Rizzo played a big part in Aaron Judge’s Bronx return

Aaron Judge and Anthony Rizzo

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The friendship between Aaron Judge and Anthony Rizzo remains a talking point in the Bronx. There was a lot of speculation this winter that the first baseman’s aggressive texting campaign may have been the club’s secret weapon to win over the AL MVP. Now the Yankees’ captain has admitted that it had happened making him to return to the Bronx.

After a season in which he made history, Aaron Judge won the American League MVP Award and signed a nine-year, $360 million contract extension with the New York Yankees. Anthony Rizzo and his dog had something to do with Judge’s decision to come back to the team. Rizzo talked to Aaron Judge every day and sent him pictures of their dogs together in an effort to get the outfielder back to the Yankees.

Aaron Judge went on NBC’s “The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon” on Monday and talked about how Rizzo won his heart by sending him daily text messages, including pictures of their Dachshunds running around the Yankee Stadium outfield together, when Judge was a free agent.

“He was a big part,” Aaron Judge said of Rizzo. “He was a free agent, too; he opted out, but he got his contract out of the way in November and he said, ‘Now we’ve got to get you locked in.’ He was calling me every day. He was sending me texts every day. He was working hard.”

“He went for my heart. My little Penny and his dog, Kevin, are the best of friends. Every day, I was getting photos.”

But Rizzo didn’t stop there. The four-time Gold Glove first baseman tugged on Aaron Judge’s heartstrings by constantly reminding him of how close his dog is to Aaron’s dog, Penny. It worked!

The Yankees captain has had a busy week in the city. He went to a Drake concert and a home game for the New York Rangers. On Saturday night, Aaron Judge will accept his 2022 American League MVP Award at the New York BBWAA Dinner.

Aaron Judge, who signed a nine-year, $360 million contract with the Yankees in December, said he was going to have lunch with Derek Jeter to talk about the free-agent process.

“You know what, I’ll take you out to lunch, we’ll kind of talk about things,” Judge said. “But then after I signed my deal, he said, ‘Now you’re going to take me out for breakfast, lunch, and dinner.’”

Aaron Judge first appeared on “The Tonight Show” in May 2017 for a pre-recorded bit in which he quizzed fans in New York’s Bryant Park while wearing a pair of Clark Kent glasses. Together with the host, Judge photobombed to the surprise of many Yankees fans at an MLB Store in November 2022.

Aaron Judge took part in a “Blow Your Mind” game show segment early on Monday’s show, which led to some fun. After a commercial break, Judge showed up on the couch for the first time. He still has nine years left in New York, so it’s likely not his last.

“It’s about time,” Judge said. “I’ve been waiting.”

Rizzo worked to get back Aaron Judge

During an interview on “The Book of Joe” podcast, Anthony Rizzo confirmed:

“I did send him a couple of pictures of our dogs together, because we both have dachshunds, saying we can’t break them up,” Rizzo said. “But it was just more encouraging of, ‘What’s gonna be best for you and Sam?’”

“I had some conversations with Aaron Judge, [to] see what he was thinking, obviously,” Anthony Rizzo said. “[Wife] Emily and I, we decided our top priority was to stay in New York and if that was an option early we would jump on it as long as everything fit right and it did and we’re pumped.”

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