KANSAS CITY, Mo. — No, Aaron Judge said, he does not have plans to pursue acting or comedy full-time in the future.
“Far from it,” the outfielder said with a laugh Tuesday. “I was nervous the whole time.”
Judge participated in a segment on “The Tonight Show,” which aired Monday, that involved him sitting at a desk in Bryant Park interviewing fans about, well, Aaron Judge.
The well-received bit, which had Judge wearing a blue blazer and hip black glasses as he asked fans questions, quickly went viral.
“It turned out better than I thought,” Judge said in the clubhouse before the Yankees started a three-game series against the Royals at Kauffman Stadium. “I was pretty nervous doing it, but all the people behind the scenes helped me relax a little bit and made it fun. So I enjoyed it.”
Judge said producers from “The Tonight Show” reached out to the Yankees and explained the premise, which he found funny.
Besides . . .
“Jimmy Fallon’s a big Yankee fan so why not help him out and do something for him?” said Judge, who entered Tuesday hitting .316/.420/.744 with an MLB-best 14 homers. “I was like ‘we’ll try it, we’ll see how it goes.’ I didn’t know how it was going to turn out. I’m not really a comedian and all, but I think it turned out great.”
Judge said he interviewed about 20 fans, some of whom recognized him right away. Those interviews didn’t make the cut but ones like the fan who named “Adam Judge” as his favorite player did.
“They were all good people,” Judge, 25, said. “It was all in good fun.”
Another memorable exchange occurred when the rightfielder held up last week’s Sports Illustrated, which featured Judge on the cover.
“I had a feeling, man,” the fan, who initially did not recognize him, said before mentioning a certain characteristic of Judge’s front teeth. “The gap, it was the gap. There’s only two gaps in New York — you and [Michael] Strahan, man.”
Judge said only his parents knew about the appearance.
“I’ve been getting texts and calls all day about it, so I’m just glad people enjoyed it,” he said. “I told my parents I was going to do it but not really anybody else. A lot of people, it was a surprise to them when they were laying in bed watching the show and all of a sudden they see me pop up on there.”
When Judge has excelled this season he typically distributes credit elsewhere, and he did the same for the apparent success of “The Tonight Show” segment.
“While I was going through it I didn’t think I was doing well at all,” he said. “They did a lot of editing to that and cutting and pasting because there was quite a few moments where there was an awkward silence, but they did a good job on it. They really turned it into something great.”
Joe Girardi had yet to see Judge’s late-night cameo but planned to watch it.
Looking big-picture, celebrity can seduce a young athlete, though Girardi is not concerned. He looks for certain responses from young players who are suddenly experiencing it on a big scale for the first time, as Judge is this season, and is encouraged.
“That he’s doing his work, that he’s in the cage like he always was, what he was doing to be successful before he continues to do, that you don’t take that for granted,” Girardi said. “Sometimes when you burst onto a scene, you can draw a lot of attention and you have to be able to say, ‘no’ sometimes. You have to say, ‘no, I need to do my work.’ And I have not seen it effect his work ethic or his personality.”