This man is 6-ft-7 in tall weighing 282 pounds and plays professionally for a NY team. Is he a power forward for the NY Knicks? Is he a tight end for the NY Giants? The answer is no to each of these questions. He is the starting right fielder for the NY Yankees and his name is Aaron Judge.
Reading a column written by Marchand, I discovered some really fascinating superstitions of Judge that I never noticed before. Moments before seeing his 1st pitch in a game Judge pops 2 pieces of Double Bubble sugar-free bubblegum in his mouth. Until he makes an out, he’ll continue to chew it. If he picks up a hit in his first at-bat, it stays in. Another hit, and he keeps chewing. In fact, as long as his future at bats do not yield result in an out the gum stays in his mouth. So if he was to have 4 consecutive hits or walks in a 4-hour game he would still be chewing tasteless dried out pieces of gum. When he makes an out he will get rid of the old gum and replace it with 2 pieces of new gum. You could say each out sets him up for a fresh beginning. Judge started this superstition in college and has no plans on changing it.
Another unique judgeism is, after the 3rd out of an inning, he waits in front of the Yankee dugout for his fellow outfielders. There he offers words of encouragement and high-fives as they enter the dugout. Judge says. “If someone makes a good play or someone does something on defense, I want to be there and say, ‘Hey man, nice play’ or ‘Good job.’ If there is miscommunication in the outfield, it gives me a chance to grab them real quick and say something.”
Could the Yankees have picked a better last name for PR purposes than the word judge. In fact, the Yankees have created the new Judge’s Chambers which accommodates 18 fans picked at random from other seats. The fans get to borrow a black judge’s robe and keep a foam gavel that reads, “All rise!” Judge, 25, has already been compared to Derek Jeter by his manager Joe Girardi. Girardi said,” Back in Jeter’s day, when the Yankees scored or got a big hit, Jeter was always the first out of the dugout to congratulate his teammates. It was a trademark No. 2 move.” Girardi continued, “That’s who he was; Derek was all about winning. I feel the same about Judge. It is very genuine. He is all about the team. His encouragement of players, helping guys, being upbeat all the time — it is really kind of cool to witness.” Girardi thinks Judge is a leader in his own way despite being a rookie — something that might irk veterans if Judge weren’t so respectful and earnest. His teammates notice that Judge is not trying to stick out, but rather help out.” He is a positive influence on his teammates,” left fielder Brett Gardiner says. “He always has a positive attitude. He says different things to you every time [when he waits to go into the dugout] and different things to each person, like, ‘Let’s go get some more runs.’ ‘Nice play.” .
Judge credits his parents, who adopted him as a baby, for giving him his first lessons on putting team above self. He says he’s been blessed with coaches who have done the same. Judge is accommodating in talking to the media, but he almost blushes when speaking about himself. The top-step move could be seen as grandstanding, if Judge didn’t act the right way. “It’s genuine,” third baseman Chase Headley says. “He is not doing it to have somebody write about it or see it.”
Offensively and defensively Judge backs up his leadership role. He is second in WAR, tied for first in HR, and 6th in OPS. Defensively being so tall and having a long-arm reach has enabled him to make catches in the outfield that would be impossible for others to make. Add to this a strong throwing arm and the Yankees have a 5-tool future superstar like Mike Trout.