SEATTLE – This is a real Yankee:
When Aaron Judge is going well, everything looks better around the team. The mood is lighter. The composition has a greater sense of ferocity. Just a lot more smiles around the ball club.
There is a special energy that the referee brings, everything from the music after the game played at the club house, from the portable speaker sitting in front of his locker on escape days to his playing with teammates.
On Tuesday night at T-Mobile Park, the referee became the third fastest player in major league history to 100 home runs when he sent a first-pass rocket to the center of the field, shooting 462 feet, twice a bout by Yusei Kikuchi, which set the pace for the Yankees' 7-0 win over the Mariners.
The ball went 92 mph and left the park at 1
Only Ryan Howard (325 games) and Gary Sanchez (355 games) got there faster than the referee's march to 100 in his first 371 games. Kind of suitable judge hit 100 home runs the same night Pete Alonso set the only Mets home run brand with 42.
"I guess only the beginning," said the judge with a 100 home run smile. "Quite an achievement. I am humbled and honored by this, but you must move on. "
To be in such a trio with Howard and Sanchez, the judge said, 'This is a special group. Ryan Howard has done some special things in the game. We've already seen what Gary Sanchez can do.'"
Sanchez and Judge now sit on 100 home runs.
Brett Gardner, who struck a three-shot blast in the third when Masahiro Tanaka threw a gem, said this to the judge, and that said a lot.
"When he's locked up and at his best." said Gardner. "He is the best player on the field and I think we see that in the last week or so."
The referee has crushed five home games in his last eight games. He came into the night, hitting .351 with a 1.141 OPS over the last nine games, and made two more hits. In the past 21 games, the referee has hit .148 with a .501 OPS. He is completely over the sloping injury, which caused him to miss 54 games.
His parents were all over the trip and he grinned at The Post that he was thinking of bringing them back to New York after that trip winds up Wednesday.
"They are my luck," he said.
The judge also said of Sanchez: "Gary is our best striker. That's something I've been saying for a long time – even in the minor leagues. "
Whether that's it or not, Judge is the modern straw that mixes the drink for these Yankees. He does it all.
He makes them the Bronx Bombers, and the Yankees will need every bit of his energy and ability to succeed in October. "
" Boys look at him so much, "said Aaron Boone." He is such a strong presence. He is one of the voices of our team. He is certainly the face of our club and after that threw one of the elite players in the game from above, so when it goes as usual oh, he's a real problem for the other team. "
There are so many small interactions with the referee and his teammates. He waits for them to leave the field so he can offer a word of encouragement, a light comment, or pat on the back.
The team-mates first is the judge's motto.
He also becomes only the seventh Yankee player drafted and signed by the team to reach 100 home runs since the MLB draft in 1965. The other six are Gardner, Jorge Posada, Derek Jeter, Don Mattingly , Thurman Manson and Mike Pagliarulo.
Like Jether, Mattingly and Manson before him, Judge is the leader in the club house that others care for on a daily basis.
100 home runs is an amazing sign, but for Aaron, the judge has much, much more to say about his success.