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Yankees oufielder Aaron Judge talks with Long Island kids

Aaron Judge with Kidsday reporters Andrew Galligan, left,

Aaron Judge with Kidsday reporters Andrew Galligan, left, Nicholas Cortese, Colin Richards and Jared Valluzzi, all from the Latin School at Kellenberg, in the dugout at Yankee Stadium. Credit: Newsday / Pat Mullooly

Before a recent home game against the Baltimore Orioles in which New York Yankees outfielder Aaron Judge would hit two home runs, we were lucky enough to sit with him in the Yankees dugout and ask him a couple of questions.

Colin said his most memorable moment during the interview was after he asked Aaron who was the biggest jokester in the clubhouse. Aaron responded,” “Brett Gardner.” Shortly after, Gardner walked right by!

Nick’s favorite moment was when he asked Aaron what his favorite kind of cake was, because he had just turned 25 two days before the interview. Aaron said mint chocolate chip ice cream cake with a chocolate cover.

Both Jared and Andrew said their favorite moments were the first steps out of the tunnel near the away bench, walking out onto the field and sitting in the dugout.

Of course, this would not be an interview without questions. Jared started off, asking: “What did it feel like when you received the call that you were going up to the big leagues?” Aaron responded, “I’ve been dreaming about it since I was a little kid and it was the greatest feeling in the world.”

Later, Jared asked how Aaron had stayed motivated while riding the bus in the minor leagues. Aaron said, “Even though it feels like you are so far away from the big leagues, my love for the game kept me motivated to get through the hard times in the minors.”

Andrew asked: “Who was your role model when you were a kid?” Aaron’s replied quickly: “My dad was my role model; he always did the right thing.”

Nick asked Aaron why he picked 99 as his number. Aaron said, “The Yankees gave me the number and why would I turn down something from the Yankees?”

Colin noted that in 2010 Aaron was drafted by the Oakland A’s, but decided to opt out and go to Fresno State College. He asked, “What helped you to be able to make such a mature decision?” Aaron said, “Well, both of my parents are schoolteachers so they helped me the most and education is very important in case something happens then you have something to fall back on and in a few years maybe you get another chance to get drafted.”

Aaron’s two home runs helped the Yankees to come from behind and beat the Orioles 14-11 that evening.

This interview experience — walking into the stadium, walking in the hallways from the clubhouse and coming out onto the field where many of the greats once stood, sitting in the dugout and meeting Aaron Judge, who’s as good at interviews as he is at hitting home runs, — is something we’ll never forget.

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