LINDEN — It is nearing Judgement Day.
Linden's Aaron Judge, the Yankees slugger who broke Roger Maris' American League home run record this year, is expected to make a decision on where he will sign his next contract — and the San Francisco Giants are a leading contender.
Judge delivered historic home run totals for the Yankees this year. Now, home could be what calls him away from New York. His name is hanging everywhere in the Linden High School gym where he still comes for workouts in the offseason.
Luis Duran grew up with Judge and was his little league teammate.
"Hometown hero," Duran said. "You know what I mean, he's pretty much what everyone wants to do in Linden, make it pro in something."
Now Duran is the Linden High School soccer coach. Judge has come out to soccer practices to meet the team. He thinks Judge is weighing more than the millions of dollars baseball owners are offering him.
"I don't think it's going to come down to the money. It's going to come down to other things like family, friends, and that aspect," Duran said. "I think here in Linden there's a lot of Giants fans, so they're all hoping he comes home to San Francisco."
Duran has a special connection to Judge besides being little league teammates. His big league friend signed his jersey in the stands of a Yankees game before Duran also popped the big question to his then-girlfriend.
"Before the game, Aaron actually came up and signed my Yankees jersey, that was the first one he ever signed for me, and then the top of the 3rd inning, on the scoreboard, I was able to propose," Duran said.
It was a marriage made on the baseball field. Now, will Aaron Judge say yes to the San Francisco Giants proposal and live happily ever after — near Linden?
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