Only Barry Bonds could recruit Aaron Judge to SF in this way

With 13 games to go, New York Yankees slugger Aaron Judge sits at 60 home runs, tied with Babe Ruth for second-most in a single season in American League history. At some point in the next two weeks, it’s all but certain Judge will hit homers 61 and 62, eclipsing Roger Maris for the AL home run record and moving into at least 7th in MLB history for home runs in a single season.

It’s a thrilling finale to Judge’s 2022 season that will assuredly culminate in the AL MVP Award, outpacing even another extraordinary season from Los Angeles Angels two-way star Shohei Ohtani. If Barry Bonds and the San Francisco Giants have their way, Judge’s 2023 and beyond would be spent slugging dingers into McCovey Cove.

MLB’s single-season and all-time home run king revealed to Sportico on Friday that like many fans of the sport outside of Yankee fandom, he too is rooting for Judge to keep swatting big flies.

“The way he swings he might as well hit one a day and get past me. I don’t care. Why not?” stated Bonds. However, once Judge’s extraordinary season in pinstripes concludes, Bonds hoped the Linden, California, product would continue his record-threatening ways in a Giants uniform and sign a long-term deal to play for San Francisco.

“I hope he signs here,” said Bonds, who still makes his home in the Bay Area, is a frequent sight at Giants games and has an ambiguous advisory role with the organization. “… We would love to have him, I’ll tell you that.”

Because Bonds is ostensibly affiliated with the Giants organization, one could construe his unambiguous courting of another team’s player as a stroll up to the line of MLB’s tampering rules, which place restrictions on how players and employees of one MLB club can speak to or about another club’s player with regards to their contract status in the present or future. When Giants general manager Farhan Zaidi was asked about “the big fellow in New York” in mid-September, he deflected generally, but was clear that “it’s going to be a big offseason for us.”

For the Giants to reignite their rivalry with the Los Angeles Dodgers and challenge both LA and the San Diego Padres for supremacy in the NL West, they’ll need players of Judge’s caliber. He’ll have no bigger supporter in the bay than Bonds, it seems.

There have been overeager proclamations that Judge’s sensational season is “the greatest single-season performance by any hitter in the history of baseball,” or outright the greatest individual season ever, not to mention the played-out argument that Maris’ 61 homers in 1961, playing against just nine opponents in a league still largely segregated and scarcely opened to the oceans of international talent that have enriched the sport in the past half-century, is somehow purer or more “true” than the 73 MLB recognizes as its record.

Judge’s 2022 is spectacular without equivocation, but whether by traditional statistics or advanced metrics like OPS+ and WAR, there’s arguably no player who’s performed better in any single season — except Bonds.

Plenty would love to see Bonds’ crown snatched by a mostly noncontroversial star like Judge, and you can add Barry Bonds to the list of folks hoping Judge hits 74 or more. Judge told the San Francisco Chronicle he’s no dissident to Bonds’ official record, and Bonds was emphatic in hoping Judge surpasses his marks and appreciating Judge’s recognition, telling Sportico, “MLB says 762 is the record, 73 is the record. … So [Judge] is correct. That guy has a chance to break a lot of those records. For sure.”

Judge’s home run chase has been one of the most exciting stories of the 2022 MLB season; a Bay Area homecoming to chase history yet again would be quite the sequel.

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