TORONTO – Derek Rodriguez’s got so much more than just baseball. The young Yankees fan became famous overnight for his emotional reaction when a Blue Jays fan handed him an Aaron Judge home run ball during the Bombers victory Tuesday night at Rogers Center. He and his family were back at the ballpark on Wednesday night when they got a chance to meet Judge and the other Yankees.
Rodriguez and his family were joined by Blue Jays fan Mike Lanzilotta, who handed him the ball, in the Yankees dugout ahead of Wednesday’s game. He watched the Yankees do batting practice and when he was done, the judge joined him in the dugout.
9-year-old Rodriguez cried when the judge sat down next to her and started talking to her and her brother.
And the judge said he too was shaken by the moment.
“I asked who his favorite player was. He turned and showed me his little jersey and it still gives me goosebumps that little kids are wearing my number and my jersey,” said the judge. I had a dream I used to be at his post. You know, just that little kid with my favorite players and teams. So that was a beautiful, very nice moment. ,
Rodriguez and his family live in Toronto, but are originally from Venezuela and are big Yankees fans. how big? Well, he is named after Yankees Hall of Fame shortstop Derek Jeter. On Tuesday night, Rodriguez and his father were talking with Lanzilotta before the judge crushed a sixth-innings home run. When a Blue Jays fan caught the ball, he immediately turned around and gave it to the boy.
“I know I thanked him, and I hugged him,” Rodriguez said. “That’s all I remember, because I was so happy.”
Rodriguez also started crying, a moment that resonated with fans everywhere.
Lanzilotta said he knew he was going to hand it to Rodriguez as soon as he got his hand on the home run.
“I don’t know how I didn’t cry,” Lanzilotta told reporters. “I’m a very emotional guy.”
The video of the simple and kind gesture was caught by the cameras of YES network and went viral on social media. The judges became emotional when they heard about the video after Tuesday night’s game.
“This is a special moment,” the judge said. “I was excited to meet Derek and the person who caught it, a Blue Jays fan, and for him to have that moment with a young Yankees fan. It’s a moment that is now being watched around the world.” It just speaks volumes to the Blue Jays fans they have here. It’s a nice little connection they’ve got there.”
Rodriguez said he took the home run ball to school on Wednesday.
“My friends and my teachers all congratulated me,” Rodriguez said before taking the ball out of his pocket.
The judge signed the baseball and gave the boy batting gloves. He shook hands with Lanzilotta.
As with Venezuelans, the Rodriguez family was also very excited to meet Gleber Torres, who went after the judge in the dugout. The young boy hugged her tightly as his father spoke with another fellow Venezuelan bench coach, Carlos Mendoza, who had played on a winter ball team that Derek’s father had implored to return to his country.
“It’s hard to beat that stuff. It’s one of those moments that warms your heart,” manager Aaron Boone said after watching the video from Tuesday night. “The things I appreciate in major league games One of them is sportsmanship. When you see from fans who are battling it… it just shows because you’re competing and you want to beat the other guy so badly it doesn’t mean you can’t be kind, Show sportsmanship. ,