Saturday, February 4, 2023

Young Yankees fan meets hero Judge a day after viral home run ball moment

TORONTO — Tears of pleasure began to circulate as Derek Rodriguez walked down the steps to area degree at Rogers Centre on Wednesday, a day after a clip of the nine-year-old being handed an Aaron Judge home run ball went viral.

The teenager, sporting a Yankees hat, face masks and Judge T-shirt with No. 99 on the again, watched pre-game batting follow earlier than assembly his hero within the New York dugout.

“I requested him who his favorite participant was and he rotated and confirmed me his little jersey,” Judge mentioned. “That also provides me goosebumps to this day.”

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A beaming Rodriguez was accompanied by relations and Blue Jays fan Mike Lanzillotta, who snagged the ball that Judge hit into the second deck on Tuesday. Lanzillotta handed the ball to the teenager, who was overcome with emotion.

“That’s a moment that’s been seen around the globe now,” Judge mentioned. “It simply speaks volumes to the Blue Jays followers they’ve right here. It’s a cool little connection they’ve obtained.”

Cameras captured Rodriguez, with mouth agape and eyes aglow, giving Lanzillotta a hug because the teenager broke down in tears.

“That’s a kind of moments that warms your coronary heart,” mentioned Yankees supervisor Aaron Boone.

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Rodriguez mentioned he was “so pleased” to be given the baseball, particularly because it was Judge who hit the homer.

“All I can keep in mind was I mentioned, ‘Thanks’ and I hugged him,” he mentioned. “I don’t keep in mind anything after that.”

On Wednesday, Judge chatted with the boy for a jiffy within the dugout. The towering slugger signed the home run ball, gave him a pair of batting gloves and posed for photos.

“I was in his place,” Judge mentioned. “That little child, rooting on my favorite gamers and staff. In order that was a fairly cool moment that I positively received’t neglect.”

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Yankees second baseman Gleyber Torres additionally spoke to the boy in Spanish. Rodriguez – named after Yankees Corridor of Fame shortstop Derek Jeter – was born in Caracas, Venezuela, and his household moved to Canada about 5 years in the past.

The teenager mentioned he took his prized ball to high school Wednesday.

“My associates and my trainer have been actually pleased they usually congratulated me,” he mentioned. “My trainer even made a presentation the place she confirmed what occurred, and folks obtained to the touch the ball. It was simply wonderful.”

Lanzillotta mentioned he tried to catch Judge’s homer on the fly however it glanced off his hand and brushed his good friend’s face earlier than falling into a hotdog tray.

He raised his arms within the air with ball in hand after which reached a few seats over at hand it to the teenager.

“That was most likely one of the memorable moments of my life,” Lanzillotta mentioned. “As quickly as his hand obtained on that ball, it’s like, ‘That’s it.’ His eyes began watering up and he threw his arms round me.”

With recordsdata from The Related Press.

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