Judge promises a homer, delivers

August 26th, 2019

LOS ANGELES -- is a man of his word, and when he slugged a Clayton Kershaw curveball over the right-center-field wall on Sunday evening, he authored an unforgettable memory for one Yankees fan.

Prior to New York's 5-1 victory over the Dodgers, Judge had promised a well-wisher that he would "hit one for you tonight" in a video posted by @R2C2, the account for the CC Sabathia and Ryan Ruocco podcast R2C2 is UNINTERRUPTED. Judge delivered in the third inning, mashing his 16th home run of the season and the 99th of his Major League career.

"I just need Mr. Brown to come to every single game," Judge said. "That's the lucky charm, I think."

The fan with whom Judge spoke was John Brown, a retired Los Angeles area schoolteacher and the father of Yankees catching coach Jason Brown. He was on the field to watch batting practice, and Judge approached the senior Brown upon spotting him on the dirt warning track behind home plate.

"I saw him on the field and ran over, wanted to say a quick hello to him and his family," Judge said. "I told him I'd get one tonight. The wind was blowing right and I was able to do it."

Judge said that he has promised homers and followed through "once or twice" before, adding, "It doesn't happen too often."

Jason Brown, a longtime Yankees Minor League catcher who is in his second season as the club's catching coach, was unaware of the exchange until after the game. He said that his cell phone was lighting up with notifications, and he thanked Judge for cordially greeting his father.

"That's Aaron Judge," Brown said. "When we come out here to play them, my parents live pretty close, so they somehow missed him in Anaheim this year. They got to see him here and that was a special moment. Thanks, Aaron."

With an exit velocity of 104.6 mph, per Statcast, it was the second-hardest homer that anyone has launched off Kershaw's famed curveball. The Braves' Ronald Acuna slugged one with an exit velocity of 104.7 mph on May 8 of this season.

"I'm just really happy for Aaron," Brown said. "Judge was the guy up there that hit the thing, but it's really nice that he would take the time and come over and say hi, then talk to my dad and sisters for a few minutes before the game."

Judge's homer extended the Yankees' Major League record for home runs in a single month. DJ LeMahieu's leadoff homer gave New York 59 blasts in the month of August, and after Judge cracked No. 60, Mike Ford added homer No. 61 in the sixth inning.

"It was a big win, especially against one of the best pitchers in our game and our generation," Judge said. "We got a good scouting report and wanted to go out there and stick to our plan. He's a guy that likes to dominate and get the first-pitch strike. We tried to match that and were able to come away with the win."

Following a three-week skid that raised concerns about the state of his oblique, Judge has locked into a hot streak. He concluded play on Sunday batting .364 (12-for-33) with four homers, three doubles and six RBIs in his last eight games.

"Bronx Bombers, I don't know what else to say," Judge said. "We've got a great lineup. I've never been on a team before that, one through nine, they can hurt you."