Gerrit Cole asking for the ball for Game 5 of the Yankees-Rays ALDS felt like a movie.
Gerrit Cole has embraced his own personal Yankees history since the second he arrived in the Bronx.
He dedicated his introductory press conference to evaluating and assessing his own fandom, unveiling the very sign he’d famously been photographed with at the 2001 World Series in Arizona as an 11-year-old SoCal Bombers rooter. “Yankee Fan Today, Tomorrow, Forever” — we all know the words, as well as the power that “forever” creates.
So it’s not at all surprising that, in his very first postseason as a Yankees starter, Cole has found his way into a deciding Game 5, the type of fate that seemed preordained when he first took to the podium in pinstripes.
And, as inevitable as it seemed that he would get the ball for such a contest, the tale of his arrival on the mound for Friday’s game was equally inevitable.
As if he were starring in a movie of his own life, Cole and Aaron Boone shared a “gimme the ball” moment before Thursday’s Game 4 had even occurred, and it’s easy to get chills thinking of the script working out so perfectly.
Imagine. Imagine that being real. It’s real.
The Yankees haven’t had an ace this well-equipped for the task since CC Sabathia’s arrival, and it seems crazier every single day that the team essentially tried to win the World Series without such a thing from 2013-2019. Lots of contention in there, zero aces with such conviction.
In case you’re interested in Cole himself telling the assembled media exactly how much convincing he needed to take the ball on short rest. Spoiler alert: Not much.
Cole pitching the deciding contest is the most no-brainer, by-the-book move possible in an era where managing a baseball team is defined by anything but the simple answer.
Though the road to get here was highly unexpected, the ending was always preordained: Just one October into his Yankees tenure, Gerrit Cole will get a chance to define his own, personal “forever”.
Just give him the ball.