Aaron Judge
Wendell Cruz-USA TODAY Sports

Aaron Judge dodged answering a reporter’s question as to his COVID-19 vaccination status.

New York Yankees fans got a rude awakening at the start of spring training, particularly star outfielder Aaron Judge.

At first, it just seemed players unvaccinated against COVID-19 would not be allowed to play road games in Toronto. Now, that extends to home games.

Per Stefan Bondy and Dennis Young of the New York Daily News, New York City’s private sector employee mandate applies to the Yankees and New York Mets. As in, even though Yankee Stadium and Citi Field are outdoors, unvaccinated players won’t be allowed to play.

You know, a Kyrie Irving rule for baseball.

This brings us back to Judge, who wound up on the COVID list last year when the delta variant ravaged the country. When asked today if he was vaccinated, well, just watch:


JB’s Take

We’re going to start with the science of it all. Per Governor Kathy Hochul’s daily briefing, over 95% of adult New Yorkers have had at least one shot and the state as a whole is nearly 76% fully vaccinated. The numbers are slowly ticking upward and will continue to do so, and the law could soon change as a result.

Thus, if Aaron Judge is still unvaccinated, that says a lot more about him as both a teammate and person. The science says it all: the COVID-19 vaccine offers maximum protection from a disease that has killed hundreds of thousands of Americans. If he’s unvaccinated and was sick last year, why not get the shot so it doesn’t happen again?

But no, Aaron Judge had to play coy and deflect onto focusing on spring training games. This is the man who’s supposed to be the unquestioned team leader, the heir apparent to Derek Jeter, not to mention one set to command a hefty contract extension?

Kyrie Irving has not been able to join the Brooklyn Nets on the floor at the Barclays Center all year long. His stubborn refusal to get vaccinated has cost the team several wins, not to mention it ran James Harden out of town and down the Turnpike to Philadelphia.


Final thoughts

As to the mandates? They seem overkill at this point. The indoor mask mandates have been lifted statewide. At this point, if you live in New York and haven’t received your COVID-19 shots, the State has taken a simple “Fine. Make your choice, but accept any consequences” approach.

But the law is the law, and neither the Yankees nor Mets can change it. The best way for Aaron Judge to address this, if he even needs to, is to just get the damn shot. Otherwise, that says a lot more about him than we ever could have expected, and not in a good way.

Thus, strap in, folks. The Aaron Judge/Aaron Rodgers jokes may soon be very necessary.

Josh Benjamin has been a staff writer at ESNY since 2018. He has had opinions about everything, especially the Yankees and Knicks. He co-hosts the “Bleacher Creatures” podcast and is always looking for new pieces of sports history to uncover, usually with a Yankee Tavern chicken parm sub in hand.