Gerrit Cole lavishes praise on Aaron Judge’s star power after display vs. Dodgers

New York Yankees' Aaron Judge at T-Mobile Park, Seattle, on May 29, 2023.
Sara Molnick
Sunday June 4, 2023

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LOS ANGELES — Aaron Judge played a pivotal role in the New York Yankees’ crucial victory against the Los Angeles Dodgers, successfully leveling their series. Notably, his teammate Gerrit Cole found himself struggling to articulate the extent of his admiration for Aaron Judge, given the magnitude of his contributions.

After the Yankees secured a satisfying 6-3 victory over the Dodgers, effectively avenging their previous 8-4 loss, Gerrit Cole openly expressed his admiration for Aaron Judge. While the Yankees captain’s exceptional skills are widely recognized, the ace, who has the privilege of witnessing Aaron Judge’s performance on a near-daily basis, couldn’t help but express his gratitude for not having to face him as an opponent. The sheer talent and prowess displayed by Aaron Judge leave even his own teammates in awe.

Gerrit Cole says Aaron Judge is the ultimate

The Yankees ace went to the extent of asserting that he was unable to identify any weaknesses in the game of the current American League MVP. Such is the remarkable skill and proficiency exhibited by Aaron Judge that Gerrit Cole finds it challenging to pinpoint any areas of vulnerability in his performance.

Gerrit Cole marveled at Aaron Judge’s exceptional abilities, acknowledging that while the series featured several great players, Judge stood out on another level. According to Bryan Hoch, Cole expressed his admiration for Judge, emphasizing that there isn’t a weak part of his game. He considered it a true blessing to have Judge as a teammate and said:

“He’s amazing, man. There’s some great players in this series, no doubt; a couple of Hall of Famers on the other side as well. But he’s just on another level. There’s not a weak part of his game. Gosh, what a blessing to have him on my team.”

The Catch of the Year by Judge

As Yankees manager Aaron Boone witnessed his team’s highly valued right fielder forcefully break through the barrier of the visitor’s bullpen at Dodger Stadium while making a stunning catch, his immediate reaction was a concerned “Oh no.”

In the bottom of the eighth inning, with the Yankees maintaining a 5-3 lead against the Dodgers and a runner on first base with no outs, J.D. Martinez struck a powerful line drive toward the right-field wall, reaching an impressive speed of 104.9 mph. The trajectory of the hit seemed concerning, but Aaron Judge swiftly reacted, sprinting toward the wall. With great athleticism, Aaron Judge made an exceptional over-the-shoulder catch, colliding headfirst into the bullpen and causing the wall to rupture upon impact.

When Yankees outfielder Oswaldo Cabrera was asked about his reaction to the play, he referred to Aaron Judge as being “from another planet.” Cabrera was in left field at the time and witnessed Aaron Judge’s extraordinary catch from a close quarter. This incredible display of fielding prowess marked Aaron Judge’s second remarkable catch of the week, the first being in Seattle where he prevented Teoscar Hernandez from hitting a home run.

Aaron Judge of the Yankees is taking a spectacular catch prevented Teoscar Hernandez of Seattle from hitting a home run on May 29, 2023.

Baseball’s demanding schedule, with games played almost daily, contributes to its grueling nature. The constant flow of games often leads to the rapid fading of day-to-day results from memory. Yankees manager Aaron Boone acknowledged the need to remind himself to appreciate the exceptional talent exhibited by Aaron Judge. In any generation, only a select few athletes can be considered truly transcendent in their sport, and Judge is undoubtedly one of those remarkable players in Major League Baseball.

Gerrit Cole expressed his admiration for Aaron Judge, emphasizing his overall excellence. According to Cole, there isn’t a single aspect of Aaron Judge’s game that is weak. He commended Judge’s ability to make exceptional plays as well as consistently deliver as an offensive powerhouse. Cole reflected on the blessing it is to have Aaron Judge as a teammate, appreciating the immense value he brings to the team.

