Multiple Yankees have come forth to voice their opinions about the Astros sign-stealing scandal, and Aaron Judge joined them on Tuesday without holding anything back.
Simply put, he doesn't believe the Astros -- who defeated the Yankees in the ALCS during that 2017 season -- deserve to keep their World Series title they won shortly after that series.
"Yeah, I just don't think it holds any value," he said. "You cheated, you didn't earn it. That's how I feel: it wasn't earned."
Aaron Judge says the Astros should be stripped of their 2017 World Series title:- Yankees Videos (@snyyankees) February 18, 2020
"It doesn't hold any value, it wasn't earned" pic.twitter.com/adbZDYEPlq
Judge used Cubs RHP Yu Darvish's comments on the matter as a reference before delivering that quote. Darvish spoke to Cubs reporters on Sunday and said "It's like the Olympics. When a player cheats, you can't have a gold medal, right?"
The 27-year-old Judge went on to discuss the scandal in full, beginning with when he found out about the news.
"It was tough to watch. Through the whole thing and once it came out, I was pretty mad," he said. "Pretty upset to know that we were probably cheated out of a possibility of making it to the World Series.
"First and foremost as a fan, I grew up a fan of baseball. I don't want to see that. I don't want little kids who look up to us and treat us like we're superheroes seeing, you know, 'Daddy, why is so-and-so cheating? What's happening with that?' So that was the toughest thing for me seeing all the talk about cheating."
After reading into the initial report from The Athletic, where former Astros pitcher Mike Fiers shed the first light on the scandal, Judge took down posts on his social media that congratulated Jose Altuve for winning the 2017 AL MVP over him. Cody Bellinger, the 2019 NL MVP, was on record last week saying he believed Altuve stole the award from Judge.
But at the end of the day, despite all the evidence found in the scandal, no players were punished for their role in it. Manager A.J. Hinch and GM Jeff Luhnow were both suspended and then fired by Houston, while Red Sox manager Alex Cora and Mets manager Carlos Beltran both lost their jobs.
Judge, like many others around the league, thought a "player-driven scheme" should see players reprimanded. Apologies are not enough.
"I wasn't a fan of the punishment," he said. "I thought that was a little weak for a player-driven scheme that no players involved got any punishments."
"I wasn't a fan of the punishment, I thought that was a little weak for a player-driven scheme"- Yankees Videos (@snyyankees) February 18, 2020
- Aaron Judge on the Astros pic.twitter.com/8WZHWjBnVo
In the first week of spring training and all players getting to talk in front of mics, of course questions about this situation continue to come up. It's something Judge understands, but at the same time, hates to see on the news every time he turns on the TV.
"I feel like every single time I turn on the news now, something new comes out," he said. "A new 'Tattoo-Gate' or a new this or that, or new apologies and 'We don't like the apologies' -- stuff like that just keeps going on."
Soon, everyone will have to move on, and that process is starting down in Tampa. Judge and the rest of the team realize that they are World Series favorites for a reason this year, and after seeing the scandal, he even alluded to it being some fuel to begin offseason workouts in November to gear up for that championship run.
Work needs to get done to achieve those goals, but just like the rest of his first presser of the new year, Judge wasn't going to lie when asked if he can get past this entirely.
"I could sit up here and lie to you and say I'll forget about it and move on, but it's always going to be in the back of your head a little bit," He said. "You're always going to think about it."