There are certain benefits to being a New York Yankee for life, even if the heat of the moment might get a little dicey from time to time.
When Aaron Judge was scuffling midway through the 2022 postseason, ultimately resulting in a four-game ALCS sweep at the hands of the Houston Astros, the crowd voiced its displeasure with the whole team’s effort by jeering. The cries increased in volume as the team’s performance became more exasperating, and though any individual surveyed would’ve told you they still loved Judge through and through, it’s true that the booing became focused on the team’s MVP as leaks sprung up throughout the roster.
During the month of October, these boos were cited as an example of Yankees fans being incorrigible. If they couldn’t even appreciate their homegrown star setting records and surpassing Roger Maris, then what would they appreciate? And why would he stay?
But then, a funny thing happened. Anthony Rizzo returned first, citing comfort with the Yankees organization and significant unfinished business. Judge then shrugged off the idea of returning to his childhood home in the Bay Area and pushed Hal Steinbrenner to finish off a deal, assuring the team that he wanted to be a Yankee for life.
Now that Judge’s future is certain and his captaincy has been declared, he’s poised to receive the key to the city, both literal (via Mayor Eric Adams) and figurative. No. 99 attended a Drake concert at the Apollo Theater over the weekend and was spotted, suddenly becoming the center of attention.
Watch a sheepish Judge try to shrug off, “Let’s Go Yankees!” chants while also basking in it. This is what he’s earned, and this is what’s ahead of him if he can continue on as the Yankees’ marquee attraction and championship engine.
Yankees star Aaron Judge feels “Let’s Go Yankees” chant at Drake concert at Apollo Theater
Judge is an enigma in that his quiet and reserved persona clashes with his documented ability to effectively be the face of MLB’s marquee franchise in its largest city.
Still, it’s a role Judge fills quite well, making time for fans big and small while shouldering a tremendous offensive burden and surpassing expectations by leaps and bounds.
He’s opted into nine more years of this, as well as decades in the wake of his career where he’ll be able to bask in his legacy (and, yes, there’s a significant lump sum payment involved). Judge may not always be the most famous man in the room, but more often than not, he will be.
On Sunday night at Drake’s concert/spring training vibe reset, it felt like Judge stole the attention and adoration away from the man on stage for a few minutes. In reality, though, he was merely lending it to the Toronto rapper for the duration of the show; the city, and its energy, very much belongs to Judge.