Yankees’ Aaron Judge happy to be back in the field: ‘I feel like the first day in school’

Andres Chavez
New York Yankees, Aaron Judge

The New York Yankees’ first game of the 2021 spring training calendar didn’t exactly go as planned, as they lost 6-4 to the Toronto Blue Jays. Mike King started and didn’t have a particularly good afternoon, but it’s still very early and these stats don’t matter too much. It’s all about preparation for when the real action begins.

However, that doesn’t mean that the Yankees and other teams aren’t happy to see fans in the stands, especially after having to play last year with empty stadiums and cutoffs.

Yankees’ infielder DJ LeMahieu had already stated how important it was to have fans in the stands, and now, star right fielder Aaron Judge is echoing those feelings. After all, the fans provide a unique atmosphere to the whole show.

The Yankees missed fans in the stands

“It felt great,” Judge said to the Yankees’ official page. “A couple of fans were yelling to play catch; I’ve missed having those moments. I had to just save it until my one last toss and let them keep the ball. With all of the rules we’ve got going on, I can’t be spreading [anything]. I tried to be smart about that.”

Per the Yankees’ site, Sunday was the Yankees’ first game with fans since March 12, 2020, a span of 353 days. According to the team, the official paid attendance was 2,637, “and within the walls of the home clubhouse, there was increased excitement as the minutes ticked down to the pregame ceremonies and right-hander Michael King’s first pitch.”

Prior to the game, Judge recalls telling Gleyber Torres and DJ LeMahieu: “Man, I kind of have little butterflies, getting back for my first at-bat.”

“We felt really great. We’re happy to see fans in the stands right now. I feel like the first day in school, being back. It’s amazing. I think fans in the stands help us to have more motivation and to be more focused on the game,” Judge explained.