Sports

Mike Lupica: All Rise! Aaron Judge the big attraction again for the Bombers


When Giancarlo Stanton hits one, and that doesn’t mean one of those cheapies to right, they stay hit. There was a time when Alex Rodriguez, in his prime, hit balls out of sight for the Yankees, though we’ll never know how many of those home runs were chemically aided. And we had Godzilla, Hideki Matsui, for a time, all the way through the homer he hit against the Phillies in Game 6 in ‘09, the last time the Yankees managed to win it all.

It’s different with Aaron Judge, who has gotten on the kind of tear we saw from him five years ago, when he hit 52 home runs in a season and set the rookie record until Pete Alonso came along on the other side of town to break it. In so many theatrical ways, No. 99 is the most exciting at-bat for the Yankees since Reggie, and one of the most exciting at-bats anywhere.

“They used to call me a hot dog,” Reggie told me one time. “But nobody goes to buy one when I step into the box.”

Judge is the Yankee everybody wants to watch, and not just Yankee fans. Derek Jeter was poise and excellence and grace and winning. And great precision, at the plate and in the field. And there was occasionally magic to Jeter’s game, the way there was with The Flip against the A’s back in 2001, and the night he hit that home run against the Diamondbacks and became Mr. November. There was even the night against the Red Sox when Jeter came sprinting over from shortstop and then did a face-plant into the third base stands to get his team an out.

Of course, there was that walk-off game-winning single on the last night Jeter ever had at either Yankee Stadium.

But ballparks didn’t come to a stop when Jeter stepped to the plate. They do for Aaron Judge. They did the other night when he hit that three-run, walk-off bomb to beat the Blue Jays in the bottom of the 9th. We are being reminded, over last season and this one and especially this one, why Judge matters to the Yankees and Yankee fans as much as he does.

Remember that old marketing campaign the Yankees had? At any moment a great moment? That’s Judge right now. Stanton has been just as hot as Judge over the past couple of weeks, no doubt. He and Judge are once again combining to be the best front line in baseball, Stanton at 6-6 and Judge at 6-7. But Stanton will never be embraced here the way Judge is, for as long as Judge is here. Nothing against Stanton. He has handled himself in New York about as well as you can, even in hard times for him, with the fans and when he was injured.

But Yankee fans look at Judge as one of their own, and always will. Maybe some of them are already …read more

Source:: The Denver Post – Sports

      

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