Sports

Tom Brady lauds Aaron Judge’s historic season, praises Yankees slugger’s mindset

Tampa Bay Buccaneers star Tom Brady had major praise for Aaron Judge as the New York Yankees superstar hoped to ride the wave of his regular-season success into the postseason.

Judge joined Brady and sportscaster Jim Gray on the “Let’s Go!” podcast Monday, and the seven-time Super Bowl champion said he enjoyed watching a superstar athlete from another sport succeed.

“There’s nothing better than seeing, in my view, players in other sports that really accept what comes along with the success,” Brady said. “You’re in a big market (with the) Yankees, and you’ve continued to defy the odds. 

“Really happy for you and all your success. Hopefully, you got a long career ahead of you. It’s going to be up to you to see what you do with it and how you take advantage of it.”

Tom Brady was not happy with his first half performance in his game against the New Orleans Saints Sunday.

Tom Brady was not happy with his first half performance in his game against the New Orleans Saints Sunday.
(Chris Graythen/Getty Images)

“All the decisions you make over the course of time will all add up to the level that you can reach. It’s really been impressive to watch you in your humility even through this season. Just an MVP-caliber season. We know how all those votes go and all that. I always feel like, you know, ‘Did you do the best you could?’ And, from my standpoint watching you, you were amazing this year. So congrats and good luck in the postseason.”

In Judge’s pursuit of the American League home run record, he entered Yankees lore and was compared to some of the organization’s greatest players like Babe Ruth, Roger Maris, Joe DiMaggio and others. 

He said it was a “shock” for him to hear his name in the same breath as those other top players who wore pinstripes.

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“It’s a shock because the names you mentioned — Roger Maris, Babe Ruth, Mickey Mantle, Joe DiMaggio, this list goes on and on — these are guys you see all around Yankee Stadium,” Judge said. “You see ‘em with the World Series ring, the World Series championships, and you’re like ‘There’s no way. Those are legends.’ 

“Those are Yankee legends. Baseball greats. How could I ever be mentioned with those guys? I’m just starting my career. I’m just a couple years in. What’re you guys talking about? It’s always a humbling experience being in the same sentence. Being mentioned with some of those greats. It’s like you said, it’s tough to get used to because I’m Aaron Judge, a kid from Linden, California, that wakes up everyday trying to help the Yankees win a ballgame. I’ve never seen myself as someone up there with Babe Ruth or Roger Maris, but it’s something I never take for granted.”

The New York Yankees' Aaron Judge bats during a workout ahead of Game 1 of baseball's American League Division Series against the Cleveland Guardians, Monday, Oct. 10, 2022, in New York. 

The New York Yankees’ Aaron Judge bats during a workout ahead of Game 1 of baseball’s American League Division Series against the Cleveland Guardians, Monday, Oct. 10, 2022, in New York. 
(AP Photo/John Minchillo)

Brady, who has also been in that caliber quite a long time with the likes of Joe Montana and Steve Young, had some advice for Judge on how to handle the superlatives. He said Judge had the right attitude and mindset for the moment he’s dealing with now.

“That approach he says he instills in himself, when you look in the mirror every day what do you see? Aaron sees himself,” Brady said. “And he doesn’t see, ‘Oh, this is kinda who you remind me of, these are the people that you’re being compared to.’ It’s the best way to do it. You wake up every day, and you look at the person in the mirror and you go, ‘Did I give it the best I could?’ And if you did, you’re usually very satisfied with what you’ve become. And if you didn’t, then you got that person looking right back at you knowing you cheated yourself,” Brady said.

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“I’ve always felt too, and I’ve looked up to those guys who really inspired me to play football at a young age growing up in the Bay Area, NorCal kid. I grew up with the Niners as may team and to watch Joe Montana and Steve Young and just to see how the success of that organization brought this community together. 

In this Oct. 21, 2018, file photo, former San Francisco 49ers quarterback Joe Montana speaks at a ceremony in Santa Clara, Calif.

In this Oct. 21, 2018, file photo, former San Francisco 49ers quarterback Joe Montana speaks at a ceremony in Santa Clara, Calif.
(AP Photo/Tony Avelar, File)

“That community still loves the game of football because there was so much success. I think, Aaron, just continuing on the Yankee legacy – and obviously being in Boston for 20 years, I saw it first hand. I was at World Series games in 2001, the 9/11 year I was at. I think Game 3. I just know what those rivalries are all about and what the meaningful characters in those rivalries are. And Aaron mentioned a few of those, and now he gets to be part of that tradition. But you still feel the humility of where you started because you are who you are. You haven’t changed. 

“Aaron, I’m sure, hasn’t changed. If he has humility, which I know he does, he looks at himself as a high school kid going to try and prove himself everyday going, ‘Man, I gotta go out there and I gotta do my job and I gotta work hard or else I’m not gonna be this person that lives up to his own expectations.’ He is who he is because of the characters that define him as a person, as a player and as a teammate. Not what other people may define him as, which always feels good when you’re internally motivated and the only way to have the consistency he’s had is to do that and to hit 62 home runs and to still have humility. That’s a personality trait. That’s a character trait. Those things aren’t gonna change in him.”

Judge thanked Brady for the kind words and acknowledged he tapped into the “Do your job mantra” that Brady’s former coach, Bill Belichick, had preached in New England.

The New York Yankees' Aaron Judge bats during a workout ahead of Game 1 of baseball's American League Division Series against the Cleveland Guardians Monday, Oct. 10, 2022, in New York. 

The New York Yankees’ Aaron Judge bats during a workout ahead of Game 1 of baseball’s American League Division Series against the Cleveland Guardians Monday, Oct. 10, 2022, in New York. 
(AP Photo/John Minchillo)

“That means a lot. And one of the words you kinda hit on there was just doing your job. And it’s funny. Here, at Yankee Stadium, before we go out to our dugout, we have a little sign that just says ‘Just do your job.’ I always kinda tapped it on my way out to the field as just a reminder,” Judge explained. 

“I coulda been 0-for-4 the night before. I coulda been 4-for-4 the night before, hit a walk-off, whatever. Well guess what? That’s all over with. When you step on this field, you gotta do your job. If that’s me making a play out in the field, if that’s moving a runner over, if it’s me just picking up a teammate that just struck out. Just doing little things. That’s part of my job. Going out there and do my job, everything else is just BS. Go out there and focus on one thing. That, for me, is what builds championship teams.”

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