TAMPA — “No regrets,” Aaron Judge said Thursday, looking back at the zaniness that transpired last October. In addition to being the Yankees’ right fielder and feared slugger, he’ll retain his role as club DJ.
“That speaker will still be with me,” Judge told The Post at George M. Steinbrenner Field, where the Yankees defeated the Pirates 8-6. “I’ll still be playing songs after we win on getaway days. Nothing will change.”
Nothing should change for Judge, already one of the most respected and respectful players in the industry at 26. Really, if there’s a lesson to be learned from “New York, New York”-gate, it doesn’t concern attitude or actions. It concerns nothing more serious than logistics:
What happens at Fenway Park does not stay at Fenway Park.
“That’s the funny thing,” Judge explained. “On getaway days, I play music if we win, every single time. But most of the time, nobody hears it, because there’s usually tunnels that we’re going through to the bus.
“And the only way to get out of Fenway is through the concourse. That’s the only place to play it.”
Early in the morning Oct. 7, after Judge and the Yankees defeated the Red Sox, 6-2, to send the American League Division Series back to the Bronx with a 1-1 tie, Judge blasted “New York, New York” on his speaker as he headed to the bus for Logan Airport. Because the media occupies that same concourse area as it departs the visitors’ clubhouse, video of Judge and his song selection wound up on a tweet posted by Major League Baseball.
Suddenly, it became a thing, an alleged rival trolling, and boy, did the Red Sox take it personally. They partied to Frank Sinatra’s anthem in their clubhouse not only when they won the ALDS two days later at Yankee Stadium, but also when they defeated the Dodgers in Los Angeles to capture the World Series.
“I didn’t really know they [played it at the World Series]. It might have been later in the offseason [when I found out],” Judge said. “Someone either shared a video or something like that. But you just kind of laugh about it, to be honest. That’s all you really can do.”
To be clear, Judge said, “For me, it’s never for the opponent. Stuff like that, I play it for our team. I play music on the bus, to and from the bus, on the airplane. After a win, it’s for the team. It’s for nobody else except our team.”
The legendary song promoting The Big Apple’s greatness “is on the playlist,” Judge said. That night did not mark its debut as the getaway-day victory song, he added.
The sequence of events turned Judge into a target of teammate-turned-ESPN commentator Mark Teixeira, who scolded Judge on the air, saying, “You woke a sleeping giant” in the Red Sox. Judge shrugged off Teixeira’s criticism, and he enjoys widespread support in his clubhouse.
“I thought it was less intentional and a little more coincidental than [believed],” Aaron Boone said.
Shortly after the Yankees’ elimination last fall, CC Sabathia passionately defended Judge on his “R2C2” podcast, saying, “We played the music. It is what it is. We lost. [The Red Sox] played the music. So what? That didn’t make us lose the game. That didn’t make us lose the series, Judge playing that music. Not at all. They beat us. … It wasn’t even for the rivalry. It was just the way we were feeling.”
Sabathia said on Wednesday that time’s passing hadn’t changed his opinion at all.
Judge knows that his accomplishments, his actual size and his status as a star Yankee draw intense scrutiny. He’s figured it out pretty well so far, becoming a team leader and honoring his status as “the kind of player that can become a face of the game,” as commissioner Rob Manfred called him two years ago. Besides, even if he had been trolling the Red Sox, that’s about as innocuous as it gets.
So he should keep DJ-ing, keep pumping up his teammates. Maybe just keep the volume down at Fenway a little, and he’ll remain golden.
Source: Read Full Article