The Yankee dugout erupted in celebration as Aaron Judge’s 61st home run took flight off his bat and into the Blue Jays bullpen, as the Bombers celebrated a man they universally consider to be the ultimate teammate.
“Nobody quite like Aaron,” Gerrit Cole said.
Every Yankee teammate came pouring out of the dugout as Judge completed his trip around the bases, eager to celebrate with a revered leader and the team’s unquestioned superstar, who has given the Yanks a front row seat to history in 2022.
“It kind of felt like we were the only ones there,” Cole said. “It was just a really special moment of togetherness. We were all so proud of him and know how hard he works. He wants to keep it low-key, like he always does, but boy, does he deserve it. He deserved hugs from all of us, and I’m thankful we were able to share it with him in that moment.”
For Cole, home run No. 61 wasn’t just a chance to celebrate Judge’s otherworldly talent on the field, but to recognize a deserved honor for a player whose impact in the clubhouse equals his league-leading value on the diamond.
“He knows what he needs to do,” Cole said. “He obviously cares and is obviously emotional. He’s a human being. But when it comes to work, for his teammates, for himself, just tries his best to be the same every day…and somehow finds a way to make an impact on someone else’s day, no matter how his day is going.”
Given the respect Judge holds inside the Yankee clubhouse, it was an easy and spirited celebration for the Bombers when their leader came one step away from being the franchise’s leader in the home run department, which they now can hope happens back home in New York.
“He’s as beloved as they come,” Aaron Boone said. “I think everyone is just so excited for him. It’s partly because of how Aaron is, but everyone feels a part of it, and that’s how Aaron is as a teammate…that’s a tribute to him.
“Setting up now for just an amazing atmosphere again in the Bronx starting Friday night. It’s a good script so far.”
Follow Ryan Chichester on Twitter: @ryanchichester1