Aaron Judge’s bat explodes, Kay shows mirror to Giants over ‘gutless’ jab

Yankees' star Aaron Judge rounds bases after hitting a mammoth 460-feet home run at Oracle Park against the Giants on June 1, 2024.
Joe Najarian
Sunday June 2, 2024

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SAN FRANCISCO — As the New York Yankees continue to dominate the Giants in San Francisco, Aaron Judge‘s performance has become an even hotter topic of conversation. The five-time All-Star, who has hit three homers in the past two games, isn’t the most well-liked player among Giants fans after he rejected their team’s offer to stay with the Yankees two years ago.

When Aaron Judge inked a massive nine-year, $360 million contract to remain in the Bronx before the 2023 season, it might have slipped some people’s minds that the San Francisco Giants were also close to signing the slugger. Essentially, the Yankees slugger turned down the Bay Area in favor of continuing his career with the Yankees.

During Friday’s game, when Aaron Judge stepped up to the plate, he was met with a chorus of boos from the Giants faithful. Among those voicing their displeasure was San Francisco radio host Matthew Steinmetz, who had some strong words for the current MLB home run leader.

“I’ve figured out why Aaron Judge didn’t want to come to San Francisco… He’s gutless,” Steinmetz said. “He didn’t want the pressure of Barry Bonds’ [shadow]!”

This, perhaps, spurred Aaron Judge to respond with his bat. After belting two homers in his first game at the stadium where he grew up cheering for the Giants, the slugger followed up with one of the most impressive blasts in the ballpark’s 25-year history.

Yankees voice Michael Kay led the Yankees nation from the front in fighting back. He paid the Giants back with his tweet, “John McGraw got upset that the Yankees were becoming so big so he told them they had to leave the Polo Grounds. That forced the Yankees to build Yankee Stadium, which opened in 1923. Who knows what would be if McGraw wasn’t the jealous type.”

Yankees broadcaster Kay alluded to how a misstep by the Giants inadvertently paved the way for the Yankees’ legendary success. John McGraw, one of baseball’s most accomplished managers, led the New York Giants to 10 pennants during his 30-year tenure. However, he became incensed when the Yankees, featuring Babe Ruth, began outshining the Giants in attendance at the Polo Grounds. In a fit of rage, McGraw evicted the Yankees, famously remarking, “The Yankees will have to build a park in Queens or some other out‐of‐the‐way place.” Undeterred, the Yankees opened Yankee Stadium a mere half-mile away, setting the stage for their iconic pinstriped legacy.

New York Yankees' star Aaron Judge ranks first in OPS in 2024

Is hatred fuelling Aaron Judge’s revenge?

The question arises: Is Aaron Judge’s stellar performance fueled by a desire for retribution against the Giants? The Yankees captain, seemingly motivated by the animosity, unleashed a relentless assault on Giants fans Friday night, launching two home runs to punctuate a historic May. On Saturday, he continued his onslaught, smashing yet another homer.

“Every game is important, but it might be a little personal,” his teammate Alex Verdugo said.

Following his two-homer outburst in the series opener, Aaron Judge couldn’t resist a subtle jab at the Giants’ expense, further intensifying the rivalry between the two storied franchises.

“It was close,” he said. “I’ve said it, you know, the past couple years. It was a while ago, but it was pretty close. Man, they’ve got a great organization here and a great team. Great pitching staff. Some great guys, young guys coming up. But, you know, we just ended up going to New York.”

In the world of sports broadcasting, it’s common to dramatize situations to captivate viewers. However, there’s a fine line between exaggeration and outright deception. While a blatant lie might occasionally be convincing, it’s never commendable. In this instance, the claim was not even credible, leaving the broadcaster with some refining to do.

New York Yankees’ Aaron Judge, left, celebrates after hitting a two-run home run against the San Francisco Giants during the first inning of a baseball game Saturday, June 1, 2024, in San Francisco.
AP Photo/Godofredo A. Vásquez

As if scripted, Aaron Judge delivered a fitting response to the jeering crowd, launching two home runs on Friday night, rubbing salt in their wounds. The California native, who grew up a Giants fan, expressed his mixed emotions about returning to his hometown after the game.

“You dream about it in the backyard, playing around a little bit,” the Yankees slugger said. “Rounding the bases, I looked out to left field, being in those bleachers a couple of times. It just brought back some memories. This is a special place. I grew up a Giants fan and loved coming to games out here. It’s pretty cool, being on the opposite side of the field.”

The California-born slugger had a remarkable hitting display in May, shattering records and transforming his slow start into MVP-caliber numbers within a single month. From MLB’s opening day to Apr. 22, Aaron Judge was hitting a mere .174/.308/.337 with three homers. However, his May numbers were a stark contrast, as he hit .371/.488/.928 with 12 doubles, 14 home runs, and 27 RBIs.

Despite initial skepticism about his chances of being considered an AL MVP contender, Aaron Judge silenced doubters with his bat. He continued his hot streak, homering again in the Yankees’ second game of the series against the Giants on Saturday.

“I’ve got a lot of family in town, a lot of friends in town,” Aaron Judge said. “We’ve got to do something special for them. I’m just trying to stay locked in and put on a show.”

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