Judge joins Jimmy Fallon to surprise fans at MLB Store in NYC

November 19th, 2022

When  first appeared on NBC’s “The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon” in May 2017, a pair of Clark Kent-style glasses had been all that was necessary to blend in with the crowd in New York City’s Bryant Park. These days, everyone recognizes the American League’s Most Valuable Player. 

Judge made his return to Fallon’s program on Friday, surprising fans at the MLB Flagship Store as part of a “Celebrity Photobomb” segment. Dressed as an umpire, Judge worked home plate behind Fallon, who wore Yankees pinstripes and a catcher’s mask.

Shoppers were invited to have their pictures taken in the batter’s box, only to have their incredulous shock captured when Judge -- sporting a comically oversized chest protector from the 1970s, by the way -- removed his umpire’s mask.

Judge and Fallon argued over imaginary balls and strikes as a woman wearing a Yankees hat covered her mouth in disbelief, gushing: “No way! I’m shaking right now!” A man in a Yankees hat and jacket gazed at Judge, offering: “Are you kidding me right now?”

Two young boys, each wearing No. 99 Yankees shirts, faced off in the batter’s boxes as Judge looked on. Fallon called a “strike,” prompting Judge to bark: “That’s clearly a ball.” The younger boy, stunned, pointed to Judge wordlessly.

Another couple didn’t even need Judge to remove the mask; the sound of his voice calling “ball four” prompted a young lady to drop the bat and shriek with delight. Two other young ladies were distracted as the catcher and plate umpire took selfies of themselves; one offered Judge a hug, thanking him for everything he did for New York City.

It was a full-circle moment for Judge. In the 2017 “Tonight Show” bit, he pretended to be a reporter, looking oblivious New Yorkers in the eye and asking for their thoughts on the Yankees’ new rookie outfielder. Some weren’t sold then, but six years later, the verdict is most assuredly in.