Gerrit Cole's decision to sign with the New York Yankees meant more than just years and dollars.
The coveted RHP made that clear Tuesday at Yankee Stadium, where he was introduced with his No. 45 pinstripes and had a special surprise to share.
Cole brought out a sign that read, "YANKEE FAN TODAY TOMORROW FOREVER," which he originally had when he attended a 2001 World Series game between the Yankees and Arizona Diamondbacks.
"I'd just like to say I'm here, I've always been here," Cole said as he flashed the sign and got his press conference underway.
Before Cole signed with New York for nine years and $324 million to become the highest-paid pitcher in MLB history, he grew his love for the game as a Yankees fan on the West Coast.
The Newport Beach, Calif. native and Orange Lutheran High School product was taken by the Yankees with the No. 28 overall pick in the 2008 MLB draft and reportedly offered a multi-million-dollar signing bonus before Cole ultimately decided to attend UCLA.
Selected by the Pittsburgh Pirates with the No. 1 overall pick in the 2011 MLB draft, Cole spent 2013-17 with the Pittsburgh Pirates before the Houston Astros traded for him in 2018. After two years with the Astros from 2018-19, Cole hit free agency and ultimately found his way back to the Yankees.
"Because it was my dream," Cole said of why he signed with the Yankees. "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 minutes ago, about trying to bring the best people at each individual position to surround everybody with the best opportunity to succeed. I think they've demonstrated that, certainly, through Brian's tenure the last two decades. So it instills a lot of confidence, as a player, when you hear those things. And it doesn't hurt to play for your favorite team."