Cole, who finalized his nine-year, $324 million deal with New York, brought a sign to the press conference that he was pictured holding as a child watching the 2001 World Series at then-Bank One Ballpark in Phoenix. The sign, which had faded with time, read: “Yankee Fan Today, Tomorrow, Forever.”
Twitter users were quick to troll Cole by photo-shopping hilarious messages onto the sign replacing the nostalgia that the pitcher was trying to bring to the Bronx on his first day in pinstripes.
Cole said it was a “dream come true” to sign with the Yankees, his favorite team as a child. Cole had initially spurned the Yankees early in his career. New York selected him in the first round of the 2008 draft but he chose to go to UCLA to play college baseball instead. He then played for the Pittsburgh Pirates and Houston Astros before signing his mega-deal with the Yankees.
Gerrit Cole poses at Yankee Stadium as the newest New York Yankees player is introduced during a baseball media availability, Wednesday, Dec. 18, 2019 in New York. The pitcher agreed to a 9-year $324 million contract.
“Because it was my dream,” he said, according to the New York Post. “I had a second opportunity to chase it and it’s the best organization, in my opinion, in the league. There’s a process here that [general manager] Brian [Cashman] spoke to and that he just alluded to a couple of minutes ago, about trying to bring the best people at each individual position to surround everybody with the best opportunity to succeed.”
Cole finished his two-season tenure with the Astros one game away from winning a World Series. He led the American League with a 2.50 ERA and led the majors with 326 strikeouts. He finished second in the American League Cy Young award voting to former teammate Justin Verlander.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.