Will the new Yankee Stadium bless its first champion on Wednesday?
More than a week after he agreed to a record-shattering, nine-year, $324 million contract to finally join the Yankees, Gerrit Cole will attend his welcoming party, a news conference to formally introduce the ace at his workplace. Yankees managing general partner Hal Steinbrenner, general manager Brian Cashman, manager Aaron Boone and new pitching coach Matt Blake all plan to be in attendance, as does Cole’s agent, Scott Boras, and other assorted dignitaries.
(Not Andy Pettitte, though; the beloved legend already did his part by accompanying Cashman and company to Southern California two weeks ago to pitch the romance of the pinstripes to Cole, which served as a nice cherry atop that lucrative sundae.)
The glitzy winter rollout, once a Bronx staple — the photo of George Steinbrenner introducing Reggie Jackson 43 offseasons ago remains prominent at the current ballpark — has gone the way of the knuckleball: You still see it, just nowhere as often as you once did. Score it as a byproduct of the Yankees intelligently emphasizing player development, which leads to fewer splashy acquisitions.