmicky; it’s a smart move for all parties involved. Now, if a Judge statue was erected or he was given an honor in Monument Park, I’d question the decision-making. But, three rows in one small section is hardly anything to make a fuss about, and it doesn’t cheapen the Yankees brand either. In fact, it does quite the opposite.

The fact that Judge has reinvigorated this team and has contributed to their success as a whole is reason enough. He’s been their best player this season so far, and he’s only getting better and more seasoned. This is all in the name of fun (and ticket sales of course).

Keep one thing in mind: if Judge turns out to be the next captain of this team, we’ll look back and say “why wasn’t his section bigger”.