Aaron Judge meets young Yankees fan from viral home run moment

TORONTO — Aaron Judge received to satisfy doubtless his largest fan of all on Wednesday at Rogers Centre.

A day after the heart-warming scene of 9-year-old Yankees fan Derek Rodriguez hugging Mike Lanzillotta — the Blue Jays fan who got here away with Judge’s home-run ball within the sixth inning of Tuesday’s recreation earlier than giving the ball to Rodriguez — the 2 had been again at Rogers Centre, the place they had been each launched to Judge.

“It was a particular moment,’’ Judge stated of meeting each earlier than the sport Wednesday night time.

It occurred Tuesday when Judge turned on a 3-2 Alek Manoah fastball with the Yankees trailing 1-0. The 427-foot shot landed within the second deck in left discipline, resulting in a little bit of a scramble, with Lanzillotta grabbing it off the bottom.

Lanzillotta, who had talked to Derek and his father, Cesar, earlier within the recreation and knew he was an enormous Judge fan, circled and handed him the ball, which was proven on the telecast, because it occurred proper after the ball was hit.

Aaron Judge meets with Toronto Blue Jays fan Mike Lanzillotta (l.) and Yankee fan Derek Rodriguez.
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The now-viral video of Lanzillota choosing up the ball and instantly handing it to the 9-year-old Rodriguez, who then hugged Lanzillotta and began crying, led to the Yankees bringing them collectively once more earlier than Wednesday’s collection finale.

“For a Blue Jays’ fan to have that moment with a young Yankee fan, that’s a moment seen around the world,’’ Judge said. “It speaks volumes to the Blue Jays fans they have here. … It was cool.”

Judge spoke to Rodriguez within the visiting dugout for a number of moments, the place Rodriguez was overcome with emotion once more.

Nine-year-old Derek Rodriguez meets Aaron Judge within the dugout earlier than the Yankees’ recreation towards Toronto on Wednesday.
Young fan Derek Rodriguez, 9, reacts whereas meeting Aaron Judge.
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“I asked him who his favorite player was and he turned around with his little jersey,’’ Judge said of the No. 99 shirt Rodriguez was wearing. “It still gives me goose bumps seeing little kids wearing my number, my jersey. That was something I dreamed of. I used to be in his position, with my favorite players and teams. It was a pretty cool moment.”

Rodriguez, accompanied by his household, stated he introduced the “famous ball” to high school and introduced a marker to Wednesday’s recreation to get it signed by Judge.

“I’m excited this occurred,’’ stated Rodriguez, who was named after Derek Jeter.

And, he stated of Lanzillotta, “I’ll call him my best friend for life.”

“That’s tough to beat,’’ Yankees manager Aaron Boone said of the moment between Rodriguez and Lanzillotta. “That’s one of the moments that warms your heart.”

Rodriguez and his household are anticipated to be reunited with Lanzillotta later this year — maybe in June — when the Blue Jays go to The Bronx, and so they have all been invited to sit down within the Judge’s Chambers in proper discipline.

It shall be laborious for Judge to offer a extra dramatic moment.

Right now, he stays in a torrid stretch throughout which he’s hit 5 homers in his earlier 5 video games, six in his final seven and eight in his final 10.

Judge entered Wednesday with 9 homers on the season, tied with teammate Anthony Rizzo and Colorado’s C.J. Cron for tops within the majors.

The excellent first month comes after Judge turned down the Yankees’ seven-year, $230 million extension supply previous to spring coaching.

Days like Wednesday are a reminder of why Judge would possibly suppose he’s price greater than that.

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