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The Curious Case of Aaron Judge’s Belt

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Yankees outfielder Aaron Judge is the reigning American League MVP. Last year he hit 62 home runs, breaking Roger Maris’s single-season Yankees record (and, some might say, the legitimate single-season MLB record). Over the winter, he signed a nine-year, $360 million contract and was then named as the Yankees’ captain. Fittingly, he hit the first home run of the 2023 MLB season.

But despite all of that, the man can’t get a properly oriented belt — or so it would appear.

Like many MLB players these days, Judge wears a uni-numbered belt. But in all of the Yankees’ games so far this season, the “99” on his belt has been upside-down, resulting in a “66.” (This was briefly  mentioned in Sunday’s Ticker, before I realized it was a season-long thing.) The photo at the top of this page is from last night’s game; here are pics of Judge from all of the Yanks’ other games this season:

Judge wore a non-numbered belt during spring training (at least in all of the photos I was able to find) and had a properly oriented No. 99 belt last year, so the upside-down belt number is a new thing for the 2023 regular season.

Judge, like most MLBers — and most people in general — wears his belt with the buckle facing to his right. The “99” would be properly oriented if he wore the belt with the buckle facing the other way, to the left, but such players are very rare. So while I can imagine the belt manufacturer accidentally using the righty number orientation for a left-buckled player (“Oops, we printed it the way we do for most players — forgot that you wear it the other way”), it strains credulity to think that they’d accidentally use the lefty number orientation for a right-buckler, especially for a player of Judge’s stature. It’s also hard to believe that Judge would keep wearing the upside-down number for such an extended period unless he wanted to.

In short: I think this is all intentional, and probably motivational. I think that after hitting 62 home runs last year, Judge has his sights set on 66 this year, or something along those lines. Either that or it’s some sort of shout-out to teammate Kyle Higashioka, who wears No. 66, but I strongly doubt that. What do you think?



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Can of the Day

Man, this design really puts the “pop” in “popcorn”!

Comments (18)

    Must be a lucky belt. Clearly he’s aware he’s wearing it upside-down.

    The only other thought is when he looks down upon the belt, he sees “99”. No, that can’t be it.

    Heh, I was thinking the same thing about how he sees the number. I am sure that’s not it! ;)

    You’re never going to believe this but I just found a photo from 2022 of Higashioka wearing his belt the other way – buckle facing left. And the belt has 66.
    So did these two guys mix up or trade belts? My mind is blown.


    Never really thought about it, but as a left hander I wear my belt opposite to how Aaron wears his belt, so the 99 would be correct on me. When putting on the belt I start feeding it through the belt loop on the right hip and finish with the end of the belt going through the buckle and pointing towards the right hip. I’m so used to wearing it this way, that it would seem strange to wear it the other direction.

    That makes three of us! I didn’t realize this was out of the ordinary until I bought a belt with a logo on the buckle that was upside down when I put it on.

    I’m right handed (other than batting in baseball, which I do lefty), and I’ve always worn my belts this left-handed way. I didn’t realize it was a thing until the last time it was discussed on this blog.

    I did get a ratcheting belt a few years ago and the release latch was on the top of the buckle. I thought it was odd that it wouldn’t be on the bottom and out of sight, but apparently I was just wearing it upside down.

    I love the can of the day today. The ‘explosion’ makes it.

    I might be alone on this, but I think calling it “popcorn” is weird. Its not popcorn, you can’t eat it. Its popping corn. Popping corn is what you buy, popcorn is what you eat. Or am I missing the boat on this?

    I’ll just assume that most baseball players are bag of hammers dumb. When he looks down and sees 99 so he assumes it’s correct.

    Maybe related, maybe not, but aren’t all belts worn by the military fed first through the left hip loop? If not, the gig line would be off.

    I think it is a combination of both being able to see his own number when looking down and superstition. If he plays well this way he will continue to do so until the lucky spell is broken.

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