We can say with confidence that Aaron Judge didn’t have one of these at Beiden Field.
But now that the former Fresno State baseball standout is clobbering home runs for the New York Yankees, well, a star is born. And in the Big Apple, a star gets treatment fit for a 6-foot-7 king who has hit 15 home runs in the first 40 games of the season.
The MLB rookie now has his own custom rooting section, The Judge’s Chambers, behind the right field he patrols at Yankee Stadium.
Framed by faux wood paneling, covering three rows and fashioned to fit 18 fans wearing black judicial robes with the Yankees logo on the front and his No. 99 on the back, this court opened Monday night.
It looks like a jury box, ballpark style, with proper lettering at the back of Section 104.
Judge, who hit 18 home runs (and 41 doubles) while playing for Bulldogs 2011-13, said he was humbled when the Yankees approached him with the concept. After all, this is a franchise that doesn’t often do things to single out players, even Bronx Bombers.
“I was shocked, you know. I was surprised,” Judge said.
Unlike the King’s Court in Seattle for ace Felix Hernandez or the Mannywood area that once developed at Dodger Stadium for Manny Ramirez, people won’t be able to buy tickets in The Judge’s Chambers.
Instead, a cross-section of fans will be chosen to sit there. At first, those wearing Judge jerseys and T-shirts inside the stadium likely will get picked, along with their families.
The plan is to branch out for community groups, charity organizations, Little Leagues, schools, hospitals and others to occupy the space.
Who knows, maybe someday even a real judge will preside. In 2012, Bronx-born U.S. Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor sat with the Bleacher Creatures for their noted “Roll Call” before a game.
“It’s pretty cool,” Judge said. “When you come to a game, it’s supposed to be fun for the players and fans. I think it turned out great.”
Those selected for this section will get Styrofoam gavels – stamped with “All Rise!” – to tap against the bench, along with other mementos to keep. The robes, those stay.
Judge waved to his cheering section when he took the field before the top of the first inning Monday, and lobbed a ball in that direction after warming up.
“It’s exciting, that’s all I can really say,” Judge said. “All the off-the-field stuff, the promotions, they’re great. But I’ve still got a job to do on the field. If I’m not doing my job on the field, all this other stuff wouldn’t be happening.”