Chosen One vs. Hired Gun
As the Yankees prepare to finish up the first half of the 2019 season, it’s incredible to think about the fact that this team is 20 games over .500 and comfortably in first place with little to no production from Aaron Judge or Giancarlo Stanton.
Last week marked the return of both sluggers to the Yankees lineup, and I noticed a very different reaction to the return of Judge compared to the return of Stanton.
As a whole, most Yankees fans were delighted to have both players back in the lineup.
However, there seemed to be an overwhelming joy with the news of Aaron Judge returning, where Stanton’s return received a lukewarm greeting.
Fair or unfair, the fan reaction to these two players is always going to be different.
The Yankee fan loves Aaron Judge. He is their guy, he is the new face of the Yankee franchise, and he can do no wrong.
Stanton is not a homegrown Yankee, he is a hired gun. He is a player who won an MVP with another team, makes a ton of money, and failed miserably in his first postseason in the Bronx.
Was Stanton a bad player in his first season in Yankee pinstripes? Of course not, but the moments of futility live in the Yankee fan’s memory.
No matter what Giancarlo Stanton does in a Yankee uniform, it will be impossible for him to be as loved as Aaron Judge.
We’ve seen this script before. In the late 1970’s, it was Thurman Munson and Reggie Jackson.
In the 1980’s, Yankees fans passionately rooted for Don Mattingly to beat out fellow teammate and hired gun Dave Winfield for the batting title.
And in the 2000’s, it was the constant comparison of Derek Jeter, the Yankees captain, and Alex Rodriguez, who had a love/hate relationship with the fans that could be the subject of countless columns.
Stanton will be held to a different standard by Yankees fans. On Friday night, Stanton struck out four times. Of course he was booed.
Aaron Judge going into Tuesday’s action was hitless in his return off the Injured List. He has not heard any boos at all.
Is that fair to Giancarlo Stanton? Probably not, but who said life or playing with the Yankees has to be fair?
Stanton should use the history of prior Yankee hired guns to his advantage.
If you perform and deliver in the biggest moments and on the brightest stage, the fans will learn to love you.
That’s all that matters.
The fans sure grew to love Reggie Jackson after the 1977 World Series.
Alex Rodriguez’s perception among Yankee fans changed quite a bit after he carried them to a title in 2009.
One of the more fascinating storylines of the second half of the 2019 season is seeing if Giancarlo Stanton can take a page out of the Hired Gun playbook of Jackson and A-Rod.
Knock em dead shooter!
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