Judge 'where I wanted to be' after homer against free agency suitors San Francisco
Aaron Judge hit the first home run of the MLB season from his first at-bat and declared he is "where I wanted to be" – on the New York Yankees.
The reigning AL MVP was straight back at it at Yankee Stadium on Opening Day as New York beat the San Francisco Giants 5-0.
Yet Judge could have been in the visiting team on Thursday.
He was a Giants fan as a child and the subject of interest from San Francisco in free agency this offseason before returning to the Yankees.
The quirk in the schedule was not lost on Judge then as he joked ahead of the game: "I don't know who at MLB did that to me."
But afterwards, the four-time All-Star reiterated his commitment to the Yankees.
"I didn't want to go anywhere," he said. "I was pretty vocal about that from the beginning. This is where I wanted be."
That Judge should have the year's first homer was as fitting as the identity of the Yankees' Opening Day opponents. He had 62 last year, an AL record.
Just three players – Barry Bonds, Mark McGwire and Sammy Sosa – have previously topped that mark in the major leagues. All three were accused of using performance-enhancing drugs during their careers; Bonds was indicted but not convicted for allegedly lying about his alleged use of steroids, McGwire admitted to using PEDs, while Sosa denied he had ever used them.
Only McGwire and Sosa have ever had back-to-back 60-homer seasons, and they are among five players to have had back-to-back 50-homer seasons.
The legendary Babe Ruth is the sole Yankee on that list, and Judge knows the scale of the task before him.
"I know very few followed up with 60. A couple I know hit 50 after that," he said. "But we'll see what happens. Maybe we can make a new list. We'll see."