The Yankees Aaron Judge was named to the All-Star game in his first full season. It is likely he will make a significant impression. If so, he will cease to belong just to the Yankees and their fans. Judge will become part of the larger world, and our Baby Yankee will grow up and move into his own space.
Yankees fans need to appreciate these next few days. Right now, Aaron Judge is still Our Guy. And we did help raise him from farm boy to unnamed captain and de facto leader of the Bronx Bombers. We rooted for him even when he struggled and shared his disappointments. Yankees fans wanted Judge to succeed as much as he did.
And he has succeeded, in glorious fashion. Now the world wants to share in that success. But they weren’t there when spring training started; Yankees fans were. They had other bigger stories to cover: the Red Sox as a super team; will the Cubs repeat; how good can the Mets starters be.
But we watched every at-bat and rooted in every game. Judge spent the spring improving his game and our hopes. When it was decision time, we supported him in word and deed.
The same was true when the season started. No one cared when he hit his first home run, except Yankees fans. And we saw he was doing a lot more than just hitting tape measure home runs before the folks at the MLB Network or ESPN. Judge was hitting for average and taking his walks; we reveled in that before All-Star ballots went out.
We even know the Legend of the Home Run that Should Have Been. That’s one part of Judge’s story that might stay just for us.