Sportress of Blogitude

Gerrit Cole swayed to sign with Yankees by ’30-pound-ish contraption’?

The New York Yankees locked down the top pitcher on the free-agent market when the team signed Gerrit Cole to a historic nine-year, $324 million deal this week.

While the absurd amount of money undoubtedly played a significant role in Cole’s decision — not to mention the allure of playing in the iconic pinstripes — it sounds like the Yankees had an outrageous gizmo at their disposal that helped along the process.

The Yankees unsurprisingly went all out when making their pitch to Cole, including having Andy Pettitte present at a face-to-face meeting last week. According to Joel Sherman of the New York Post, while the manner in which the Yankees gave it their all to appeal to Cole certainly helped, it was some kind of mechanical, technological doohickey that really sealed the deal.

The Yankees provided Cole one of their favorite toys: a 30-pound-ish contraption shaped like home plate with a giant interlocking ‘NY’ that when opened reveals a facsimile of Yankee Stadium, with an iPad in the middle that contains pretty much every question you would have about the franchise — from breakdowns of all 27 championship teams to where to live and have your kids go to school, etc.,” Sherman writes. “Again, Cole and his wife were impressed.

The case can be made that the Yankees are probably the only team in Major League Baseball that would boast a “30-pound-ish contraption” — a fancy one at that, it almost goes without saying — which extols all the wonderful things that come with joining the organization.

A legacy of titles, mind-boggling money and a championship-caliber roster are all well and good, but having some gizmo shaped like a home plate from which a miniature stadium emerges — along with an iPad no less — to dazzle potential signees exemplifies why the Yankees have been bestowed the moniker “Evil Empire.”