Fan Derek Rodriguez, 9, reacts while meeting Aaron Judge #99...

Fan Derek Rodriguez, 9, reacts while meeting Aaron Judge #99 of the Yankees prior to a MLB game against the Toronto Blue Jays at Rogers Centre on May 4, 2022 in Toronto. Credit: Getty Images/Vaughn Ridley

TORONTO — More tears flowed for Derek Rodriguez Wednesday afternoon, less than a day after the 9-year-old Yankees’ fan became of bit of a viral sensation when he began crying reacting to the kindness of a stranger.

That stranger, Mike Lanzillotta, a Blue Jays fan, was seen on camera Tuesday night handing Rodriguez a home run ball that had been lined into the second deck by Rodriguez’s favorite player: Aaron Judge.

Rodriguez, again accompanied by his family and joined by Lanzillotta, were in the Yankees’ dugout at the invitation of the team during batting practice Wednesday to meet Judge.

As the 6-7, 282-pound Judge walked from the bat rack to the opposite end of the dugout to meet Rodriguez, the latter started crying tears of joy once again.

When Judge asked “who’s your favorite player,” Rodriguez, who is named after Derek Jeter, turned and pointed at the back of his jersey with Judge’s No. 99 on it.

“It still gives me goose bumps to this day that little kids are wearing my number and my jersey,” Judge said. “It’s something I dreamed of. I used to be in his position — just that little kid with my favorite players and teams. So that was a pretty, pretty cool moment.”

Judge shook hands with Lanzillotta — whom Rodriguez earlier referred to as his new “best friend” — as well.

Yankees slugger Aaron Judge met Wednesday with a pair of fans seen in a viral interaction Tuesday in which Blue Jays fan Mike Lanzillotta caught a Judge homer, then gifted the ball to young Yanks fan Derek Rodriguez.  Credit: Newsday/Erik Boland

“It’s a special moment,” Judge said. “A Blue Jays fan having that moment with a young Yankee fan…that’s a moment that’s been seen around the world now. It just speaks volumes to the Blue Jays fans they have here.”

Said Rodriguez of the moment with Lanzillotta the previous night: “I know I thanked him, and I hugged him. That’s all I remember because I was so happy.”

Lanzillotta told reporters, “I don’t know how I didn’t cry. I’m a pretty emotional guy.”

In the dugout, Judge signed the home run ball — which Rodriguez took to school with him earlier in the day — and presented the youngster with his batting gloves.

The Yankees have invited both the Rodriguez family and Lanzillotta to bring a group of nine people each to New York at some point later in the season to watch a game from The Judge’s Chambers seats in rightfield at the Stadium.

More Yankees headlines


Unlimited Digital AccessOnly 25¢for 5 months