The New York Yankees shocked everyone who didn't believe in the veracity of their "open competition" on Sunday afternoon when they promoted Anthony Volpe to the Opening Day roster after only 22 games at Triple-A last fall.
Entering Spring Training, they all but dared him to outperform Oswald Peraza and open some eyes. After hitting .314 with a 1.064 OPS, while flashing some truly advanced in-game adjustments, it was almost impossible to deny him the gig.
Luckily, the Yankees didn't try -- though captain Aaron Judge might not have gotten the full message.
Sometime after Volpe was called into Aaron Boone's office, delivered a happy pill coated in sardonically harsh language, and released back into the dugout for hugs and family photos, Judge got a hold of his phone number and shot him a distressing call.
Yankees captain Aaron Judge trolled Anthony Volpe with Scranton dig
How do we think Volpe reacted? Probably stone cold and composed, the way he reacts to damn near everything else.
Instead of heading to Scranton (like the last guy who wore No. 77), Volpe is poised to open the season in the Bronx as the fifth-youngest Yankee to ever make his MLB debut on Opening Day (behind Frankie Crosetti, Joe Pepitone, Ben Chapman, and his grandfather's idol Mickey Mantle).
He'll also be the youngest Yankee to start on Opening Day since ... Derek Jeter in frigid Cleveland in 1996. Though Volpe eventually grew to idolize the great No. 2, that game occurred ... before he was born. Five full years before, in fact.
Judge had the pleasure of breaking into the big leagues in a more relaxed atmosphere, midway through August in a season that already seemed somewhat lost. Sure, he got saddled with the expectations of carrying this team into a new era (alongside Tyler Austin), but at least he didn't have to do it in the opener.
Can't wait to see how Volpe takes this challenge and runs with it -- as long as he doesn't run back to Scranton.