Less than 24 hours earlier, 9-year-old Derek Rodriguez was just a New York Yankees fan watching his favorite team play the hometown Toronto Blue Jays.
Now, he’s a celebrity in two countries.
Rodriguez’s tearful display of gratitude toward a Blue Jays fan who gave him a home run ball hit by Aaron Judge in Tuesday night’s game struck a chord with baseball fans as the story quickly went viral.
“That’s a moment that’s been seen around the world now,” Judge said of the emotional exchange. “It just speaks volumes to the Blue Jays fans they have here. It’s a cool little connection they’ve got.”
Before Wednesday’s finale of the teams’ three-game series in Toronto, Rodriguez and generous Jays fan Mike Lanzillotta got a chance to meet Judge face-to-face in the Yankees dugout.