“He’s just so solid all around,” Cole said. “Like, there’s not a weak part of his game. He can go make an outstanding play, and then he can go make the plays that he’s got to make every single day for being such a dynamic offensive hitter. And it’s just — gosh, what a blessing. What a blessing to have him on my team.”

Aaron Judge remains humble

Despite Aaron Judge’s remarkable home run robbery earlier in the week, he modestly referred to it as “just another catch.” He downplayed the significance of the play, possibly due to the Yankees‘ comfortable lead at the time. In contrast, the catch he made on Saturday carried greater importance. If Aaron Judge had not successfully caught the ball, it could have resulted in Max Muncy scoring from first base. This would have narrowed the Yankees’ lead to 5-4, with the Dodgers having a strong chance of tying the game or taking the lead with no outs and Martinez in a favorable scoring position.

Aaron Judge acknowledged that the Dodgers were building momentum during that stage of the game when he made the crucial play. In the preceding inning, Los Angeles managed to score two runs off Yankees reliever Wandy Peralta. The Yankees had struggled to generate offense, with only two base runners in their previous 14 plate appearances, both of whom were Judge. Earlier in the game, Aaron Judge showcased his power by launching his 19th home run of the season, a solo shot that left his bat with incredible speed at 113.7 mph. Additionally, he displayed discipline at the plate by drawing a walk in the eighth inning.

However, Aaron Judge’s remarkable catch, as he crashed through the wall, potentially preserved the Yankees’ lead and ultimately paved the way for a 6-3 victory.

Gerrit Cole compared Aaron Judge’s catch to a memorable moment from Bo Jackson‘s career, where he also ran straight through a wall. He expressed his belief that Aaron Judge’s collision with the wall may have been slightly softened, but he still found it concerning to witness such a talented player put so much effort and bravery into making the play.

“I feel like Bo Jackson did that once,” Cole said. “Bo ran, like, just straight through the wall. Honestly, I feel like it probably softened the blow a little bit. … It’s still very concerning when such a great player has to go so hard into the wall. He’s got a lot of guts.”

Yankees' Aaron Judge is interviewed by Ken Rosenthal after his spectacular catch against the Dodgers on June 3, 2023, at Dodger Stadium.

Boons brands Judge exceptional

Aaron Judge’s fearlessness and unwavering effort are integral parts of his exceptional play, according to Boone, who expressed no desire for him to dial it back. Even when he suffered a hip injury while attempting to steal third base in April, Aaron Judge maintained that he had no regrets because he believed it would have enhanced Anthony Rizzo‘s ability to drive in runs. Similarly, after making the remarkable catch on Saturday, Judge disregarded the concerns of Boone and the team’s medical staff to avoid disrupting relief pitcher Michael King’s rhythm. It is evident that Judge consistently prioritizes the well-being and success of his teammates over any personal achievements.

Boone acknowledged Aaron Judge’s natural playing style, emphasizing the importance of his contribution to the game. He praised Judge’s intelligence and highlighted his ability to persevere through challenges, noting his growth over the years. According to Boone, when the game is on the line, Aaron Judge can always be relied upon to make the necessary play.

Boone shared that his son had previously texted him calling Judge’s home run-saving catch the greatest he had witnessed. While his son hadn’t yet messaged him about this recent catch, Boone anticipated receiving a message soon. Aaron Judge, on the other hand, refrained from ranking this catch among his all-time plays but acknowledged its potential inclusion in his career highlight reel.

With a smile, Aaron Judge stated that for now, the catch was simply another in his repertoire. He playfully mentioned the possibility of reviewing the replays before providing further insights into their significance.

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2 thoughts on “Gerrit Cole lavishes praise on Aaron Judge’s star power after display vs. Dodgers

  1. I cry when I read and watch AJ. His karma has caused me to feel very close identification with my values. These are tears of joy. Just hope the fame and wealth do not steer AJ from the glorious path he is paving for all MLB adherents and advocates.

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