The New York Yankees just concluded the toughest on-paper portion of their 2022 schedule with a dramatic, walk-off victory over the Houston Astros off the bat of Aaron Judge. Sunday’s game mirrored Thursday’s series opener, a dramatic, walk-off victory over the Houston Astros off the bat of Aaron Judge.
Other than the moments directly after Judge’s pair of game-enders, though, the Yankees did not lead in this four-game series, which is one hell of a way to both salvage a split and cement one’s MVP candidacy in the process.
Judge, with some help from Aaron Hicks and the Yankees’ pitching, owned this series beginning to end, bookending a difficult battle with a line-drive single and a shot to the bullpen. If it wasn’t obvious already before he smacked his 28th home run of the year, No. 99 is the best player on the New York Yankees’ roster, as well as the most impactful baddie for opposing pitchers, day in and day out. He pretzeled Dusty Baker’s brain twice in this series, somehow avoiding the intentional walk on two separate occasions.
But did Judge himself feel his own vibes enough to declare himself the team’s best player in the aftermath of Sunday’s win?
If so, good for him. He is. He’s fought through plenty of injury-related disrespect and swing-and-miss takes to get to this moment, where he clearly ranks among the game’s very best.
Still, though, such a declaration would feel a bit out of character, which is why many Yankee fans were left looking to explain the moment away rather than embrace it. On Derek Jeter’s birthday, no less, this felt wildly unexpected … and, less than shockingly, it now seems likely it was a slip of the tongue.
Did Aaron Judge call himself Yankees’ best player? Sadly, seems like he didn’t.
Yeah, it really sounds like he just accidentally reversed, “Best Team on the Planet” to “Best Planet on the Team” in the heat of the moment.
And we really do mean heat; Sunday’s temperatures ticked 90, and as the ball soared over the fence, Judge didn’t even seem to want to round the bases at first, lingering between first and second base for a while before someone convinced him to complete the trot. Forgive him if he lost his head a little bit.
Add in the fact that Meredith Marakovits’ question prompt was about where the team’s quiet confidence comes from, and it becomes much easier to connect the dots.
Judge was the team this weekend, though, sentencing the Astros twice in a four-game span. If he had decided to declare himself the team’s best player, that also would’ve been acceptable.
As it stands, though, it was very likely a slip of the tongue following a flick of the wrist.