Yankees' Giancarlo Stanton, left, and Aaron Judge talk as they...

Yankees' Giancarlo Stanton, left, and Aaron Judge talk as they warm up prior to a baseball game against the Los Angeles Dodgers Friday, June 2, 2023, in Los Angeles. Credit: AP/Mark J. Terrill

LOS ANGELES — Aaron Judge grew up in the Bay Area a fan of the Giants, Barry Bonds in particular.

And while Oracle Park, the home of the Giants, will always be special to Judge (who was hurt when the Yankees last visited there in April 2019), this weekend presents an opportunity the outfielder sees as equally special, if not even better: playing at Dodger Stadium.

“Definitely,” Judge said earlier this week in Seattle. “Probably my favorite stadium besides playing at home at Yankee Stadium.”

Dodger Stadium, nestled on the hillside of Chavez Ravine that overlooks downtown Los Angeles to the south and features the picturesque San Gabriel mountains to the north, is the third-oldest ballpark in the majors, having opened in 1962. Only Fenway Park (1912) and Wrigley Field (1914) are older.

Besides the unique setting, the stadium is known among players as having one of the best, if not the best, playing surfaces in the game as well as the best sound system, the overall experience enhanced by the typically big crowds that attend most Dodgers games.

And for players, especially those from California, there’s, in the words of Gerrit Cole, “a little extra juice” that goes into a series there as a visiting player.

“Large crowds, large sound, the acoustics there are next level, great surface,” Cole said, noting the cool “amphitheater” effect of the stadium.

Cole, who grew up a Yankees fan in Newport, California, but whose “home” ballpark was Angel Stadium, said a series at Dodger Stadium always brings back “memories from childhood, from college” (Cole attended nearby UCLA).

One of the first that came to mind was a visit from his Little League days when one of his teams, called the Dodgers, were on-field guests and a few Dodgers players came over to say hello.

“I remember meeting Mike Piazza before a game,” Cole said. “That was awesome.”

Judge has played three regular-season games at Dodger Stadium — Aug. 23-25, 2019 — going 5-for-13 with three homers and a 1.462 OPS as the Yankees took two of three (Judge went 0-for-2 in last year’s All-Star Game, which was played there).

“Great atmosphere,” Judge said. “Getting a chance to play in the All-Star Game there last year was pretty special. They probably have the best surface in the game, great grass. It’s just always a packed house when we go there, especially back in 2019 when we showed up, it was sold out every single game. Great matchups, back-and-forth games. I’m looking forward to getting back there.”

The reigning American League MVP, knowledgeable in the history of the game, said that is an element for him as well.

“You just think of the special moments in baseball history that occurred or the legendary players that took that field,” Judge said. “You think of the special players that walked out on that grass and that dirt. Just kind of reminds you how special this game is and how great it is. You get to share some baseball history when you step out on fields like that.”

No other Yankee has the connection with Dodger Stadium that Giancarlo Stanton does, though. The outfielder/DH, who along with Josh Donaldson and Tommy Kahnle rejoined the club from the injured list in time for this series, grew up going to the stadium with his father, Mike. The pair often arrived early and planted themselves in the leftfield bleachers to try to catch batting practice balls.

In last year’s All-Star Game, Stanton, who was hurt in 2019 when the Yankees last played here, hit a two-run homer to the same area he and his father used to chase those baseballs — a colossal blast that traveled 457 feet — which earned him MVP honors in the American League’s 3-2 victory.

After that game, Stanton called it a “full-circle” moment in his life.

“I really can’t explain how special this is,” he said that night. “It’s hard to put into words that this is reality right now. It’s really cool. I’m just soaking it all in . . . This is very special to me. It’s right up there with anything personally [I’ve done].”

More Yankees headlines


Unlimited Digital AccessOnly 25¢for 5 months