Aaron Judge converts local fan, uses Clemente bat in Pittsburgh tour
It’s very easy to love Aaron Judge, even if you’re a non-Yankees fan living in a major sports city where the Bombers don’t often show up. Taking advantage of a rare trip to Pittsburgh, Judge put on a show in a two-game set this week, using the off day for some sight-seeing with his teammates before getting back to work in an offensive showcase in the finale on Wednesday.
In an effort reportedly spearheaded by Jameson Taillon, the ex-Pirate, the Yankees took advantage of their July 4 vacation (thanks, MLB) by nabbing a private reservation to the Roberto Clemente Museum and touring the grounds.
And by “the Yankees,” we really do mean that most of the Yankees managed to make their way to the museum. From Anthony Rizzo to Nestor Cortes to Judge, most of the team’s biggest stars spent their Independence Day delving into the baseball history of the region, exploring the humanitarian life of Clemente, who tragically passed at the age of 38 in a plane crash while delivering humanitarian relief from Puerto Rico to Nicaragua after an earthquake hit the country the week prior.
Clearly, the tale imprinted on Judge, who used a replica Clemente model bat during his pregame batting practice ahead of Tuesday’s opener.
The Puerto Rican slugger used a 38-ounce bat that dwarfs Judge’s current model, so you’ll forgive him if things felt a little big different that day.
Yankees’ Aaron Judge homered for his biggest fan in Pittsburgh, used Clemente bat
While Tuesday’s game didn’t exactly go as planned (don’t blame the bat, don’t blame the bat…), Wednesday’s ended up being a pretty spectacular showcase for the Yankees’ barnstorming caravan.
If the Yanks come to your city, you should probably get a ticket, as you’ll have a chance to see something you’ve never seen before — like a 2-0 lead in the sixth inning become a 16-0 victory with 22 hits by the ninth.
Judge was a major part of that rapid expansion, drilling a grand slam against old friend Manny Bañuelos for his 30th homer of the season (after just missing a blast earlier in the game, too, and settling for a double).
That grand slam was filmed by both YES Network cameras and Judge’s biggest fan, who was situated in the left-field seats. The man, captured by the Yankees’ social media team, declared himself on-camera to be a Pirates fan (wearing a vintage jersey) who also loves Judge, his favorite modern player.
And, just like that, memory created.
Judge’s booming blast put the game out of a reach and placed a capper on a special start to the week in a rarely-visited corner of the country for the Yankees.
Tell your friends, if they’re not on board yet. There’s nothing wrong with loving Judge and your team.