As Major League Baseball welcomed a new Draft class on Monday night, Aaron Judge offered a reminder of how far he has come since being selected just four years ago. His Yankees were on the road, facing the Angels in Judge's home state, where he had plenty of fans waiting to cheer him on.
The Yankees carried a 3-1 lead into the seventh, but in the home half, the Angels tied it up. Even worse was the fact that a Judge overthrow allowed the tying run to move into scoring position.
However, it did set the stage for Judge to bat in the top of the eighth with Aaron Hicks on second after a double. Mike Scioscia brought in Bud Norris, who entered Monday with a 2.43 ERA. It didn't matter.
Yes, he did it again -- another opposite-field mammoth shot.
Judge's MLB-best 22nd home run went 435 feet and led the Yankees to a 5-3 victory. Most remarkably, it sparked an "MVP" chant from the Angel Stadium crowd.
Although Judge said that he wasn't really thinking about the cheers since he was focused on the close game, his manager could only marvel at them. "It really is amazing and it shows you the support Yankee fans give you," said Joe Girardi to MLB.com's Barry Bloom. "Fans are showing up on the road, too. It's really special."
These fans are no strangers to the cheer. After all, their own Mike Trout has brought home AL MVP honors in two of the last four seasons, including 2016. This time, though, it was the visiting Judge who received the cheers, thanks in great part to the well-traveled Yankees fans.