Free specialist slugger Aaron Judge named Time’s Athlete of the Year

The 2022 AL MVP appears to be having an enjoyable few days as the baseball world and anxious New York Yankees fans await Aaron Judge’s free agency decision between the Yankees and San Francisco Giants.

Judge attended “Monday Night Football” in Tampa, Florida, prior to signing a contract worth at least $300 million as a free agent. Judge watched the Tampa Bay Buccaneers’ 17-16 victory over the New Orleans Saints while sporting a jersey designed by Mike Evans. He also met Tom Brady, who tried to get Judge, who is 6-foot-7, to try football.

The slugger was then named Time’s Athlete of the Year on Tuesday morning. The magazine also revealed its entertainer and icon of the year for 2022, when it will publish its list of People of the Year.

Time compared Judge’s season, which included hitting 66 home runs and breaking the AL single-season home run record, to Steph Curry’s run to the NBA championship and the departures of tennis greats Roger Federer and Serena Williams.

“Sports fans hold individual records dear, and no game cherishes its numbers quite like the national pastime,” the magazine wrote about Judge. “Many fans and pundits even consider Judge the ‘authentic’ single-season home-run champ, given that all the National League players who’ve hit more than Judge — Barry Bonds (73 in 2001), Mark McGwire (70 in 1998, 65 in 1999) and Sammy Sosa (66 in 1998, 64 in 2001, 63 in 1999) — did so under a cloud of steroid suspicion.”