NEW YORK—Five times in a row, after the Yankees were either short or far short of the world championship, Aaron Judge let the season say the same.
Remember that feeling, use it as fuel to come back stronger next year.
Only, there may not be a year upside down for Judge this time around. He’s weeks away from free agency, and the Yankees are on the cusp of entering the MLB post-season championship once again.
led by the judge.
“Every one of those times we fell flat on our faces was definitely a learning experience,” Judge said. We’re just excited to be back… and chasing her this year. ”
Best bet ever for Aaron Judge
Judge wasn’t crazy about the phrase “bet yourself” that entered the lexicon once he refused to extend the $213.5 million and entered the year of the free agent’s run.
Calling it a “bet” is to say the judge bet on his success.
Judge has always believed in his abilities, and his work led to an impressive historic performance in 2022, as he nearly won the AL Triple Crown and broke a league record of 62 home runs.
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But even General Manager Brian Cashman pointed out the “best bet ever” that will pay off soon.
“It was really a great deal,” Cashman said this week of Judge’s next contract. “He has put himself in a position with a lot of options.
“We would like to win this day in that debate,” Cashman said. But “that’s one for another day.”
Just weeks away from being free to negotiate with anyone, the judge could only add to the $300 million per day paid by carrying the Yankees to their first world championship since 2009.
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“Definitely driven, just like everyone else in this room,” Judge said, one week after he beat 61-year-old Roger Maris’ home record of 61 times on home soil.
“Now, we’re back playing baseball, and we still have the same feelings, those same tensions,” Judge said of playing in front of a packed Yankee Stadium crowd ready for the opening game of the best-of-five-team series. Cleveland.
“I think the last two weeks, we’ve been through this (home chase) and having this whole team (be a part of it) prepared us for what’s to come here in the post-season.”
The end of the Bronx streak for Aaron Judge?
However, with all the post-season, comes the unsettling feeling around the Yankees Universe that Judge is taking his final flips as a Yankee.
There’s a tremendous amount of flexibility on the payroll at San Francisco Giants next year, and the judge calls Northern California his home. He grew up rooting for giants.
He spends every year as a Yankee, expecting the season to end with a trip to the Canyon of Heroes, in a strip shower—a New York-only event.
The Yankees may have had enough from the start to work around a few shortcomings in the squad – Judge still looks like Aaron Boone’s top hitter – and a bull with plenty of question marks.
Reflecting on the year of the lone judge of the ages, Cashman “is impressed by the way it conveys the season.
“He always puts up huge numbers when he stays healthy. (It was) an amazing feat, and it’s so special to watch.”
Judge will turn 31 in April, and he has pretty much sewed up the Monument Park board.
If he stays in his Yankee career, Judge has a chance to move to this timeless exclusive club, along with Derek Jeter, Joe Dimaggio and Mickey Mantell.
“Man, it’s heaven,” the judge said of the in-between atmosphere in the Bronx.
“This is where you want to be. I’m worried. The preludes, running out on that line, the crowd cheering for the cool, fresh air completely. There’s nothing like it.”
“You can’t hear the name calling. Even when I’m in the right field, with Bleacher’s creatures, I can hardly hear what they’re saying, it’s very loud.
She wonders if the judge will hear these chants again in 2023, or just the echo.