Shohei Ohtani says it all with one word upon meeting Yankee giant Aaron Judge

Dodgers' Shohei Ohtani had the most wide-eyed response when he saw Aaron Judge before the anticipated Yankees series in New York.
Esteban Quiñones
Monday June 10, 2024

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In a highly anticipated home series at Yankee Stadium, two of baseball’s biggest stars, Aaron Judge of the New York Yankees and Shohei Ohtani of the Los Angeles Dodgers, crossed paths. The Dodgers came to New York for what was touted as the most anticipated show of the season, and they didn’t disappoint, winning the series 2-1. The Yankees, hampered by the absence of Juan Soto, struggled both offensively and defensively. However, the encounter between Judge and Ohtani added a significant chapter to this rivalry. Ohtani’s reaction upon meeting Judge was as straightforward as it was telling: “Huge.”

Shohei Ohtani’s recent comments on Aaron Judge didn’t need much translation

Ahead of the Yankees-Dodgers game on Sunday, Ohtani was asked for his thoughts when he saw Aaron Judge at the plate.

“Huge,” Ohtani said. “I see him every year, but I’m just surprised at how big he is.”

Aaron Judge, who measures in at 6’7” and 282 pounds, is only a few inches taller than Ohtani, but with the season he’s having, it’s no wonder Judge can sometimes seem larger than life. The five-time All-Star recorded his league-leading 24th home run of the season in the eighth inning of the Yankees’ 6-4 win against the Dodgers on Sunday. Ohtani, for his part, is slashing .311/.379/.571 with 15 homers on the year.

Judge and Ohtani rarely find themselves in direct competition with each other, yet there was one play from the game in which Judge tried—but ultimately failed—to throw out Ohtani. During the eighth inning, the Dodgers star proved too speedy and managed to outrun Judge’s throw to home plate, sliding in milliseconds before the catcher tried to tag him. The Yankees avoided the sweep against the Dodgers and went home with the victory, but this will hardly be the last time that the league’s top sluggers Ohtani and Judge square off.

Shohei Ohtani’s respect for Aaron Judge

Two-way superstar Shohei Ohtani has been a formidable force for the Los Angeles Dodgers this season. The LA club just finished a three-game series with the New York Yankees, suffering only one loss and missing the chance to sweep them. In another interview with ESPN, Ohtani was asked about his views on Yankees captain Aaron Judge. In response, the Japanese superstar expressed his admiration for Judge, discussing what he has learned from watching him over the years: “I see every year, but I’m just surprised at how big he is. And also regardless of the situation, he’s always taking his swing, and that’s something that I really can learn a lot from,” Ohtani said.

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

This statement highlights the mutual respect between two of baseball’s brightest stars. Despite playing in different leagues now—Ohtani with the Dodgers in the National League and Judge with the Yankees in the American League—their admiration for each other’s talent remains undiminished. Ohtani and Judge have both competed for the AL MVP award in the past, with Ohtani winning it in 2021 and 2023, and Judge taking the honor in 2022. While they are both competing for separate awards now, both Judge and Ohtani are front runners for another MVP accolade in their respective leagues.

Shohei Ohtani outruns Aaron Judge’s throw

Sunday’s game concluded with a 6-4 victory for the New York Yankees in the final game of their three-game series against the Los Angeles Dodgers. During the contest, one of the highlights was a play where Yankees outfielder Aaron Judge tried to throw out Dodgers star Shohei Ohtani as he attempted to score on a fly ball to right field. The moment, captured and shared by MLB’s official Twitter account, showcased the intense rivalry and athletic prowess of both players.

Aaron Judge’s throw had a speed of 93.4 mph, nearing his season’s best, while Ohtani’s sprint speed of 29.4 feet per second was equally impressive, per MLB.com’s Sarah Langs. Despite Judge’s best efforts, Ohtani’s speed won out, with the Japanese star sliding in safely, making the score 5-4.

The Dodgers, now holding a 41-26 record, sit at the top of the NL West standings and are set to face the Texas Rangers on Tuesday in the opener of their three-game series. Meanwhile, the Yankees, with a 46-21 record, lead the AL East standings. Will the Dodgers and Yankees meet again in the World Series? What do you think? Leave your comment below!

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