NBA star challenges Aaron Judge but reneges on promise after losing it

NBA All-Star Donovan Mitchell and Yankees/ MLB star Aaron Judge
John Allen
Thursday June 27, 2024

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Challenge Aaron Judge only if you have ample courage to dare him. NBA All-Star Donovan Mitchell, a dedicated New York Mets fan, learned the hard lesson.

Mitchell, who plays for the Cleveland Cavaliers and has a strong connection to the Mets through his father, who has worked with the team since 1999, made a publicity stunt during Tuesday’s Subway Series clash between the Mets and the New York Yankees.

Throughout the game, Mitchell interacted with fans on social media platform X, formerly known as Twitter. His involvement took a surprising turn when he announced that he would delete his account if Yankees slugger Aaron Judge hit a grand slam in the eighth inning.

In an extraordinary twist, Aaron Judge did just that, launching a grand slam moments after Mitchell’s post. The NBA star’s prediction quickly went viral, garnering over 4.4 million views within 15 hours.

Mitchell’s reaction to Aaron Judge’s 390-foot home run was one of stunned disbelief, which he shared in another post on the platform.

Despite his initial declaration, Mitchell has not deleted his social media account as of Wednesday. This may be a relief for Yankees fans, who might look forward to more of Mitchell’s seemingly prophetic predictions in the future about Aaron Judge.

This incident underscores the dynamic interplay between social media, fan engagement, and the unpredictable nature of sports. It also highlights Mitchell’s deep ties to New York baseball, stemming from his upbringing in Elmsford, New York, just 25 miles from Madison Square Garden.

Alonso hypes Aaron Judge’s ‘insane’ form

New York Yankees’ Aaron Judge hits a grand slam home run during the eighth inning of a baseball game against the New York Mets Tuesday, June 25, 2024, in New York.
AP Photo/Frank Franklin II

Ahead of this week’s Subway Series, New York Mets first baseman Pete Alonso heaped praise on New York Yankees outfielder Aaron Judge, calling his 2024 season performance “absolutely insane.”

Alonso’s admiration came before Aaron Judge’s grand slam in Tuesday’s 9-7 loss and his MLB-leading 30th home run in Wednesday’s 12-2 defeat. The Yankees slugger now boasts 12 home runs in 23 career Subway Series games.

Alonso particularly highlighted Aaron Judge’s plate discipline and consistent line-drive hitting, noting that these aspects of his game are often overshadowed by his formidable power. He emphasized that the slugger’s ability to control the strike zone is an underrated part of his skill set.

“It’s absolutely insane,” Alonso admired Judge. “He’s known for his power, but the thing that’s most impressive is his plate discipline and his ability just to consistently hit line drives. I think that’s one of the most underrated things about him. Obviously, he’s one of the best in the world, but I think his ability of just controlling the strike zone gets overlooked. He’s a line-drive hitter with tremendous strength.”

As of Wednesday, Aaron Judge leads the majors in several categories, including 75 RBIs, a .700 slugging percentage, and a 1.128 OPS. Over his recent 46-game stretch, The Yankees captain has hit 23 home runs, surpassing the season total of any other MLB outfielder. During this period, his 57 RBIs matched teammate Juan Soto’s total for the entire 2024 season.

The two sluggers share a notable connection in MLB history. Aaron Judge’s rookie record of 52 home runs in 2017 was surpassed by Alonso’s 53 in 2019. Since 2019, Alonso has led all MLB hitters with 208 home runs, followed closely by Aaron Judge with 203, although Judge accomplished this in 141 fewer games.

Yankees manager Aaron Boone has recognized the pivotal roles Aaron Judge and Pete Alonso have played for their respective teams in recent years. He lauded Alonso as one of baseball’s premier home run hitters and noted that Aaron Judge might be the best player in the game over the past few seasons. Boone emphasized the players’ ability to thrive under the intense pressure of playing in New York City.

Yankees' Aaron Judge started as a left fielder for the first time in his career on June 6, 2024.
Yankees

Carlos Mendoza, the Mets’ manager and a former coach of Aaron Judge with the Yankees, remarked on the unique spectacle of having two of baseball’s best sluggers competing in New York. He pointed out the special dimension this adds to the rivalry between the two teams.

Alonso, 29, mentioned occasional off-season encounters with Aaron Judge, 32, in Tampa. He also noted that shared teammates, like Harrison Bader, speak highly of the Yankees’ captain. Alonso expressed respect for Aaron Judge and his accomplishments while acknowledging their competitive dynamic.

The ongoing performances of both players continue to fuel the excitement surrounding the Subway Series and contribute to the broader narrative of New York baseball.

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