MLB needs Aaron Judge — even more than the New York Yankees do.
Judge, the star right fielder, is just what the doctor ordered. He’s big, strong, Black and has some swag to boot. Just watch him at home plate with his teammates after a homer.
Best of all, Judge has a monster home run bat and he plays on the biggest stage in sports.
And before you say that Judge isn’t new and has been around for years, he has. But not really.
Judge has been hurt, hurt way too much to capture the sport and star as the face of the game.
For sure, there are better all-around players than him, including the Angels’ Mike Trout. Most see Trout as the best player in the sport.
But none have the total package to catch a nation’s attention. That’s what Judge has. He’s so good he’ll make your friend in Detroit text you: All Rise.
It means Judge has gone yard.
Enter MLB 2020. Yes, it’s baseball at a record pace, must-see every night. Get ready for 60 games in 67 days. If you don’t watch, for sure, you’ll miss something. And this might not be the season you want to.
Judge is finally healthy and ready to play. Last night, Judge crushed two homers in the Yankees’ 6-0 exhibition victory over the New York Mets at Yankee Stadium.
Let commissioner Rob Manfred say Amen.
Fans all over MLB America had a hard time judging for themselves if he was, indeed, that guy who moved the needle everywhere.
Judge, who had a stress fracture in his ribs during spring training, missed a whopping 110 games the last two seasons. Last year, he missed 60 games with a strained oblique. In 2018, Judge missed 50 games with a wrist injury.
This season, we just might get to see Judge’s talents for a complete season.
The crowning piece would be for Judge to lead the Yankees to a World Series victory over the star-studded Los Angeles Dodgers in a long-awaited Fall Classic matchup baseball hasn’t seen since the 80s.
It would put the sport in the spotlight. It would return the Yankees to a championship level. They haven’t won the title since 2009.
Baseball is always better when the Yankees are good. It’s just good for business and headlines. Even if opposing fans are hating the big, bad Bombers.
And this isn’t some pipe dream or wishful thinking. On paper, the Yankees have to be the favorites to win the World Series. Not only are they healthy and have a stacked lineup, but they finally have the ace at the top of their rotation with the free-agent signing of Gerrit Cole. The right-hander left Houston for Da Bronx, inking a $324-million deal.
Still, this season will be about Judge playing the entire season and performing as he’s capable.
The glimpses of Judge thus far have been both spectacular and entertaining. He hit a home run in his first MLB at-bat back in 2016. Judge also hit 52 homers and won the AL Rookie of the Year in 2017.
It was at the All-Star Game in Miami that year that Judge put on a performance suitable for framing. Judge won the HR Derby over Twins third baseman Miguel Sano, homering 11 times in the final round. It made Judge the first rookie to win the homer contest outright. After the eye-popping performance, Manfred said Judge is a player “who can become the face of the game.”
It wasn’t a prisoner of the moment comment. It was spot on.
It’s also why the Yankees added the Judge’s Chambers section in the stands for fans to sit in wearing judicial robes. His appeal is undeniable. The Yankees had never done anything like that for another player.
On the bright stage of the playoffs, we’ve seen Judge answer the bell with big home runs in pressure moments. In fact, Judge homered in his first three postseason games of 2018.
But the Yankees’ inability to reach the World Series the last few years, and all the lost games to injuries, have derailed Judge’s place, front and center, for all to see.
Judge’s bigger-than-life swag is important, too. If you listen to the Black and brown kids, the game isn’t as hip as it used to be.
Judge — who has had the best-selling MLB jersey the last three seasons — and others like him can change that opinion.
And a new Yankees’ championship, led by Judge, would not just be great for Yankees fans, but baseball as a whole.