Coming off of a historic 2022 season in which he set a new American League record with 62 home runs, Aaron Judge stepped to the plate at Yankee Stadium on Thursday to a hero’s welcome. He signed a nine-year, $360 million contract with New York this offseason, officially assumed the mantle of team captain and is perhaps the most beloved Yankee since Derek Jeter.

So it should come as no surprise that, in two pitches, Judge gave the people what they came to see.

The 6’7” slugger drilled a sinker from Logan Webb over the center field wall and into Monument Park, sending the home fans into a frenzy and putting up the first home run of the 2023 season in style.

Pressure on Judge and the Yankees is sky-high for 2023. The team has not won a pennant since 2009, and has lost to the Astros in the ALCS in three of the past six seasons. And for as beloved as Judge is, there’s no avoiding the fact that with a mammoth contract comes enormous expectations.

It’s a long season, but Judge and the Yankees appear to be off to a strong start. And considering it took him six games to blast his first homer in 2022, who knows what his total will be this year.