Boston Red Sox legend David Ortiz has come to the defense of New York Yankees slugger Aaron Judge.
Per Nick O'Malley of Mass Live and Mike Rosenstein of NJ Advance Media for NJ.com, Ortiz was speaking on the "Games with Names" podcast when he mentioned Yankees fans criticizing and booing Judge last year.
"I was like, 'Hey, have you ever taken a minute to picture the Yankees lineup without Aaron Judge next year?' And the (expletive) stayed quiet for a minute,'" Ortiz said about an alleged encounter he had with a Yankees fan. "I told him, 'You guys, as fans, need to understand that whoever takes that field wants to get things done.' I never got booed at Fenway Park, and that’s why I ride and die with those fans...
"Aaron Judge, the minute he cools off, even during the regular season, he gets the biggest boos. Let me tell you, as an athlete, you will take that from the opposition when you go to their place. But when you get that (expletive) at home, bro, not good."
Most recently, Judge heard boos from frustrated home fans inside Yankee Stadium last October even after he set a new American League single-season home run record. It was later reported that a "toxic" fan culture and a supposed "souring relationship between the Yankees and their fans" could cause the 2022 AL Most Valuable Player to leave the Bronx Bombers in free agency.
Judge later admitted he felt the Yankees "wanted to 'turn the fans against'" him when general manager Brian Cashman publicly revealed the terms of the offer the 30-year-old rejected before the start of the 2022 campaign. When all was said and done, though, Judge remained with the Yankees via a nine-year, $360 million deal.
Judge is a beloved figure and also now the 16th captain in the history of the Yankees. Ortiz is right, though, in pointing out that the four-time All-Star selection certainly will hear boos from New York fans as soon as this spring if he begins the upcoming season in a slump.