New York Yankees fans are no stranger to booing players they believe should be performing better, but the booing of Aaron Judge, the team's best player, during the American League Championship Series against the Houston Astros was surprising to many.
Even Astros closer Ryan Pressly told reporters Thursday that players in Houston's bullpen couldn't believe Yankees fans booed Judge during the ALCS.
"I don't understand why you would boo a guy that has given you nothing but joy, especially this year...I was pretty surprised to hear him get booed out there," Pressly said.
The Yankees were swept by the Astros in four games and eliminated from the 2022 postseason at Yankee Stadium. Judge's performance at the dish was heavily scrutinized as he posted just one hit in 16 at-bats.
That came after he posted four hits, including two home runs, in 20 at-bats in five games of the American League Division Series against the Cleveland Guardians.
Although Judge was booed by Yankees fans in Games 3 of the ALCS, he told reporters after the team's Game 3 loss that he understood why fans, who have incredibly high expectations for the Bronx Bombers, were upset:
“There’s a big Game 4 coming up and if we get down, they’ll stick with us and we’ll do our thing. I understand why there is boos and why they’re yelling at times. But we’ve got to pick it up as a team and we’ll take their support, that’s for sure."
However, SNY's Andy Martino reported Thursday that Yankees players were "taken aback by the level of negativity hitting them" during the ALCS, though it's unclear if Judge was one of those players:
"More than one Yankee player has told his agent this week that playing at the stadium last weekend was an unusually brutal experience. It was hard for many teammates to believe that fans booed [Aaron] Judge. Even a difficult person and underperformer like Josh Donaldson was turned into a somewhat sympathetic figure internally by the force of the jeering."
Judge is set to become an unrestricted free agent this winter, and the boos by Yankees fans could have him packing his bags for a new destination come 2023. Though the Yankees know they can't afford to lose the All-Star slugger, they have reiterated that they will make him a competitive offer.
However, it wouldn't be surprising to see Judge sign elsewhere, especially considering he'll likely have his choice of more than a handful of teams to choose from by the time he needs to make a decision.