Forbidden Love is a Cubs DNA series where our staff waxes poetic about a player on a team other than the Cubs. Maybe even one you think they should hate. In this installment, Staci offers some love for New York Yankees outfielder Aaron Judge.
UPDATE: Sadly, Judge once again had trouble staying on the field in 2020, missing several weeks of the season with a calf injury and only playing in 28 games. During those games he managed to hit 9 HRs with a 140 wRC+, but his BA and OBP both dipped to career lows. Luckily for the Yankees, Judge got healthy in time for the postseason, and while he only has two hits so far, they've both been timely, monster dingers. OH, and he's now partnered with Jersey Mike's to raise even more money to help low-income youth through his All Rise Foundation. Which, yeah... good guy still doing good things.
You may or may not have heard a startling truth about me--I, your Cubs DNA staffer, am married to a Yankees fan. Yes, this has been a difficult thing at times over the last 17 years, particularly before 2016 when those 27 RINGS OMG!!!! stung a whole lot more than they do now.
Now, I know that the Yankees perpetual winning and the resulting obnoxiousness of a large portion of their fanbase sometimes makes it hard to like them, but let me submit to you the one Yankee that is pretty impossible to hate:
Now, I'll admit to some bias here, because Aaron Judge graduated from the same high school in Linden, CA that my mom did an extreme amount of years earlier. Linden, in case you didn't know, is a blink-and-you'll-miss-it town in the San Joaquin Valley, mostly known for growing apples and being just outside of the crime-ridden city of Stockton. Judge is, by far, the best famous thing to come out of Linden, and the second best thing in general to my mom.
But honestly... Aaron Judge is pretty great. First, because he is a large human, and generally looks preposterous in a baseball uniform. I mean, who looks like this in their uni?
I was disappointed when the Yankees let Ronald Torreyes go, because watching him and Judge have fun with their size differential was a highlight of Yankees games. Like that time they decided to swap jerseys.
But despite the fact that Orbit rightly recognized Judge's resemblance to Sid from Toy Story, let's not forget that Aaron is an elite ballplayer. His career 152 wRC+ really should tell us all we need to know about his offensive abilities (seriously--that's nuts), and he's posted 17.8 fWAR in just three complete seasons in MLB. He's a well above average defensive player, too, posting a career 13.4 UZR/150 in RF.
Don't even keep lying to yourself and say you wouldn't take Judge patrolling RF for the Cubs right this very minute, either. Put him in royal blue pinstripes instead of navy and you'd all fall in love reallllly fast.
Judge also recently held another of his All Rise Procamps in Fresno, CA, which he provides free to children and focuses on leadership and engaging in productive activities to help kids become responsible citizens. His camps are funded through his All Rise Foundation, and I can tell you the youth of the CA Central Valley can certainly use a positive presence like Judge offering these types of unique opportunities.
I guess what I'm saying is that sometimes it's OK to embrace the thing you hate the most. Or, at least, the extremely great ballplayer with a big heart who is way too likeable to deny him the love he deserves. Right, Aaron?