Aaron Judge is carrying the 2022 Yankees. Here are 61 reasons why he must stay in New York.
NEW YORK – Back in late March, legions of Yankees fans and scores of media outlets wondered how Aaron Judge could turn down a $213.5 million contract extension.
By November, Judge will be ready to cash in on his sensational wager.
How high will the bidding go, and could the Yankees really let their Face of the Franchise walk away?
As Judge, currently with 55 homers, moves toward Roger Maris’ famous single-season Yankees record for home runs, here are 61 reasons why he should remain in pinstripes – in no particular order:
1. He’ll get paid
Whatever the price is, the Yankees can pay it. When they declare no one will outbid them, they follow through. This should be one of those times.
2. Captain Judge
Once secured to a long-term deal, the Yankees can officially grant him the prestigious title of team captain, their first since Derek Jeter.
3. Chance at Yankee immortality
Not to be morbid, but there are only four monuments to Yankees players in Monument Park.
4. No. 99 forever
At this rate, no one else will wear Judge’s No. 99 again. If he stays a Yankee, there’s almost a certainty that his number is retired.
5. 161st Street and River Avenue
A permanent home address at Yankee Stadium comes with a unique crackling atmosphere, regularly playing before near-capacity crowds.
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6. The All-Rise Foundation
Giving back has always been important to Judge, and a New York base provides more opportunities to expand.
7. A chance at multiple titles
OK, this hasn’t happened in a while. But there’s more reason to expect those results if Judge stays on a club with one of the game’s highest payrolls.
8. The pinstripes
No other team can match the iconic look of the Yankees uniform. Can you even picture Judge in, say, San Diego Padres green?
Versus any other boulevard in North America, there’s no contest.
10. Family life
The New York Metropolitan area offers the best of everything. A great place for newlyweds, like Judge and his wife, to raise a family.
11. The Brand
Judge has his own brand. And that brand is just better as a Yankee.
12. The kids
Not since Jeter has there been a Yankee so popular with their youngest fans, who fill the stands wearing his No. 99. That should mean something to management.
13. Season tickets
And the parents of those kids might not be so eager to pay expensive prices to see a Judge-less Yankee team, especially one that falls short again this October.
14. YES Network ratings
Judge is driving a lot of Yankee-related economy. And they’re a much better show when he’s the star attraction.
15. Red Sox Rivalry
Judge knows what it’s like to zap the electricity out of Fenway Park with a big home run. There’s just nothing comparable to Yanks vs. Red Sox.
16. The fanbase
There’s no one to win over. Judge is the homegrown star of the Yankees, having reached a special elite status. Anywhere else as a free agent, he’s a highly paid import with outsized expectations.
17. Legacy stuff
They named the West Side Highway after Joe DiMaggio, who only played for one big-league team -- the Yankees.
18. East or West 99th Street
Here’s a chance to name a portion of it, Aaron Judge Drive!
19. Assistant Yankees GM
With a bigger, longer-term contract comes the bonus of being hooked in on every major acquisition, with input and opinions that count.
20. Not Citi Field
When it comes to the city’s MLB parks, only the Bronx offers inviting right field dimensions and the chance at more home runs.
21. Monument Park plaque
Looks like a reality, but less likely with a free-agent exit.
22. Hall of Fame plaque
If Judge gets to Cooperstown, he’s in a Yankees cap forever. Maybe not, if he signs a 10-year deal with the San Francisco Giants.
23. Northern California
It’s home to Judge, but the Oakland Athletics won’t be bidding, and San Francisco’s Oracle Park isn’t Yankee Stadium.
24. Multiple chances at a Triple Crown
In franchise history, only Lou Gehrig (1934) and Mickey Mantle (1956) have done it, and Judge is in the conversation now.
25. Center of the World
That’s New York City. No place else.
26. Aaron Judge Day
Automatically happens, at some point, and probably on more than one occasion.
27. Aaron Judge Gate
An entrance at the Stadium? Sure. Gate 99.
28. Aaron Judge Suite
Along with the ones named for Jeter, DiMaggio, Yogi Berra, Whitey Ford, etc.
29. Yankee Royalty
On future Old-Timers' Days, Judge could enjoy the DiMaggio treatment (Jeter will get this, when he starts appearing), wearing a suit instead of a uniform.
30. Multiple MVPs
As a Yankee, joining the storied likes of Berra, Mantle and DiMaggio.
31. U.S. Open tennis
Judge was in attendance recently. It’s only played in New York.
You can get around better here than in L.A. or Bay Area traffic.
33. Judge’s Chambers
The Yankees hold the patent on that seating area. Or at least, they can claim it.
34. Law and Order
Filmed on the streets of New York. Rooting for multiple guest shots of Judge as a judge.
35. John Sterling’s home run calls
Who else would you want on the mic for those Judgian blasts!
36. AJ’s Steakhouse
Hires a five-star chef and creates the next top-rated restaurant in town.
37. Times Square
Judge once liked the anonymity of walking around unnoticed in a place most New Yorkers avoid.
38. All-Rise high rise
Now, Judge can afford to reside anywhere in Manhattan.
39. Madison Avenue
Judge’s selling power as a pitchman, and a lucrative side income, is just better as a Yankee.
40. Canyon of Heroes
A better, more iconic World Series parade route than Sunset Boulevard.
41. Staten Island, Roosevelt Island, Governor’s Island…
Judge can buy an island here.
42. Postseason awards
Six Yankees position players have claimed a World Series MVP. Judge would be in play to be the seventh.
43. Top jersey
Judge had the top-selling MLB jersey in his first three seasons and has never been out of the top seven.
44. New Jersey
Outside of a new location, would a Judge jersey remain that popular? OK, probably.
45. The Jackie Robinson Museum
Recently opened in New York.
46. New York Awards
You can only receive the Sid Mercer/Dick Young New York Player of the Year award and the Joe DiMaggio Toast of the Town award (both previously won by Judge) by the New York Chapter of the Baseball Writers’ Association.
47. New York Writers’ Dinner
And you can only accept those awards at the famous New York Baseball Writers’ Dinner.
48. New Yankee Stadium
Judge’s 54th homer this year was his 113th at home, tying him with Mark Teixeira for the most at the current Yankee Stadium. When it’s all said and done, Judge might hold every offensive mark at the newer address.
49. Central Park West
If you’re looking for a great residential address, here it is.
Same as above.
Also, same as above.
52. Park Slope
There are other fine places outside of Manhattan. Such as Brooklyn.
53. Alpine, NJ
Let CC Sabathia be your real estate agent.
54. Center field
Hallowed real estate in Yankees history and Judge’s most played position in 2022.
55. 'Judge' The Musical
Want a Broadway show about your life and times? Stick around.
56. Homegrown talent
Of all the players drafted and signed by the Yankees, Judge has a chance to have the most home runs from that group by 2023 or 2024.
57. Yankees ownership stake
It wouldn’t hurt to ask.
58. The City that Never Sleeps
They don’t say that about Houston.
59. Judge for Mayor of New York
Would probably be a competitive write-in candidacy
60. Passing the Torch
Is there a better ambassador to surpass Maris’ mark, with all the due dignity and reverence for Yankees history, than Judge?
61. New York pizza
Better than anywhere else.
This article originally appeared on NorthJersey.com: Aaron Judge and home runs carrying Yankees: Why he must stay